It is with tremendous sadness that the International Camping Fellowship acknowledges the passing of Chuck Ackenbom.

Chuck was the Founder and longtime Director of Camp Friendship in the United States (Palmyra, Virginia) which has been a model of international camper and staff experience of the highest order since its first season in 1966.

Chuck was an influential leader with the American Camp Association (ACA). Chuck served as ACA National President (1990-93) and was honored as the recipient of the ACA’s Distinguished Service Award, the highest award in American camping.  Of special note, Chuck was the Conference Chair of the 1987 ACA National Conference in Washington, DC when ICF was founded.

A passionate believer in the value of international engagement and understanding, Chuck served the ICF Board for many years as the United States representative and ICF Treasurer.

During the early years of ICF, Chuck was a steady hand and a guiding light.  Many ICF members will recall Chuck offering to share his time and talents so willingly with others. The ICF Board met at Friendship in the early 2000s for annual meetings and Chuck was a gracious host and proudly told the remarkable story of Camp Friendship.  A principled and thoughtful leader, Chuck never wavered in his support of ICF and through his work at Camp Friendship, ACA and ICF, truly brought together the world of outdoor experience.

Chuck will be greatly missed by so many of his friends and colleagues around the world.  Our thoughts are with his wife Alina and the Ackenbom family at this very sad time.


November 2023