Pioneers of Camping

Pioneer of Camping graphic

Who We Are

The Pioneers of Camping Club was founded in 1985 by Marvin and Annette Black in honor of Marvin's father, Edwin "Hughie" Black, who started Pine Forest Camp in 1931. The Club offers 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 affiliated with ACA.

This exclusive club's membership now includes over 130 individuals and over 165 camps. Each year at ACA's National Conference, new Pioneer members are presented with a Pioneers of Camping plaque symbolizing their commitment to the field of camping. All Pioneer members are listed in one issue of Camping Magazine each year and join together at a luncheon meeting or other event to share and learn from each other.

The Past Will Preserve the Future

Pioneers leave a legacy for others to follow. Our legacy is the knowledge we share that will help others promote and preserve the camp experience for the next generation.

Members are asked to record and document their accomplishments, programs, and contributions to the camping profession. This documentation process preserves our heritage and offers a valuable historic perspective to others in the field. Through the club's Pioneer Partners project, members also have the opportunity to assist and encourage young camping professionals. Please use this application form to state your interest. There is too much talent here to lose. Please offer to share your wisdom with others and encourage other Pioneers to do the same.

Gathering of Pioneers at ACA National Conference

Every year at the ACA National Conference, this group comes together for lunch and to tell stories and enjoy each other. It's more fun than you can imagine. This year the Pioneers Gathering won't have an extra charge! If you are attending the ACA National Conference, we encourage you to join us. Welcome all! 

February 3, 2021
6:30 - 7:30 pm central time
Bring your dinner and a smile

Haven't registered for ACA National Conference? Register now!

Already registered for ACA National Conference? Add the Pioneers Gathering to your calendar (updates are being made daily to this site).

Pioneers Club Benefits

  • An annual, inspiring event where ACA Pioneers are recognized
  • Opportunity to preserve and promote the camp experience with rich tradition and history
  • Strong network of dedicated camp enthusiasts
  • Opportunity to counsel young professionals in camping
  • Pioneers of Camping plaque
  • Photograph and history kept at the national office
  • Listing in one issue of ACA's Camping Magazine each year

Who Can Join

  • Any individual who has been a practicing camp professional for at least thirty years and is currently a member of the American Camp Association. (Includes those currently working and retirees. Memorials for deceased members are acceptable.)
  • Any camp who can document that it has been in continuous operation for at least thirty years and is currently affiliated with ACA.

Questions about Pioneers? Contact one of us:

Grechen Throop 765-349-3517
Sarah Perkins 765-349-3509