2015 Award Winners

Posted on February 1, 2016 by Catherine Ross

The Canadian Camping Association is proud to honour six award winners from four provinces: Melanie Dash, Stephen Green, Mike LeDuc, Patti Sampson, Al Vetter and Maya and Dave Willis.

Award of Excellence

Melanie Dash has been instrumental in revitalizing the camping industry in Nova Scotia and PEI since 2010. As part of her program at Acadia University, she interned at Easter Seals Nova Scotia, creating a new staff manual for the Camp Tidnish program as well as participating in a manual development program at Camp Brigadoon. Through her service, CAMPFire Consulting, she guided Nova Scotian camps in updating their manuals and other documents.

Under Mel’s leadership, Nova Scotia and PEI accreditation systems have become more organized and professional. She also served as the Association’s volunteer Corporate Secretary.
Mel has recently moved on to a full time position with Camp No Limits in Maine where she will continue to impact the camping world on both sides of the border.

Mike LeDuc has made a large contribution to the camping sector in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island over many years as a volunteer supporting the work of CANSPEI and in his employment. Since 2009, Mike has been the full time General Manager of the YMCA’s Big Cove, a camp he attended in his youth.

He has served CANSPEI as a volunteer in several roles: as a Director since 2007, President from 2009 to 2011, Chair of the Nominating Committee and Chair of Training and Education.

Patti Sampson (MacDonald) has made a great contribution to the child and adult residential camping sector in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island over many years, both as a volunteer supporting the work of CANSPEI and as an employee of a number of residential camping organizations in Nova Scotia including YMCA of Greater Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia’s Department of Community Services and Nova Scotia Easterseals.

Patti has served as a volunteer Director of the Association since 2008 and Vice President since 2011. She has served as Chair of the Membership Committee and the Accreditation Committee. She is a very enthusiastic supporter of residential camping and CANSPEI’s work.

Al Vetter has filled many roles to help Camp Luther (BC) to grow and develop for thirty-five years. He has served on the Board of the BC Camping Association as Treasurer for many years. He mentored his replacement and then temporarily stepped back into the role when the new treasurer had other commitments. His efforts over decades have made Canadian camps better.

Maya and Dave Willis, Directors of Camp Wilvaken (Quebec), have been involved with the ACQ since its inception and for many years have been on the committee dealing with the regulations of summer camps in Quebec. They have also worked on the ACQ annual conference committee.

As a bilingual camp, Wilvaken has had great success in bringing together Francophones and Anglophones as well as international campers. They have translated newsletters for ICF. As members of OCA, they have volunteered to visit OCA camps in Quebec. They work with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to preserve the natural wilderness.

CCA Special Recognition Award

Stephen Green (Ontario) made a significant contribution to resolve a critical international camp staff work permit issue. He gave leadership to support the CCA when the government was reviewing legislation related to international staff working at camp. Under tight timelines and stressful circumstances, Stephen successfully connected with important government decision makers and was able to proactively present the CCA case in order to reach a favourable outcome for member camps. Stephen’s knowledge, experience and guidance were critical in supporting our members who were most directly impacted by this issue.

Communications Officer at Canadian Camping Association
Catherine's lifelong love of camping began in 1953 when she accompanied her mother, the new camp cook, to Camp Tanamakoon in Algonquin Park. She remained at Tan until 1978 as a camper and in several staff roles. After five years as a teacher, in 1979, Catherine and her husband George purchased Camp Mi-A-Kon-Da for girls in Parry Sound, Ontario which they owned for 20 years. Catherine has served on the Board of the Ontario Camps Association, and is Past President of the Society of Camp Directors. She is currently Communications Officer on the Board of the CCA. She is past editor of Camps Canada, published by the CCA, and the OCAasional News, the newsletter of the OCA. She is the author of four publications. Her articles on camping have appeared in numerous magazines.