Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence: Camp Champions (ACA New England), Camp Susan Curtis (Stoneham, ME) and Summer Search (Boston, MA)
Eleanor P. Eells was a leader and inspiration within the field of camp throughout her life. The award for Program Excellence is designed to: motivate staff to develop effective, creative responses to the needs of people through camp; encourage the development of effective, creative responses to societal problems through camp; stimulate the exchange of creative ideas with others; promote in and out of camping, the positive contribution camp makes to the well-being of individuals and society; and give recognition and honor to those whose program exemplify these obstacles.
Camp Champions received the Eells Award for taking action to help close the huge gap between available camp financial aid and the deep need of local families. For five years, supporters have gathered at Fenway Park to celebrate the true spirit of summer camp in an effort to make camp experiences possible for children in need and to raise the visibility and profile of ACA New England and ACA Accredited camps. Jason Silberman, co-chair of the Camp Champions Committee, and Steve Sudduth, President, accepted the award on behalf of the Camp Champions Committee and the ACA New England’ Board of Directors. Pictured from left to right are President Steve Sudduth, Executive Director Bette Bussel, Camp Champions Co-Chair Jason Silberman, and Jeff Cheley of the ACA Awards Committee.
Camp Susan Curtis received the Eells Award for forty years of service as a tuition-free intervention, developing the habits and skills for lifelong achievement in 500 campers each summer. Campers are encouraged to set achievable goals, recover from mistakes, and define their own success as they build self-confidence. The impact is improved outcomes: 98.8% of long-term participants graduate from high school (vs. 78% of lie-resourced Maine students) and 78.4% go on to some form of higher education (compared to 48% of like-resourced Maine students.) Campers are referred through a network of 200+ partners (educators, school counselors, and social workers) and eligibility is based on the federal USDA free/reduced school lunch program.
Summer Search (Boston) received the Eells Award for helping young people become college graduates by providing a unique, comprehensive service model that integrates year-round professional mentorship, summer experiential learning opportunities, individualized college and financial aid counseling, and a consistent network of support through their high school and post-secondary years. As a result, Summer Search helps to broaden the views of each young person of what is possible for themselves as it supports the development of critical skills necessary to graduate from college and succeed in life.