Day Camp & COVID – What Worked & What’s Ahead


Last week we published a blog by Randi which talked about making difficult decisions and gave great advice on how to go about weighing your options when these moments arise. For all of us, the last eight months have been filled with many difficult decisions and there will be more to come as we navigate through the winter.

Our team has worked (and continues to work) with colleagues across the industry, medical professionals and other experts in the field of children’s health. Camps that operated in 2020 were successful largely thanks to the collaborative nature of our industry and its leadership.

Last Summer:

For Summer 2020 we ran Shibley Lite, a modified version of our typical day camp. The parents and children had a wonderful experience with positive feedback flowing in from the moment we started.

The heroes (as they are every summer, but especially this past summer) were our staff. They were reliable, responsible, vigilant and honest when it came to communicating about health and safety.

We made it very clear that their health and safety were equally as important as that of our campers. We were clear during orientation that this summer would be different and difficult in many ways.

Safety Protocol & Modifications -Shibley Lite 2020 -CLICK TO VIEW

One of the most important decisions we made was to have a specific person as our COVID point of contact at camp. She set up testing options for staff and parents. She communicated directly and often with staff and parents of campers who showed symptoms or missed camp based on our daily health screenings. She worked closely with our nurses and oversaw the expanded health center and specific protocol for seeing campers. She was available throughout the day to assist staff, parents and campers who had questions about health and safety.

Having one person dedicated to all of this was operationally efficient and successful. It gave the parents and staff a sense of comfort because they received consistent and clear communication leading up to and throughout the summer. (Thank you Ashleigh!)

Looking forward to Summer 2021:

Our fingers are crossed and we are optimistic that Summer 2021 will look more like Summer 2019 than Summer 2020. However, at this time we are planning for a variety of scenarios based on the state of the virus in our area. It is possible that we will have capacity limitations and restrictions on group sizes as we did last summer. However we do expect:

  • Our usual and exceptional summer camp program with a full slate of athletics, arts & adventure.
  • Daily American Red Cross Swim Instruction for all campers.
  • Full day (9am to 4pm) for all campers. Mini day option (9am to 2pm) for Nursery, Pre-k and Kindergarten campers.

***We also expect to have bus service, hot lunch, snacks and towels for all staff and campers. Specific details on these items will be communicated in the early spring. We are very optimistic.

What’s going to determine what camp looks like next summer?

YOU! No pressure:) Okay, ALL OF US, not YOU. We implore our Shibley community (AND EVERYONE!!!) to wear masks, socially distance and continue to vigilantly wash hands throughout the day. If we are asked to stay inside for a month or so during the winter…let’s do it! If we work together we can get through this difficult winter and have a summer and camp season to remember in 2021.

We are here and available to discuss camp at any time!

Danny’s Thanksgiving Feast Includes…

In our house we like to eat!

Since March we have been cooking our way through an Alex Guarnaschelli cookbook. We have learned that she likes to cook with spice and lots of salt! And everyone in our house loves to cook.

During the year our dinners revolve around the main course but on Thanksgiving the turkey takes a back seat to all the sides. We talked about not making a turkey this year, but then remembered that we will need the turkey fat in order to make gravy (an absolute must have). This year we will not be celebrating with our extended family, but instead just making dinner for the 4 of us. This has not changed our plan on what we will be making and eating. Leftovers are always welcome.

Things we MUST have at Thanksgiving dinner:

Warm Butternut Squash & Cheddar Dip: CLICK FOR RECIPE

This dip is great all winter long!

Artichoke, Sausage, & Parmesan cheese stuffing: CLICK FOR RECIPE

My kids love to take the leftover stuffing and press it in the waffle maker. Making a delicious stuffing waffle, with a perfect fired egg on top.


This is really the only reason to roast a turkey.

Corn Pudding

This recipe came from a friend of mine and we have been making it for 20 years. It is so simple yet so delicious.


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 can whole corn kernels (drained)
  • 1 box jiffy corn muffin mix


  • Heat oven to 350
  • Cut butter into small pieces
  • Beat egg
  • Combine and mix all ingredients and pour into a greased baking dish
  • Bake for 1 hour (until golden brown on top)

Please let us know if you have any must haves at your Thanksgiving table and if you try any of these recipes. We wish you a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!


It’s Game Time…and Time to Adapt

Ok… itʼs finally happening.

This holiday season we are getting our children their first gaming system!!!!!! My husband and I are not video game people. The last game I played was Tetris on my brotherʼs Gameboy in 1990. While I have tried to hold back and put this off indefinitely, I realize that itʼs no longer possible and Nintendo is not the enemy.  My struggle with this has been the fear of my children glued to yet another screen and the constant begging to play. In addition to that I remember game systems played while sitting still with little movement and interaction with others.

So why now? Why give in?

I am a camper. I like to play outside, craft, swim, run around, play board games and fill my days with physical activities. I love that my children are able to join me in all of these things. BUT, with winter weather on the horizon and a global pandemic keeping us in our homes and away from the children’s usual after school activities, somethingʼs gotta give. Whatʼs a parent to do? I had to come up with a game plan (pun intended). So, not only will my children learn the joys of video games- I. WILL. TOO!!

I had to change my thinking. My 8 year old has been asking for a Nintendo Switch for a few years now. His friends have it. His cousins have it. Why canʼt he have it? When I thought of video games my mind went straight to the games I knew I didn’t want my children to play. I talked to a lot of my friends who are already ahead of me in this department. A lot of them had the same first reaction when I brought up the topic – “hold off as long as you can!!!”

Wait…some of these games are great!

But then I started to do a little research and realized that there are all types of games out there that go along with my children’s interests. Sports games for the athlete, music games for my guitar player, and games where you can build your own worlds for my lego maniac. There is something for everyone, a game for every interest and games that the entire family can play together.

What I’ve learned

This has been a really challenging year in so many ways. As we have seen, children have really stepped up in these crazy times and adapted well to whatʼs going on around them. Surprising them with something that they have been wishing for will make this holiday season a little extra special. And if that means changing board game nights to video game night occasionally – I am ok with that. I will set the gaming rules and do my best to stick to them. We will all still be playing, smiling and most importantly, spending time together as a family. And as soon as the first signs of spring start to show…outside we all go!

P.S. Wish me luck.


Difficult Decisions – What We’ve Learned

Making difficult decisions is no easy task, and these days it seems like we are confronted with them more than ever before. This past summer, Shibley decided to postpone traditional full day  camp and instead ran a half day program called Shibley Lite. It’s been a little over 2 months since our Shibley Lite program ended and here are my takeaways from Summer 2020:

  • Less turned out to be more this summer
  • Our staff rose to the challenge
  • Unlikely friendships were forged
  • Children NEED camp
  • We cannot be complacent
  • When you have your health….you have it all (This is something I’ve always known but bares repeating)

And while the summer is long gone, all of us continue to contemplate and maneuver a new lifestyle through these challenging times.  We grapple over what we feel is best for ourselves and our loved ones.


We hope we can make great decisions, hard decisions, the “right” decisions.  Sometimes it’s a matter of breaking things down to the core and asking yourself questions that can help you find the answer…the decision that works best for you.

I, like many of you spend a lot of time watching TV these days.  I cannot believe I am seeing commercials for holiday shopping!!!!! Thanksgiving is around the corner and the December holidays follow.  So what does Thanksgiving look like for all of us this year? More decisions to ponder over and come up with. What is best for our families and what feels right for now?

I have some suggestions on how to approach making difficult decisions.  I also decided to reach out to family and friends and collect their thoughts on what their process is.  Here are a few I would like to share for your consideration.

  • Grab a pen and paper and jot down the pros and cons of the decision in question.
  • Try to find sufficient time in making a decision-never decide in haste.
  • Listen to your gut instincts!
  • Reach out to friends and get thoughtful opinions.
  • Reach out to elders.
  • Take a good look at your options.
  • In making a difficult decision ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that can happen,” how likely is that to occur, and can you live with it?”
  • Some people suggest going with your first instinct. Second guessing yourself gets sticky and can lead to flip flopping your decision.
  • Think about the consequences of your course of actions.
  • Imagine making a decision-if you feel relief, it’s the way to go even if there is sadness.

My favorite go to when I am making a difficult decision is, has been, and always will be:

Can I look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day and feel good about what I see?

And finally, on a lighter note, it was just so wonderful seeing so many camper families this past weekend join us for our Halloween Hunt.  We loved the costumes and enthusiasm both children and parents displayed on Saturday.  Our staff once again rose to the occasion, and joined the festivities during this off-season event.  They are so dedicated to Shibley and our camper families and we are so fortunate to have them-they truly are the backbone of our program.

As always, stay safe, be well, and I hope the holiday season approaching brings you joy and happiness.  You all deserve that and more!!!!