City Parents Love Shibley Day Camp

“You want me to put my 5 year old on a bus from Manhattan to Long Island every day this summerare you crazy? 

We often hear these words or see the wheels spinning in parents’ heads when we talk about campers coming to Shibley Day Camp from Manhattan. In fact, a large percentage of our campers do come from the east side of Manhattan in addition to areas in Queens like Long Island City and Forest Hills; and parts of Brooklyn including Park Slope. 

So why do parents send their children in droves from the city every day to day camps on Long Island? We asked a mix of first time Shibley families and veterans and here were some of their answers: 

I feel so grateful to have found Shibley for my daughter.  I’m so glad that I can give her the perfect summer camp for a city kid; one where she is outdoors in the sunshine, swimming in the pool  and running in the grass every day. She comes home exhausted with dirty knees and crazy hair.  Most importantly, she comes home happy. – Mrs. Grillo 

Shibley Day Camp

“Sending our children out of the city for summer camp was the best decision we could have made.  We love our city living most of the year, but the amazing landscape at Shibley provides a true camp experience and the ability to be outdoors for activities as much as possible – a luxury not local camp could provide.  While the bus ride to and from was my greatest hesitation, this was actually one of their daily highlights. They made friends outside of their groups and age bracket which made them feel even more connected to the Shibley community.  I know it was a good thing when I offered to pick them up from camp one day and they both quickly responded ‘NOOOO!’”– Mrs. De Angelis

Shibley Day Camp“As much as we love the city, you can’t beat the variety, offerings, and outdoor facilities that a suburban day camp has to offer. The minute my active little city-bird saw Shibley, he asked if he could go there over the summer. We’re confident that it’s the right choice for us.” – Mrs Goldenberg  

“We knew it was time to give Marco a taste of suburban life when he saw the Camp Shibley promotional video and said “look, it’s in the jungle!”  There’s more to life than steaming hot sidewalks and fenced-in city parks. We wanted to give him the opportunity to spend his summers running around in fresh air and green grass, and swimming in a beautiful outdoor pool.”-Mrs. Zambetti

Shibley Day Camp“…imagine not hearing the shrill of car horns and emergency vehicles for days on end.  Instead, imagine the magical sound of kids having fun in a truly natural setting.  My daughter loves escaping the noise of the city and enjoying full days filled with the sounds of nature…” – Mr. McLaughlin 

Shibley Day Camp

Sending our daughter to Shibley from LIC was one of the best decisions we have ever made! Our daughter gets the opportunity to be active in the outdoors on a beautiful large suburban property while participating in so many activities including; swimming, ropes course, playgrounds, sports, color war…the list is endless. Shibley provides convenient busing, which is amazing especially for working parents. She is currently counting down the days until she goes back to camp!– Mrs. Fritz 

Shibley Day Camp

This will be my daughters second summer at Shibley Day Camp, and the excitement in our home is at a whole new level! When is camp starting mom? How many more days again? Living in Manhattan is an amazing experience for my daughter and our family, but like every New Yorker and especially my child who is born in and being raised in NYC, you need a break every once in a while.  When my daughter was old enough she went to Shibley and upon her return from camp that afternoon her happiness and exhaustion was evident. The activities were beyond her imagination and the staff and counselors were just amazing even the bus ride home was an exciting adventure for her filled with fun and appropriate songs and games. City kids have benefits like no other children, but you should not pass up an opportunity to send them to a camp outside the hustle and bustle of the jungle of Manhattan. And make sure its a place like Shibley that your child will love just as much as their own home.– Mrs. Sticco 

Shibley Day Camp

I love sending my daughter to camp in the suburbs for so many reasons.  First and foremost is getting her to spend time outside surrounded by large lawns of green grass and giant shady trees. She learns about nature and escapes the concrete jungle.  Also, I love that there are various pools for swim instruction dedicated to each age level. My daughter finally learned to put her head under water and started to swim last year and now she runs and jumps into the water with no fear. This year she will work to pass the deep water test. Let’s not forget about the bus! I feel like my daughter grew up on that bus, gained independence, developed patience and made great friendships with boys and girls of different ages.  Lastly but equally important are all the outstanding activities that take place outside like carnivalOlympicsrelay racesbungee .. and so much more.. We love Shibley Day Camp! – Mrs. Fastenberg 

Shibley Day Camp

“The environment is such a departure from more urban settings. It’s like a having a relative with a country house who lets your kids go run, swim and play all day (under adult supervision). Their summer days don’t crawl by looking for things to do. Every day is spent in a beautiful wooded sanctuary that gives my children the feel of a upstate sleep-away camp. But I get the added bonus of seeing them at the end of every day, exhausted and relaxed as they regale me with the stories of their adventures. Without a haven like Shibley, my kids would probably never lay back on the grass and watch the clouds on a beautiful summer day like they were in their own backyard. They don’t have to compete with neighborhood kids for a hot swing on a blacktop playground. They don’t have to wonder how they will fill their hot summer days in a concrete jungle. Instead, all four of my children learned to swim from Red Cross certified instructors, they climbed rock walls, played softball, hockey, basketball and gaga….Over the many years I have realized it is a different kind of friendship that forms over the summers, when you only see each other for a few months. Those relationships are special. They will have these camp friends for a lifetime. – Mrs. Haberstumpf

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

Facilities Update from Billy

Hello Shibley families! Billy here, and I wanted to show you some of the work that the facilities crew and I have been doing at Shibley this off season. We have completed the last of our interior bunk renovations. Xanadu and all the Senior boys bunks are now complete.  All camper bunks have been updated with beautiful pine paneling.

We have also been hard at work completing our new indoor science center complete with small animal habitats. We have  built an outdoor tortoise enclosure for our friend Daisy.

We are also redoing the bathrooms near Junior Pool 2 as part of the complete renovation of that pool and surrounding area.

We are very excited for warmer days ahead so we can get back into full swing of getting camp ready for an amazing summer 2019.​

Family Events All Year Long at Shibley

At Shibley we pride ourselves on creating a nurturing, down to earth environment that is welcoming to new campers of all ages. However, the process of making our youngest campers feel at home (and not miss their mommies and daddies) begins when we first meet the child and continues throughout the year and right up to the first day of camp.

A tour at Shibley has two purposes. One is of course to show a new family our beautiful grounds while discussing our top-notch program. The more important purpose of the tour is for us to get to know the new family and to make connections with the children. We encourage the camper to ask questions and to “make the tour guide work hard!” We know that we have to get both the parent and child to feel great about joining the Shibley family before they will make the decision to do so.

As a prospective family continues to consider Shibley, and especially after they have enrolled, we expect to see them 3-5 times before camp begins. We want a child to simply smile, give their parents a kiss goodbye and say, “Let’s go!” when the bus arrives on the first day of camp. They are able to do this because they already have been to Shibley multiple times and they know exactly where they are going and what it’s going to look like when they get there.

Our off-season events include:

  • Fall Festival around Halloween
  • Family Fun Days on weekends in January, February & March
  • Popup Winter Holiday camps in NYC
  • Spring Break Open House/Open Play – COMING UP ON 4/24
  • Pre-camp outing to Citi Field for a Mets game- 4/28/19 – RESERVE YOUR TICKETS NOW ( or 516-621-8777)
  • Spring Festival in May – 5/18/19 – SAVE THE DATE
  • Special nights at camp for Super Seniors and CITs in Spring – DATES TBA
  • Junior Camp Swim Party & Bus Rides in June – 6/20/19 – SAVE THE DATE
  • Camper/Staff Meet & Greet in June – 6/22/19 – SAVE THE DATE

We also offer our families the opportunity to come and play on our grounds any weekend during the spring while we are on site…which is most of the time. Just call and let us know when you want to come!

After attending some or all of these events the child now knows multiple Shibley staff members that he/she will see when they get off the bus on the first day. This makes for a great conversation that parents can have with children who still seem nervous.

“When you get off the bus, Stefanie will be waiting for you.”

“Remember we were playing in the playground last weekend? That is where the bus is going to let you out at camp today.”

This really eases the child’s nerves and allows for a smooth transition into camp from the comfortable school atmosphere they have been in for 10 months. The parents are usually still the nervous ones and are welcome to check in with the camp office to see how their child is doing on their first day. Hundreds of pictures are posted each night so that parents can see the happiness oozing out of the smiles on their children’s faces and realize that the children are SAFE and having the time of their life!

Tri-State, Nature & Springtime Thoughts

Hello Shibley Nation! Springtime is approaching, the temperature outside is rising, Opening Day baseball is 2 weeks away, March Madness begins this week, and the excitement of another Summer camp season at Shibley is bubbling inside all of us!

The Shibley Team recently spent 4 days in Atlantic City where the largest national camping conference is held.  Vendors from all over the country set up shop in the convention center and show off the latest and greatest in the camping industry.  At the same time, industry leaders are chosen to lead valuable seminars on camp life today!

What I really enjoy is getting together with my community of camp professionals, and sharing our knowledge and experience to ensure the high quality of summer camp and its value.  We are competitors, no doubt.  But we all agree that the powerful lessons our children learn in our camping community can be found no where else.

Here at Shibley, our grounds are blessed with beautiful natural surroundings.  The last seminar I attended talked about the connection children have with nature. Research shows that first-hand experiences with nature, like those at Shibley, reduce stress in children and help them better handle stress in the future. In addition to teaching children how to be good stewards of the environment, we are teaching children how to enjoy the world around them and take a minute to breathe deep and feel nature, which ultimately teaches them how to de-stress the natural way.

Right now, as I look out my office window and see the beautiful Shibley grounds, I see the very beginnings of Spring…….I take a deep breath…….and realize how lucky I am!

Things That Matter

What are the things that really matter when reflecting back upon your life?  For me one of the answers is my family and the memories I have growing up with them.  I just spent a week in Florida visiting my Mom and Dad who are both over 80 years old and super active. In fact, they actually have more energy than me and I am over 20 years younger.

Bob, his brother Mike and father Harvey at Shibley in Summer 1962

My dad retired as Director of Shibley at age 79 and one of his hobbies became family photography.  On the garage walls and in the house he has so many family photos dating back to the generation before him and right up to the present day with captions that he writes.  He has this priceless photo of his parents with the dog he grew up with named Pinky.  Next to it he has a picture of my sister’s dog Sammy, with the caption “Pinky’s nephew”. There are so many photos of my brother, sister and me at different stages of childhood and into adulthood.

My father was the director of Shibley for over 50 years so he has old photos from camp picture days going back to 1960.  I can remember that on each camp picture day Dad would get us from our groups and have a picture taken of me, my brother, my sister and him. Also on the walls are photos of all the grandchildren as they were born and grew up as well as pictures of the nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Those early childhood years are so precious to me and are definitely etched into my mind. When I look at the old family photos, it stirs up so many happy memories. A picture has the ability to bring you back in time to relive those wonderful experiences. It may only be for a few minutes, but very special none the less. I personally like to go back to my old neighborhood where I lived from age 2 through 13.  I sit in my car in front of my old house for a little while and I feel like I am back in that time period. It always puts a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart.

I can visualize playing baseball with my friends as well as the many other activities we did.  In those days there was no such thing as play dates or computer games. You just played outside all day until your parents told you it was time to come in. If it is not feasible for you to go back to your old neighborhood, you always have the power of the old photograph to bring you there.  Looking ahead, it’s almost spring… so warm weather and summer camp cannot be far behind.

Shibley Reflections…So Far

In the short time that I’ve been at Shibley, I’ve already had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful individuals. I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to spend my days working with people who are positive and pleasant and foster a warm, supportive atmosphere. I couldn’t ask for a better environment to spend time in while “working”.

In addition to the people I spend time with daily, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting some of the seasonal Shibley staff members who create the atmosphere and experience that our campers benefit from summer after summer. Every person I’ve come across has been thoughtful, friendly and upbeat. The moment I meet them it’s easy and clear to see that each one of them is genuinely excited about being part of the Shibley community and playing an important role in creating magical experiences for our campers.

Finally, I can’t say enough about the Shibley campers and families I have connected with. After spending time with the children and their parents at our Fall Festival, our first Fun Day for the 2019 season and a few school functions and events, I cannot say enough about everyone I’ve come in contact with. Every person has been warm and welcoming and so enthusiastic about being part of the Shibley family. The children have told me a number of wonderful camp stories and shared their memories with me and I am so looking forward to making new ones with them during the 2019 summer. Shibley is really such a special place and it shows when the staff, campers and their parents all get together and start talking. I’m looking forward to the next Fun Day this weekend where I’ll be able to meet and get to know more of the Shibley families!