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Congratulations to CCA Award Winners!

Posted on February 7, 2018 by CCA Communications Committee

The Canadian Camping Association is please to announce six very worthy recipients of the 2017 CCA Awards!

The CCA national awards recognition program honours outstanding achievement and contribution by Canadian camp leaders, camps, associations and institutions.

Please join us in congratulating:

Skip Connett

Ron Johnstone Lifetime Achievement Award recipient

Skip is the Owner/Director of the camp he established in 1975, Canadian Adventure Camp in Temagami, ON. From the time Skip started his camp he has been an active member of Ontario Camps Association (OCA). He has on more than one occasion been a Board Member.

It was during these early times that Skip recognized that camping needed an increased visibility and he was able to secure for the Board and accredited camps community service ads that were responsible for an increased of awareness by the general population.

Skip has been an active volunteer at many OCA events and has shared his expertise at OCA Conferences over the years. He has been a mentor and an advisor for many camps. OCA recognized Skip’s service in the past few years as they made him an Honourary Life Member.

Significantly, Skip was catalyst for the establishment of an insurance program for Canadian camps. Until that time camps were at the mercy of the insurance companies. They could, at will, cancel policies with little or no explanation and with almost no notice. Skip recognized that there was a need to find a broker and then an insurer that was prepared to get involved with the camping community, offer reasonable rates to a low risk industry, and who would stand behind our camps. On behalf of the CCA, he established a committee to guide the process. Under Skip’s leadership, they surveyed camps to find out about the various policies that camps used and a history of their claims. The committee then found a company that agreed to meet the needs of camps. The policy, when compared by insurance consultants, was reasonably priced and comprehensive.

The committee recommended a broker who would represent the needs of camps and continues to provide the insurance package that is still in place and is constantly vetted and chosen by more than 300 camps in Canada.

For all these years, Skip has continued to chair the CCA Insurance Committee. Skip is responsible for creating an insurance program that insures that the interests of Canadian camps have been protected and has made it possible for accredited camps to benefit from the empirical data provided by our broker which proves our camps are safe.

Harry & Gail Edwards

Jack Pearse Award of Honour recipients

Harry has acted as the Executive Director of Stillwood Camp & Conference for over 20 years. During that time, Gail has been a constant support for Harry, and has enabled his effective leadership by offering her own relational care for fellow staff members and the community in general. Gail has also taken leadership in the Dining Room at Stillwood, using her gift of hospitality to make the camp one of the top outdoor-based conference centre destinations in British Columbia.

Through their time with Stillwood, Gail encouraged Harry’s volunteer involvement with a variety of causes related to camping. One of those was helping to found the Fellowship of Christian Camps, which helps to connect and support camping professionals from BC, Alberta, and Washington State. Harry is a long-standing Board member for this organization.

Harry also served on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Camping Association, including taking the role of President from 2012-2013. He was instrumental in raising the stature of the CCA for BC camps.

Through his years of service, Harry has been instrumental in the growth of camping in BC and across Canada. His name is well recognized by those in the camping world. However, those in BC know that without Gail and her generous spirit, Harry would have not seen the success or impact he has.

Gabrielle Raill

Jack Pearse Award of Honour recipient

Gabrielle has been a camp professional for over 20 years, and over her career she has had a great impact on camping in Quebec, across Canada, and around the world. She believes that camp is a powerful mechanism to help children and youth grow, learn, and be empowered.

During her career at Camp Ouareau, Gabrielle has focussed on creating a positive community for girls and young women. Her impact is felt not only at Ouareau, but in many other settings.

Gabrielle has been involved in many projects and communities, including:

  • Creating, leading, and directing the CCA National Marketing Camping (Thanks To Camp and More Than Just Fun)
  • Serving as International Camping Fellowship Ambassador to Canada
  • Delivering keynotes and workshops on topics such as empowerment, training, and leading with impact at provincial camping association events across Canada
  • Representing Quebec and Canada as a presenter at the American Camp Association conference, ACA Tri-State conference, ACA Mid-State conference, and the International Camping Congress
  • Helping to create, and serving as a contributor, to Camp Code and Camp Hacker
  • Volunteering with the ACQ, OCA, and CCA on numerous projects and training
  • Gabrielle has also worked, supported, and mentored other camps and camp professionals with transitional and training needs

Shauna Joyce

Award of Excellence recipient

Shauna has been actively and continuously involved with Camp Amy Molson (CAM) for 23 years, beginning as a Counsellor-in-Training, joining the leadership team and, for the last 14 years, as Executive Director.

Her role as Executive Director includes the usual management, recruitment of staff and campers, governance, and fundraising responsibilities. Shauna is exceptional in carrying out these duties. Shauna’s involvement and commitment goes well beyond this. She attends all the camping sessions and oversees the effective delivery of camp programs and activities. Her level of engagement is because she relates so well to the children and believes so much in the positive effect of camping in their development. This level of participation goes much further than normally expected.

Shauna has been involved in camping beyond CAM. She has volunteered at Global Camps Africa (Camp Sizanani) and sat on the Association des camps du Quebec’s conference planning committee. Most recently, Shauna participated in the process organized by Centraide to evaluate the impact of camp on vulnerable youth. This process involved creating a model that comprised performance indicators, evaluation tools and collection and dissemination of data.

Shauna’s focus on helping youth is a consistent theme in her life. She is the Principal of an elementary school and has been a volunteer with Dans la Rue in Montreal for ten years, helping homeless youth. She also worked with vulnerable youth in various settings dealing with drug rehabilitation and youth protection in group homes.

Julia Wagg

Special Recognition Award recipient

A strong-willed force of nature in Ottawa’s LGBTQ community, Julia discovered a purpose in life helping children and families navigate a time she herself struggled with as a lesbian teenager coming of age in small-town northern Ontario.

With Holly Wagg — her wife of nearly 12 years, who had dreamed of starting a summer camp for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer families — Julia co-founded Camp Ten Oaks in 2005. It welcomed 22 campers that year. This summer, 100 are signed up and another 65 are on the waiting list.

You probably can’t wave a rainbow pride flag in Ottawa without touching someone who either knew Julia personally, was familiar with her work or was friends with someone who has benefitted from Camp Ten Oaks. It’s the single most important made-in-Ottawa contribution to LGBTQ children and families in Canada. Its work is that magical and transformative.

Julia herself had not been to summer camp as a child, which made her enthusiasm for its daily rhythms and rituals remarkable. “With her walkie-talkie buzzing constantly and a clipboard never far from reach, she still managed to bring a playfulness to the job of camp director, even on days when it required her to fish a toothbrush from the depths of an outhouse or comfort a homesick camper,” says Sonja Prakash, an early Ten Oaks board member and camp volunteer who became close friends with Julia.
Julia was a dynamic, natural leader, but she was also complex. She was fiercely committed to her values in a way that could be unflinching. She messed up sometimes, but would own up to and learn from her mistakes.

In the fall of 2015, she experienced frequent chest pains and bleeding gums but she soon realized something was up when a visit to the hospital in January 2016 landed her in a closed room with a horrified-looking medical resident. He took Julia’s hand and broke the news that she had leukemia, before breaking down himself. Relieved she finally had a diagnosis, even such a devastating one, Julia quickly switched into professional mode, offering the young man tips on how to deliver horrible news to people.

Her greatest legacy, says Holly, is not all the accolades and accomplishments Julia collected along the way. It was the people, her people, the ones she enabled to become better versions of themselves. “She could find a best in you that you didn’t even know you had.”

Julia unfortunately lost her life on Good Friday 2017.

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The CCA Communications Committee produces regular online content for Canadian camps.