Cathy Tisdale

Camp Fire National Headquarters President and CEO Cathy Tisdale Announces Retirement

Cathy Tisdale Camp Fire National Headquarters CEO and PresidentKansas City, Mo. —After eight years of fierce commitment to creating a world where all kids can thrive, Camp Fire’s national President and CEO, Cathy Tisdale, has announced her retirement effective April 1, 2019.

Cathy’s 40-year career as an educator and in leadership roles at the American Red Cross and Girl Scouts of the USA prepared her to guide a complete transformation of Camp Fire’s institutional culture, business practices, program framework and governance/leadership practices.

“Lasting change is achieved only through the shared commitment, perseverance and hard work of all,” said Cathy Tisdale. “That has certainly been the case at Camp Fire. The achievements over the last several years have been the direct result of bold and intentional efforts at headquarters and across our council network. Namely, a willingness to challenge longstanding assumptions and practices; employ research, data and evidence to make good decisions; and to listen more –to families, young people, key community stakeholders, and to one another.”

In 2010, Cathy was recruited as Camp Fire’s CEO to undertake an ambitious and far-reaching course of action to restore the organization’s capacity as an innovative leader in youth development. In that role, Cathy worked with national and affiliate leadership to reframe Camp Fire’s brand, build research and evidence-based youth programs, and begin the process of creating a new business model for the organization.

The Camp Fire Promise

“Cathy will leave Camp Fire having played a key role in its revitalization. That work must and will continue as we identify the right leader to succeed her as CEO,” said Jane Parker, Camp Fire’s National Board Chair.

“I am proud to see how far we’ve come,” Cathy said. “We worked together over the past eight years even when it was hard, and we weren’t always in agreement. Key partners like the Thrive Foundation for Youth, S. D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation and the New York Life Foundation played critical roles at key moments in our transformation and we are in their debt. In Kansas City, we counted on partners like the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Hall Family Foundation, Sprint, and many others. Their support enabled us to restore a reputation for leadership and excellence that had characterized Camp Fire for decades.”

Camp Fire Board of Trustees will announce the CEO search process and timeline in the coming weeks with a goal of having the new CEO named by late March 2019.

Governor Charlie Baker (Massachusetts) created a proclamation for 2018 Absolutely Incredible Kid Day (March 15) and posed with Camp Fire National CEO Cathy Tisdale, Executive Director of Camp Fire North Shore Laurie Hamill, and excited kids from Camp Fire North Shore. PC:, Frank Gill

About Camp Fire

Camp Fire has been an innovative leader in youth development since 1910. Its proven programs give kids the life skills they need now so they can reach their full potential. Last year, Camp Fire’s 53 councils served more than 184,000 youth and families across 1,341 program sites, in 25 states and in D.C. All Camp Fire programs are based on cutting-edge research and founded on the pillars of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), delivered through Out-of-School-Time (OST) programs, environmental education and camp, and teen service and leadership development. Because youth shape the world, Camp Fire’s focus is on giving youth and teens the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are.

For more information, please contact:Erin Risner, Director of Marketing & Communications, Camp Fire National Headquarters


September 18, 2018

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