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Tony Oyenarte has been awarded the National Service Award. This award is given to recognize continued and increasing service beyond the local level. It is awarded to a current American Camp Association (ACA) member who has demonstrated service to one or more local offices. The following is an article from the ACA on Tony.

“Tony Oyenarte is the director of Lochearn Camp for Girls, located in Post Mills, Vermont. He is the past director of Camp Crystal Lake, a year-round outdoor education center that is located outside of Gainesville, Florida. He and his staff at Camp Crystal Lake had the opportunity to work with over 6,800 students annually.

Tony has spoken at several regional and national conferences on the value of year-round camp and the partnerships between schools and camps. The centerpiece of his talks has included the importance of connecting the school-year program with the summer camp experience, thus strengthening both.

Tony has been very involved with Hands to Love, a charitable organization that helps children who were born with congenital upper limb differences. Every spring, forty-five families with children who have limb differences come together for Hand Camp. These campers and their families enjoy archery, climbing, arts and crafts, and parent sessions with doctors, psychologists, and other health specialists. Tony and his staff help these amazing kids enjoy the magic of camp.

Tony has been active in ACA. Responsibilities have included: past president of ACA, Southeastern; Florida district chair; and member of the National Transition Team. He is currently a member of ACA’s Board of Directors. Prior to being the director at Camp Crystal Lake, Tony was a high school math and science teacher at Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Florida.

Tony has dedicated his professional career to promoting the value of the outdoor experience. Tony is married to Stacie and is the proud father of Michael (eleven) and Max (seven).”

A Message From Loyal:

Hi Campers!

Thanks again for letting me be part of your special weekend. Hand Camp is so much fun! I trust that since you’ve returned home that you’re living the “Anything is Possible” mantra, right?

Since I last saw you, I submitted that video I told you about, sharing the story of how amazing you all are. We’ll find out in August if Ironman and the community select it to be part of their show. Until then, grab your parents, watch the video, vote, and tell everyone you know to watch it too!

Until next time, you can keep up with me and my journey by having your parents “Like” my blog on Facebook. You can also post photos and let me know how you’re doing too!



The Gift of Grace, written by a Hands To Love camper, Grace McClelland at the age of four, has received the prestigious Nautilus Award! The Nautilus Awards recognizes Books and Audio Books that promote spiritual growth, conscious living & positive social change, while at the same time they stimulate the “imagination” and offer the reader “new possibilities” for a better life and a better world. Congratulations to Grace and to Wild Onion Press!

Izzy Hadala, 13 years old, will enjoy seeing the release of her first book, The First Day Speech this August. She won the Grace McClelland writing award held by Wild Onion press and since then have been collaborating on a book that will hopefully help children and adults alike learn the beauty in bridging differences by embracing them. For more information about Izzy’s book, follow the like below. Good job Izzy!