“Positive change requires an effort of togetherness.”

Guided by this statement, the planning team for the Women in Camp Summit understood how the unique challenges of gathering during a global pandemic would change the look of their conference this year. Inspired and motivated, they committed to designing a virtual event that had the unique feel, bravery, and community similar to their in-person Summits of previous years.

“Creating a space for women to connect, to share, to support, and to grow is essential”

Since its inception, the Summit has been an international event in partnership with the American Camp Association, Illinois and leadership team members from the United States and Canada. Each year organizers hope participants will find more inspiration, more guidance, and more advocates and friends in the industry. This year, those friends came from even more countries across the globe.


Women in Camp Summit siezes the opportunity to partner with the International Camping Fellowship

With the Women in Camp Summit moving to a virtual platform in 2020, the opportunity to partner with the International Camping Fellowship quickly became a priority. A “Women in Camp Around the World” panel discussion, led by Dr. Gwynn Powell (USA), offered Summit attendees an introduction to what it means to be a woman working in the camp industry in countries across the globe. Panelists were Tamara Awartani (Palestine), Rita Babatunde & Lucy Abiola (Nigeria), Ruth Feng (China), Carolina Fleix-Wright (Spain), Olga Golshuh (Russia), Mpumi Maesela (South Africa), Nazli Ozcelik Onsel (Turkey), and Alexia Sideri (Greece).

To overcome challenges with time zones, connectivity, and other technological barriers, panelists submitted videos prior to the live showcase on December 2. You can view a compilation of their brave and powerful answers at this link.

The Women in Camp Summit is much more than the two-day event. Across the world, all genders are having conversations about what the world will be like for future generations.

ACA Illinois Executive Director Colette Marquardt stated, “While the Summit hosts several conference style sessions, the mission is to further advance women in the field, break down barriers, address systemic issues facing women in camp, and be part of social change movements to better the world.”

Marquardt has been a driving force in the Women in Camp Summit becoming a reality. “We have an ethical obligation to those that came before us, those that will come after us, and most importantly to women currently standing and experiencing this world right now,” Marquart said.

The Women in Camp Summit Live Virtual Event took place December 2-3, 2020.

Bookended with keynotes from Dr. Deborah Gilboa and Roseann St. Aubin, the Summit also featured a talent show, trivia night, and ongoing online conversations via the Whova conference app. With topics ranging from anti-racism, finance, identity, and work-life balance, attendees had over thirty hours of professional development options to choose from. This year’s Summit gathered 211 attendees from eleven different countries.

ICF attendees said the following about their participation in the Women in Camp Summit Live Virtual Event.

  • “Thanks a lot! For each of you. That invited me to become a part of your great family. For your work and passion to build the better community. For your support and your hard work to make things happen.”

  • “Thanks so much for including me in the group it has been a great pleasure.”

  • “It was an honor to be with you all, and amazing to connect and hear all of your stories.”

  • “I feel so connected and supported with all your presence. And thank you for putting this all together.”

To find out more about the Women in Camp Summit or how to host conversations in your community, check out https://www.womenincampsummit.com and https://www.wicspopup.com

Check out the Becoming Allies Event series for more information about how the Women in Camp Summit partners with other camp-adjacent organizations to grow the conversation around equity in the camp industry: (https://www.womenincampsummit.com/becoming-allies-events).