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.