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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.

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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!

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Image Credit:  Charlie VanDercook

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Spotlight on Olivia Lehrman

“The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 37 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

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Get to know Olivia Lehrman,  as she joined Future Stars Circus Camps for her 6th year during the summer 2019!

What was your most memorable 2018 winter moment?
Olivia:  Tandem bicycling with Leo to buy a bike part in a blizzard and having the bike shop do a photo shoot of us because they were so blown away by our outrageousness to go out in that weather.

What are you most looking forward to at camp summer 2019?
Olivia:  Awesome awesome coaches–2 proteges of mine from California, who have become amazing teachers and we truly speak the same language, and all of us finding the most fun ways to share Circus with kids!*

What are your hobbies?
Olivia:  Raising Chicks and doing handstands

What is your favorite memory from camp?
Olivia:  Pinkies up! We had fancy-lunch!

Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Olivia:  Getting to know students and what helps them tick.

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What song do you play most often?
Olivia:  anything by Beyonce!!!!

Which exercise do you enjoy the most?
Olivia:  Pilates

What’s your favorite comfort food?
Olivia:  Quinoa and ice-cream.

If you could be the better at something, what would you choose?
Olivia:  Sewing–ugh! I cry every time I try to sew something!

What do you miss most about being a kid?
Olivia:  Well, there’s not much different about my life now from 30 years ago!

Who is your favorite fictional character?
Olivia:  Pippi Longstocking

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What kind of movies do you enjoy?
Olivia:  Funeeeee ones

What’s your favorite outdoor activity/indoor activity?
Olivia:  Walking through the woods/cooking.

What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
Olivia:  Hello Kitty Collection Cards

What is your favorite quote?
Olivia:  Everybody knows you cannot put a banana in the refrigerator. But did you know? You can.

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For more information about the variety of Circus programs at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our Circus Arts Camp page,  today.  

Image Credit:  Olivia Lehrman

*Interview responses are from the Spring 2019

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Spotlight on Craig

“The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 37 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

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Meet Craig Moccia as he joined Future Stars Camps for his first summer in the Health Office. 

Tell me a little interesting something about yourself.

Craig:  I am an EMT and volunteer fire fighter.

What brought you to Future Stars Camps and how long have you been here?

Craig:  This is my first summer working for Future Stars and I was looking for a job and thought this was a good fit for me.

What’s your favorite memory from camp?

Craig:  Definitely beating Javier at tennis.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

Craig:  Probably making the kids’ days better when they come in here not feeling well.

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What will you miss most about camp this summer?

Craig:  Just having fun and meeting people!

Pick one or two words that best describe your camp experience.

Craig:  Really fun!

What do you do with your free time?

Craig:  I am a volunteer fire fighter so I spend a lot of my time helping out the community back home in Bedford

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Who is your favorite fictional character?

Craig:  That’s tough, I would say Woodstock from Charlie Brown. 

What kind of movies do you enjoy?

Craig:  Rom-coms and other comedies.

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

Craig:  I like to do anything outdoors whether it’s just hanging out in a hammock or taking a hike.

What exercise do you enjoy the most?

Craig:  I love doing mountain climbers and push ups.

What is your favorite food?

Craig:  Bacon

What’s the first thing you bought with your own money?

Craig:  Probably something really silly like a pack of baseball cards.

Great meeting you Craig!

For more information about the variety of sports programs at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our Future Stars Camps today.  

Image Credit:  Craig Moccia

*Interview responses are from the Spring 2019

Bill practicing what he preaches, flexibility!

An Interview with Future Stars’ Co-Founder, Bill Griffin

Bill Griffin has a storied history as a tennis player and instructor. He played tennis at Boston College and, after graduating in the late seventies, he was the Director of Tennis at the Larchmont Yacht Club for 28 years.

He is credited with popularizing After School Tennis programs in more than 30 local elementary schools in the eighties and played the early professional Platform Tennis circuit while also directing some of Westchester’s best indoor junior tennis programs at several top clubs.

A Love of Tennis

Bill partnered with co-founder of Future Stars Charlie VanDercook in 1995. Says Bill, “What initially brought me together with Charlie and Future Stars was a mutual friend and a shared love for tennis. I played high school tennis at Mamaroneck and after college lived and worked with a teammate who  later partnered with Charlie and began Future Stars.”

“As much as anything, what ultimately drew me to Future Stars was the love for sports my father fostered in me at a very early age. After the yard work and house chores had been done, Dad and I would spend endless hours as pitcher and catcher, or quarterback and receiver, shooting jumpers, hitting golf balls, lacing them up for a little hockey when the pond froze, playing ping pong, swimming and diving, wrestling or hitting the heavy bag and the 50 yard dash.  I didn’t win too often, but I got a good education on how to blend hard work and play hard. Last but certainly not least, we did play tennis.”

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(L-R) Charlie VanDercook,  Chris Griffin & Bill Griffin

The Early Years

Bill played many of the above-referenced sports as a youngster and throughout high school. He gradually began focusing more and more on tennis. “I was fortunate to play college tennis at Boston College,” says Bill. “It was during those years that my passion really blossomed.”

Bill also played a lot of Platform Tennis during those years and competed on a national level. It was through a Platform Tennis mentor that he landed his first job teaching tennis.

Says Bill, “Doug Russell was offered the job as Tennis Director at Beach Point Club and was looking for some young assistants to support his efforts.  When he discovered that I played college tennis and lived just miles from Beach Point, he decided to take a chance on a young kid with no prior teaching experience.”

For Bill, it was a no brainer. He got to work teaching a game he loved. “I got to wear shorts, sneakers and short sleeve shirts to work,” Bill says. “I got paid five times the weekly pay I made the previous year with the Town Parks & Rec Department. The rest, as they say, is history.”

From Playing to Teaching

Bill had caught the teaching bug. He enjoyed teaching tennis and people seemed to appreciate the coaching he was espousing. Following his inaugural season at Beach Point Club, a tennis comrade from juniors introduced him to an opportunity at Colony Beach Club to run their fledgling tennis operation.  

Says Bill, “I was extremely fortunate and basically put myself through college with the earnings from these positions.”

Following graduation and my second summer at Colony, I began teaching Paddle Tennis at several clubs in the area, notably: Larchmont Yacht Club, Westchester CC, Manursing Island Club, Wykagyl CC, Pelham CC, and others as paddle was enjoying a boom in the 70’s & 80’s.”

Following six months on the paddle courts with very active adult and junior programs at Larchmont Yacht Club, Bill learned the summer tennis position had opened up and was asked to interview.  

“My good fortune was I had just spent six months working with the membership on the paddle courts,” Bill explained. “Based on that sample of work, the selection committee decided maybe this young 23-year-old could handle the position. In retrospect, following twenty-eight years of enthusiastic service, I think they were right!”

In the late eighties, interest in Paddle Tennis began to wane, so Bill decided to teach indoor tennis. He approached Charlie at Future Stars, who at the time, was running the instructional programs at New Rochelle Racquet Club.

Says Bill, “once again, the timing seemed right and I was asked to direct the tennis programs at NRRC. After a very strong run at New Rochelle, it was time to move on and spread our wings. Charlie and I formed our initial partnership at Harbour View Racquet Club in Mamaroneck.”

Their partnership flourished. Future Stars added Armonk Tennis Club to their portfolio of clubs, and built out Armonk Indoor Tennis & Turf, and subsequently, Southampton Indoor Tennis & Turf.

“We specialized in Junior Instructional Programs and employed an extraordinary staff of dedicated professional that mentored many juniors who went on to have great success at the high school and College level,” Bill says.

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Bill making his way around Purchase campus 

Future Stars Summer Camp at Purchase College

Shortly into their indoor tennis partnership, Bill and Charlie decided to join forces in the Future Stars Summer Camp at Purchase College which Charlie had started many years prior.

“Our partnership was thriving,” Says Bill. “We were a very complimentary team. We shared many of the same interests.  We loved the outdoors, the fresh air, playing sports and games, competing, an entrepreneurial spirit, working with people, and most of all teaching eager young campers how much fun tennis can be when you work at it.”

Just as Bill and Charlie’s indoor tennis business had taken off, their camp business began to skyrocket. They realized that their passion for tennis and teaching youngsters crossed over perfectly into all the other sports.

Says Bill, “We started adding new camp programs like basketball, baseball, lacrosse and then circus arts to the roster. Following our success at Purchase College, we decided to explore new opportunities at other sites.

Now all our campus programs include nearly 25 different programs, not only in sports but in the arts & sciences, technology, engineering, and education. We adopted a very holistic approach. We try to offer a wide range of programs that will appeal to families across a broad spectrum.  Our primary goal is to help campers enrich their talents, explore new frontiers and develop appropriate social dynamic skills that will serve them well as they move through this complex and challenging world.”

A Childhood Filled with Fun = the Future Stars Experience

In carving out their niche, Bill and Charlie together with their valued site directors Jordan, David, Chris, Sean and John, have worked hard to find the perfect balance between proper technique, focused hard work, good natured fun, and the proper respect for the various talents and expectations each individual brings to the party.

“We like to help each camper get as much as they choose to get out of each day they are with us,” Bill explains. “Our coaches, teaching staff, and counselors are the best in the business. They have all trained and studied very hard to refine their individual gifts and they are prepared to share and guide our campers through the best and worst of days.”

Although, most of these opportunities were serendipitous, when thinking back on his childhood, what Bill loved more than anything was playing with his friends.  Says Bill, “Everywhere we went, the park, the river, the basement, the movies, the museum, the pool, the backyard, the back sat of the car, we would invent fun and games.  We would see who could launch the farthest off the swing. Who could go hand over hand the farthest on the bottom of the pier before falling in the water, who’s leaf, or twig, would race down the stream fastest. We designed miniature golf courses in the dirt using pine needles to frame the fairways.

“Cardboard box races down the stairs turned into homemade boxcars racing down the street.  Building cities of sheets in the living room on rainy days turned into climbing through unfinished new home construction. Walking on the top of fences like balance beams and climbing apple, cherry and chestnut trees, and building snow jumps for our saucers were as common as throwing down the boots for an ice or street hockey game, playing some 3v3 basketball in someone’s driveway, or ping pong and pool in someone’s basement.  The creativity, fun and exploration never ended, until of course it was time to crack down and study!”

Bill didn’t attend camp as a child, but he participated in local town swimming, tennis, football and baseball, boy scout, and teen programs. Says Bill, “In retrospect, it feels like this wonderful business Charlie and I have developed is the perfect fit for me. I certainly didn’t know it would turn out like this. I feel extremely lucky that I was fortunate enough to turn my passion for fun and games into a thriving business.  I have always been happy in this business and hope that I have inspired some young campers to enjoy themselves along the way.”

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Bill and his buddy enjoying the outdoors

The Next Generation of Sports Enthusiasts

Bill reflects on how his appetite for summer camp has spilled over with his children. “Four of my five children have worked for me at various summer programs,” says Bill. “My son Chris has decided to make a career of it and currently runs our program at Farmingdale State College on Long Island. I think they’ve all recognized the enthusiasm I wake up with each day and the positive impact you can have on people’s lives when you spend days and weeks and months and years working with them, training them, mentoring them, caring about them and supporting them.

“We like to empower our staff at the start of every year and challenge them to add value to the program. Bring something vibrant and new that will engage and inspire the campers. “Give it the Moxie” my father used to say.  Give it a 110% everyday and I guarantee you will be richly rewarded. The kids will love you. You will be exhausted at the end of each day. You will sleep soundly and at peace with yourself. And when it’s over you won’t have a clue how it went by so fast.”

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For more information about the variety of sports programs at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our Future Stars Camps page,  today.

Image Credit:  Bill Griffin

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A Moment in the Life of Future Stars Campers

This summer, we are featuring “Camper Moments” every Wednesday from our different camps and locations.  Let us know what camps you are interested in learning more about at: purchase@fscamps.com

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Meet Xavier!   He is in Circus Arts camp and VERY excited to be interviewed.  Xavier is a very enthusiastic camper and has improved in a variety of skills over the course of the two years that he has been at Future Stars.  Xavier is 8 years old, and will be turning 9 in November.  He is going into 4th grade.  Discover more about this great fella. 

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Meg:  Hi Xavier! So what made you decide to join Circus Arts camp?

Xavier:  “Well, we heard about Future Stars Camps from our cousins, and then my Mom showed me the application, and I just chose Circus Arts camp myself.”

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Meg:  And, who is we?

Xavier:  “My sister and I attend Future Stars.  My sister joins Softball and S.T.E.A.M. camps.”

Meg:  How long have you guys been coming to Future Stars Camps?

Xavier:  “This is my 2nd year, and my sister’s 3rd year.  My cousins have been coming for about 5 years.  They usually participate in Softball and Volleyball camps.”

Meg:  So when your Mom showed you the application, what made you decide to choose circus?

Xavier:  “Well, I have always been a class clown, so I thought that it would be a good fit.  And then, I went for a week and just wanted to keep going!”

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Meg:  Have you tried any other camps here?

Xavier:  “Yeah, I also do Soccer camp.  Circus is here for 4 weeks so I do Circus camp for 4 weeks and soccer the other weeks.”

Meg:  Do you like one over the other?

Xavier:  “I like both camps a lot because circus and soccer are my favorite things to do.”

Meg:  So could you maybe tell me a little bit about what you’ve been learning at circus?

Xavier:  “Yeah, so I really like the uncicycle, so I have been working on group work with some of my friends, especially Sophia.  We have even been working on juggling to each other while on the unicycle.”

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Meg:  I notice that you ride your unicycle in the mornings, is that yours?

Xavier:  “Yeah, my Dad was so proud of how much I have improved, so he surprised me with my own unicycle about 2 weeks ago.”

Meg:  That’s awesome! So when you’re at home do you practice?

Xavier:  “Yeah, now that I have my own I practice up and down my street.”

Meg:  What else do you enjoy working on at circus camp?

Xavier:  “I like the silks, I have been adding onto my “pullover” this week, and my friend and I made an improv move for the show on the silks.  I also like trapeze and clowning because I like acting and being funny.”

Meg:  Do you act at your school?

Xavier:  “Yeah, I was in the school play this year and was an Oompa Loompa in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

Meg:  Do you like juggling?

Xavier:  “Yeah, but it can be hard. I am working on clubs this week.”

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Meg:  So, what else do you like to do in your free time?

Xavier:  “I like to play soccer.  I play during the year and I play with my friends for fun, too.  I also like to bike with my cousins, but I haven’t been as much since I got my unicycle.”

Meg:  That’s great.  Well, I am so glad that you have been enjoying camp so much Xavier! I hope that you have a great rest of your summer.  I will see you around either at Circus Arts or Soccer camp.

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Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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Image Credit:  Meg Griffin

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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

Check out:  Future Stars Tennis Camp

Image Credit:  Javier Ahumada

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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

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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.

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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.

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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