YMCA Camp Kitaki

Jason Smith

Jason Smith

Executive Director
jsmith [at] ymcalincoln.org
402-434-9229

Meet Jason

Jason grew up at Kitaki spending time at camp every year from the time he was 5 years old (and a member of the father son "Y-Guides" program).  Born in Georgia he promptly moved to Lincoln when he was 3 and has called Lincoln home ever since. Jason loves music and enjoys trying to learn instruments.  He plays guitar, banjo and ukulele and has been known to mess around on mandolin, dulcimer, djembe, kalimbas, harmonicas and more.  He has a goal of building a stringed instrument sometime in the near future, and is leaning towards a dulcimer.

Education and Work Experience

Jason graduated in 2003 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in History from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After graduation he became a Program Director at Kitaki, focusing on the camper experience. Sticking around camp long after his plan to "do this for a couple of years" has expired; Jason became the Associate Executive Director of Kitaki, and was named Executive Director in 2009.  Jason has also been a volunteer American Camp Association Standards Visitor since 2012.  Jason is a member of Lincoln East Rotary Club where he has served as club president in 2014-2015.

Family

Jason lives in Lincoln with Caspian, the "bear" that kids talk about seeing at camp (he's a dog).  Caspian is a Great Pyrenees adopted in 2018 from a rescue shelter.  He is a big ball of white fur that loves to go on walks around Kitaki and say hi to all the campers. Jason has three brothers who all grew up in Lincoln and have their own Kitaki experiences.  

Why Kitaki?

Jason’s favorite thing about Kitaki now is seeing kids grow over years and years as they attend camp, many of whom eventually work at Kitaki.  The growth in a child that can be seen in one week at Kitaki is incredible, but to witness those changes and growth compounded year after year is unforgettable. Plus, it gives him a chance to show off his musical talents, and who wouldn't enjoy that?

Primary Responsibilities

Overall Camp Management, Fundraising, Budget, Community Relations