Future Stars Camps are in their 37th year of providing specialized camp experiences throughout Westchester, Manhattan and Long Island. Co-founded by Charlie VanDercook in 1980, the program’s tennis camps have become some of the most successful in the Tri-State area.
Pablo Montesi serves as Vice President of Development for Future Stars, and has been with the company for more than 11 years.
“I love coming to teach here, I love the program,” said Montesi, who hails from Santiago, Chile. Montesi moved to the United States after accepting a scholarship to Benedictine College in Kansas. “I enjoy being with our staff and the kids. I learned a lot from Charlie [VanDercook], and have been able to manage our programs here. I take a lot of pride in developing relationships amongst the coaches, and many of our coaches want to come back year after year, which I think is very meaningful.”
The camaraderie between the coaches and the kids is evident if you visit any of the camps, which New York Tennis Magazine did at Future Stars’ Southampton location, one of the sites where Montesi runs the coaching, staffing and programming.
Montesi met VanDercook through a friend who had previously worked for him, and his tennis career was born. One of his first tasks was to unlock the East Hampton club after the winter, and he has worked his way up to one of the most integral members of the Future Stars team.
“I came to Future Stars when I was 22-years-old,” said Montesi. “I first started in East Hampton and Southampton, but was exposed to all of their camps in the area. I loved it and knew then that I wanted to continue teaching tennis. I told Charlie I wanted my teaching certifications, I completed them, and he hired me as a full-time coach.”
A few years later, Montesi was in charge of running his own camp and he now oversees the operations at all of Future Stars locations in The Hamptons. While each camp has its own coaches and staff which give each their own personality, they all fall under the Future Stars umbrella and embody the direction of the program that VanDercook instilled when he launched his company nearly four decades ago.
“Each location has its own director’s taste, but they do have the character and personality of all the Future Stars Camps, including a spirit that was instilled by Charlie and the community,” said Montesi. “In Southampton, for example, I realized there was a huge potential for intense training and a higher level of performance, which they didn’t have here. The parents here are a little more demanding than at other camps, and so we need to make sure we have top coaches. I don’t want any kid going home saying, ‘That was easy.’ We want them to train hard, and get the full tennis experience.”
While the training for the players is hard, the camps make sure to create an overall enjoyable experience during the summer. At the end of every week, they invite the parents to come down as they host an award ceremony for the kids, which helps create the family-type atmosphere that is at the core of the Future Stars’ mission.
With more than 160 kids in their Hamptons program, Future Stars has certainly put together the right formula to produce a successful tennis camp, which applies to all their locations, stretching up into Westchester.
A major factor in that success is the wide variety of tennis coaches that it has, which provide a well-rounded academy with people from all types of backgrounds, something Montesi stresses is extremely important.
“When I first came to the United States and I was at a different camp, the guy running it was from Brazil and had seven coaches who were from Brazil. I said I would never do that. You want to have diversity,” said Montesi. “Everyone has so much to contribute, especially those who come from overseas with tennis experience. We have people from Argentina, Germany, Australia, Sweden, France, Netherlands, England, Brazil, Serbia, the Ukraine and more … it’s important to have that diversity.”
Montesi and his team don’t solely look for coaches based on their background, and on the search for coaches, he makes sure to get to know them, and understand what their goals are to make sure they are the right fit to work the kids within the program. The staff meets every week so everyone is on the same page, understanding the kids’ needs and how to improve what they are doing.
“That is something we work hard here every day on,” said Montesi. “We pay a lot of attention to detail.”
With that attitude and mindset, the Future Stars program continues to be one of the shining aspects of Hamptons’ tennis. Still, the program is always looking to become bigger and better, and has plans to do so.
“We want to grow and expand, and are always trying to figure out ways to do so,” said Montesi. “Next summer, we’re hoping to have a tennis academy. We have the camp now, but we want a difference between the camp and the academy, because we have players who are extremely competitive. Next year, we hope to build intense high school players. And with our younger players, we want them to grow with us and feed into our academy.”
Montesi has become one of the most integral members of the Future Stars team and has helped bring it to where it is now. With an established program mindset, and plans to continue its expansion, Future Stars is making sure it is staying on the cutting-edge of tennis, and maintains its distinction as one of the most reputable tennis programs in the area.
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org