2024 Summer Leadership Team Introductions

Each week we are going to highlight one of the outstanding members of our Summer Leadership Team at Shibley.

Grace Marshak – Office Manager/Customer Service

Shibley Shibley

My name is Grace. I always look forward to my summers at Shibley. I have been working at camp for 30 years. It is like being in Disney World for me all summer long. It’s my happy place! My children came to Shibley as campers and now my grandchildren attend camp. I run the summer office and LOVE  interacting with all of the families and staff throughout the summer.

My husband and I run a paint company in the Bronx all year long. I am the salesperson and I collect the $$$. I’m looking forward to seeing all of the happy campers when they start and I also will continue my tradition of hula hooping throughout the duration of the talent shows as additional entertainment for the children.

Rachel Nover – Head Nurse

My name is Rachel Nover and I am the head Nurse at Shibley Day Camp. I am a Congentinal Heart Diease Nurse Practitioner taking time off to raise my two children, Amelia and Nathan. Amelia and Nathan both attend Shibley Day Camp and love it! We live in Port Washington with many, many other amazing Shibley Day Camp families.

This is my second summer working at camp and can’t wait to get back. I am most looking forward to keeping all the children and staff safe. I can’t wait to work with the amazing children and staff that make Shibley such a special place to be.  I am available if any parents want to discuss health concerns or anything health and safety related for summer 2024!

Stefan Serie – Athletics Director

I am excited to join the Shibley team and work alongside this group of proven and successful educational leaders. My nearly two decades of experience in education and athletics have provided me with the tools to enhance our already awesome sports programs in junior and senior camp. The GREEN values of Generosity, Respect, Empathy, Endurance and Nature are essential to the overall development of children, and I look forward to reinforcing these essential qualities with staff and campers.

When not in summer camp, I am a Physical Education teacher and coach in the Harborfields School District. I have had experience teaching Health and PE to grades K-12 throughout the duration of my career. I have coached a multitude of sports such as football, wrestling and track; as well as taught electives including weight lifting and Yoga. My wife Dana and I love running in Spartan races. I have been competing in adventure races since college and I also play competitive beach volleyball in Long Beach. We have been blessed with a daughter Bria who is one year old.

As the Athletic Director, my main responsibility at camp will be to organize and implement safe and fun athletic activities for children of all ages and abilities. I will help serve as an educational leader and collaborate with the staff to help make everyday at camp the best day ever. I am looking forward to seeing all the smiling faces and watching the operation in full swing. I can’t wait to contribute to the magical experiences, personal growth and lifelong friendships. 

Ariana Goldklang – Aquatics Director


Shibley Shibley! During the school year I am a Social Worker at the Kew Forest School in Forest Hills, Queens. I work with our elementary school students in pre-school through fifth grade. At camp I am the Aquatics Director, a role that allows me to combine my love for recreation with my dedication to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for each and every camper. This will be my second summer at Shibley after spending 13 summers at Camp Jacobson including 4 as Aquatics Director.

Whether it’s watching our campers build confidence, gain new skills or just have a great time cooling off in the water with their friends, I am committed to nurturing the holistic development of every child at camp. Additionally, I love supporting our lifeguard staff and ensuring that the pools are a place where they also feel valued and empowered as an integral part of our team and the camp community. This summer I am looking forward to our much anticipated water world day!

Additional team members will be added and highlighted each Wednesday.

Camp Prepares Children for the “Real World”

Originally posted April 2023

Children who spend time at camp each summer show self-confidence, resilience and independence out in the “real world”. Within the camp environment, children are willing to take risks, which is what leads to them developing these critical skills.

Why/how does this happen?

  • Camp creates an environment where children feel safe, loved and supported.
  • We switch from “Try this, do that!” to “Let’s all try this together!”
    • Positive peer pressure under the supervision of well-trained staff = children trying new things without even thinking about it.
  • We provide language for a child to say, “I’m not comfortable with or ready for that yet.”
    • Our staff models this language and the empathy that must be shown when someone decides they aren’t quite ready to climb the wall or go down the zip line.
  • We congratulate those who accomplish their goals AND those who show resilience in trying to reach a goal, even if they haven’t quite gotten there yet.
  • In other environments children have often decided the answer is NO before they hear the question.
    • At camp they are excited to have new opportunities presented from different voices.
  • Children observe other children overcome fears right before their eyes and see that this transformation is possible.
  • Camp is focused on the social, emotional & physical growth of a child; this is what we care about above all.
  • Camp provides intentional but also natural opportunities for children to practice and build these skills.

What does it look like in the “real world”?

  • A child volunteers to play goalie or speaks up to say they DON’T want to be goalie when asked, instead of just agreeing to avoid conflict.
  • A child who is usually very quiet in class decides to run for a student government position.
  • A child who wouldn’t go near the pool before summer began is at grandma’s house pulling their parent’s hand towards the pool so they can be the first one in.
  • A child visits an amusement park and surprises their parent by being comfortable trying a scary ride.
  • A child who used to shy away from character appearances at parties/theme parks now runs to the character to give a high five or is at least willing to stay in the same room as the character.
  • A child comes home from the first day of school talking about making friends for the first time on the first day.
  • A child enters a “drop off” birthday party or event with no hesitation for the first time.

These are just a few of the examples reported back to camp leadership from year to year. What has your child done out in the “real world” that was influenced by building self confidence, independence and resilience at camp?

Nurse Emily Reflects on Her Family’s First Summer at Shibley

There is something beautiful in watching children in an environment where they can grow and develop, all while navigating and exploring the fundamental simplicities of life.

I’ve spent the majority of my career as a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurse and unfortunately, I have seen the harsh realities of life firsthand, realities that no child should have to ever be part of or witness.  It is this experience as a nurse that helped me to realize that life is truly precious and is a gift that should be lived to the fullest, even when you are young.

This past summer I was blessed with the opportunity to be one of the camp nurses for Shibley Day Camp and as an added bonus my three children would get to experience camp for the first time.  For full disclosure, you should know that my husband and I grew up in Iowa and there certainly were not any camps for us to attend, the concept of camp was foreign but incredibly intriguing.  Scenes from The Parent Trap kept playing in my head throughout Winter and Spring in anticipation of what we were getting into.

I knew from the moment that our family first toured the Shibley grounds that the environment simply felt right, it felt like home, and it felt like we were walking into a family.   Even with that positive first experience, there were quite a few first-day jitters and I can confidently say that my children and I had no idea what we were walking into.

Day 1 quickly turned into day 39, and our hearts were forever changed.  As a Pediatric Nurse, I love taking care of children, and for the first time in my career, I was given the opportunity to take care of healthy children.  As the days of summer went by and the Band-Aids, Gatorade, and ice packs were handed out, I was reminded of how important it is for children to be in environments where they can grow as individuals through exploring new activities, develop friendships, and be challenged in ways they are not used to, all in a safe, family-friendly, and nurturing environment.

Witnessing the children of Shibley Day Camp grow this summer was truly a blessing, however, witnessing how Shibley Day Camp impacted my children this summer was truly remarkable.  All three of my children went into summer being very reserved and afraid to speak up for themselves and they walked out of Shibley as three confident and very independent children with memories that will last a lifetime.

As both a Camp Nurse and a parent, I can wholeheartedly say that Shibley Day Camp provides a magical and nurturing environment that truly promotes personal growth, lifelong friendships, and memories to last a lifetime.  In our home, our hearts will be longing for next summer.

EverGREEN: Promoting & Exhibiting GREEN Values All Year Long

An “EVERGEEN” is a tree or plant with foliage that persists and retains its color throughout the year. It is- forever green.

I like to think of this when I think of Shibley. We remain evergreen even when the camp season is over. At the core of everything that we do at Shibley are our GREEN values: generosity, respect, empathy, endurance and nurture. These values are talked about and encouraged throughout the summer season.

We see the green values symbols throughout camp. We have green Fridays and we praise a camper when they exhibit one of these values. We invite our families to participate in off-season events that help us in keeping the GREEN shining bright throughout the year!! Our staff models behavior we expect from our children at these events and during each day at camp.

How to encourage these values at home:

As a parent I like to continue encouraging and incorporating the GREEN values in my home. I want these values to permeate through my house all year long. I want my children to be little everGREENS 🙂 I think that one of the best ways to do this is through stories and books. There are so many fantastic books that focus on each of our GREEN values. Here are some of our family favorites. I hope you enjoy them!


  • Piggie and Elephant: Should I Share My Ice Cream? By Mo Willems
  • Can I play too? By Mo Willems
  • A Visitor For Bear By Bonny Becker


  • The Earth book By Todd Parr
  • Do Unto Otters- A book about manners By Laurie Keller
  • Pout Pout Fish and the Bully, Bully Shark By Deborah Diesen


  • You, Me and Empathy By Jayneen Sanders
  • Empathy is your Superpower By Cori Bussolari
  • We’re All Wonders By R.J. Palacio


  • Leopold By Dr. Ruth Westheimer
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer By Andrea Beaty
  • What Do You Do With A Problem By Kobi Yamada


  • Have you Filled a Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud
  • Maple and Willow Together By Lori Nichols
  • Stick and Stone By Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld

What It’s Like to Work at Camp

It is a true joy spending the summers of my life working at a summer camp. The challenges and rewards of working with children and making lifelong positive impressions and memories on a younger generation are enormous. To this end, there are many layers involved in creating our camp community. Many of these layers include marketing, programming, upgrading our campgrounds, recruiting, and hiring the most talented staff out there. While the summer season is 8 weeks, it takes the other 10 months of the year to plan every day of the summer.

During the off season, I spend a lot of my time recruiting new staff as well as communicating with seasonal staff that will return for another summer. Staff members who are able to return for another summer understand the magical nature of our community and the benefits of working with children in our beautiful shaded outdoor environment. In my interviews with new recruits, who never experienced camp as a child, I always get the same question: “what it is like to work at camp?” I enjoy sharing many of my own fond experiences along with those of my colleagues.

Make no mistake, working at summer camp is a very hard job. At the end of the day, you are often exhausted and sometimes frustrated. In my experience, I’ve learned that if you allow yourself to put everything you have into each day, it doesn’t feel like a job at all. Rather, you come to realize that you have found yourself a second home. You will spend your day with children, co-counselors and experienced supervisors laughing, learning and bonding together. Everyone will enjoy their usual favorite activities, but the reward of exposing the children to new and exciting activities is exhilarating. Helping a child realize they can do something they never believed they could accomplish is an extraordinary feeling.

You are going to get very close with your campers and take on the role of big brother or big sister; you become their role model. If you’re really great, you’ll feel like a rock star, who is greeted daily with much love, excitement, and a million questions. “What are we doing today?” “What is the snack of the day?” “Is Adventure Park on the schedule?!” “Can we go to Arts & Crafts for lanyard?”

During lunch, you will ensure your kids are refueling and hydrating amidst the giggles and chatter. When it’s pool time, you will help them apply suntan lotion and change into bathing suits. For your younger campers, you will tie their shoelaces at least six times a day, singing a catchy tune along the way. You will also find yourself at the “lost and found,” where inevitably your campers have misplaced their precious “things” that you warned them not to bring to camp in the first place. Your patience will be tested multiple times daily! When they excel at an activity, you will cheer their name and celebrate alongside them. At the same token, you will empathize with their hardships and guide them through disappointing moments when they’re struggling.

Friendship is such a significant puzzle piece to the summer camp experience. You will help foster relationships among each of your campers. While some children are born with the gift of making friends easily, others are not and will need your help. A camp friend is priceless and insurmountable to other friendships we have. It has always been my goal to have campers make one meaningful bond that lasts well beyond the two months we are physically together at camp.

You will sing and laugh with your campers and co-counselors as you walk from activity to activity. You’ll find yourself singing these tunes, even when you are alone. You’ll comfort your campers and dry their tears when they scrape their knees or find out they haven’t been chosen to be the lead in the camp play. You will channel your inner patience as you mediate arguments among campers. Most importantly, your job is to create an aura of comradery by sharing the positive values your camp holds dear.

Spending every moment of the day with your co-workers lends itself to discovering the small things that make them who they are. It is only natural to develop these unique bonds at an expedited pace and feel as if you have known your co-counselors for far longer. All of a sudden, you’ll realize that you too have made meaningful relationships that continue long after camp ends. This is the magic of summer camp.


Why We Shibley Shibley All Year Long

We don’t have to live 10 for 2! This popular camp term (Living 10 for 2) references spending the “other” ten months of the year longing for the two months of summer camp. We get it! Nothing is like actual camp…but at Shibley you don’t have to wait ten months to get back to camp each year. We host year-round activities for our families and prospective families nearly every month between each summer.

Earth Day Open Play – Click the link at the bottom for more specifics about our off-season events.

Why do we host these events? Mostly, it’s because we miss our camp friends during the year, and we know that the children and staff do also. It makes us so happy to bring camp friends together during the winter, fall and spring and to watch them reconnect as if they had just seen each other the previous day. It’s also a great way for new campers to get comfortable within our camp environment.

Children who attend our off-season events meet other campers and interact with camp staff.  Having this opportunity eases the anxiety that many young children have when boarding the bus for the first time.  They are familiar with both the physical environment and the friendly faces waiting for them when the bus arrives at camp. It makes a big difference!

These events are also great for new camp parents who may have their own anxiety about putting a child on the bus. Each event provides opportunity for the parent to feel the camp vibe and to make their own friends with other camp parents. We often find that parents will reconnect with old friends and/or make stronger connections with local families who already may be familiar acquaintances but not yet friends.

One of my favorite off-season events takes place outside of camp. Each spring we take a trip to Citi Field for an afternoon at the ballpark.  This is yet another opportunity for families and staff to connect before the summer begins. This outing usually attracts 100-150 participants. Let’s go Mets!