Professional Development All Year Long

The holidays are upon us!  First and foremost, I wanted to wish our Shibley Nation a healthy and happy holiday season!

Here at Shibley, we continue to plan and prepare for Summer 2019.  Heath, Stefanie, Bob and I recently spent 3 days at Lakota Oaks in Connecticut discussing great ideas and best practices with 17 other CampGroup summer programs.  It is always a privilege and a pleasure to spend time with other camping industry leaders sharing new challenges, philosophies and strategies.

If you were an avid camper in your younger years, it is very likely you would consider these past summer days some of the best days of your life.  And if asked why, many of you would probably answer “the people I encountered and the friendships I made are what made camp so special.” Many of “these people” have chosen Summer Camping as their profession, so you can just imagine what these professional development days in Connecticut have been like.  The energy and passion at these sessions are truly off the charts.  The goal of creating magical summers for your children is inherent in every individual you meet.

I spent much of my time focusing on staff development, and concentrating on how to provide our staff with the tools they need to create and cultivate a loving and nurturing environment for our campers.  We attend professional development programs during each and every month of the year, where we share and develop new programming for today’s camping community.

Our goal at Shibley is to go the distance in giving your child the best summer experience possible, because our campers deserve nothing less!

I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on Summer 2019.  Please email me at Randi@shibleydaycamp.com.

“It’s not about what you expect from life, it’s about what life expects from you” – The Bungee Guy

Sometimes in life, one’s greatest memories may come from somewhere unexpected. Prior to the summer of 2017, I expected my job to simply be, a job. I had no real significant work experience at that point, and expected to simply do my part, put in my time, and collect my paycheck. But when I arrived at Shibley Day Camp on the first day of the summer two years ago, my expectations were immediately altered.

Before I get into that allow me to introduce myself. My name is Danny Kosofsky; though you may know me as, “The Bungee Guy.” What you may not know about me however, is the person I used to be: immensely insecure, introverted, and antisocial. I have dealt with anxiety and have at times felt like I couldn’t assign meaning or purpose to my life—all of which changed after working at camp Shibley.

Upon my arrival on the first day of camp two summers ago, I couldn’t help but smile seeing hundreds of excited and gleeful children eager to enjoy their summer. This was so satisfying for me to see because I was that same kid with the big grin on my face at camp not too long ago. It was as if I was placed in a time machine and was being transported back to elementary school and was placed back in a time where I constantly played with friends and lived my life without judgement or care. Camp for me as a camper was a blast, but as a counselor, camp also became exceedingly meaningful.

One of the most important things for me as a camper was my relationships with my counselors. To this day, I still think about the counselors that have impacted me in positive ways. I am extremely grateful to have had such wonderful counselors throughout my camp life; many of whom have helped shaped who I am today. From the start, I became infatuated with the idea that I could be that same counselor that had a positive impact on me, to the children at Shibley Day Camp.

Working with children, brought out a side of me I didn’t even knew existed. I tried to think about the children’s perspectives, dreams, and interests. I tried to gain insight in what was going through their minds, and how I could learn and grow as a person through them. I simply wanted to treat every kid with the same amount of respect and kindness and was always genuinely interested to listen to the children talk about themselves and see how they interacted with others.

Above all else, I was blown away by the exceptionally large quantity of children who were kind and treated me with benevolence. As a result, I was compelled and driven to do the best that I could and have as much of a positive impact on the children and community around me as possible. I wanted to make bungee a memorable experience for everyone that came and put in my all every single day to do just that.

Throughout the course of the past two summers, I have become increasingly social, confident, and empathetic. While I attribute much of the aforementioned traits to the children, I would be remiss to not mention the outstanding faculty at this camp. For the first time in my life, I finally felt a sense of purpose and appreciation, which as a result, made me eager and excited to work every day. The staff has always been extremely positive and good-natured, and I felt as though I was being welcomed to a family the very first time I stepped through the doors at Shibley Day Camp. I have made so many new friends and have met so many great people throughout my tenure at Shibley. I am incredibly grateful and honored to work with and for such virtuous people and have also learned a lot about myself through them as well.

My experience at Shibley was more impactful and meaningful to me than I could have ever expected. To be honest I didn’t really even know what to expect, but from my time as an employee I came to a very important realization: It’s not about what you expect from life, it’s about what life expects from you.

I had the greatest job I could ever ask for, and hope I was able to have as much of a positive impact on the children, as they had on me. I am forever grateful to have worked for such a great camp with such terrific staff members and campers. Shibley Day Camp will always hold a special place in my heart.

Sincerely,

Danny “The Bungee Guy”

The Best Thing I Saw On Halloween

The best thing I saw this Halloween…

It wasn’t quite dark yet but the sun was beginning to set. I sat on the steps with my friend at his house. His daughters are friends with mine and he really enjoys this holiday. The girls were trick or treating with the moms and we stayed behind.

To our left was a 10 foot creature screaming and holding a baby doll upside down while shaking it back and forth. To the right was a spider that approaches you and a dog that barks at you and jumps out at you as you pass. On the driveway a zombie baby was crawling all around. There were at least three smoke machines. These were all cool props but what interested me the most about sitting in that spot was watching how each parent of a small child approached the house or in some cases… ran the other way.

Some crossed the street and never let their child even look in the direction of the house. Some walked briskly by, arms wrapped around their child as if to protect them from real danger. Some didn’t say a word and let the child decide how to handle it, which usually meant they made it up near the scary witch with the bowl of candy, took too much of it and were very happy to be on their way.

And then there was my favorite. The little shark. He was about 3 years old and timid enough to mostly avoid the other scary props, while not showing any real fear but also not approaching them head on. I watched mom watch him almost touch the scary doll on the first step up to the house but he changed his mind and quickly moved on to the bowl of candy. The bowl was a few steps past me and held onto by a scary looking (but still and quiet) witch.

He inched his way up and I smiled at him and asked where the rest of his shark family was. His mother came up the steps behind him. And then she did it and made my day. She stepped right on the pad attached to the witch that said STEP HERE, with full knowledge that she was about to scare the you know what out of her child. He jumped, showed signs of tearing up and looked right at me.

“Are you a real shark,” I asked him?

“No,” he replied and looked back at the witch.

“Well that’s not a real witch!” I exclaimed, hoping he would see my point.

His mom smiled at me and the little shark seemed to get it. I was so happy that the mother used this opportunity to teach her son that it’s ok to be scared. He got through it. He also will start to learn that a lot of scary things he sees are not real at all. It was a great and unplanned teachable moment and I was so happy to see this parent and many others let their children make their way through the scary lawn at their own pace.