Ethan Schafer Honored by American Camp Association

Ethan Schafer

Ethan Schafer and his son, Andy.

It is our great pleasure to announce that the American Camp Association (ACA) presented Dr. Ethan D. Schafer with a 2012 Hedley S. Dimock Award at their national conference in Atlanta last week. This award, given annually, honors those who have “made significant contributions to the camp profession through related fields such as outdoor education, conservation, recreation medicine, education, architecture, or the social sciences through administrative, legislative, or professional contributions or by participation in local, state, or national program development.”

A practicing child psychologist in Ohio, Ethan serves as consultant for two private schools and as adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology at Case Western Reserve University. He has shared his professional expertise with the camping world since 2003, visiting camps across the country to lead pre-season staff training sessions. On the regional and national level, Ethan has created numerous workshops for ACA conferences and events which address topics such as: working with adolescents, partnering with parents, staff training, behavior management, understanding mental health issues, and stopping risky behavior. His current role on the Summer Crisis Intervention Team places him as a first responder to assist camp management should a major challenge or tragedy occur. Throughout this time, Ethan has contributed numerous articles to ACA’s Camping Magazine, two of which were honored with a Golden Quill Award signifying excellence in written contributions that address the needs of camp professionals: The Psychology of Learning and Behavior Management: What it Means For Camp and Staff Training and Training Your Staff to Manage the Challenges of Adolescence.

Ethan’s Pemi career began in 1986 with a 6-year stint as camper. He returned as an assistant counselor in 1993 (serving, also, as Head Waiter) and was a cabin counselor from 1995 to 1998. He wore the additional dual hats of Division Head and Bean Soup editor in ’97 and ’98. Ethan launched his camp-consulting vocation at Pemi in 2003 and continued to assist with Pemi staff training through the 2007 season and again in 2010. In 2005, Ethan stayed onsite for two weeks as the first Head of Staff for that season.

When asked about his recent ACA award, Ethan replied, “My whole camp career as a psychologist is basically just my trying to export what I learned at Pemi. I combine the lessons of Pemi—fair play and character development—with some basic psychological science to help make more camps do ‘on purpose’ what Pemi does by its nature.” He adds, “I can think of many kids (patients and students where he has worked) for whom camp would do wonders, far more than years of therapy, or in some cases, even traditional school.  I think kids learn more life skills in an afternoon damming up the junior stream with their buddies than they do in a week of school.”

Ethan and his wife Kelly live outside Cleveland with their sons Andy (3) and Adam (6 months). Please join us in congratulating him on having been honored with this well-deserved, prestigious award. Ethan’s continued focus on staff training for camps improves the camping experience for all.

9 thoughts on “Ethan Schafer Honored by American Camp Association

  1. Congratulations to Ethan! Deb Kure and I were thrilled to be in attendance (he actually saved us seats at his VIP table) when he received this well-deserved award. It’s important, I think, to add that Ethan has chosen to work with teenagers. They are, according to him, the most difficult population to serve and because of this, they are, perhaps, the one that is most underserved.

  2. Ethan, super congratulations to you!
    Many happy memories of hanging out around the Pemi tennis courts in 1991. Great to see how you’ve spread the Pemi love!

  3. Congratulations Ethan. Moments like this make me think about our grandparents, Ga and Pa Reynolds. They were always interested in everything their grandchildren did but they would be especially proud of you and the way you have chosen to live your life helping other people. We also have them to thank for starting the camping tradition in our family. If they had not felt it was important to send their daughters to camp,(my mother during WW II), we might not have had the camping experience ourselves. And then where would we be now?
    Way to go, Ethan!
    Best wishes from your cousin, Pamela

  4. You’ve come a long way from holding down Justin and touching his eyeballs. Unfortunately, it looks like this Hedley Dimock character is (a) a financial consultant and (worse) Canadian. I’m sorry that your name will forever be besmirched by being associated with someone with these shortcomings just because you’re an excellent professional and person, but life’s unfair sometimes. Congratulations?

  5. Dr. Ethan, as your cabin counselor in 1987(wow, we are getting old) I am very proud of you as being the recipient of this award. Congrats!!!
    See you in a few months during the reunion,


  6. Congratulations, Ethan! A well earned honor. Thanks for all the selfless work through the years and for all the lives you have touched. Best wishes.

  7. Hi Everyone… Thanks all for you nice comments about all this, and especially Dottie for her kind efforts to write about little old me. Spending half my life at Pemi made it easy to do good works. THanks!

  8. Thanks for the kudos, Ethan. It was a joint effort at this end, along with Nikki.

    Pemi has so many talented alums out there; folk should keep us posted on their well-deserved awards and accolades.

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