Potty Training Tips & Tricks

Spring is in the air. The weather is getting warmer and we are spending more time outdoors. We are getting excited! We are not only thinking about all the spring events and holidays that are coming our way but also the fact that summer is right around the corner.  We have just two months until camp starts and preparations are underway. The pools are being filled, craft supplies are being ordered and bunks are being decorated. That means that we want our children to be prepared as well. As the Junior Camp Director, I am focused on making sure that our youngest campers have an easy transition into their camp surroundings and one of the most important things that you must do before sending your tiny camper is: POTTY TRAINING!!

As a mom of three I know all too well the frustrations that come along with this task. i.e. the accidents, making sure there is always a change of clothing nearby, feeling like you can never be too far from a bathroom, the tears (yours and theirs) and more.

Here are some things that I found helpful:

The weeks leading up to potty training- talk to your child about all things potty. Have as many conversations as you can about it. Get them comfortable with the idea of it. Have some of their favorite books next to each potty or books about potty training to keep them interested. Here are a few good ones:

A Potty for ME! By Karen Katz

POTTY by Leslie Patricelli

The New Potty by Gina & Mercer Mayer

Have a kids potty on every floor to give your child easy access when they have to go:

Munchkin Potty Seat

OXO Tot Potty Chair

BlueSnail Double Step Up Stool

Before you start, bring your child to the store to pick out their new underwear. Get something that they like and are excited about.

And the most important thing to remember is once you take the diapers away DON’T EVER GO BACK!!! Stick with it. You can do it! and they can do it!

If I can help in any way, please send me a note: hayley@shibleydaycamp.com.

Spring Events with Your Shibley Friends

Shibley Shibley! Spring is just a few days away which means we are ONE season away from camp.

We have many fun events lined up for our families to participate in. We also have some partners running excellent programs at Shibley and in other spaces. Please let us know if you have questions about anything below!


Spring Swim Lessons with SwimtasticNYC:

Our Aquatics co-director Eric is now offering indoor swim lessons (off-site) for families who wish to get a head start on summer. Visit the website for more info: http://www.swimtasticnyc.com/

Soccer Sundays with Super Soccer Stars:

Super Soccer Stars at Shibley Day Camp begins on Sunday, April 3 for ages 2-5. Enroll for Super Soccer here: https://bit.ly/SHBSUPERSOCCERSPRING22



Holiday Camp In-Person During the Day

Holiday Camp at Shibley is presented by our friends at mainstages and will run from Monday, April 18 thru Friday, April 22.

Info & Register Here: https://bit.ly/SHBMAINSTAGES22


Virtual Writer’s Club In the Evening

Written Out Loud has created the most amazing program for young authors. Create a class of camp friends and together the children will write, publish and receive a hard copy of their very own book. WATCH THIS VIDEO!  

Register Here: https://bit.ly/SHBWOL22


Open Play & Picnic x 2

On Wednesday, April 20 and Saturday, April 23 we will host two Open Play & Picnic days. Play in the Green Giant and other playgrounds throughout camp with family and friends. Bring a picnic or snack.

Please RSVP for ONE of these two events. The Open Play & Picnic days are for ENROLLED families only.

For 4/20 – https://bit.ly/SHBOPENPLAY420

For 4/23 – https://bit.ly/SHBOPENPLAY423



We have a few tickets left for Mets vs. Phillies on April 30th at 7pm.

Tickets are $42 each. Please email heath@shibleydaycamp.com if you wish to join us at the game.



Our annual Spring Festival will be on Saturday, May 14. Families with ENROLLED campers are invited to camp to participate in a variety of camp activities, meet leadership staff, reconnect with old camp friends and make new ones.


Birthdays at Camp – Book Your Party Today!

And just like that, March is upon us. I can feel summer inching upon me every day and could not be more pumped for what Summer 2022 has to bring! I had a wonderful month spending time with family and friends along with celebrating my birthday, Heath’s birthday, and Danny’s birthday. I wanted to send a big thank you to my Shibley family for all the birthday love. We shared a delicious birthday lunch together as a team and it was so nice taking time out of our day to celebrate in one of our favorite places.

Did you know that your child could also celebrate their birthday at Shibley, just like Heath, Danny and I did? Our beautiful, shady grounds provide the perfect outdoor venue to ensure the kids have a wonderful time safely outdoors. For our younger children, we can open our Green Giant, play fun organized lawn games, enjoy the playground, and offer an Arts & Crafts project. For our older children, we have our famous Adventure Park (ropes course) where the navigate through various obstacles in the trees that ultimately ends with a zip line. We are also super excited to share that starting in June, we are offering pool parties supervised by our lifeguards! We provide staff to watch the children and suggest local lunch and dessert options that best fit your group’s needs.

My grandson, and Shibley camper, Brody celebrated his 3rd birthday at camp this past Fall and we had an absolute blast. He loved spending this extra time at camp beyond the summer months. Brody and his friends enjoyed playing tee-ball, running around in the Green Giant, playing in the sandbox, and making a crafts project. Please feel free to reach out to Danny (danny@shibleydaycamp.com) if you’re interested in having your next birthday party with us.  We have special discounts for our Shibley families. We hope to help bring your outdoor, camp celebration vision to fruition!

Turning Vacation Lemons to Staycation Lemonade

I was really excited to visit my family out in California this past week. My father has been out west since 2000 and my brother and his family are in northern California as well. In addition, my uncle has lived in southern California since I was little, and he was going to come meet us in San Francisco for a fun day. The children were extremely excited to see family and we booked a trip to Alcatraz, something they had been asking about for a few years. It was going to be a great week….

And then it wasn’t…

We woke up early Saturday morning and saw notifications that our flight had been canceled. Doh! We knew this was a possibility and we knew the children would be devastated but that didn’t make it any easier. JetBlue tried to put us on a flight later that day out of Newark, but we were concerned about getting stuck at the airport in New Jersey if that flight was delayed or canceled. Luckily, we did not take that flight because it took off late and was diverted in-flight to Wisconsin. Whew.

We were able to book a flight the next morning (Sunday) which would have only shortened our vacation by one day. We even had a chance to make it to Alcatraz on time if the stars aligned and we moved quickly upon arrival. But before we even went to bed on Saturday, we received notice that this flight had also been canceled. Double Doh!

As they say…it was time to make lemons into lemonade.

We immediately hopped online and found tickets for Wicked on Broadway for Sunday afternoon. The girls were dying to see it and we hadn’t seen it ourselves in years. Of course, we had to warn the girls as we were buying these tickets that this too could be canceled. It wasn’t… hooray …and it was spectacular! I had been lucky enough to see it with Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenowith when it opened on Broadway. At this performance both leads were played by understudies, and both were phenomenal. We finished the day with a dinner in NYC with friends and headed home to plan more fun for the week.

On Monday we saw Spider-Man No Way Home. It was my third time, each of my daughters’ second time and my wife’s first time. It really is an AMAZING movie, and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone so go see it!!!! On Tuesday we watched the first episode of The Book of Boba Fett, a new Star Wars series on Disney+. This is also worth watching, especially if you love the original Star Wars movies. We had some nice meals together as a family and spent some quality time together in the house.

We hadn’t been to an Islander game at the new UBS arena yet, so I purchased tickets for Islanders vs. Red Wings on Wednesday night. About three hours after I purchased them the game was postponed…of course. Thankfully, we were able to attend Saturday’s overtime win against the Oilers instead. The new arena is beautiful, and parking wasn’t quite as bad as people made it out to be.

On Thursday we went to Area 53 in Brooklyn to do some indoor adventure and climbing activities. This place was very cool. The adventure park was good for all ages and had a cool zip line type feature that went around the whole facility. They have interesting and unique rock-climbing elements, roller skating, arcade games and more. Parking is tough so leave yourself time if you decide to check it out one day.

We were always supposed to be home in time for New Year’s Eve on Friday. The children each had their own plans, and we were supposed to see a concert…but that was also postponed. We had a relaxing day and dinner together as a family before the girls went their own ways. We watched some live music on YouTube to ring in the new year. Like everything over the past year and a half, it was weird, but we made the best out of it.

We spent the rest of the weekend doing some cleaning around the house, relaxing, and getting ready to jump back into the real world for 2022. It wasn’t the week we had planned but we made it fun for all. We still miss our family, but we know we will reschedule for another visit soon. The kids were great this morning when it came time to return to school and I’m back at camp sitting at my desk and preparing for summer.

I wish you all a Happy and Safe New Year! 2022 is going to be GREAT!

Jokes & Riddles for Family Time During the Holidays

Bob loves jokes and riddles. Here are some funny ones you can tell your children over the holidays:

Where does a bee wait for a ride?  At the buzz stop.

Why are elephants so wrinkled?  Because they are too big to iron.

Why is England such a wet country?   It has a queen who’s reigning.

What has one head, one foot and 4 legs?  A bed.

What do you call an alligator in a vest?  An investigator.

How did King Arthur finish his education?   He went to knight school.

What goes up but never goes down?  Your age.

What side of a turkey has the most feathers?   The outside.

What has a head, a tail and no legs?  A penny.

What kind of dogs do they let into the library?   Hush puppies.

Why can’t the pony sing a song?  She was a little hoarse.

What kind of dog is never late to school?   A watch-dog.

What time is it when the clock strikes 13?  Time to get a new clock.

What did one toilet say to the other?   You look a bit flushed.

Where do baby cows eat their lunch at school?   In the calf-eteria.

Why can’t Elsa from frozen have a balloon?  She will “let it go, let it go”.

What do science teachers eat after dinner?   Experi-mints.

What do rabbits play at recess?   Hop-scotch.

Why did the lobster get a time-out at school?   He was being shellfish.

What can you hear but never touch or see?   Your voice.

Why did the chicken run onto the soccer field?  The ref kept calling fowl.

How are bus drivers like trees?  They both have routes / roots.

What is the center of gravity?    V.

How many letters in  THE ALPHABET?   11.

It’s a Good Thing We Have Camp!

Greetings Shibley Nation!

Here we all are again facing the start of the new year, hoping 2022 brings us health, prosperity and a bit more normalcy.  Not too many of us are sorry to say goodbye to 2021. For so many, this was another very difficult year, to say the least.

That being said, there were plenty of joyous times as well. For me, Shibley being open this past summer to welcome our campers back on the grounds alongside their counselors was a true blessing. The benefits of camp for children are immeasurable. Socializing and friendship building are some of the greatest benefits we can offer and foster (and one of the most rewarding for us as well!).

Eliminating screen time, getting exercise, and being close to nature adds so much to a child’s personal growth and development.  We offer the children opportunities to do the things they love. Maybe more importantly, they are encouraged to try new things they never thought they could do. Seeing the light bulb go on in the child’s head when they realize they CAN is amazing to witness. It is our hope to create countless wonderful memories that our campers can look back upon, so they can one day share their love for these activities discovered at camp (and for camp itself) with their own children.

There are various ingredients needed to make a great camp and I spend a lot of my time during the off-season searching for THE key ingredient-STAFF!!!!!  Without great people taking care of our campers, well it’s like eating a brownie without chocolate. I am in the midst of interviewing dozens of candidates as the year comes to a close.  I am always very impressed with these candidates as they think ahead of the curve and hope to find a job for the summer earlier than others.  They avoid the potential stress and angst of finding a last minute position when opportunities are few.

I am also in the midst of reconnecting with old staff to discuss a return to Shibley in 2022.  I love connecting with this population.  It’s especially exciting to hear from staff who are in the midst of their freshman year of college, and see how they are doing and how much they have grown. I recently reached out to a family who sent multiple children to Shibley as campers.  One of the children returned last year as a first year counselor.

My initial call was about a younger sibling returning to camp, not the staff member.  However, mom and I found ourselves talking about the tremendous growth she saw in her son during this experience.  She saw her son grow in ways she never thought possible.  Mom went on and on about the benefits of camp for young adults who take on the role of counselor.  This counselor struggled at first, privately sharing with me he was not sure he would make it through the summer. “Working with kids and taking care of them is really hard work,” he shared with me as we passed each other on the grounds.  But every day I noticed slight changes in this counselor’s demeanor.

At first, he followed the group and took complete direction from his supervisor.  As the days went on, I saw him talking with his campers, then truly engaging with them in an animated manner. Towards the end of camp, this counselor took initiative and gave direction to his campers, encouraged positive behaviors and created great friendships with his boys. He truly became a rock star and a fabulous role model.  I am happy to report that this counselor is returning in 2022!

I end many of my interviews with an idea I believe to be true-I can have a camp that has all the bells and whistles but ultimately if this child’s counselor is lackluster, then all the bells and whistles in the world can’t make the camp experience extraordinary.  A counselor who is exciting, funny, creative and engaging can make a pile of dirt fun and use it to create memorable experiences that foster lifelong relationships.

As I said before, I am interviewing now and plan to assemble and hire the greatest staff ever.  We can always do better!  If you have any candidates in mind, please encourage them to fill out a staff application on our website and I will happily reach back out and invite them for a great conversation and a tour of the grounds. I always like to make new friends!!!

Wishing you all happy holidays and an amazing year ahead filled with love, joy, health and happiness.