Welcome to the Shibley Swim Program! – Part 1

By Jamie Haberstumpf

When I think about Shibley many, many things come to mind.  Whether it is acres of the great outdoors, sprawling fields, bungee, tennis, rock climbing, gaga or the hundreds of other activities offered, one particular activity still jumps out at me…..SWIM.

Swimming is an amazing activity. Whether you are learning to float or paddle or working on your backstroke, it’s great exercise. It builds strength and develops muscles. It also develops the overall body’s tone and balance. Many great athletes, across many sports, started with simple swimming instruction that developed into year-round swimming. Swimmers often are able to train longer than most other athletes while performing their sports since training in water eases stress on the joints.

Shibley is home to four heated pools staffed with Water Safety Instructors (WSI), American Red Cross and Nassau certified Lifeguards.  My own four children learned to swim at Shibley and that is why I am dedicated to teaching all of the campers the FUNdamentals and skills of swimming!


My next post will describe the skills we teach every day in our pools at Shibley Day Camp.


Why I Spend My Summers at Shibley

By Elisabeth Frankel-Reed – Office Staff

If you’ve called the camp office anytime during the summer, then you’ve most likely spoken with me.  I’m Elisabeth Frankel-Reed and I’ve been working in the office since June 2014 – when my son was six and my daughter had just turned four – both of them were junior campers. My responsibilities include handling phone calls about everything from parking, to requests for dismissal changes, to helping address any concerns a parent may have.  I genuinely love being on the phones – it allows me to get to know our camp families and it is always a great feeling to be able to help someone out and reassure them that I am on top of whatever request they may have.

I also enjoy my many other office tasks, which vary from day to day.  My favorite is collaborating with group leaders as we work on the awards which are given out to every camper who is with us for at least four weeks.  Our office is a real team.  We all get along very well – we like to talk and laugh together, enjoy each other’s company, and help each other with anything that needs to get done.  Our common goal is to make sure that each camper stays safe, healthy and happy.

One of the perks of my job is that I get to see my kids smiling and having fun every day.  Summer camp is such a benefit to their lives as well as to the many other children who attend Shibley or similar camps.  As I’m sure many of you can relate, it keeps them outdoors and moving, interacting with other children and off their screens!  They learn new sports, are exposed to a wide range of activities that they otherwise may not have tried, and make new friends, not just from Long Island, but from Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn too.  In fact, my son loved playing baseball with his camp friends so much that he joined a league in their town last fall, just so he could continue playing with them.

Many activities, such as our amazing swim, tennis, and bungee programs have been around year after year, but one of the things I love most about Shibley is that Rachel and her team are always looking for ways to enhance the camp.  They really try to offer each camper the best possible program for their given age group and cater to all of their different needs.  This summer, we’ve added a new zip line, a cooking program and an Adventure Park in Junior Camp.  Another recent change that really stands out in my mind was the addition of the Jeannie Cup – a newcomb tournament for the senior girls to match the legendary Shibley Goose Cup – a hockey tournament which has long been a tradition for the senior boys.

In addition to the activities that the staff puts so much effort into, it’s the atmosphere that keeps me coming back year after year.  The sunshine, all the trees, and the mini Yankee Stadium are certainly part of it, but really it’s the people who work here that make Shibley what it is.  Many of our staff have spent decades at the camp and we have many 2nd and 3rd generation campers with us every day to keep the traditions going strong.

Making New Friends at Camp

By Eric Simonson – SB3

My group of fourth-grade boys swim twice a day. When I get my group ready to go to the pool, I yell out, “Everybody find a buddy!” At Shibley Day Camp, we use the Buddy System to ensure safety at the pool. Finding a buddy, though, is not exclusive to going to the pool. One of the best aspects of going to camp is the opportunity to make new friends. Oftentimes, the friends you make at camp go on to be some of your best friends in life—your best buddies, if you will.


When we meet new people, we tend to feel nervous and overwhelmed. We worry about fitting in and getting along with others. Despite these emotions, I have seen so many campers develop new friendships during my time at Shibley, even in the first week of camp. I have seen both sides of the coin—campers who have similar personalities and interests becoming friends, and campers who are seemingly polar opposites hitting it off and becoming incredibly close by the end of the summer. One of the greatest joys of working at camp is seeing these campers come back the following year and pick their friendships right back up where they left off, and many times even hearing about the play dates they had with their camp friends during the school year.

Making new friends might seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually very easy. I present to you, “Eric’s Steps to Making a Ton of New Friends at Camp!”

Step 1: Go to camp with a positive mindset. Confucius said one of my favorite quotes, and that is, “The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right.” If you tell yourself that you won’t make any new friends, then you definitely will not. If you tell yourself that you’re excited to make new friends, however, you are setting yourself up for success.

Step 2:  Talk to someone new as often as possible. There are so many different ways to do this. You can sit next to someone new at lunch every day, you can choose a different swim buddy every day, or you can go to activities with different campers for each option period. The more campers you open yourself up to, the more campers you will find something—or many things—in common with.

Step 3: Be a good friend to everyone. There are certain characteristics that people who are considered good friends possess. Good friends are supportive and kind. They cheer you on when you’re competing, and they help lift you up in times of disappointment. By being a good friend to everyone, you will become a magnet for new friends.

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” My hope for each and every camper at Shibley is that they leave this summer with more footprints in their hearts than they came with.