And We’ll Be With You Again, Shibley Camp…

by Alanna Schaefer

It had been fifteen years since I last stepped onto the beautiful green oasis called Shibley Day Camp, home to some of the most special and formative childhood memories I have. Time’s a funny thing: when I returned to interview for a group leader position before last summer, everything felt exactly the same and yet very different at the same time. I parked at 50 Pool Drive, walked up the steps to the summer office, and I was home.

The nursery bunks where I began my camp journey nearly 25 years ago stands tall. The Dining Hall, the Junior Adventure Park where the Golden Gate Bridge once stood, the pools, the fields – it’s all there but somehow better and more beautiful than I ever remembered it. 

In the wake of Camp Jacobson’s abrupt closure after summer 2022, I found myself back at Shibley where I had grown up. I had spent eleven summers away, and so it was a no-brainer that I would come back to Shibley to find comfort, solace; and a home and family for this summer and beyond.

Randi Chase was my group leader in 2002 and so it was fitting for her to be the person who hired me back, and who made my homecoming official. She was our great matriarch during my favorite camp summer going into second grade and now I would have the same privilege as group leader for the second grade boys…21 years later. Shibley, both frozen in time and perfectly contemporary, has a way of transcending the time-space continuum, and it all felt just right. 

There are no words that can accurately capture what it felt like to return to this magical place and there are no words that can accurately capture what it felt like to rejoin this summer family and return to my original summer home…our GREEN galaxy among the trees. Shibley is filled with some of the best humans I’ve met and the rest of the world melts away while we are at camp. Nothing else is as joyous or as important from late June through August.

With some of my very best camp friends in tow, I look forward to continuing this second chapter at Shibley. There is no place like Shibley, and there is no place like home. It is nothing short of magical to be back where my love of camp began and where I found my passion for working with children developed. It is nothing short of magical to be able to do this work alongside the people I love and value most. 

So yes, if it wasn’t abundantly clear, come Summer 2024, I’ll be again with you, Shibley Camp.

Thinking About Sleepaway Camp?

We are lucky to be affiliated with some of the BEST sleepaway camps around!  See below for more about our co-ed, single gender, full season, half season and shorter session camps.

We also offer special discounts for the first summer at a CampGroup camp based on how long you have been at Shibley: CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Camp Akeela – Thetford Center, Vermont

Camp Akeela is a co-ed, overnight camp in Vermont where “quirky” kids thrive! Within a well-rounded and traditional camp program, we focus on the social growth of campers, many of whom have been diagnosed with ASD, AD/HD, 2e or a similar neurodivergent profile. Akeela is an intentional community that values and celebrates each child and staff member. Campers make life-long friends, develop self-confidence, achieve independence, and leave camp with lasting memories filled with fun and spirit.

866-680-4744

info@campakeela.com

campakeela.com

Berkshire United Sports Camp – Sheffield, Massachusetts

Berkshire United Sports Camp provides a high-level sports-centric experience for male and female athletes focusing on individual skill and athletic development. We provide both one-week and two-week camp experiences for campers having completed 4th through 10th grades. Campers can choose to focus on Ice Hockey, Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Volleyball, Golf or Soccer. Male and female athletes concentrate on one primary sport of their choice. They will receive premier skill-focused coaching delivered by experienced professionals.

We offer flexible one-week and two-week options. The Berkshire United Experience centers on intensive training tailored to our athletes’ primary sport. We offer access to top-notch indoor and outdoor facilities for optimal training. We will prioritize both skill and character development. Alongside the specialized sports training, athletes will have the opportunity to participate in traditional summer camp programming. This balance helps foster personal growth, friendships, and a diverse range of skills beyond the individual’s primary sport.

413-203-6905

directors@berkshireunited.com

www.berkshireunited.com

Camp Cobbossee for Boys – Monmouth, Maine

Cobbosseee is the nation’s premiere four-week boys sports-and-adventure camp. Nestled on the shores of gorgeous Lake Cobbossee, Cobbosseee is one of the oldest continuously-running camps in the nation. Cobbossee is a place where sports and competition occupy a central facet of our summer program – but never at the expense of grace, class, or brotherhood. We know that competition and a healthy social culture are not mutually exclusive. Our boys form deep, lasting connections with each other, their counselors, and the veteran leadership at Cobbossee. Beyond sports, Cobbossee offers a rich program on our breathtaking waterfront, as well as a fully-developed adventure program in Maine’s forests, rivers, oceans, and mountains.

207-933-3503

info@cobbossee.com

www.campcobbossee.com

Camp Danbee – Hinsdale, Massachusetts

Camp Danbee offers girls both a full season and partial (Danbee in 4 or Danbee in 3) enrollment option. Spirit and instruction best describes our program. Small bunk ratios of 8 campers to 3 staff members insures quality supervision. 12 tennis courts, 2 heated pools, state of the art Gymnastics facility, along with a comprehensive arts and dance program highlight some of the many offerings. Located on Lake Ashmere in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts, Danbee is a traditional and very spirited summer for girls from 7 to 15 years old.

Danbee’s low (1:3) counselor/camper ratio. Our emphasis on skill development and participation over competition gives girls a chance to succeed, to build self-confidence, and to grow at their own pace. Promoting resilience and empowering our girls since 1950.

973-402-0606

annie@campdanbee.com

www.campdanbee.com

 

Camp Emerson – Hinsdale, Massachusetts

Camp Emerson is a co-ed sleepaway camp nestled against the Appalachian Trail in the heart of the Berkshires. Since 1968 we have been providing incredible summer experiences for youth from around the world. We offer 2-week sessions for kids ages 7-15. Our diverse programming consists of 50 activities grouped into six departments – Athletics, Performing Arts, Science/Music, Studio Arts, Watersports, and Wilderness.

And while kids often come for the fun activities, they return summer after summer for the caring community and meaningful friendships. At Camp Emerson our campers benefit from an atmosphere of collaboration, creativity, and connection. Our goal is for campers to leave Emerson each summer feeling more confident, inspired, connected to their camp family, and the natural world.

413-655-8123

zach@campemerson.com

campemerson.com

 

Greenwoods Camp for Boys – Decatur, Michigan

More than a sports camp, Greenwoods is a community focused on inclusion and character development. Whether you are a competitive athlete, a musician, or love water sports … there is a place for you at Greenwoods. We teach sportsmanship on the field and teamwork in the bunks. Our elective program allows campers to choose a competitive or non-competitive schedule.  A competitive camper may choose to participate in sports leagues and tournament play with our highly skilled coaches, satisfying even the most competitive spirit. A less competitive campers may choose to participate in sports instruction to improve his skills, or elect not to participate in team sports.

Greenwoods encourages boys to gain a sense of independence, but that does not mean they are doing it on their own. Our counselors, coaches and directors support and encourage boys every step of the way. The spirit of our brotherhood sets the stage for boys to explore and discover who they are. Campers create their own activity schedules, with input from their parents, to tailor an experience that meets their interests and passions.

269-423-3091

dana@lwcgwc.com

www.lwcgwc.com

Camp Kippewa – Monmouth, Maine

No two girls are alike, why should their summers be?

Camp Kippewa is a unique all-girls overnight camp for ages 7 to 15.  Girls select from a wide array of activities to create their own weekly schedule. The caring, nurturing ambiance at Camp Kippewa sets a girl at ease with who she is, giving her the confidence to make friends easily and feel comfortable about trying challenging new activities.

The Arts program offers over 20 disciplines of Fine Arts & Crafts and Dance & Theater. Onsite horseback riding facilities host an unbeatable Equestrian program where campers can ride daily. Lake Cobbosseecontee is the perfect setting for top-notch Water Sports instruction in waterskiing, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking.  Our program also offers a variety of Land Sports including our popular tennis program, gymnastics, soccer, softball, lacrosse and more. Campers enjoy the natural setting of Maine with ocean sailing trips, beach days, wilderness hikes and canoe trips.

Ask about our Equestrian Academy!

207-933-2993

info@kippewa.com

www.kippewa.com

Camp Kippewa Point – Monmouth, Maine

Camp Kippewa Point is the two-week camp experience for girls ages 6-14! Our warm and nurturing environment offers girls a classic camp experience that has a set beginning, middle and end. Our hybrid approach to scheduling allows Kippewa Point campers to explore everything we have to offer while also giving them the chance to spend extra time doing the activities they are excited to explore.

Hiking and camping opportunities, exciting Special Events, and an all-camp trip to the beach round out the two weeks to make sure our campers experience the beauty of Maine during their time at camp!

At Kippewa Point, we intentionally work to develop connections between our campers. We know that deep and meaningful relationships with camp friends and camp staff help to foster growth, confidence, resilience and a sense of belonging. At the end of their two-weeks, we hope that our girls have gained confidence, become more independent, feel proud of their accomplishments, and feel like the Point is their second family!

207-933-2993

jackie@kippewa.com

www.kippewapoint.com

Danbee Arts and Dance Camp – Hinsdale, MA
Where creative girls flourish! Danbee Arts & Dance Camp (DADC) is a traditional summer camp experience in the Berkshires for girls ages 9-15 with a love for fine arts or dance We believe a creative girl is a multi-faceted girl – so why should she have to choose between a traditional summer camp or an immersive arts program? At DADC, she doesn’t have to! Here a girl can have the best of both worlds: top-tier arts and dance instruction, plus all the classic summer camp magic.
Girls join us for a one or two-week session and create their own personalized camp experience, based on each girl’s unique interests – from dance to fine arts to watersports and landsports. And thanks to our small program size, each girl receives individual attention and care, and feels deeply connected to our intentionally built community.
413-233-4950

Lake Bryn Mawr Camp – Honesdale, Pennsylvania

Established a century ago as a special summer home just for girls, Lake Bryn Mawr Camp is more than a place. It’s a community where a camper can feel truly free to be herself, where she can try new things surrounded by “summer sisters” who will celebrate her successes and help her learn from her mistakes, where the emphasis is not on her appearance or her accomplishments but on her character.

At the heart of everything we do is our Angel Code, the set of core values that have guided Bryn Mawr since 1921. These four qualities help guide campers to make good decisions and be good citizens whether they’re here at camp or back at home, “living ten months for two.”

973-467-3518

angel@campbrynmawr.com

www.campbrynmawr.com

Lake of the Woods for Girls – Decatur, Michigan

We’re more than just a camp … we’re an intentional community focused on guiding girls and teens on how to become their best selves. We provide an encouraging atmosphere where campers are challenged to take healthy risks and form authentic relationships with peers and counselors. Each camper is respected as an important member of our community, and together, we celebrate differences and achievements.

Campers create their own activity schedules, with parent input, to tailor an experience that fuels their interests and ignites their passions. Girls return home from Lake of the Woods confident of who they are and what they can accomplish.

269-423-3091

dana@lwcgwc.com

www.lwcgwc.com

Camp Mah-Kee-Nac for Boys – Lenox, Massachusetts

The spirit of Camp Mah-Kee-Nac lies in the commitment to our community. Campers and staff feel supported, challenged, and encouraged to participate in an action-packed day of sports, outdoor adventure, waterfront, media and the arts. Through these activities and our elective-based program, campers build confidence by experiencing success. Our boys discover the power of their true selves and the individual role they play as part of the greater community. To us, community over everything is what makes Mah-Kee-Nac extraordinary.

Camp Mah-Kee-Nac is located in beautiful Lenox, Ma and offers 7, 4, and 3 week sessions. For boys 5th grade and below, MKN also offers a two-week “Mini Mak” session.  Give us a shout if you’d like to learn more.

413-863-6561

rachel@campmkn.com

www.campmkn.com

Camp Walt Whitman – Piermont, New Hampshire

We feel fortunate to attract particularly nice kids and down-to-earth families. We attribute this to the fact that we share a common goal to raise great kids who value community, giving back to others, being a good person and being a good friend. Our campers recognize that there’s a bigger world out there than their own, and they develop a real sense of how to positively contribute to it.

This camp has been in our family since 1948, when the Soloway brothers, Arnie and Chick, established a sleepaway camp for boys and girls that would provide a warm and caring atmosphere, stretch campers to overcome challenges, and teach children how to reach their full potential as individuals while contributing to a larger community.

Today, Camp Walt Whitman is run by the Soloway Brothers’ great-nephew, Jed Dorfman, and his wife Carolyn Dorfman. All this time, we’ve held true to the lofty goals Arnie and Chick laid out 70 years ago.

1-800-657-8282

cww@campwalt.com

www.campwalt.com

Camp Watitoh – Becket, Massachusetts

Camp Watitoh is a coed camp located in the Berkshire mountains, 3 hours from NYC and 2 hours from Boston. Our campers choose Watitoh to be part of something more than a camp, to be part of a family. A hidden gem with just over 220 campers and 100 staff, it is a place where everyone knows each other and is living the dream on Center Lake as one community. We offer land sports, creative arts, adventure, watersports, and so much more on a beautiful lakefront property.

Traditions, evening activities, camp songs, and forever friendships are deeply ingrained in the reason campers return year-after-year to their summer home. We offer an active intercamp tournament schedule along with the opportunity to explore the many special attractions of the Berkshires like Tanglewood, Jacobs Pillow, the Basketball Hall of Fame, and more…The families who are attracted to Watitoh immediately sense the down-to-earth feel and often comment on Watitoh being more of a “throw-back” which connects camp-going parents to their own camper years.

413-623-8951

info@campwatitoh.com

www.campwatitoh.com

Camp Wicosuta – Hebron, New Hampshire

Camp Wicosuta is girls’ sleep-away camp in Hebron New Hampshire.  We offer a three and a half-week traditional summer camp experience for campers completing grades 1-9. In addition, we offer a one-time, first year only Explorer Two Week Program for younger campers (Current 1-3rd graders in first session and current 1st-4th graders in second session).

At Wicosuta our goal is for every girl to walk away feeling confident in herself and competent in her abilities.  She will develop independence and new social athletic and artistic skills while making friends and having the time of her life!  We teach these lessons in a physically and emotionally safe community where our campers are challenged to move past their self-set limits.  These 3 C’s (Confidence, Competence and Community) are the foundation of Camp Wicosuta.

914-946-0927

justin@campwicosuta.com

www.campwicosuta.com

Camp Winaukee – Moultonboro, New Hampshire

Winaukee provides excellent sports instruction anchored in a traditional sleep-away camp environment. Over 100 years of tradition is weaved into campers’ daily lives as they learn new skills, build confidence, develop meaningful relationships and become better athletes and teammates.

Boys are immersed in a developmentally appropriate setting that adjusts to their needs as they grow with us. Our distinct Mainland and Island campuses share our Winaukee values while meeting your son where he is socially and athletically.

A typical Winaukee camper loves to compete, regardless of athletic skill level, and is part of a brotherhood where the person comes before wins and losses. Winaukee campers’ confidence levels and social independence grow as they are nurtured in a safe community.

Camp Winaukee is more than a sum of it’s parts — the sports, the trips, the lake, the tournaments, the tradition, the competition, the staff — we are creating life changing experiences for boys who return home as more confident versions of themselves.

800-487-9157

info@winaukee.com

www.winaukee.com

Camp Winadu – Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Camp Winadu is an all boys camp located in the Berkshire Region of Massachusetts, approximetely 2.5 hours from both New York City and Boston.

Winadu stands alone in that families and campers do not need to make a choice between a well round traditional camp and great instruction from Sports to Crafts to Music to Outdoor Adventure and Watersports.   We like to say its not an either/or.  Amongst its 40 plus activities, Camp Winadu is one of the only traditional summer camps offering a full Ice Hockey program led by the Head Coach of Williams College plus a Golf Program on-site and off-site led by an on-site Teaching Pro.

We offer three unique ways to visit and Experience Winadu this Summer:  No Stop Tour @ Camp, Pop Up Tour – where we come to you and September Open House dates @ Camp.   Contact us to learn more about these options:

914-437-7200

alissa@campwinadu.com

www.campwinadu.com

 

Enjoying Important Family Moments in Fall

With October upon us, I find myself reflecting on the recent summer season and thinking about improvements for next year. As camping professionals, we excitedly embrace the long workdays of  summer along with the organized chaos of the few months leading up to it. While I am always sad when camp ends and miss my campers tremendously, it is also a time to rejuvenate and focus on other valued aspects of my life.

Many of you know that I am a proud grandma to 2 yummy kids! My grandson, Brody, attended his first day of kindergarten in September and it was quite a special day. I found myself thinking about him all day at work, hoping he was enjoying this brand-new experience. I called him after school to see what his first impressions were; he was full of excitement, sharing details about new friends, a new playground, and the ices he was able to buy in the cafeteria all by himself!  It’s truly a blessing to watch my family’s next generation experience these beautiful milestones.

Another thrill of my September was accompanying my granddaughter, Ryan, to her first pre-school separation class in her toddler tots program.  The separation process of the program is slow and steady.  Every week of the month, the toddlers are exposed to different components of what will be their daily routine- new classmates, their teachers, the classroom environment, introductory songs, playgrounds, and specialty staff. During this time, caregivers provide support, encouragement, and comfort. By the end of the month, caregivers are asked to leave the room with the hope that their toddler feels safe and comfortable with their teachers and surroundings.

The goal is to create consistency within the toddlers’ daily lives alongside fostering confidence, self-discipline, and cooperation. In turn, these skills allow children to adapt to unfamiliar settings, learn flexibility, and navigate changes that arise all the time in our lives. Enrolling toddlers at this age into programs such as these helps nurture these fundamental skills.

When my children asked if I could attend a few of these sessions and be part of this experience, I, of course, happily said YES! This was an opportunity to help my own children while getting insight into what Ryan’s year would look like. Watching Ryan explore her classroom helped me see what she gravitates to.  What books intrigue her? Will she build a tower made of blocks or knock the tower down? Is she territorial with what she has in front of her, or will she share? Does she jump right into an activity or stand back and watch for a while? Will she use her voice or body language?

The best part for me was carpet time, where the children either sit by themselves or in their adult’s lap and engage with each other through song and movement. To my delight, Ryan curled into my lap and I could feel her body relax in my arms. What a joy and euphoric feeling. This beautiful moment of connection was priceless and I look forward to watching Ryan grow into her feelings of safety and security as we all adjust to our new fall routines.

Melissa Has Joined the Full-Time Team

This year after summer our Assistant Junior Camp Director, Melissa Slansky joined our full-time team to work with Hayley and focus on refining and improving every aspect of the Junior Camp Program. In addition, Melissa programs all the off-season events for our camp families. She also books and runs our incredible birthday parties and promotes camp with our Shibley Street Team at fairs and festivals. During summer she is an experienced and knowledgeable resource for our Junior Camp Group Leaders.

This is how she got here:

Shibley Shibley! Camp is one of my fondest childhood memories. As a result, I wanted my own children to have their own camp memories. In 2019, I was offered the opportunity to become a group leader at Shibley. I quickly accepted without hesitation or knowledge of what the job would entail. As a mother of four children, I figured overseeing campers and counselors would be simple and natural for me.

As a child, I enjoyed my summers at day camp and sleepaway camp. I’ve worked at camps since I was a teenager and joined the team at Shibley in 2019 as a Group Leader. I was welcomed onto the leadership team as Assistant Junior Camp Director for Summer 2023. My responsibilities in this role include helping returning and new group leaders transition between activities in a timely manner, problem solving with campers and staff, promoting our Green Values, providing performance feedback to staff and communicating with our camp families. I am available to support our staff at any time. Seriously, I don’t sleep.

I believe that my success as a leader  is due to the open communication that I’ve had with the leadership team, staff, and camp families. After this past summer, I joined the team full-time and took on the additional role of Off-Season Program Coordinator.  It is so much fun to plan events for our camp families and book parties of all sorts for families, staff and the local community.

Prior to joining the Shibley family, I earned a master’s in Social Work and social dedicated my time to working with children. I also met my husband at camp and we have four children of our own. I feel most rewarded when a child discovers something new that they love. “Seeing that joy of discovery and adventure in a child’s eyes is my greatest passion. I love getting to know each child and meeting their individual needs to make their summers at camp a wonderful success!”

Transitioning from group leader to the leadership team has been incredibly rewarding. I love sharing my love for camp with my Shibley family. Every year we get better at what we do. Shibley is family. I am proud to be a part of this family and to play an integral role in the experience we provide for our camp families and staff.  As someone who truly lives 10 for 2, I am super excited to give our campers and staff the best summer ever in Summer 2024!

Aquatics Leadership Update

Ariana Goldklang – Aquatics Director

Shibley Shibley!  My name is Ariana Goldklang and I am excited to be  the new Aquatics Director at Shibley Day Camp after spending 2023 working as the Assistant Aquatics Director.  This will be my 15th summer working in summer camp aquatics. I was the Aquatics Director at Camp Jacobson from 2019-2022. During the school year I work as a school social worker at the Kew-Forest School.

I am so excited to work with our campers again and provide them with a fun, supportive and safe environment to learn new skills and progress in the pool this summer! My goal is to make sure all of our campers learn to swim at a pace that is comfortable for them and to ensure that they feel safe and confident in their abilities in the water. Looking forward to summer 2024!!

Jared Levy – Assistant Aquatics Director

My name is Jared Levy, and I am excited to take on the role of Assistant Aquatics Director. I spent this past summer supervising the new “Galaxy Pool” at Shibley. I welcome this opportunity to foster the growth of our campers as they become confident swimmers. I am a certified and experienced Water Safety Instructor and I’ve taught all Red Cross swim levels. Before my employment at Shibley this summer I worked at another private day camp teaching children how to swim. I have coached many campers in becoming comfortable in the water with basic aquatic skills. Once they are comfortable, I really love seeing them blossom into swimmers with refined strokes.

Outside of Camp, I am a teacher in New York City with experience working in middle and high school. My two young children also spent their first summer at Shibley in 2023 and it proved to be a wonderful and nurturing environment for them. I loved watching them smile as they engaged with friends and participated in all the activities. This summer, I look forward to working with the entire Shibley staff, the parents and most importantly, the campers. Outside of teaching and camp, I love spending time with my family, working out and surfing.