In 1965, the ACA Board of Directors established a means of paying tribute to those who make an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of the camp movement in the United States and who have played an important role in creating today’s association. In 1991 the board updated all award criteria. Six recognition awards are currently presented at our national conference each year: the Distinguished Service Award, the Hedley S. Dimock Award, The Jack Weiner Award (approved in 2002), the Honor Award, the Service Award, and the Special Recognition Award. Another national award, the Eleanor P. Eells Award that honors outstanding programs, is also presented at that time. 

2023 National Award Recipients Announced

The deadline to submit award nominations is October 26.
We will only accept nominations via the online form.

Submit Nominations

Award Nomination Criteria


Distinguished Service Award
The Distinguished Service Award is ACA’s highest award. This award honors a lifetime of service to ACA and camp.

National Honor Award
This award is for individuals who have given exemplary service to  ACA; work is regional and national in scope through committees, addresses, or research.

Hedley S. Dimock Award
Awarded to individuals who contribute to the field of camp from related professions, such as outdoor education, medicine, or social sciences.

National Service Award
Given to recognize continued and increasing service to ACA beyond the local level.

Special Recognition Award
Designed to honor groups, organizations, or individuals for their efforts to promote camp.

Jack Weiner Leadership Award
This award is given annually to a young professional who is pursuing a career in camp.

Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence
The Eleanor P. Eells Award will focus on recognizing program excellence at camps.

Eleanor P. Eells Award for Excellence in Research in Practice
The Eleanor P. Eells Award will focus on recognizing research in practice at camps.

J. Wendell and Ruth T. Howe Golden Quill & Golden Lens Awards
These awards—which are funded through a memorial established in J. Wendell and Ruth T. Howe’s name—encourage excellence in writing and photography

The Marge Scanlin Outstanding Research Award
This award recognizes one student each year for his/her research related to the camp experience.

Pioneers of Camping
Special recognition for ACA members with at least thirty years of professional camp experience and for camps that have been in operation for at least thirty years and are affiliated with ACA.


Do you have a great story to share, but don’t see an award category that fits your story?