About Peg Smith
The American Camp Association (formerly known as the American Camping Association) is a community of camp professionals who, for nearly 100 years, have joined together to share our knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs. Because of our diverse 7,000 plus membership and our exceptional programs, children and adults have the opportunity to learn powerful lessons in community, character-building, skill development, and healthy living — lessons that can be learned nowhere else.
Chief Executive Officer, American Camp Association Peg Smith, with twenty-six 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.
Born and raised in Indiana, Smith has a B.S. in early childhood and family studies and a masters degree in management. She began her career in 1974 as a Head Start teacher. During the summers of 1976 and 1977, Smith created a career program which was implemented in five counties and reached over four hundred young people.
In 1977, Smith became the director of the Head Start program for Child Adult Resource Services. In this capacity, she was responsible for children and family services for a five-county area. Under her leadership, the program services were expanded by 74 percent, and she successfully established a home-based infant stimulation program for high-risk infants.
Smith served in this position until 1989 when she was asked to be the director of the Children’s Division for Child Adult Resource Services. The Childrens Division served a nine-county area providing Head Start, developmental disability, and public school preschool services. During her tenure in this position, Smith encouraged a wide array of agencies to effectively collaborate and to develop multi-county alliances—and was also able to increase the nearly $500,000 budget by 30 percent with funds raised from individuals and corporations.
In 1991, Smith joined the staff of the Office of the Governor of Indiana as the director of the Governors Step Ahead initiative. Smith managed a $43.3 million budget, which included state and federal dollars as well as private funding. The Step Ahead initiative was supported by eleven state government agencies and was successfully implemented in all ninety-two Indiana counties in a two-year period. During that time, Smith also created the first Bureau of Child Development in Indiana state government.
In 1995, Smith became the executive director of the Indiana Youth Institute (IYI) in Indianapolis, Indiana. IYI is an intermediary agency serving the youth of Indiana by supporting adults statewide who care about youth—both youth-serving professionals and policymakers—with research, training, and advocacy.
In 1998, Smith became the chief executive officer of the American Camp Association® (ACA) in Martinsville, Indiana. The American Camp Association is a national organization representing over 7,000 individual members and over 2,400 ACA-Accredited® camps. ACA is a community of camp professionals who, for nearly one hundred years, have joined together to share knowledge and experience and to promote positive human development by enriching the lives of children, youth, and adults through the camp experience.
Smith presents at both state and national conferences for varied professional associations and youth-serving groups.