SIMAGES 2014.1 – NASAGA Awards for 2013

By Linda Slack

Linda Janette-Slack has been a member of NASAGA for over six years.  This year, Linda joined the board and is looking forward to supporting NASAGA and helping to get the Baltimore conference up and running.  Linda has been in the Organization Development and Training fields for over 30 years, and loves the camaraderie and knowledge she experiences at every NASAGA event.  She holds a B.A. from Strayer University and certification in e-learning and instructional design.


If you have ever had the opportunity to attend our awesome NASAGA conferences, you have probably witnessed the presentation of two awards given at the Closing Banquet.  The Rising Star which is given to a new presenter (first or second year) at the conference; it is given to recognize and encourage excellent new presenters and game or simulation designers.

The Ifill-Raynolds Award is a memorial award given for outstanding contributions to simulation gaming, recognizing one of NASAGA’s members who develops or uses simulation games with joy and serious purpose, which is in the spirit of those for whom it was named – Don Ifill and Gennie Raynolds.  Don and Gennie brought joy and serious purpose as well as spirit to their work, and specifically to their work with simulation gaming.  Gennie and Don, who died within two months of each other in 1995, were our first active members to pass away and NASAGA decided to honor their memory with this award

The Ifill-Raynolds Award recipient’s work should respect and make use of the power and spiritual richness within practical settings. In an exemplary way, the work should:

  • Foster a sense of community among those who interact with it.
  • Deepen understanding of a cultural, organizational, and/or global common good as it provides for interaction with the situation(s) or system(s) being modeled.
  • Enable active, positive listening by participants to themselves and/or those different from themselves, enhancing their understanding of themselves and others.
  • Contribute to strengthening or changing an organization or group’s climate and spirit while building a deeper understanding of its purpose.

NASAGA was very proud to present Martin Campion with the Ifill-Raynolds Award for 2013 and Kate Blaine for the Rising Star Award.

I had the opportunity to interact with Kate throughout the conference and she was an excellent participant and GeoPubCrawl team member.  She shared with me the circumstantial nature of her ability to attend the conference.  Kate had written to the board to see if there was any assistance that could be offered since she was coming from South America.  Many of you will recall the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Judee Blohm, last year.  Judee had paid for her registration before her unexpected death and the board needed to decide what to do with her registration fee.  Conference organizer Kate Koski suggested it be given to Kate Blaine because Kate’s sister, Fiona, had attended the NASAGA Conference in 2012, and Fiona, Judee and Kate Koski had become fast friends and colleagues at that conference.  “We felt that Judee would be smiling down and happy to pass it on to Fiona’s sister,” said Koski.

So, Kate was able to attend and was awarded the Rising Star Award for her presentation of CONNECTivity: Building an Appreciative Organization.  And of course, there’s a story around that too.  Stephanie Pollack was originally going to present from Singapore; however, the board thought it would be fun to have a person from South Africa facilitating something created in Singapore at a conference in Florida. “Turns out it was very special,” according to Kate Koski. This was Blaine’s first presentation of this content. All who attended the session agreed that she did a spectacular job facilitating this learning experience.

A little bit more about Kate:  she is passionate about experiential action learning. Kate started her working life in 1996 as a speech therapist, and through this, became involved in communication training for adults in the corporate world. In 2003, Kate completed a full time MBA and wrote her Master’s thesis on experiential learning. She investigated whether the retention levels and application of theory back in the workplace was more effective when material was learned experientially as opposed to being learned through a “chalk and talk” method of learning. Both retention and application of material were significantly better when material was learned through experiential, activity-based methods of teaching.

On the basis of these findings, Kate and her sister, Fiona, founded Learn to Lead, a corporate training company that specializes in experiential learning, in 2004. Kate is currently the Sales Director of this organization. She is married to Lance and has two beautiful little girls.  Congratulations, Kate, on an outstanding job.  Hope you and Fiona can join us at a future NASAGA conference.


The Ifill-Raynolds award was presented to Martin Campion.  Martin has been using simulations and games for learning and fun since the 1950s. He carried this interest into university teaching. He is a long-time NASAGA member going back to 1979 and a former board member.  Martin began using gaming while he was a professor at Pittsburg State University and was way ahead of his time realizing that lecture and discussion weren’t very effective except maybe in the science laboratories.

Martin has three published games:  Rails West! (SSI, 1984), Medieval Lords (SSI, 1991), and Masters and Slaves(Perspicacity Software, 1991).  Martin’s contributions have been many in his exciting simulation and gaming life.  Martin and his family were very active participants at the NASAGA conference!  Congratulations to Martin – this award was well-deserved.

If you would like to learn more about Martin, please read the interview with him in the July 2013 SIMAGES.

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