2023 ICF Award Recipients

2023 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 recognizes those who spread the benefit of the camp experience to improve world understanding.


John “Jorgi” Jorgenson

“Toss a pebble in the water, just a splash and it is gone;

But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on

Spreading – spreading from the centre, flowing on out to the sea

And there’s no way of knowing where the end is going to be.”

Jorgi has dedicated thousands of volunteer hours to advance the mission and mandate of ICF. His belief in the values of experiential learning in an outdoor community has been unwavering. Jorgi is one of the most recognizable faces in international camping. He has travelled to every corner of the globe and the ripples of his life and his work have been felt during meetings, presentations and individual connections with camping leaders. Significantly, those initial ripples have continued to multiply over the past five decades. Jorgi’s example, leadership and legacy have transformed the global camping and outdoor education experience.

Jorgi’s story is also the story of the International Camping Fellowship over the last 25 years.

With Jorgi, it is never “what should I do?” but rather, “what can I do?”. Whether it has been at the ICF Board level, speaking in front of thousands of camping leaders at conferences and Congresses worldwide or working with a small group of staff in another country, Jorgi has always embraced making the ordinary, extraordinary.

Whether it is sitting with a child in Mongolia communicating with them through the international language of a string game or sitting at a table with world leaders to engage them in the conversation on why this type of experience is vital to the children of their country, Jorgi demonstrates the intrinsic values that he wishes them to understand and by which he wishes them to live: respect, resiliency, community, confidence, and passion.

Jorgi’s leadership in the camping industry has been recognized many times over by the volunteer positions he has been elected to and the recognitions he has received:

1)     International Camping Fellowship:

  • President (2014-2020)
  • General Secretary of the Board (1997-2014)
  • General Sessions Chair, Third International Camping Congress (1990 – 1994)
  • Lead; transfer of International Camp Directors Course to ICF oversight (2008)

2)     Canadian Camping Association/Association des Camps du Canada:

  • President (2003 – 2005)
  • Presidents Council
  • By Law Committee
  • Strategic Planning Committee
  • Editor of CCA/ACC Magazine
  • Winter Outdoor Sports Skills Institute (director)
  • Awards:
    • Award of Excellence (1993)
    • Jack Pearse Award of Honour (1988)
    • Ron Johnstone Lifetime Achievement Award (2002)

3)     Ontario Camps Association:

  • Board President (1995 – 1997)
  • Vice President
  • Board Member
  • Archives Committee Chair
  • Annual Conference Committee
  • Founder, Chair, and Instructor at the OCA Skills Weekend
  • Awards:
    • “Dorothy Walter Award of Excellence” (2005)
    • Honorary Life Member (2006)
  • International Development Award (2006) renamed in John Jorgenson’s honour
  • Brian Blackstock Archives Award

4)     American Camp Association:

  • Kindred Chair for AIC (Association of Independent Camps); (1994)
  • Magazine Editorial Board

5)     Other (Canada):

  • Board of Society of Camp Director
    • Canadian Olympic Association Academy (1998 – 2000):
    • Canadian Camping Association Olympic Challenge Project
    • CANSI (Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors)
  • Canadian Canoe Schools
  • Cathy Morris Memorial Workshop
  • Advisory Board of COEO (Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario)
  • National Woodsmanship School

Jorgi spent his professional career as a Director at Camp Tawingo (Huntsville, ON) where he introduced thousands of children (and staff) of all ages to the wonders of camp skills and learning in the outdoors. Indeed, Jorgi has created countless, highly innovative programs (and helped others do the same through his leadership). He continues to bring children to the outdoors…and the outdoors to children.

There is no question that the “ripples” from the many pebbles he has so gently and carefully tossed into the waters around the world, will continue to be felt in very tangible, very meaningful ways for years and years to come…

The Abbott Fenn Druzhba Award is a special recognition of an individual, camp, or organization, having made a significant and sustained contribution to international camping. Jorgi’s life and career and contributions to the camp experience are indeed worthy of this recognition.