Following the acquisition of AmeriCamp by Intrax in 2021, we think it's important to reflect on humble beginnings and appreciate those who made AmeriCamp the unique and special brand that it is today.
Our co-founder Lee McAteer’s AmeriCamp Story
"Many people believe the story of how AmeriCamp originated was in 2010, but the reality is that it started many years before that when I worked at a summer camp in Massachusetts called Camp Winadu in 2004. It changed my life for the better and I met some amazing people. Sadly, I felt the salary wasn’t where it should be and I felt there was a better way of doing things. In 2005 and 2006, I initially helped my friends…but I felt I could offer a better opportunity for them. I was so glad I could make a difference to people I managed to speak to about doing a summer camp program in the USA, and the difference we made on the ground to the staff at the summer camps, or the participants on the ground."
In 2008, I graduated with a law degree from the great University of Leeds. But, I asked myself, do I really want to be a lawyer? Ultimately, I was headhunted to be part of MaxPower Magazine and be in the media space. That lead me to new entrepreneurial ideas which lead me to meeting up with Nick Steiert and Jonny Bryan – and between the three of us, we made magic happen. It was a massive team effort. I genuinely felt I was on a mission to help people experience cultural exchange, afford cultural exchange, and make so many differences to lives around the world for the better. I stand by that and we did it.
AmeriCamp has been very fortunate to send tens of thousands of people to 47 different states across the USA. For me there is nothing more purposeful than going to the camps themselves and actually seeing the difference we make. As the company grew, I used some of my contacts to create AmeriCamp Spain with Carlos Martin and Jesus Arroyo Reino. I am so proud of all that we achieved.
No doubt, it’s probably the hardest job you will ever do, but ultimately the most rewarding job you will ever do. As someone who was the face of AmeriCamp, I felt so proud to wake up in the morning and make a difference.
Now we are moving into a new chapter for AmeriCamp, and when one chapter closes another chapter begins. Now AmeriCamp is a visa sponsor, and I have no doubt AmeriCamp will continue to do cultural exchange on an even bigger platform around the world. My time at AmeriCamp has come to an end, but believe me when I say I will be supporting from afar. I will always remember the incredible memories, the unbelievable people that I worked with, and more importantly the difference we made. There have been weddings out of AmeriCamp, babies out of AmeriCamp, you never know who you are going to meet. Who knows what is going to happen in the future. I feel so proud to say I had a little small bit in changing people's lives for the better through cultural exchange. For me, this was an unbelievable experience.
A few words from our co-founder Nick Steiert
We thank Lee for his immense contribution to AmeriCamp and being a founding driving force in growing the brand with me, from bedroom start up, into what it has evolved today and positively changing thousands of lives in the process. Whilst Lee’s exit fills us with great sadness, his legacy will forever live on and his contribution continues to provide the foundational pillars as we build AmeriCamp to scale new and even greater heights.
Fariba Hicks - Senior Director, AmeriCamp
Lee is a force, and disrupted the camp industry over a decade ago by utilizing new social media and marketing tactics which truly put the fun back in summer camp. He created something special by creating trust and authenticity with participants by putting the customer experience first.
We are thrilled to continue building on the legacy of what Nick and Lee created into the next phase of growth on a global scale for AmeriCamp.
Looking towards 2023, AmeriCamp will be:
1. An official BridgeUSA Visa Sponsor. 2. Taking AmeriCamp global by adding more countries and continents.
3. Expanding the growth in our program size.
4. Expanding our team in the US and UK, and continuing to put the customer experience first.
5. Creating new brand presence through our sponsorships such as BUCS, affiliations like ACA, and at Camp Conferences.
6. Focusing on content and telling the camp story.
7. Creating new opportunities for participants to take part in the magic of AmeriCamp. AmeriCamp is continuing to grow and we are so excited for the future!
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