This award was created by the OCA Board to recognize the contribution of Dorothy Walter to the growth and development of the Association. It is one of the most prestigious recognitions offered by the OCA. Dorothy died in December of 2006; however, her legacy of leadership lives on in the form of the good work done and fine examples set by the past and future recipients of this high recognition.
The award is presented, not necessarily annually, for providing outstanding service over a period of time. This outstanding service must include, but is not limited, to:
The Dorothy Walter Award was created to recognize Dorothy’s contributions to the growth and development of the association, and we are honoured to recognize Tracy’s contributions through this prestigious award. Tracy has continually contributed to the growth and development of the OCA, and in doing so, has focussed her attention on supporting the development of each member of the OCA she impacts in the process.
As an experienced and accomplished leader in the camping industry, Tracy has championed accessibility throughout her current role as Executive Director with Camp Awakening since 2009 – as well as her role in funds development for Fife House Foundation and Campfire Circle (formerly Camp Oochigeas in the 2000’s. Within the OCA community, Tracy has serves as co-chair of the Camp Accessibility, Resource & Support Committee (CARS) for an incredible 13 years – while also serving successive terms as a Director on the OCA Board for and as Vice President of the Society of Camp Directors during those years. She has indeed been a shining example of commitment to the camping movement, and to the OCA.
Throughout this time, Tracy has provided ongoing consultation support to the OCA related to questions around AODA, Human Rights, Insurance concerns and other issues raised by staff members, campers or families related to their special needs. She has stepped up many times to assist with volunteer support to the CARS committee, and continues to be dedicated to ensuring the committee’s succession in 2023.
She took the lead in designing and implementing OCA Campfire of Inclusion Training Events since the early 2000’s, and her keen ability to help organize and ensure that all elements of the OCA’s first virtual (Campfire of Inclusion) conference in 2020 was a huge success. During the pandemic, Tracy led the CARS core group to help plan and promote the bi-weekly CARS meetings. She led the CARS Core group which met regularly to discuss updates to OCA membership survey as it relates to accessibility of programs, ensuring representation in OCA workshops/conferences and so much more!
Tracy was integral to the team who applied for and received a significant Trillium Grant (2017-2018) to support AODA education throughout the OCA membership. Tracy was a constant source of expertise and inspiration to Annual Conference committees, Health Care and Staff Summit events over the years, to help source content and speakers to provide the most benefit to members attending educational events. Tracy and the CARS committee were often consulted to help find relevant sessions with regards to special needs/inclusion. She shared her expertise willingly and generously for the benefit of all – including co-authoring an article in 2017 for the Toronto Abilities Expo on “why everyone should go to summer camp” – sharing resources and support for the value of camp for children of all abilities.
Tracy’s people skills are always evident in promoting networking between OCA members and resources/user groups outside of the OCA CARS committee. She always keeps the OCA on track focusing on what the Association and CARS committee can do to support our membership and resources/networking related to special needs and inclusion. Tracy is the “AODA guru” of the CARS committee and outside this committee to any camp who needs assistance. Her dedication and commitment have resulted in her having received the OCA volunteer recognition award numerous times over the years (the most recent in 2022).
The impact of the pandemic has been tough on so many within our industry but those who support campers/staff and their accessibility at camps were amongst the only group in camping who were not able to open their specialized camps for the first 2 seasons of the pandemic. Tracy’s invaluable support, guidance and leadership to the OCA and the CARS committee and all of those that joined in the biweekly, sometimes weekly meetings, certainly benefitted greatly from her involvement.
Tracy has been and continues to be a constant advocate for those with special needs getting the same access in camping as everyone. No matter the focus of any camp, Tracy has and continues to provide support, offer advice and be willing to chat with any director who needs support.
Tracy continues to be a constant pilar of support within the camping community and a wealth of knowledge, willingly shared, with those who need it. Her selfless contributions, passion, depth of knowledge and empathy for all is a true example to all of us. Thank you, Tracy, for your dedication to the OCA and to children and families – you are leaving a lasting legacy, and we are thrilled to be presenting you with this year’s Dorothy Walter Award on behalf of the OCA.