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A tribute to Joe Kruger.

Joe Kruger, long-time member and supporter of the American Camping Association who passed away last year, was honored at the Acorn Dinner at the 1999 ACA National Conference in Chicago. Jean G. McMullan, former ACA president, shared some memories of her friend and colleague Joe Kruger.

When Joe Kruger died on May 21, 1998, he was ninety-three years old. And he had worked for camping most of his exemplary life. Joe was owner/director of Camp Mah-Kee-Nac for fifty-three years from 1929 to 1983. He was also co-owner of Mohawk Day Camp in New York. I had visited Joe in Florida just three days before his passing. We spent some time going over matters concerning the Kruger Endowment, which I was to continue to help him with. And he called Andy and me upon his safe arrival in New Jersey. Ten hours later, he was gone.

A Mighty Leader

If ever there was a mighty leader in organized camping, it was Joe Kruger. He was a member of the American Camping Association since 1930. He never turned down a request for help at the national or local level of ACA. He worked assiduously for all of camping - for-profit and non-profit camps. I particularly remember when Joe was asked to run as one of three candidates for president of ACA. He was already in his eighties; his wife, Frances, was dismayed. "I never turn down a request for help for ACA," said Joe. "If you win," said Frances, "you'll have to pack your own bags when you travel." Believe me, that gave Joe pause!

Joe's Leadership Roles

Joe was a member of the trustees of the American Camping Foundation. He served as chair of the American Camping Association Trustees from 1981-84, served as the ACA New York Section representative to ACA from 1984-86, and served as an ACF board member from 1990-98. He was a standards visitor and started the "I Believe" $1,000 Honor Roll plan. Section responsibilities included vice president for Private Independent Camps from 1982-84 and president of the ACA New York Section from 1984-86. Joe was called to complete the position of chair of the ACA Capital Campaign for $1.3 million to upgrade and expand the national headquarters in 1985-86. He was a board member of the New Jersey YMHA camps since 1948 and served as chairman of the Jewish Welfare Board National Camp Committee for two years, from 1986-88. Joe's last major effort from 1992 up to this death was to initiate (along with American Camping Foundation Chair Andrew McMullan) the ACF Endowment and public relations campaign for $1.2 million benefitting campers and camps everywhere. As chair of that all-important and unparalleled effort, Joe was in the last stages of bringing that endowment effort to a successful conclusion when he died. That endowment was officially renamed the Joseph Kruger Endowment.

The Essence of Camping

One of the best memories to remind us of Joe Kruger graces the ACA headquarters in Martinsville, Indiana. There is a lovely five-foot statue of two leaders and five hikers by artist Peggy Goldstein standing outside headquarters in the ACA woods. The statue is bronze and was sculpted in honor of Joe's late wife, Frances Kruger. That beautiful statue is called the "Essence of Camping." How appropriate that camping leaders throughout the nation will think of Joe Kruger when they think of the best in leadership, the best in service, the best in care of children, and the best in organized camping. Truly Joe Kruger represents to all of us the "Essence of Camping."

The Acorn Society

Joe Kruger left a lasting legacy to children through his commitment to preserve, protect, and advance the camp experience. If you've been inspired by Mr. Kruger's life, consider taking another step toward commitment by becoming a member of the American Camping Foundation's Acorn Society.

The Acorn Society is a fellowship of men and women who believe in the purposes of organized camping and who want to ensure that camp experiences continue as a growing, educational opportunity for those who follow. Anyone who chooses may qualify for membership in The Acorn Society by:

* Making or revising a will directing a percentage, a fixed amount, or through a contingency statement, an eventual gift to the Endowment Fund.

* Naming the Endowment Fund as primary or secondary beneficiary of a new or existing insurance policy.

* Creating a Charitable Remainder Unitrust or Annuity Trust, a Pooled Income Fund, a Charitable (Lead) Trust, a Life Estate or bank deposit that eventually directs all or a portion of the principal to the Endowment Fund.

* Making an outright cash contribution (including stock, real estate, insurance, bond, etc.) of $10,000 payable over a period of not more than five years.

For more information on the Acorn Society, contact Bob Schultz, ACA's development director at 765-342-8456, ext. 305, or e-mail bschultz@aca-camps.org.
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Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:camping enthusiast
Author:McMullan, Jean G.
Publication:Camping Magazine
Article Type:Obituary
Date:May 1, 1999
Words:811
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