Charlie800

Who are the people behind Future Stars? Meet Charlie VanDercook

We are excited to bring you inspiring interviews with some of our key family members! To kick off our interview series, we’re talking to the patriarch of it all, Co-founder Charlie VanDercook. On any given day during the summers, Charlie can be seen playing tennis with a 7 year old, jumping into a 4 v 4 soccer game, challenging a 14 year old to a push up competition, or simply introducing himself to kids at all of our locations. What is not seen by everyone, is that Charlie has already paddle-boarded for an hour before camp and will go for a mountain bike ride after all the kids go home. His love for sports and physical activities is contagious but even more remarkable is his positive outlook and encouragement to the children.

Youth athletics brings in adults from a variety of backgrounds. From former athletes to educators, you’ll find a winning array of stories when you speak to coaches, staff members, directors and anyone else who has anything to do with helping young people develop their athletic talents. With that in mind, we wanted to know a little bit about Charlie’s background and how he ended up with Future Stars.

On his own background in sports, Charlie said, “I grew up playing all kinds of sports as a kid.” After trying a lot of different sports, he eventually focused on tennis. He played one year of college tennis and spent one season on the 1976 WATCH circuit.

When asked what drew him back to youth sports as an adult, Charlie told us, “I grew up playing tennis and became a tennis instructor. Teaching and coaching kids was a big part of my day and I gravitated to the students.” He went on to add, “I guess I’ve always been a kid myself and love playing games, and I brought that love of the game (tennis) to my junior students in the way of games.”

Charlie’s career didn’t stop at being an instructor – obviously. “I was Director of Tennis at a club in Lake Placid, New York.” While there, he directed the junior tennis camp, a junior program, and organized tennis tournaments. Following this, he was hired as Director of Tennis at the Banksville Racquet Club in Banksville, New York. “The biggest part of our business and our emphasis was on the junior program, where there were 350 participants. I was good at relating to kids, and they liked being with me. I made tennis fun and had aptitude as a teacher.” Between his own athletic background, instructing and directing, Charlie was well-versed in youth sports when he co-founded Future Stars!

Working in youth sports takes a certain love of the game. It also requires adults to consider what they think children can learn from athletics. We asked Charlie, what he thinks children can get out of youth sports?  He said, “Children learn life lessons and most everything about life through playing sports. The fun of striving and competing, and loving the process.” Our Co-founder of Future Stars knows kids can also take away, “The satisfaction of trying your best, whether you win or lose. Learning it takes hard work and tons of practice to achieve goals. They learn to respect the game, the coach, their teammates and opponents.”

The children aren’t the only ones who are reaping the benefits out of sports, and out of Future Stars. Charlie notes, “The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 36 years is that, I’ve come into the second generation of campers. Parents that attended are now sending their kids to the camp, because they love Future Stars and they fondly remember their experiences.” And incredibly, Charlie not only remembers these campers’ names after all of these years, but he can tell stories about them from 30 years ago, both on and off the tennis court.

What he’s found particular gratifying is, “The kids I coached come to see me after 20 years, and show me pictures of their kids – relating their stories and giving me credit for shaping their success.” From his early days as a tennis player to inspiring generations of children, Charlie VanDercook has dedicated his personal and professional life to the game!

Interview with Meg Griffin

Spotlight on Meg Griffin

“The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 36 years is that, I’ve come into the second generation of campers. Parents that attended are now sending their kids to the camp, because they love Future Stars and they fondly remember their experiences.”—Charlie VanDercook

We are proud to be a family tradition.  Enjoy getting to know our Future Stars Camps family. If there is someone at Future Stars Camps that you want to know more about, let us know at:  purchase@fscamps.com

*****

Meet Meg Griffin.  And as family traditions go, Meg is the daughter of Bill Griffin, a Future Stars Camps founder.  Meg started at the Rising Stars Camp when she was 3, in the days when you could start that young.  Meg has only missed one summer since she turned 16 working as a counselor at the Rising Stars camp.  Meg just graduated from Wake Forest University and will be joining the Futures Stars Camp team as Head of Social Media.

What was your most memorable 2017 winter moment?

MegMy most memorable winter 2017 moment was going to New Orleans with friends from my college, Wake Forest University.

What are you most looking forward to at camp this summer?

Meg:  I am most looking forward to taking pictures of lots of campers this summer and getting to know them in the process.  More so than ever this year, I will be sharing with parents on Instagram and Facebook the fun their children are having at Future Stars Camps .  There will be daily instagram posts, as well as, weekly Facebook posts.  I am eager to see how excited the kids and parents will be when they see our posts. 

What are some of your hobbies?

Meg My hobbies include running and dancing.  I was a member of a hip hop crew called Momentum Crew during college and have always been an avid runner.  I have completed 5 half marathons and hope to run a marathon in the near(ish) future.

FS.Short.Interview.Meg.June.19.2018.2

What is your favorite camp memory:

MegMy favorite memory from camp was tie dye day at Multi-Sports during the summer of 2016.  Anthony trusted me to take charge of this activity and I loved seeing the campers’ excitement when they saw their finished t-shirts.

FS.Short.Interview.Meg.June.19.2018.5.Canva

What do you enjoy about your job?

Meg I enjoy goofing around with Kirsten and Rachael in the office.  Although it can be stressful, we always find time to make each other laugh.

What song do you play most often?

Meg:  I play the song “The Greatest” by Sia a lot.  She is just so motivating, haha.  I always listen to her when I am running.

Which exercise do you enjoy the most?

Meg:   If I am not running or dancing, I am doing Vinyasa yoga.  I try to go once a week when I am home.  I have been doing it for 8 years now and love the intense sweat and stretch that you get when completing the class.

FS.Short.Interview.Meg.June.19.2018.4

What’s your favorite comfort food?

MegMy favorite comfort food is (weirdly) sushi.  I always have sushi with miso soup and edamame.  I just love the salt.

If you could be the better at something, what would you choose?

MegIf I could be better at singing that would be awesome.  I would love to just belt out a song in the car and feel confident that someone could turn the music off and I would still sound good.

What do you miss most about being a kid?

MegI miss being so good at acrobatics.  I used to do gymnastics, dancing, and diving.  I also attended Futures Stars’ Circus Arts camp!  I was very flexible and could do all sorts of flips and tricks.  The only thing that I have kept up  being able to do are some things on a trampoline and a roundoff back handspring (but I barely ever do it).

FS.Short.Interview.Meg.June.19.2018.3

What’s your favorite book?

Meg I am reading the book “Self Compassion” and being a recent college graduate, this book has been super helpful in moving on from college confidently!

What kind of movies do you enjoy?

I love romantic comedies, I just can’t resist!

Who is your favorite fictional character?

MegMy favorite fictional character is the character Megan from the book,”The Thunderbirds“, because I was named after her.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity/indoor activity?

MegI really like to draw! I can’t just draw something on the spot, but if you give me a picture to look at I can usually do a pretty good job of replicating it!

What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

MegI actually think that the first thing I bought with my own money was a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (no joke).  I still love Dunkin’ so so much!

What is your favorite quote?

 “Being human is not about being any one particular way; it is about being as life creates you—with your own particular strengths and weaknesses, gifts and challenges, quirks and oddities.” ― Kristin Neff.

FS.Short.Interview.Grace.June.6.2018.Canva

Spotlight on Grace Cassidy

“The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 36 years is that, I’ve come into the second generation of campers. Parents that attended are now sending their kids to the camp, because they love Future Stars and they fondly remember their experiences.”—Charlie VanDercook

We are proud to be a family tradition.  Enjoy getting to know our Future Stars Camps family. If there is someone at Future Stars Camps that you want to know more about, let us know at:  purchase@fscamps.com

*****

Meet Grace Cassidy, Assistant Manager, Future Stars Southampton.  Grace has been part of the Futures Stars Camps team for 2 years

What was your most memorable 2017 winter moment?

Grace:  Going to Sydney. I spent about a week and a half there—I went to the beach every day, enjoyed the amazing sun, and went to a wildlife refuge. At the wildlife refuge, I got to pet and feed the kangaroos and wallabies. They were so cute!

Interview with Grace Cassidy

What are you most looking forward to at camp this summer?

Grace:   The facility is so quiet in the winter, that I always look forward to the influx of camp staff and, of course the campers and clients coming out to Southampton.

Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?

Grace:   I work in the office so I don’t get to go outside very often. But when I do, that’s my favorite part of the day.

What is your favorite memory from camp?

Grace:   Going to the US Open last summer with the tennis camp kids. I don’t really watch or keep up with sports, but I love big sporting events, and seeing the Open was a great experience, even though it rained or a good amount of the day.

What are your hobbies?

Grace:   I’ve recently gotten into stand-up paddle boarding. I also like to read and go to the beach.

What song do you play most often?

Grace:   Not so much a song as it is a playlist, but in the summer, the Beach Vibes playlist on Spotify takes up a good amount of airplay for me.

Which exercise do you enjoy the most?

Grace:  Pilates.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity/indoor activity?

Grace:  Outdoor activity: Going to the beach. Indoor activity: Waiting for summer.

FS.Short.Inv.Grace.June6.2018.1

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Grace:   Homemade pizza.

If you could be the better at something, what would you choose?

Grace:  Doing my own makeup. Or anyone’s makeup.

What do you miss most about being a kid?

Grace:  Not having to pay student loans.

Who is your favorite fictional character?

Grace:   Ishmael from Moby Dick. And everyone from Parks and Rec.

What kind of movies do you enjoy?

Grace:   I like psychological thrillers, comedy, and I love a good chick flick.

What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

Probably food.

What is your favorite quote?

“I stand behind my decision to avoid salad and other disgusting things.”

– Leslie Knope

Image Credit:  Grace Cassidy

jess

Spotlight on Jess Lindsay

“The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 36 years is that, I’ve come into the second generation of campers. Parents that attended are now sending their kids to the camp, because they love Future Stars and they fondly remember their experiences.”—Charlie VanDercook

We are proud to be a family tradition.  Enjoy getting to know our Future Stars Camps family. If there is someone at Future Stars Camps that you want to know more about, let us know at:  purchase@fscamps.com

*****************************************************************************************************************************

Meet Jess Lindsay, Assistant Director of Future Stars Basketball Camps,Purchase, and our Lead Graphic Designer.  Jess also coaches college lacrosse at Mercy College, and High school lacrosse at School of the Holy Child.

What was your most memorable 2017 winter moment?

Jess:  The biggest moment of my winter came when I made the switch to coach Basketball at Rye Neck High School. It was my first winter at a new school, as well as, making the jump from Assistant to Head Coach, and my first team is a group of young women I will never forget.

IMG9FS.ShortInterview.Jess.May16.2018.4

What are you most looking forward to at camp this summer?

Jess:  Getting to see all of my basketball kids again! I’ve coached so many of the same campers over the years that it’s always great to see them come back every summer and watch them grow as athletes and as people.

Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?

Jess:  My favorite part of coaching is when I can teach an athlete the life skills that go along with playing basketball, how to think for themselves and how to get the most out of the game. It’s not always about winning, but it is always about learning how to work hard, to not give up and how to control what you can in order to stay focused.

FS.ShortInterview.Jess.May16.2018

What are your hobbies?

Jess:  Anything where I can work with my hands and make something. I spend a lot of my free time working with paint or building/refinishing furniture for my apartment. I also spend literally all my free time hanging out with my dog Clyde.

FS.ShortInterview.Jess.May16.2018.5

What song do you play most often?

Jess:   Currently, I haven’t stopped playing “This is America” by Childish Gambino, but that changes pretty frequently. haha!

Which exercise do you enjoy the most?

Jess:   Basketball! I’d rather play a game of pickup instead of hitting the fitness center any day.

FS.ShortInterview.Jess.May16.2018.3

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Jess:   Pizza, I could eat it any day of the week, with just about anything on it.

What do you miss most about being a kid?

Jess:  Being able to just take time off. With all my jobs and teams that I coach, it’s tough to get a full day to myself to recharge, I miss being able to just have time for adventures.

FS.ShortInterview.Jess.May16.2018.1

Who is your favorite fictional character?

Jess:   Michael Scott from the office.

What kind of movies do you enjoy?

Jess:    I’m not super big on movies, I’d rather re-watch episodes of the office for the millionth time, but if I’m watching a movie it’s probably something starring Melissa McCarthy.

What is your favorite quote?

“The world is changed by your example, not your opinion” — Paulo Coelho

Image Credit:  Jess Lindsay

FS.ShortInterview.Javier.May2.2018.500

Spotlight On Javier Ahumada

“The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 36 years is that, I’ve come into the second generation of campers. Parents that attended are now sending their kids to the camp, because they love Future Stars and they fondly remember their experiences.”—Charlie VanDercook

We are proud to be a family tradition.  Enjoy getting to know our Future Stars Camps family. If there is someone at Future Stars Camps that you want to know more about, let us know at:  purchase@fscamps.com

*****************************************************************************************************************************

Meet Javier Ahumada, Assistant to the director at Future Stars Camps, Purchase College. This will be Javier’s 3rd summer at Future Stars Camps.  Javier is working on his MBA at University of Mobile, Alabama where he plays for their tennis team.

Where are you from?

Javier:  I am from Chile, South America and my native language is Spanish.  I came to study in the U.S. in 2014, when I received a scholarship to play tennis at the University of Mobile. When I first got here in 2014, I did not know English at all, so everything was hard at the beginning. However it has been a really good experience and I have made a lot of friends from different countries.

What was your most memorable 2017 winter moment?

Javier:  Going home. I spent most of the year in the U.S., so going home in December and seeing my family is always amazing for me. I live in a city called Pucon which it is a tourist destination in Chile. When it is winter here, it is summer in Chile, so I am basically never in winter.

FS.ShortInterview.Javier.May2.2018.1

How often do you go home?

Javier:  I go home only once a year since I started studying in the U.S. in August 2014. I spend Christmas and New Year in Chile. The rest of the year, I live on campus and during the summers, I have been working at Future Stars Camps.

What are you most looking forward to at camp this summer?

Javier:  To have fun with the campers and see how much they improve not only in tennis, but at everything. To watch the talent shows, crazy hair days, and different activities. It is also very exciting to see how much the returning campers have grown.  I am also looking forward to eating a lot of ice pops.

FS.ShortInterview.Javier.May2.2018.3

Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?

Javier:  I have been playing tennis since I was 8 years old, and this sport has given me a lot of values that have shaped my personality in a positive way. What I enjoy the most about my job is that I get to transmit those values to the kids.

What is your favorite memory from camp?

Javier:  I have good memories from the camp, I really enjoy the environment there and every day there is something interesting happening. But one of my favorite memories is from my first year as a counselor. It was my birthday and I was teaching tennis to a group of campers, then one of the counselors came to my court and told me to close my eyes, he walked me to another court and when I opened my eyes all the campers were there with a cake and there was a group of mariachis singing happy birthday to me. This idea was from my girlfriend, Lucia, who works at the camp too. This was one of my most memorable but also embarrassing moments at the camp.

FS.ShortInterview.Javier.May2.2018.2

If you could be the better at something, what would you choose?

Javier:  I would like to be a better tennis player. I am not a bad player but I would love to be within the first 50 ATP players in the world.

What song do you play most often?

Javier:  Music is really important to me. I am always listening to music, but my playlist is always changing according to my mood. I used to listen to only Spanish music before coming to the U.S. (Like “despacito”, “Bailando”, “Dura”, etc). Now I like listening any of the popular songs in English, and I listen to country music sometimes which is played a lot here in Alabama (where my school is located).

Which exercise do you enjoy the most?

Javier:  Honestly, I am not a big fan of going to the gym. I like running a lot when I am playing tennis, so that is my best way to exercise.  I also like riding a bike.

What are your hobbies?

Javier:  I love sports and competing, so in my free time I indulge in soccer, tennis, table tennis, rafting, etc.  I also love traveling and getting to know new places.  When I am at home, I love having barbecues, watching movies, and reading books (mostly related to business).

FS.ShortInterview.Javier.May2.2018.4

What kind of movies do you enjoy?

Javier:   I like action movies. You will not see me watching a romantic movie.

What’s your favorite food?

Javier:  Pasta bolognesa. I could eat it every day.

What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

Javier:  Flight tickets to Europe. In summer, 2014 I traveled to France for 2 months to play tennis tournaments, and then I visited a friend in Ibiza and some of my teammates in Germany.

What is your favorite quote?

JavierTennis is an individual sport where you are constantly losing, missing balls, and that is part of the game. It was hard for me (and it is still) because I hate losing and making mistakes. One quote that has helped me to handle this and improve is:

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn”. — John C. Maxwell

Image Credit:  Javier Ahumada

FS.ShortInterview.Chris.April18.2018

Spotlight on: Chris Griffin

“The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 36 years is that, I’ve come into the second generation of campers. Parents that attended are now sending their kids to the camp, because they love Future Stars and they fondly remember their experiences.”—Charlie VanDercook

We are proud to be a family tradition.  Enjoy getting to know our Future Stars Camps family. If there is someone at Future Stars Camps that you want to know more about, let us know at:  purchase@fscamps.com

*****************************************************************************************************************************

Meet Chris Griffin, Site Director of Future Stars Camps at Farmingdale State College.  Chris is in his 7th year and previously directed the lacrosse programs at Farmingdale and Old Westbury.  Chris also worked at the camps when he was in college.  In addition, he helped oversee the indoor turf facility at Future Stars Southampton, when it opened 5 years ago.   Chris carries the Future Stars’ tradition of being a camper at SUNY Purchase in the 90’s and now a full-time staff member.

What was your most memorable 2017 winter moment?
Chris:  Drinking mint flavored hot chocolate that David would make in the office.

What are you most looking forward to at camp this summer?
Chris:  Nice weather! Making the rounds and seeing all the different programs in action is always nice. When you see the campers having a great time, it puts a smile on your face. Additionally, I like playing in the staff soccer game and hearing all the campers cheering for their coaches.

What are your hobbies?
Chris:  I like to surf when the waves are good, but typically the better waves happen in the fall and winter.  I’ve found myself surfing less and less through the winter months as I’ve aged, but I hope to still get out there in the future.

What is your favorite memory from camp?
ChrisI’ll answer this two ways, since I used to attend Future Stars as a child.  Back when I attended, there were really only two options, tennis and soccer.  I would attend both programs throughout the summer, and the awards ceremonies at the end of the week in tennis always stood out for me.  We would be having ice pops on the hill and Jordan, site director for SUNY Purchase, and his staff would make it so fun and be joking around.  For soccer, one day that stands out is when we were having a juggling contest, and the director was juggling for about 30 minutes straight, and only stopped because we had to go to lunch.  He even kept juggling as we made our way to lunch, but at that time, the path was like hiking through the woods, so I think he lost it on one of the hills.  I was amazed as a kids and it probably felt more like an hour back then.

Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Chris:  Being able to get outside and have some fun with the campers is most enjoyable to me. I love sports, so working in that field is pretty cool. I’ve been so interested in the STEAM programs lately, and wish I was able to spend more time learning and visiting them, but I probably wouldn’t get anything done if I stuck around too long.

ShortInterview.ChrisGriffin.April18.2018.2

What song do you play most often?
Chris:  One song in particular doesn’t stand out.  I love music and listen to everything from country to old school emo/punk rock.  I don’t really update my playlists, so I have  “workout”/”pump-up” playlists, from college, that I still listen to when I do get to the gym.  I just let my music app pick playlists for me.

Which exercise do you enjoy the most?
Chris:  Riding a bike.

What’s your favorite comfort food?
Chris:  Garlic mashed potatoes or mac ‘n’ cheese.

If you could be the better at something, what would you choose?
Chris:  Playing an instrument or drawing.  The arts are something I’ve never really been very successful at.  Don’t get me wrong, I can sing, but the last instrument I played was a recorder!  Would be great if I knew how to play the piano.  You could literally play anywhere that had one, and it’s pretty impressive.

What do you miss most about being a kid?
Chris:   Just having fun all the time, especially in the summer, when school was out.  Not a worry in the world and you didn’t really have any responsibilities, besides taking out the trash and recycling.

FS.ShortInterview.ChrisGriffin.April18.2018.1

Chris:   Who is your favorite fictional character?
Ron Burgundy from Anchorman:  The Legend of Ron Burgundy

What kind of movies do you enjoy
Chris:   Comedy/Action

What’s your favorite outdoor activity/indoor activity?
Chris:   Outdoor: Hanging at the beach/surfing.  Indoor: Making Smoothies.

What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
Chris:  My first car.  The summer of my freshman year in college.

What is your favorite quote?

It’s better to have memories rather than dreams.- George Geiser

Image Credit:  Chris Griffin

 

Short Interview with Adam Taraska

Spotlight On: Adam Taraska

“The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 36 years is that, I’ve come into the second generation of campers. Parents that attended are now sending their kids to the camp, because they love Future Stars and they fondly remember their experiences.”—Charlie VanDercook

We are proud to be a family tradition.  Enjoy getting to know our Future Stars Camps family. If there is someone at Future Stars Camps that you want to know more about, let us know at:  purchase@fscamps.com

Meet Adam Taraska, in his 5th summer as Future Stars Baseball Camp Director at our Purchase College location.  When not at Future Stars Camps, Adam is in his 5th season as head baseball coach of the Purchase College Panthers.

What was your most memorable 2017 winter moment?

Adam:  Crusing in the Bahamas and wave running in the Bahamas.

What are you most looking forward to at camp this summer?

Adam:  Being outside and on the field all day every day with the counselors and campers. I’m over the snow!

Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?

Adam:  Sharing this great game with today’s youth, who will be tomorrow’s high school players and camp counselors.

FS.Short.Interview.Adam.1

What song do you play most often?

Adam:  Hero of the Day by Metallica. When I was a high school baseball player, I used to listen to it before every game. Now, my new tradition is the night before opening day, I take 4 minutes and make sure I play it at home.

What do you miss most about being a kid?

 Adam:  How long the days are.  As an adult, the hours, days, weeks, and years fly by. When you’re a kid, time moves so amazingly slowly.

FS.Short.Interview.Adam.3

What kind of movies do you enjoy?

Adam:   I enjoy historical timepieces with great plots.  My favorite movies are L.A. Confidential, Gangs of New York, and Almost Famous.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity/indoor activity?

 Adam:  I enjoy playing racquetball in the winter and grilling in the backyard in the summer.

FS.Short.Interview.Adam.2

What is your favorite quote?

A quote by the longtime NHL coach, John Tortorella. He used this quote with his 2004 Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning, meaning that if you play the game to not make a mistake, you will lose. If you play aggressively and don’t worry about making a mistake, instead drive yourself to make a great play, you stand a much better chance to win.

“Safe is death” — John Tortorella

Image Credit:  Adam Taraska

Short Interview with Anna Edwards

Spotlight on: Anna Edwards

“The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 36 years is that, I’ve come into the second generation of campers. Parents that attended are now sending their kids to the camp, because they love Future Stars and they fondly remember their experiences.”—Charlie VanDercook

We are proud to be a family tradition.  Enjoy getting to know our Future Stars Camps family. If there is someone at Future Stars Camps that you want to know more about, let us know at:  purchase@fscamps.com

Meet Anna Edwards, Soccer director, Purchase College

What was your most memorable 2017 winter moment?

Anna:  It’s in the process of happening. I was chosen to go to England with New York Soccer Club, where I coach, to help guide our teams through London and Manchester.  We will be participating in friendlies, coaching clinics, and watching PL matches.

What are you most looking forward to at camp this summer?

Anna:  The return of familiar faces of both coaches and campers. Soccer camp is like a family and it’s exciting to see the players and coaches come back with energy for the game.

What are your hobbies?

Anna:  I love running with one of my dogs. He’s a tiny poochon. It’s more about being outside. I also like doing crafts and exploring my surroundings. I like to try new things.

FS.ShortInterview.Anna.5.March21.2018

What is your favorite memory from camp?

Anna:  We’ve been lucky to have some players from New York City Football Club (NYCFC) come to camp to talk to the campers. Last summer, Jack Harrison and Indi Cowie came and played soccer tennis with our campers. The campers’ faces when the two of them came out to surprise them was priceless.

Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?

Anna:   The aim is to have kids learn and enjoy soccer as well as meet new friends and make camp memories. When I experience kids doing those things it makes me happy to be part of it.

What song do you play most often?

Anna:   Anything by Luis Fonsi. I’ve been a fan of his for almost a decade. If any of his songs come on, be prepared for me to sing in Spanish.

Which exercise do you enjoy the most?

Anna:   Soccer of course!  I can never turn down playing.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Anna:  My mom’s tortilla española. Authentic Spanish food made with love.

FS.ShortInterview.Anna.2.March21.2018.500

If you could be the better at something, what would you choose?

AnnaPlaying the guitar. I’m trying to learn. It’s not going well.

What do you miss most about being a kid?

Anna:  Honestly, being on a team and just the pure joy of playing sports. No expectations. Just doing your best with your teammates by your side.

FS.ShortInterview.Anna.1.March21.2018

What kind of movies do you enjoy.

AnnaDepends on my mood. Anything except movies that are gruesome. You won’t see me in line for movies like “Saw”.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity/indoor activity?

Anna:  All roads lead to soccer. I am a lifer and that’s why it’s my job  I want to pass on the love for it.  My dad was my first ever coach. I used to tag along with my older brother and my dad coached the team.  He’s the reason I gained a lifelong love of the sport.

FS.ShortInterview.Anna.3March21.2018

What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

Anna:  Blue velvet pants  don’t judge me  it was the 90s

What is your favorite quote?

Anna:  To me it’s about doing your best for yourself and the rest falls into place.

Champions are made when no one is looking — Ansom Dorrance

FS.ShortInterview.Final.Feb.28.2018

Spotlight On: Kirsten Shaughnessy

“The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 36 years is that, I’ve come into the second generation of campers. Parents that attended are now sending their kids to the camp, because they love Future Stars and they fondly remember their experiences.”—Charlie VanDercook

We are proud to be a family tradition and we are kicking off short interviews with our staff and campers.  We will “Spotlight” a Future Stars Camps’ family member regularly, and we hope you enjoy getting to know us.  If there is someone at Future Stars Camps that you want to know more about, reach out to us at:   purchase@fscamps.com

Meet Kirsten Shaughnessy, Office Manager, Purchase College.

What was your most memorable 2017 winter moment?

Kirsten:  In the winter I spend my time away from the office on the ice coaching my U12 girls’ hockey team for the Greenwich Panthers. We are a U10/U12 combined team, so this season has been a learning experience for everyone involved! With a wide range of ages and skill levels this season will be one of my most memorable. From day one each of the players has improved greatly which is amazing to watch as much as it is to be in that position. This season has given me one of the proudest hockey moments of my 7 years as a coach and 19 years as a player.

FS.ShortInt.Kirsten.Feb.15.2018.2.Edited.Final.429

What are you most looking forward to at camp this summer?

Kirsten:  Being able to wear my Birkenstocks all summer long.

What are your hobbies?

Kirsten:  I have lots of hobbies and they include: hanging out with my dog and cat, Olive and Ginny, cutting hair, I cut my own hair and sometimes cut my friend Matthew’s (no complaints yet!), playing PlayStation, road trips, going home to see family (I have a niece joining the family soon!), playing hockey, no more college hockey but I do get out on the ice with a couple men’s leagues in the area, playing tennis, mostly against my cousin Dahminik who came and lived with me last summer but now he’s back in Minnesota, so for now I just teach kids in Armonk, Rye Brook and Port Chester, listening to My Favorite Murder Podcast, calling my grandma, building things, most recently, I built Ginny her very own apartment in the house so now she has a place to call her own (it even has a name plate ‘Ginny’s Place’).

What is your favorite memory from camp?

Kirsten: My favorite memory from camp is always the carnival, being able to get out of the office and enjoy my day outside is always the best!

Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?

Kirsten:  The best part about my job is being able to see what I can do. I am very versatile in the office and have to handle multiple things at once. I didn’t see myself in a job like this growing up so being able to see my growth in the position in just a few short years makes me enjoy myself and who I am more.

What song do you play most often?

Kirsten:  Florence & the Machine! I couldn’t narrow it down to a single song because everything they sing is magical and really touches every part of you. I even have a tattoo of the lyrics from ‘Ship to Wreck’ so I’m really into them.

Which exercise do you enjoy the most?

Kirsten:  I’m not big on exercise, but when I do I would have to say it has to be in a game. I will go out and play any sport, I was a 2-sport athlete in college and working out was a main component in my every day until a shoulder injury. When I do hit the gym, I love the TRX, it’s tough but you feel the work you put into it the next day! The best work out for me though is just getting out on that ice or court and putting all you have into the game.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Kirsten:  Chocolate cake. I have a huge sweet tooth, so I love all things candy but my number one would have to be chocolate cake, homemade or the fancy lava kind at restaurants doesn’t matter to me I’ll eat it. I would have to say a close second would be my mom’s tator tot hot dish, probably the only thing she knew how to cook growing up, but it was always the best!

What kind of movies do you enjoy?

Kirsten:  When I was in high school, I used to work at a small movie theater that has now been torn down, but movies have always been a staple through all stages of my life. I will watch any movie, it’s too hard to narrow down a single movie or genre because I just love all that goes into it. In college, I took a lot of film classes because I like the technicality behind the scenes. It is very underappreciated because all we as viewers critic is the final product, not the tireless hours that went into making that hour and a half long film.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity/indoor activity?

Kirsten:  My favorite thing to do outdoors is to go to the dog park or on walks with my dog, Olive. She is my world and we do everything together, so really anything that involves getting out of the house and spending time together is the best. We often go on road trips back home to Minnesota, she loves staying in hotels and being able to run free in the fields. I am so happy watching her when she’s free to be herself outside of city life.

 

Processed with MOLDIV

What is your favorite quote?

Kirsten:  “It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream nobody sees but you.” – -Million Dollar Baby

SS.Jordan.770

Who are the people behind Future Stars? Meet Jordan Snider: From Camper to Camp Site Director

Variety has been the rule, not the exception, throughout Jordan Snider’s Future Stars career – from camper to Site Director.  On a daily basis, Jordan manages a staff of international coaches teaching everything from the latest soccer drills from Chile to STEAM education, providing a joyous and enriching camp experience to children ranging from 6 to 16 years old.

In the Beginning, Jordan Was a Camper

Jordan started his relationship with Future Stars as a young camper and something about the experience and uniqueness of the Future Stars spirit stuck with him.  Over the years, as his role changed — from camper to bus counselor to nurse to tennis coach to soccer coach and now Camp Site Director at SUNY, Purchase – Jordan has learned to thrive with change.

Future Stars Camps has been a part of Jordan’s life since he was a child.  He has had a long standing relationship with co-founders of Future Stars Camps, Charlie VanDercook and Bill Griffin. Working together on their shared passion makes for a lot of hard but fun work.  “I have known Charlie since I was 9 years old. I have seen his children grow up and now he is watching my children grow up. I started working at Future Stars during the summers while I was in college. After I graduated, I started working year round with Future Stars and developed a new relationship with Charlie and Bill. I see them just about every day, and every day we brain storm and discuss ways to make the camp experience even better for the kids.”

A Special Love for Tennis

With all the change and diversity of life experiences, tennis has been a constant part of Jordan’s life and his life at Future Stars.    “I grew up loving all sports but was especially focused on tennis. I was lucky enough to play tennis at Rollins College where our team won the NCAA National Championship in 1991. Tennis has been an important part of my life and I fully reaped all the benefits sports have to offer. For many years after college I taught tennis during the winter months while directing the tennis camp in the summer.”

Today, Future Stars offers a variety of sports camps like basketball, volleyball, swim, and other interesting camps like circus arts, magic and S.T.E.A.M., but when Jordan was a child at Future Stars, there was only a tennis camp.  “I remember many of the coaches, the events both on the tennis courts and off the courts,” says Jordan as he fondly reminisces.  “As a kid, the camp helped me gain self confidence and to take chances. Of course, it also helped my tennis. As a camper it seemed that everyone that worked at the camp was loving what they were doing. They all participated in every activity and seemed to have as much fun as any of the kids. They also had a passion for tennis that was contagious.”

SS.Jordan2.500

Finding and Encouraging Passion in Others

“In hiring new coaches, a critical attribute is enthusiasm. They need to love their sport or specialty and enjoy helping others. It is summer camp and has to be fun while at the same time the specific sport or specialty is the common bond at each program. For example, the baseball campers and coaches are all wearing baseball jerseys and having friendly arguments about their favorite player or Yankees vs Mets debates while the basketball campers and coaches are all about LeBron and Steph Curry or the Knicks and the Spurs.”

This approach has had an impact on campers.  In our March 6th blog, Julia Duffy a former camper/counselor, says “Jordan Snider, Site Director at SUNY, Purchase, has had a lasting impression on me because of his dedication to the camp”.  Julia’s respect for Jordan is crystallized as he shares what he values in his chosen profession: “Most important to me,” says Jordan, “is the opportunity to interact directly with children and to watch them grow up.”  Summer Camp is a great opportunity for children to learn who they are. They make lifelong friends and develop skills that transfer to all aspects of their lives. I consider camps to be part of the education system where children get to have more choice and independence.  I love seeing the kids grow during the summer.”

“Watching the kids on Friday afternoons and seeing them off for the weekend with smiles, energy, and even the emotions of saying goodbye is rewarding,” Jordan continues.  “There is pride in knowing that we have helped kids grow up socially, emotionally, and physically during the course of the summer, as well as over many years. When the kids return each year, although they are bigger, it is like they never left. It is now at the point where so many of our counselors used to be campers.”

SS.Jordan.3.339

Future Stars Camps has been around for 36 years and keeping it fresh while maintaining the values that have made this summer day camp a family tradition are why parents, who attended as kids, want their children to come here.

“Early in my career I knew this was more than a summer job for me when I realized the impact and influence that I was having on the kids as well as the effect they were having on me! It was much more than just helping them become better tennis players. Over the years, I have kept in touch with so many of the “kids” at camp that are now adults, and it is an incredibly rewarding part of the role. I have connections to many different generations of campers and seeing them each go through different stages of life. And what is remarkable to me is how many of the campers have stayed connected and are truly lifelong friends.”