Campus News

UGA’s Gwynn Powell receives national award from American Camp Association

Athens, Ga. — University of Georgia counseling professor Gwynn Powell has been named the recipient of the 2011 Hedley S. Dimmock Award from the American Camp Association.
Powell, an associate professor of recreation and leisure studies in the College of Education’s department of counseling and human development services was recognized for significant contributions tocamping through related fields, such as outdoor education, conservation, recreation, medicine, education, architecture and the social sciences.

She is the second UGA faculty member to receive the award, succeedingEdie Klein who received it in 1994. She will receive the award at the annual conference of the ACA in San Diego this month.

Six years ago, Powell pioneered UGA’s first Study Abroad Program in Russia.Each summer, she takes a group of UGA students to spend a month working as counselors at children’s camps in the Mari El Republic. The students teach English, lead team-building games, and learn about youth development and Russian culture. Though the language barrier is an annual challenge, the students adapt quickly and learn to laugh at themselves as they communicate with hand gestures and simple words, said Powell.

Students from a variety of majors, including psychology, international affairs, child and family development, social work, recreation and leisure studies, and Russian language, participate in the program, and they all indicate theirconfidence in themselves as leaders and problem solvers has increased. They are forced to expand their communication skills, step out of their comfort zones to try new things, all of which allow them to view the world differently, added Powell.

Powell received a Diploma of Honor from Mari El’s Ministry of Education for collaboration in education through the Camp Counselors Russia Study Abroad Program in 2009.This fall, while serving as keynote speaker for the Ukrainian/Russian Camp Association conference, she was awarded the “International Collaboration” award from both associations.She has served as a visiting faculty member for a week in Russia and regularly meets with Russian university students via “Skype” to increase the exposure to American ideas about youth development.

Powell and her colleague, Corey Johnson, an associate professor in the department of counseling and human development services, also received the 2009 Society for Park and Recreation Educators’ Innovation in Teaching Award for their development of a new curriculum for their program which prepares studentsfor top positions at state and national parks, outdoor leisure programs and tourism agencies.

Powell is the only SPRE member to receive the Innovation in Teaching Award twice. She received one in 2005 for her collaboration with the College’s instructional technology program to create a DVD and software program titled, Ins and Outs of Public Recreation.

She also co-directed collaborations between the recreation and leisure services program and the College’s learning, design and technology program in developing several online training programs for youth development professionals which received a 2009 Special Recognition Award from the ACA. The project led to the development of five of the seven online courses currently available on the ACA’s e-Institute.

Powell, who joined the UGA faculty in 2001 after receiving her Ph.D. in park, recreation and tourism management from Clemson University, is the daughter of former UGA Director of Student Activities, William D. Powell.

“I’m proud that the foundation of my education came in Clarke County public schools,” she said.”I was glad to be able to share some of my international adventures with my former teachers recently at a retired teachers association luncheon.”

For more information on the UGA recreation and leisure studies program, see