So, it was 2009 and I was in the midst of our first year summer program as TSL Adventures, the culmination of lots of hard work as I scurried to get TSL off the ground while finishing my 12th year as an elementary classroom teacher. Then, opportunity knocks.
Along comes Sacred Heart School asking if we could bring TSL to their school and run their before and after school programs. I hear the words of a song in my head "should I stay or should I go"....I went. After 12 years of teaching I closed the door behind me and never looked back.
Not that it was easy to do, but I had faith that a better forward path could be shaped with this decision. I had no money, no certainty, no business experience, no accounting experience...in fact, during my first year I had pulled to the side of the road in tears after visiting an accountant for the first time. It was then I realized the only thing I truly DID know, was children and programming for children. I had countless years as a teacher and as a recreational program leader. As well, I had meticulously observed and savored recreational programs with analytical skill and stealth. But not only that, I had a thirst to see this little program at Sacred Heart grow, mostly because I knew it had to. In the end, everything I did not know, was outweighed by what I did know. The rest I developed a keen sense for in time.
Year after year, with relentless drive we added programs, subtracted programs, added more programs, moved programs from one facility to another, expanded our staffing to include middle and upper level management, learned the ins and outs of accounting, marketing, social media presence, website design and integrated software applications among many other things and kept our heads above water the entire time. How?
Awesome programs. We found our niche. There weren't many, if any, private programs that were doing, or even could do, what we sought to do, which was to redefine the school-age childcare experience and develop a unique brand in our local community and beyond. Our philosophical approach, backed up through solid programming, quality care and affordable prices encouraged repeat business which became the backbone of our operations. Not to mention word of mouth advertising, which is the best free advertising any business can have.
The first 10 years has been an awesome ride as we now operate 10 locations, with three daycare centers, 10 after school programs in public and private schools as well as off campus center locations and 10 summer camps through the capital region. We can only wonder where we will be in another 10 years!
TSL Team Contributions
This blog is for parents and educators to learn more about our organization. It's also the space where we share information of interest to parents.