Sarah Kurtz McKinnon graduated cum laude from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2008, earning her degree in political science and journalism. Although she had a passion for writing, she had another passion, and that was changing lives through the power of summer camp. In 2009, she earned the opportunity to become one of the youngest YMCA camp executives in the country, taking the helm of Ann Arbor YMCA Camp Al-Gon-Quian at the age of 23. Sarah served as the director of Camp AGQ for nearly six years. During that time the camp saw incredible growth with a 40 percent increase in positive annual net for the program and nearly $1 million in capital construction improvements. Her dynamic and creative leadership approach took an already great camp to another level of excellence, receiving recognition at the national level for the camp’s success.
Sarah left Camp AGQ in 2015 to start Kurtz McKinnon Creative with the goal of helping other camps and camp professionals reach their full potential. She recently co-authored a book for camp professionals with Steve Maguire, entitled Not the Way You Have Always Done It and, with Jack Schott, founded The Summer Camp Society, a collaborative, community-based education program for emerging camp professionals. Sarah is pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, where she is a fellow in the +LAB at the Center for Positive Organizations.
Sarah lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, Robert (a licensed builder and carpenter), and their Brittany Spaniels, Ranger and Marley. Robert worked at Camp AGQ in the years before Sarah arrived, and they met via mutual camp friends. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys tennis, reading and art. Sarah is also a volunteer board member for the Washtenaw Camp Placement Association, a local non-profit that sends kids to camp who otherwise would never have the opportunity, and serves as the director of the Siblings Program at Camp Tall Tree.