CCA Awards Honour Leaders in Camping

Posted on April 14, 2014 by Catherine Ross

The Canadian Camping Association is proud to announce the recipients of its 2013 awards! Award winners represent camping associations in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.

Donna Wilkinson, Ron Johnstone Lifetime Achievement Award

Donna Wilkinson, Ron Johnstone Lifetime Achievement Award recipient

Donna has been the face and voice for camping in Western Canada over the past 20 years. Her experience at the CCA Board table includes being a Saskatchewan PCA Representative, the Executive Director for the Saskatchewan Camping Association, the CCA Secretary, a CCA President (2001-2003) and a CCA Past President. Donna continues to serve on the CCA Board as a tireless advocate for camping across Canada. Donna tackled, singlehandedly, the enormous task of updating the CCA Operations Manual, She provides history and insight for so many issues that affect camping across the provinces. . Donna spearheaded the seminal standards gathering in 2003 in Saskatchewan, which brought together Standards Chairs from across Canada. She is a certified Trainer for the International Camp Directors Course and has conducted numerous leadership workshops to help educate many young camp leaders. It is fitting that we honour our longest standing partner at the CCA Board table by awarding her our highest recognition. .

Peter Gilbert and Bruce Hodgins, Jack Pearse Award of Honour

Bruce Hodgins (left) and Peter Gilbert (right) receive the Jack Pearse Award of Honour from CCA President Jill Dundas

Peter and Bruce have demonstrated their consistent devotion to camping through years of volunteer work on committees, Boards and through projects. Together, Peter and Bruce have celebrated, recorded and preserved the history of camping in Canada. Cross Canada Centennial Canoe Trip In 1966/67, Bruce and Peter assisted with Kirk Wipper’s project: a cross-Canada canoe trip to celebrate Canada’s Centennial. Campers in every province committed to paddling a section of the route, which the planners laid out from coast to coast. Society of Camp Directors Writing Award Program In 1989, Professor Bruce Hodgins was a founding member of a committee whose purpose was to develop an annual writing award program with the objective of attracting to the Camping Collections at the Trent University Archives academic papers relevant to organized children’s camping in Canada. The collection would provide an ever expanding literature base for researchers studying the camping movement. Bruce chaired this committee from 1996 till 2010. Peter took over the chair after many years on the committee. Ontario Camps Association 75th Celebration From 2006-2009, Bruce chaired a committee with Peter as a key member to plan and execute the Ontario Journey to celebrate OCA’s 75th anniversary. As a culmination of the event, they published The Ontario Journey, which recorded the various historical trips (hiking, sailing, kayaking, canoeing) taken by campers from many camps across the province. In addition, as a professional architect, Peter has shared his knowledge with the camping community through numerous conference sessions and articles.

Bronco Cathcart, Award of Excellence

Bronco started working at Sasamat Outdoor Centre in April 1992 as the Facility Manager. He became the Executive Director in 2008. ”Days of Caring”, started in 2002 as a volunteer work day to help spruce up camp, has become an annual event. He has been instrumental in the growth and development of the Centre. Bronco has been a member of a variety of committees through the Association of Neighbourhood Houses. He has been a leader in the BC camping community for over 20 years, as secretary then president on the BCCA Board and as a session leader sharing his knowledge and expertise at the annual BCCA/FCC conferences.

Gene Krahn, Award of Excellence

Gene is the Executive Director of Pines Bible Camp and has been involved in camp ministry in British Columbia for over 21 years. He and his wife, Vicky, have been running Pines since spring of 1995. What gives them the most joy is seeing the growth and change in people as they experience God through Pines Bible Camp’ s ministry. Gene demonstrated exceptional leadership after a tragic event at camp. During a severe windstorm on July 20, 2012, which felled or damaged a thousand trees, destroyed buildings and caused significant damage, sadly, despite the efforts and courage of all staff, a camper died accidentally when a tree fell on his cabin. Gene showed incredible, compassionate leadership as he cared for the family of the boy, his staff and volunteers. Shortly after the storm, the task of rebuilding camp began. Gene worked tirelessly to prepare camp for the following summer. He succeeded. In addition, he put ”Pines on the road”, a program of day camps run in several nearby communities starting on August 13, 2012.

Mike Nelson, Award of Excellence

Mike’s journey in camping began in 1968 as a maintenance person. He then moved on to program director, Assistant Director and after five summers, Camp Director. Two years later, Mike moved to the Yukon. However after fifteen years, he returned to Calgary and assumed the position of full time Managing Director for Camp Cadicasu. In the years that followed, Mike served as the president of the Alberta Camping Association and the Canadian Camping Association. In February of 2006, the camp’s main building and dining hall burnt to the ground. While they debated rebuilding or relocation, Mike ran the camp for two summers using a temporary kitchen and two large marquee tents . In 2008 the camp acquired a lease in the Kananaskis and began to rebuild. Two years later in the new facility, the camp ran at 95% capacity, a testimony to Mike’s leadership. After retiring in 2013, Mike served as Director Emeritus for Camp Cadicasu and plans to continue on the board of directors. Mike has been a blessing and a gift to the camping community. He brings wisdom and compassion and has impacted the lives of many.

Don & Carolyn Sedgwick, Award of Excellence

Don and Carolyn Sedgwick are the owners of Sans Souci Riding Centre, Ste-Clotilde, Quebec and over the last number of years have been pivotal in the happiness and development of many children from around the world. There is an immediate sense of calm and serenity when you step onto the Sans Souci grounds. Selflessly and tirelessly, Don and Carolyn have worked to benefit their campers and staff. They have created a loyal community whose devotion to the camp and the program extends beyond their camper and staff years.

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.