American Camp Association® CEO to Retire

October 14, 2014

Indianapolis, IN (October 14) — Peg L. Smith, the American Camp Association’s CEO and champion of the camp experience and youth development for 16 years, will retire January 1, 2015.

According to the American Camp Association (ACA) National Board President Tisha Bolger, “ACA will be losing an extraordinary and visionary leader, but we respect her decision and we will miss her leadership greatly. Peg steered our organization through transformational change. During her successful career, ACA has celebrated numerous milestones to become the contemporary and responsive organization it is today. Because of Peg’s successful tenure and progressive leadership, ACA is in a strong position to take the next step to a bright and sustainable future.”

Among the changes developed during Ms. Smith’s tenure are:

  • A re-engineered governance system that changed the face of the organization
  • A nationally recognized research environment
  • The creation of a robust portfolio of programs and services and advanced publications
  • An active voice in government policy

Peg Smith has been ACA’s champion of the camp experience and youth development for 16 years. Her passionate commitment to enriching the lives of children, youth, and adults through the camp experience has been nothing less than inspirational. Under Ms. Smith’s leadership, ACA has become a well-respected innovator and leader in the field of youth development. Ms. Bolger concludes, “The country, families, and indeed, the entire global camp community, have benefitted immensely from Peg’s vision and leadership.”

Ms. Smith states, “I am happy that the stage has been set for new ACA leadership. ACA has the opportunity to appoint a new CEO to lead the organization into a relevant, transformative future.  All the work that has been accomplished during my tenure is the result of the combined work of the ACA board, staff, and volunteers. ACA is in a remarkably strong position.”

ACA’s Board of Directors is committed to continuing the tradition of quality and effective services for the camp community, families, and the public. A succession planning team is in place to ensure a smooth transition.

About Peg L. Smith

Peg L. Smith, with forty years’ experience working with children, youth, and families, is widely recognized for her entrepreneurial work style and organizational capacity — and her ability to move people, organizations, and government agencies through significant change.

As chief executive officer of the American Camp Association (ACA), located in Martinsville, Indiana, Smith is the champion of ACA’s mission: enriching the lives of children, youth, and adults through the camp experience. In order to reach more children through critical, developmental camp experiences, Smith has set forth ACA’s 20/20 Vision — to directly impact 20 million children through the camp experience by the year 2020.

Smith began in 1974 as a Head Start teacher. After steady advances directing, innovating, and creating child and youth development programs with Child Adult Resource Services, the Indiana Bureau of Child Development, and the Indiana Youth Institute, Smith signed on as chief executive officer of ACA in 1998. For nearly two decades, Smith has advocated for the success of all young people through the social, emotional, and cognitive skill gains of the camp experience.

About ACA

The American Camp Association® (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 290 health and safety standards. For more information, visit