Eleanor P. Eells Award for Excellence in Research in Practice

The Eleanor P. Eells Award for Excellence in Research in Practice is designed to honor programs that conduct or apply innovative, quality research or evaluation to improve program practice and/or uncover findings that are useful to other camps. Successful nominations typically focus on a particular component, strategy, or topic as opposed to general attempts to better an entire camp.

Nominations generally fall into two types:

  • Evaluation projects incorporate data and analysis of data to support effectiveness and continuous improvement. Such projects tend to focus on camp processes and practices to use evaluation data for meaningful program improvement. Both formative and summative evaluations are appropriate.
  • Research projects address questions intended to generate new knowledge or understanding. Findings can then be utilized and shared. 

Eleanor P. Eells Award nominations are judged on creativity and imaginative planning; relevance to the needs of participants and/or camps; adaptability or potential for replication; cooperative efforts with other organizations, agencies, camps, colleagues, or universities; and the program’s ability to meet its stated objectives.

Nominees for the Excellence in Research in Practice Award will also be judged on research/evaluation innovation and rigor; adherence to ethical research or evaluation standards; and, the camp’s use and sharing of the research and/or evaluation findings.

Eligibility for the Excellence in Research in Practice Award: To qualify for nomination for this Eleanor P. Eells Award, a program or camp must have been in operation for at least two years (planning and development time do not count), and:

  1. Conducted or applied innovative, quality research or evaluation,
  2. Used or plan to use research or evaluation findings to improve program practice, and
  3. Include findings that can be replicated or adapted for other camps’ programs or research/evaluation projects

Membership in ACA is not required
Number of awards: no more than 2
It is desired that a representative of the organization receiving this award be present to accept it at the National Conference in February, 2019 in Nashville, TN.

Nominate online 

Download a PDF

Nominations are due by October 26, 2018

Have questions? We are more than happy to discuss. Please feel free to contact the coordinators of the award:

Mary Rogers
Executive Director, Sherwood Forest

Tom Akiva
Assistant Professor in Education, University of Pittsburgh


Eleanor P. Eells was a leader and inspiration within the field of camp throughout her life. She was an active participant in the Settlement House and Social Service Agency camp movements and a pioneer in therapeutic camping. She was one of the founders of the Fund for Advancement of Camping and served as its director through FAC's formative years.

Eleanor Eells had an equally important influence on the American Camp Association. She worked with FAC to support programs such as ACA's 1970s standards research and rewrite; the pilot Camp Director Certification Institute; the Camping Unlimited/Intergrouping Project; ACA's last reorganization; and securing government funding for campership use. Her greatest contribution was helping individuals and camps start new programs. When these programs were operating, she shared results with countless others.

Eleanor Eells' life was an example for the camp professional. The first recipient of ACA's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, Eleanor Eells passed away in her 94th year in Calgary, Alberta.