Our History


From a back bedroom in Liverpool, we’ve come pretty far.

We started our journey in 1999, and it all began with Camp Leaders in America. A young camp counselor named Chris Arnold arrived back home to Liverpool, England, after spending an incredible summer at camp in America. Inspired by his experience, Chris made a decision that would change his life. With the help and guidance of Dave Robinson, a close friend who had originally told Chris about summer camp, the Camp Leaders brand was born. Chris and Dave had a shared passion for summer camp, and they wanted to help give students the same incredible opportunity they had: to spend an unforgettable summer working at a camp in the United States - so they started a company to do just that. Driven by their shared passion for summer camp, Chris and Dave carried on helping people get to America, and before long, Camp Leaders had become a well-recognized summer camp brand.

By 2007, Camp Leaders had grown from a crazy dream in a back bedroom to a trusted and well-known leader in the international summer camp industry. By sticking to our core values, we quickly established our place as a respected voice in the world of cultural exchange - and, more importantly, maintained it. Then, another crazy dream started to take hold - what if we could help people from all over the world achieve their dreams, and have meaningful travel experiences? That's when we decided to set our sights on something bigger, driven by the purpose and values we'd established since our inception.

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Our Guiding Purpose

Although we're made up of unique individuals from all over the globe, we're all driven by a common mission - to inspire people to go further.

It's the reason we get out of bed each day, and the reason why we believe in what we do. We're all about meaningful travel, cultural exchange, and making the world a better place - and we recognize the impact we can make by achieving our goal.


A new beginning - Smaller Earth comes to life.

Over time, we'd grown into a powerhouse in the summer camp industry, but by 2007, the time had come for us to take the next step on our journey. We'd discovered the power of cultural exchange to make a positive societal impact. We decided that it was time to make an even bigger impact - one that had to capacity to cause ripples of change on a global scale. We decided to expand the opportunities we offered, to help open doors for people all over the world. To do this, we embraced cultural exchange like never before: we connected with, and placed our trust in, a new network of people from all around the world - and asked them to return the favour.

This mutual trust and understanding, all across the world, proved to us what we'd been saying all along - that the world could be a better, kinder, more inspired place if people from different cultures could get to know each other and cooperate together. This led us to define our guiding purpose and values, and put them down on paper for the first time. Those values - self development, innovation, ambition, excellence, trustworthiness, and passion - along with the people who embody them, have shaped Smaller Earth into what it is today. We call it the Smaller Earth Way - and it's all driven by our common goal - to inspire people to go further.

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What's in a name?

Smaller Earth's aim since 2007 has been to make this big world feel, well, a little bit smaller. We work to make meaningful travel experiences more accessible for everyone. Our brands, and the people behind them, are driven by that goal to make the world a better place.

We do that by removing the language and cultural barriers between people, and promoting positivity and responsibility - and by staying true to our values: self development, innovation, ambition, excellence, trustworthiness, and passion.

Present day

New brands, same mission.

Fueled by talented, passionate staff members who are committed to our purpose and values, our journey continues on. From our humble beginnings, we've expanded across more than a dozen countries in 6 continents.

We've continued to expand across the globe, making new connections - and ultimately, trying to make a difference. We continue to connect with each other as a global team, whether online or at our annual conference. Our ambitions have led us to some innovative solutions - such as Cleversteam, an independent systems development company. Their dedication to providing simple, effective technology solutions is what powers our business - for example, the Smaller Earth website, along with each of our brands, are designed and fully supported by Cleversteam. With that support, our Central Services Department carries out our global marketing and communication initiatives - allowing us to reach ever more remote places and provide meaningful travel opportunities to more people around the world than ever before.

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Our Vision for the Future

We're aiming to positively impact 20 million people by the year 2020. We believe that by providing exceptional programs that promote meaningful cultural experience experiences, and align with our company values, we can make a difference in the world.

We've had a long journey, but it's not nearly over. We believe our impact can be hugely positive on a global scale - and that's something that, as a company, we're passionate about.

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