For the better part of the last decade, Windridge Tennis & Sports Camp founder and owner Ted Hoehn has been in search of a successor.
In 1968, Hoehn and Alden Bryan founded the Windridge Tennis Camp in Jeffersonville, Vt. After six years, such a long waiting list had developed that a second facility was purchased in Craftsbury Common, Vt. As that camp flourished and developed a long waiting list of its own, Hoehn and Bryan purchased the Teela-Wooket Camp in Roxbury, Vt., an all-girls riding camp, in 1985, and transformed it into a co-ed tennis, soccer and horseback riding camp for youngsters ages eight through 15.
After developing a legacy and reputation for the camp over the last 50years in Roxbury, Hoehn wanted someone who strongly believed in the same core values and tent poles that he built the camp on.
“Those values include honestly and integrity; hard-work and good sportsmanship; kindness and fairness; and developing skills and mental toughness that lasts a lifetime,” said Hoehn. “And most importantly, being passionate about what you teach.”
During the search, Hoehn had many potential buyers, including people well- versed in this industry, but was unable to find the right fit.
“We had one particular person who owned other camps, not sports camps, and he didn’t have a real knowledge of what Windridge was and what our core values are,” he said. “So it was something that was flattering, to have someone come to you and be interested in buying your camp, but I wanted to have the assurance that the camp is going to flourish in the same fashion that I’ve worked 50 years to build up.”
With all of that in mind, Hoehn had sort of an epiphany one night last summer, and realized the best person to take over would be his son, Ramsey, and his wife, Nifer.
“There is no such thing as the perfect situation, especially when you are dealing with a family business, but I thought this was as close to a perfect situation that we could get,” said Hoehn. “I made him a proposal, he spent a few days looking it over with his family, and they said yes.”
As someone who has been a part of Windridge for his entire life, Ramsey Hoehn was thrilled when presented with the offer.
“Tennis and Windridge have been a part of my entire life, and to be able to keep Windridge in our family after my dad started it more than fifty years ago is a dream come true,” said Ramsey Hoehn. “We live in Vermont, have strong roots here, and are excited to be in Vermont for business and pleasure, continuing on the Windridge experience.”
Ramsey is someone who grew up as a camper at Windridge before becoming a counselor and an assistant tennis director. He then moved on to become a tennis director at clubs such as Fisher Island and Hay Harbor. Not only is Ramsey cognizant of the values of Windridge, but also has a multitude of experience running and operating programming and camps.
“It feels good to know that we are in good hands,” said Ted Hoehn. “That is very comforting. And it’s not only the Windridge legacy, but the Hoehn legacy as well. My father was also in the tennis business, so this is the third generation of Hoehns that are involved in this industry, and making our living in something that we are passionate about. One of the first things that Ramsey said to me within a week of making the agreement was that after they are finished running it, his hope was that one of his sons will take it over. That’s very heartwarming to hear that early on in the transition.”
He will not be alone in this process, though, as Norbert Auger, the full-time Camp Director, and Misha Monticciolo, the Assistant Director, will help guide the transition.
“Since the day I stepped foot at Windridge, everyone already familiar with the camp took me in like family,” said Monticciolo. “In my opinion, this is the best thing that could for Windridge and its future. Windridge has had a positive impact on so many people around the world for so many years, to have someone in the family come in who deeply understands Windridge’s core values and traditions, and can therefore continue to impact generations to come, will make for an easy and highly successful transition.”
So as Ted and Nanny Hoehn prepare to spend one final summer at Windridge full- time, they can look back at the company they built and know that it is in the right hands.
“I think the emotions will run high,” said Ted. “It’s been my life’s passion and work. I love it there, but I also feel like the time has come. It will certainly be tough when it comes to say goodbye to being there on a regular basis and pass the torch. My wife and I love to play golf and tennis in Florida during the winter, and we love to travel. That’s what we intend to do. I think it’s going to be fun for both of us. We are both healthy right now, knock on wood, and we hope to have a pretty good period of time to enjoy life.”
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org