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Meet Phil and Amy Zerofski of SEACAMP San Diego

Today we’d like to introduce you to Phil and Amy Zerofski.

Phil and Amy started their journey together while teaching outdoor education at the Newfound Harbor Marine Institute in the Florida Keys. Growing up in small towns on the East Coast, they achieved their Bachelor’s Degrees before pursuing their love for marine biology.

Phil obtained his degree in Marine Biology from Roger Williams College in Rhode Island while Amy received her degree from Vassar College in New York. Phil and Amy continued their journey, moving to San Diego in 1993. Phil began work for SEACAMP San Diego, then named SEACAMP Enterprises, while Amy pursued her master’s in Marine Science from University of San Diego. Amy joined Phil at SEACAMP San Diego and ten years after inception, founder Mike Yeakle sold SEACAMP to Phil and Amy in 1997.

While continuing to run SEACAMP, they also currently hold positions with Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the University of San Diego: Phil as Marine Collector at Scripps, and Amy as a Lecturer at USD. This year, they are excited to be celebrating 30 years of SEACAMP and 20 years as owners.

Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest challenge Phil and Amy faced when they first took over 20 years ago was the intricacies of a small business – staff management, payroll, insurance, workers compensation, etc. Phil and Amy both came to the industry as marine biologists with the ability to provide SEACAMP San Diego students with great marine science programs. However, they found that there is much more to running a successful small business and through hard work Phil and Amy were able to adapt. They now have a thriving business that serves over 3,000 students every year.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
SEACAMP San Diego is a marine science camp for kids and teens specializing in hands-on, outdoor education. Since 1987 it has been our goal to supplement traditional marine biology classroom study with our interactive field activities and hands-on labs and workshops. Our in-water field activates include snorkeling, kayaking, boat trips and boogie boarding. Additionally, we include outings to the Birch Aquarium, San Diego Zoo and a one-of-a-kind tide pool exploration.

All of our field activates are done under the guidance of our Marine Science Instructors, who possess at least a college degree and are certified Red Cross Lifeguards with First Aid and CPR for the Professional Rescuer including training and first aid for marine hazards. Our labs and workshops are designed to engage students – regardless of previous experience or knowledge. Using our facility’s numerous aquariums including a full aquarium room, touch tank, and shark tank with a wide variety of live animals students receive a unique and interactive experience.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
The city of San Diego is uniquely equipped for our business; as we rely on the natural environment, parks and special attractions to provide our customers with comprehensive marine science programs. We are grateful that the city understands the importance of our beaches and bays and does its part to continually improve and maintain them. Additionally, we are fortunate to work with excellent city staff from park rangers, to lifeguards and park and recreation employees that help facilitate our programs.

While we appreciate the benefits San Diego has to offer, there are still a few areas we would like to see growth. One of the largest hurdles to our operations is staff retention due to the cost of living. Additionally, roadway congestion can be an obstacle to our daily operations, as we travel to many different locations to provide our customers with well-rounded programs.

Pricing:

  • SEACAMP Jr. – Summer Day Camp for 5th & 6th Grade Students. Tuition: $375.00 per student
  • SEACAMP I – Summer Overnight Camp for 7th – 12th Grade Students. Tuition: $895.00 per student
  • Overnight School Year Programs for Groups 5th Grade or Older. Tuition: starts at $320.00 per student
  • Day Camp School Year Programs for Groups 1st Grade or Older. Tuition: starts at $20.00 per student

Contact Info:

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