Program Director Linsey Smith

Linsey Smith Program Director

Linsey Smith
Program Director

How did you get involved with Camp One Step?

I was a camper at an oncology camp in California and I always knew that when I was old enough, I wanted to be a counselor there. But then I moved to Chicago! I found Camp One Step and I haven’t looked back.

How long have you been involved with our organization?

I started volunteering with Camp One Step in 2010 as a counselor at Summer Camp in the Stepping Up program.

What volunteer roles have you held?

Currently, I am serving as one of the Program Directors for the Washington, D.C. Program, Program Director for Winter Camp, and Program Leader for the Excel Program at Summer Camp. Prior to this, I served as the Program Coordinator for Winter Camp and as a counselor at Summer Camp, Winter Camp, Washington, D.C. Program, Family Camp, and Chicago Day Camp. I have also been a volunteer for Flight.

What keeps you coming back to Camp One Step?

What keeps me coming back to camp is, first and foremost, the campers. I enjoy watching them try new things, take risks, and grow from those experiences. They are also the kindest, most empathic, most generous group of kids and teens I’ve ever met, and being around them teaches me how to be a better person. Not to mention they often make me laugh until I cry. Secondly, the community of volunteers, staff, and donors I have met along the way keep me coming back. The relationships started at camp extend beyond camp and through the years and, in fact, several of my best friends are volunteers I met through camp.

What do you love the most about the program you lead?

The Washington, D.C. Program is unlike any other program we offer. Campers have the opportunity to go to Congress and advocate for pediatric cancer research in front of their congressional representatives. Getting to see the courage and poise these campers show while giving voice to other childhood cancer patients and survivors is the most rewarding camp experience I’ve had.

What are some words of wisdom or advice that you would give campers?

Just try it! Camp gives you the chance to try new things — and you won’t find a more supportive group of fellow campers and staff to encourage you as you step outside of your comfort zone.

What are some words of wisdom or advice that you would give new or interested volunteers?

To our volunteers – you are the reason camp can happen. Because of your time, generosity, and compassion, our campers have a safe, fun place where they can just be kids. My advice is to play to your strengths. For camp to be successful, we need all types of people with all types of skills – people who like “taking the lead” and those who prefer 1-on-1 conversations, people who are good swimmers and people who like board games, people who are crafty and people who like to sing. Don’t ever think you don’t have what it takes – because you do!

What are some of your interests outside of camp?

I love eating out, cooking, traveling and road-tripping, and listening to podcasts. But my favorite thing is hanging out with my two rescue dogs and boyfriend – who I met at camp!