Phillips Academy Discontinues Summer Soccer Camp to Reduce Costs, Increase Profit

There will be no shouts of “Olé” coming from the soccer fields at Andover this summer. Starting this summer, Andover Soccer Camp will be suspended due to financial difficulties, according to Stephen Carter, Chief Operating and Financial Officer. Andover released a statement stating its plans to suspend the summer soccer camp held at the school on January 22. With the economy in its current state, the administration was forced to shelve the program in an effort to cut down on costs and increase profit. Carter described the camp as a “break even operation that took a lot of work [to do so].” Steve Carr, Associate Dean of Admissions and Camp Coordinator, said, “The camp always ran as [an] equivalent to a non-profit.” He continued, “The revenue brought in essentially matched the costs it took to run the program.” “Unfortunately, given the current economy, keeping a zero sum camp is very challenging,” Carr added. Carter said that they needed to be looking for more financially productive ways to use the athletic facilities in the summer. “By the end of last summer it had become evident that the camp needed some review,” Carr said. Carr and Carter met during the fall and were able to arrive at their decision by December. At that time, they contacted Bill Tarbox, Head Director of the camp, and notified the rest of the community of the suspension. “The program looked as though it was going to remain as a ‘break even’ operation, and it didn’t seem as though we could transform [the camp] into a critical source of revenue for the school,” Carter said. Carter also explained that the Board of Trustees requested school administrators to be on the lookout for revenue “caution blinkers,” or reasons why some programs might not be turning a profit where they should be. A warning sign for Carter was the decline in camp enrollment over the past few years. According to Carter, a major problem with the program was that “the camp took up an entire six weeks of the summer.” The longevity of the operation, according to Carter “occupied a large footprint” on the summer’s fwiscal record. He said that the school is making an effort to “open itself up to new opportunities during the summer.” Carr said, “As a necessity, the school needs to see the summer generate revenue for Andover.” According to the January 22 statement, “A final decision regarding the camp’s long-term future will be made at a later date.” The school issued another statement on Tuesday, February 2, extending its gratitude to all those who made the program possible over the last 33 years. Carter said that no definite decisions have been made, and the existence of the program is and will continue to be under review. Michael Kuta, Athletic Director and Camp Coordinator, said, “The camp served thousands of kids from local communities for 33 years.” In recent years, the camp had been averaging about 700 players per summer. Kuta said, “It was able to provide budding soccer players with a fun soccer experience in a safe environment with beautiful facilities.” He added, “[The camp] gave families the opportunity to learn more about Andover, as well as [giving] Andover an opportunity to serve the local community.” Kuta, who has had an extremely positive experience with the camp, said that he was not involved in the school’s decision to suspend the program. “[I am] sorry to see it go, but I understand Phillips Academy’s decision,” Kuta added. Although this particular program has been suspended, Carr said, “We are hoping to do some exciting things in the future for the Phillips Academy community, as well as the surrounding towns.”