ARVC Leadership Profile: Adam Smith, OHP
Adam Smith, OHP
Manager, Camp Clearwater Family Campground, White Lake, N.C.
President, Carolinas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CARVC)
How did you become involved in the campground industry?
White Lake and Camp Clearwater have been a special part of my family since before I was born, so when I got old enough to work, I asked the campground manager “Is there anything I can do to help you?” I started out working at their entrance gate, checking passes and welcoming who came in. I did that for about seven years part time during the summer and I kind of fell in love with the place and the job. So I expressed an interest in having a full-time position, possibly in the management aspect of it, if they ever needed somebody. A couple years after that, they called me and offered me a position as the assistant campground manager. I worked under the manager for a couple of years, and then when he retired, I was promoted. This will be my third year as campground manager.
You already have the significant responsibility of running a large, 1,000+-site campground, so what led you to get involved in state leadership at such a young age?
I went to the state convention, and the president in that time, Sela Hobby, introduced herself and some of the other executives on the board. She invited me to sit in on a few board meetings, and I attended every board meeting I could, as a visitor. The following year, they asked me to run for a seat on the on the board of directors and I did. Sela Hobby announced some time later that she was not seeking re-election and the board elected me as president during the next election. I never pass up an opportunity to try to serve the community that I'm in, whether it's locally or with our association. I like to help people. That's what I do. I believe that it's always important to be a part of the association and to try to give back to the camping community because the camping community is what makes the business I'm in work.
You’re also very involved in ARVC’s Young Professionals group. Why do you feel this is important?
First, there are many that are more involved than I am. We always want to promote and help fellow campers and campground owners and operators, so it's important to me to be a part of the ARVC Young Professionals group to show the younger generation it’s ok to step up, get involved and be a part of the leadership profile. The next generation to lead the camping industry is getting involved. There are many young leaders across the nation doing a great job; many are getting involved in the industry and association.
How have you benefitted from your industry involvement?
I've always enjoyed being around business and industry leaders. The knowledge that one can gain by paying attention is priceless.
You’re also a graduate of the National School of RV Park and Campground Management. How has the school helped better prepare you to run your campground?
It’s very helpful to take classes led by professionals and learn about things like ADA guidelines, playground safety, HR responsibilities, business and project plans, and the “do’s and don’ts” of running the front desk. I’ve attended classes from many branded executives from the camping industry providing us with insights on how they operate. The information that I got from the school has been a big part of how I make decisions on a day to day basis. I regularly reference notes and class material with situations I face. I earned my Outdoor Hospitality Professional (OHP) designation, and now I’m working with Paula Horwitz (ARVC’s executive director of education and events) to come up with a class project that is worthy of earning my Outdoor Hospitality Executive (OHE) designation.
What was your reaction when you heard that the 2021 Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo will take place in Raleigh?
As with the last time it was held in Raleigh (in 2017), I was excited. It's always good to have something being represented in your own home state. Local members (CARVC) will get the opportunity to assist ARVC and show that our state association supports the national association, as well.