2020 ICF Award Recipients
2020 ICF ABBOTT FENN DRUZHBA AWARD
The Abbott Fenn Druzhba Award is a special recognition of an individual, camp, or organization, which has made a significant and sustained contribution to international camping. The endowed contribution for the award was made by Abbott Fenn, a long-standing, active member of the American Camp Association and former owner/director of the Keewaydin Camps in New England, U.S.A. The award is given to those who spread the benefit of the camp experience to improve world understanding.
VALERY KOSTIN (RUSSIA)
Valery Kostin has deserved and met the criteria for the Abbott Fenn Druzhba Award several times over. Had it not been for his continued and extended volunteer service on the ICF Board, the award would have been securely in his award cabinet years ago.
Valery stepped onto the international camping scene in 1990 with his typically dramatic fashion having arrived in America from Soviet-era Russia as an experienced camp director to keynote at an ACA National Conference. He stunned the audience there with descriptions of an entire camping world that North America barely knew existed. Within hours he was recruited to serve on the fledgling ICF Board as regional representative for Russia and the CIS.
But Valery has been much more than a Board member of ICF.
- A frequent presenter at ACA National, Valery countered the political/media images of Russia with information, charm and opportunities to see for themselves by travelling to Russia
- Fluent in both English and Russian (as well as conversant in a dozen more languages), Valery has bridged the gap for countless delegations to visit Russia and kept himself available as a coordinator, airport greeter, cultural host and proble-solver – all the while entertaining his guests to his beloved Russia.
- Further, he has led equally countless delegations of Russian camp directors abroad to camp tours, conferences and
- At every single International Camping Congress since 1994 (except the two Congresses held in Russia) the largest foreign delegation has been from Russia – promoted, organized and coordinated by
- Valery was instrumental in organizing the first camping associations in Russia (based in St Petersburg and Moscow) and building strength to host not one but two Congresses (1997 St Petersburg, 2017 Sochi). Valery was everywhere, determined to ensure the best possible experience for all and to set up everyone for At that, he succeeded.
- Valery values friendship and he is rich in those For him, it is important to honor those friendships – travel to America or Venezuela for weddings, to Mexico or eastern Russia for a reunion or just paying a visit to reminisce wherever and whenever he can.
- On the occasion of his 50th birthday, he invited many of those friends to his US home near Portland, Maine. His birthday gift was having friends from all over the world join him there. His gift to the ICF was a substantial donation to the Bill Bowker Scholarship
- Valery has opened up the doors of understanding and sharing by introducing international presenters to Russian camping There is so much to share in both directions and Valery has both encouraged that and facilitated it.
- Valery served as ICF President from 2008 to 2014, logging thousands of miles and being present at any and every international event that he could. He brought greetings and energy and joy to every one of those events.
- Following his terms as President when the by-laws required only one year as past President, Valery allowed himself to be persuaded to remain on the Board to the present
- Certainly, a significant portion of Valery’s exceptional contributions have been made possible because his partner, Liliana, is a remarkable care-giver, translator, supporter and problem- solver in her own
Valery is unique – literally. He is one of a kind. With one foot in Russia and one in America and his heart in ICF, Valery is able to serve as ambassador and bridge across cultural divides that seem unsurmountable to many of us. He is a teacher and a guide and a camp counsellor in the best sense of the words. He helps us all see that we have much more in common than apart. He has taken to heart the ICF motto of ‘bringing together the world. We all benefit.
It is time – it is past time – that we recognize the selfless contributions to the global camping community that Valery Kostin has made. We must allow him to retire from the Board but we do so reluctantly. Had this award not already been named in honour of Abbott Fenn, we could rightly name it the Valery Kostin Druzhba Award and it would carry equal significance.
2020 ICF BUTTERFLY AWARD
The ICF Butterfly Award recognizes an individual, camp or organization that has made significant contributions internationally to the causes of camping (e.g. environmental, humanitarian or educational) over a period of time.
GABRIELLE RAILL (CANADA)
Gabrielle Raill (Gabz) has earned admiration and recognition for many major causes to the international community of camps. She is an ICF Ambassador, Congress/conference presenter, educator, podcaster, innovator and camp director.
In 2020, amidst the most severe health and economic crisis of the past 100 years, when many people were forced to withdraw into survival mode and step back, Gabrielle stepped up. As ICF Ambassador to Canada, she proposed the launch of a campaign to serve multiple objectives during this challenging time.
Thanks To Camp was first developed by the Canadian Camping Association in 2016. Gabrielle was the architect and designer for that campaign as well. Grasping the importance of storytelling as a strategy to connect people to concepts, Gabz harnessed and mobilized a team of volunteers in many countries to prepare and execute the program.
The results in the one-month campaign have been astounding: A worldwide media launch. A brand-new video that tells the Thanks To Camp story on an international scale. The support of Peter Katz with a rendering of the Camp Song. Thousands of social media posts from six continents. A half million exposures to the #ThanksToCamp message.
The wider importance this campaign is what it has done in the hearts of a troubled camp community and what it inspires. The messages of Thanks To Camp: Raise your voice to give camps a voice; We are stronger together; More than just fun are springboards to allow camps and camp communities to do more. Using these messages, the camp community can influence policy makers, raise awareness in the public, implement fundraising programs and promote the importance and value of camps for all children.
Thanks to Camp is more than a campaign to help us survive. Gabz has given us a movement to help us ride forward to recovery.
2020 ICF LETTER AWARD OF MERIT
The ICF Letter Award of Merit recognizes a significant contribution made by an individual, camp or organization to the cause of world understanding and peace through camping.
MOSGORTUR and KIDPRO CONFERENCE (RUSSIA)
- one of the biggest conferences in the field of children’s recreation where professionals discuss the trends of branch development and innovation approach to children’s developing leisure
- a professional space for networking between Russian and foreign camp associations’ representatives
- organized by MOSGORTUR and Moscow Culture Department yearly since
The aim of the conference is to improve the competitiveness of children’s recreation industry through:
- attraction of new partners and service providers,
- advancement of Russian and international best
KIDPRO in 2019:
- 2-day meeting
- over 1000 participants from 48 regions of Russia / from 8 other countries including USA, Canada, Australia, Mexico, China, Latvia, Bulgaria, and Moldova
- 9 theme sections
- 130 reports
- Evelina famous Russian actress and TV presenter, as a star guest
- Mobile app for navigation and interaction https://youtu.be/wHBAKxk5jKU
KIDPRO has 9 theme sections including:
- Camp Reloaded
- New opportunities of partnership for children’s recreation service providers
- Cultural institutions in children’s recreation system
- Media in children’s recreation field
- Best practice in interacting with orphans
- Financial abilities in children’s recreation field
- Recreation for everyone: camping programs
- Temporary pedagogical Recruitment. Development. Risks. Efficiency
- Market of children’s recreation in 2020
2 roundtables: Handicapped accessible in summer camp, Best Russian and international practice Outdoor seminar for pedagogical staff in Raduga Camp (Moscow Oblast):
- camp exhibition,
- evening show,
- quest game,
- evening gathering based on Alice in
YR- project from partners to get aware of the everyday experience of people with disabilities Silent Auction
KIDPRO in 2020:
Planned for December / goes online / dedicated to children’s recreation during pandemic
PETER KATZ (CANADA)
Alongside his career as an international recording artist and acclaimed motivational speaker, Peter Katz has maintained affection for camps and the camp community. On numerous occasions, Peter has stepped forward to affirm some of the strong roots in his own camp experiences and to generously support the local, national and international camping movement.
In 2008 at the International Camping Congress, Peter presented his talents for speaking and performing with the introduction of “The Camp Song”. It was an instant success – articulating the magic of the camp experience that for millions of campers and staff has transformed their lives at key moments in their development and that remains with them into adulthood.
Peter dedicated and donated The Camp Song to the camps of the Canadian Camping Association. He went on to perform his music in many camp settings since that time. The Camp Song has become a tearful, and joyful, camp anthem at countless camps, slide shows and reunions.
In the midst of the 2020 COVID pandemic, when camps around the world were facing the worst collective crisis in history, Peter stepped forward once more to offer his support of camps and camping. Just as ICF itself was developing its own response in support of the world-wide movement, Peter donated his time and talents to help.
The result was the ICF 2020 Thanks To Camp Campaign with Peter hosting, speaking and performing at the #ThanksToCamp Launch Party. The further result was a worldwide social media event with dozens of spin-off campaigns, thousands of individual affirmations and more than half a million exposures to the message that camp is more than just fun and more important than ever.
The ICF is grateful to Peter for his generosity, his talent and his shared belief for the value of the camp experience in the lives of children as they grow and become the best versions of themselves.
His message and his music help us explain the magic…
‘Cause it’s more than the green of trees
It’s more than the summer breeze…
TOM KNOWLTON (CANADA)
Alongside his various careers as an educator and media professional, Tom Knowlton has maintained affection for camps and the camp community. On numerous occasions, Tom has stepped forward to affirm some of the strong roots in his own camp experiences and to generously support the local, national and international camping movement.
Over the years, Tom has donated his time and talents to record and preserve dozens of camp experiences – special events (conferences, congresses and anniversaries); camping leaders (Society of Camp Directors, OCA Life Members) and individual camp video productions.
In 2008 at the International Camping Congress in Québec, Tom captured the excitement and energy of the international gathering, including the introduction and performance “The Camp Song” by fellow Canadian, Peter Katz. The resulting video has been an ICF favorite ever since. It was an instant success – capturing the magic of the camp congress experience that has come to define ICF.
In the midst of the 2020 COVID pandemic, when camps around the world were facing the worst collective crisis in history, Tom stepped in once more to offer his support of camps and camping at this difficult time. ICF was developing the ICF 2020 Thanks To Camp Campaign to provide a platform for camp communities to give their camps a voice. Gathering hundreds of videos from across the camping world and combining them with Peter Katz’s iconic music, Tom captured that familiar feeling once more – Thanks To Camp we change lives in profound ways. Campers, staff, families and alumni have come to recognize that camp is more than just fun.
Tom’s video became a centerpiece for the #ThanksToCamp Launch Party and remains a highlight for all who view it. The further result of Thanks To Camp was a worldwide social media event with dozens of spin-off campaigns, thousands of individual affirmations and more than half a million exposures to the message that camp is more than just fun – – – and more important than ever.
ICF is grateful to Tom Knowlton for his generosity, his talent and his shared belief for the value of the camp experience in the lives of children as they grow and become the best versions of themselves. His work has given camps a voice and every one of us proof of the power of the camp experience. He has helped us to explain the magic and to affirm our own belief in the value and future of camp.
Oh, it won’t be long ‘til the summer comes…