Sylvan Robotics & Coding at Shibley for Summer 2018!

Young girl in outdoor adventure

Sylvan Learning of Port Washington will be at Shibley for a few special days summer providing special coding and robotics classes for our campers and we are extremely happy to have them on board! Here is a brief description of what our campers can expect this summer:

Summer Camp

Build robots. Build friendships. Build confidence! Sylvan robotics will give your child a lively introduction to building and programming robots.  The students will build cool models out of LEGOs® and animate them with award-winning WeDo™ software — while they learn basic programming skills.

They will also be here on 5/19 from 1-4pm at our Spring Fling:

Please come and join us for a few hours of Robotics, Enginering, and Coding!  You will have the opportunity to work on projects in which you become bold builders and cool coders!  Raffle and prizes will also be given out that day!

Shibley Goes to Citi Field

Camper and staff wearing Mets gear


Hey Met fans…….there was no joy in Mudville (Citifield in our case) last Sunday, as the Colorado Rockies made it a bumpy road for the home team.  However, Shibley was there in full force supporting the Mets and our Shibley community.  For many of the campers that attended it was their first experience at a major league ballpark and we were honored to be a part of their special day.  There were so many highlights from Sunday including meeting in front of the Big Apple and enjoying the carnival-like activities to walking through the hallowed halls of Citifield where the players train and practice. As we reached the end of the hall, we felt the excitement and electricity of stepping out onto the warning track in left field where Cespedes makes amazing catches and laserbeam throws towards home plate.  And of course, as we arrived at our seats, it was time to taste the delights of Citifield. Some of us stuck with good old fashioned hot dogs while others went for the noveau cuisine that has given Citified a special flavor.

For me, there is nothing like spending a Sunday afternoon at the ballpark with friends and family. Last Sunday, I spent the day with my Shibley family and nothing is better than that!


While the home team may not always win, enjoying this shared experience is really what it’s all about.  As our bonds deepened every inning, many of our campers met new friends for the first time who they will share their summer adventures with.  Parents engaged with each other and the Shibley staff members who attended.  So……the Mets lost….but it was a win-win for all of us.  Spending time with each other and creating lasting memories is what Shibley is all about. Make sure to mark May 19th on your calendars for the Shibley Spring Fling where more great memories will be made! See you there!


Shibley is Full of Adventure

High ropes course tires and bridge

I love to travel – whether it’s by car, boat or flight…I’ve been fortunate enough to see some pretty cool places. I like my vacations to incorporate a mix of adventure and relaxation!

You ask why I’m telling you about this…Well, as you might have heard Shibley has some pretty cool adventure additions to camp this year.

We added a Zip Line to our famous Adventure Park in the trees. Our adventure park is for campers who are 6 years old and older. Check out these photos:

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We didn’t want our 3 – 5 year old campers to feel left out, so new for Summer 2018 – our Junior Camp Adventure Park! It looks awesome and we can’t wait for you to try it out this summer.

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While we won’t do this at Shibley, I wanted to include a picture of one of the most exciting Zip Line tours I did. This is from Nicaragua in 2012.

In addition to our two Adventure Parks, our adventure program also includes our Climbing Wall and Go-Karts. The summer will be here before we know it – can’t wait to see you all on our Zip Line and Adventure Parks this summer! Please email me – – Tell me what adventure activity you are most excited about!

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How (and Why) to Unplug Your Family

The other day I went to get something to make for dinner for my family. I walked into a local store we like, sighed at the long line, found the end of the long line on the other side of the store, and started staring at my phone to pass the time. Is there a Mets lineup posted yet? Who are the Jets going to draft? Which entertainers and politicians are arguing on Twitter? This is really important stuff that I had to know at that moment. After what felt like 10 minutes standing and barely moving, I looked up and noticed the gentleman next to me doing the same thing. He was also 100% focused on his phone, and I’m sure also reading equally important information!

Then I realized it was one of my good friends. We stood there for 10 minutes, less than one foot away from each other and didn’t even notice each other. We laughed out loud but it also scared me when I thought about it later. We (me included!) are all so wrapped up in the information available on our devices, we don’t see (and enjoy) what is right in front of us. We should have spent that time catching up, sharing stories about our children, talking about work, etc.

I see families and friends out to dinner, sitting, waiting for a movie to start and/or driving in a car together and too many times each person (sometimes even the driver!) is more focused on their phone then the people around them. My family is often guilty of this as well. And sometimes when we do talk, we are focused on everything that’s happening in the world and everything we have to remember to do tomorrow, next week or next month. We miss out on the really important moments when we are together with loved ones because we are not present in the moment. As one of my favorite characters likes to say, “Live in the Now!” (Bonus points if you know who I am referring to). If we don’t have a good handle on what’s happening at the present moment, it doesn’t really matter what you have planned for tomorrow, next week or next month.

What can we do? Make rules for your family! Here are some rules that work (most of the time) for mine:

Have a no device at meals policy when you are all sitting together. We also like to (my 6 year old insists on it!) go around the table and discuss POSITIVE things that happened during the day. Of course we also discuss any negatives and how to resolve them, but we try to steer our conversations towards the great things happening in our lives each day.

Do not allow the children to use devices in the car unless the ride is more than an hour.

Make Saturday or Sunday morning a music only time. We listen to the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Weird Al, They Might Be Giants, Broadway shows and mixes of all of our favorite tunes. The children color, talk, play board games, build legos, etc. We (my wife and I- not the children!) drink coffee, eat breakfast together and enjoy each other in the moment. If it’s nice out we do this all outside and even take a walk around the block together!

Do not allow children to use devices at play dates. Break out the markers, glue and scissors, let them build forts with couch cushions or get them outside if it’s not freezing. Children can play outside if it’s a little cold and even if it’s a little wet! They will be ok.

At camp we place a high priority on personal interactions. Campers are intentionally placed in situations where they are forced to have these interactions with peers and adults. Our Shibley community is guided by our GREEN Values: Generosity, Respect, Empathy, Endurance and Nurture. We celebrate these values as we guide the positive social development of children and young adults. This development does not take place when children (and adults) are staring at devices all day.

What rules do you have in place for your family that work well? Please share them with us-

Memories at Shibley Day Camp

Historical photo of Shibley campers and staff

It all started for me at Shibley in 1960 as a 4 year old in the Nursery Division. I actually have a distant memory of getting hold of a running water hose and getting all the counselors wet. The most special thing about camp was the friends you made. You wouldn’t see these children all year and then the summer would come and you were all reunited. In those days you had your school friends and your camp friends. My two best friends in my 9 years as a camper at Shibley were Scott Harris and Steven Robbins. I can still remember their names today even though I haven’t seen them since summer 1968 (50 years ago). Every summer on the first day I was so excited to find out that we all had the same counselor and would be together again in the same squad.

My favorite things at camp were basketball, baseball and swimming. I learned to swim at Shibley and have memories of swimming in the Jr. Pool at age 5. I remember at the start of the morning in instructional swim everyone would hold on to the wall and practice kicking. The pools weren’t heated back then like they are today, so the water for the morning swim was pretty cold. As the years progressed I kept moving up through all the swimming levels and eventually earned my junior lifesaving card. I can still remember taking and passing the hardest part which was swimming for 10 minutes without stopping. Moe was the name of the head lifeguard at the Sr. Pool who gave me the test. I remember he used to introduce himself the first day and say “My name is Moe!” and that “Larry & Curly were not here!” It was a reference to the show “The Three Stooges”, which was a very popular TV show back then. All the children would laugh.

I also remember the Shibley baseball league. It was called the Watermelon League because the winning team at the end of the season received a whole watermelon to split amongst their teammates. I remember how excited we were when we won the final game of the season to win the watermelon. Everyone in camp actually had watermelon for dessert that day. However, we had ours in a separate room, it was cut right in front of us and the pieces seemed extra large. It was a very special experience for me as a child.

Fast forward to 1975 when I started working at Shibley, first as a counselor and then as a lifeguard. I finished college and law school in 1982 and had to go out in the real world and get a non-camp job. In those days there really weren’t year round jobs in camping. Then in 1995 a full time job became available at Shibley and I have been here ever since. All my friends are jealous that while they go to work each day, I get to go to camp instead. Thanks for reading!

The 2018 Mets

Randi at Mets game

A few weeks ago (to my delight) I took the day off and went on my annual pilgrimage to Citi Field for opening day. I joined my brother, nephew and son. We call ourselves ‘The Faithful Four.” Opening Day is very special as it is the only day of the season where every fan in America is an optimist. For me, opening day is the official welcome to Spring and it’s a stone’s throw away from my favorite time of the year – summer and camp!

So what can we expect from the Mets in 2018? The answer lies with how healthy the team can stay this season. Once again, we’re going into the season with two of the premier pitchers in the game – Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom. I have faith that without injury these two guys can carry the team far. However, to bring us to the promised land (playoffs), we need Matt Harvey to recapture his form and confidence from yesteryear. Steven Matz needs to remain off the DL. We also need a big comeback year from closer Jeurys Familia.

We have a brand new manager at the helm, Mickey Callaway, who appears to be the polar opposite of Terry Collins. New school versus old school…analytics versus tradition. I loved Terry and I’m beginning to really like Mickey. His new unconventional lineup card and modern approach on how to play the game will keep me intrigued all season.

I predict Yoenis Cespedes will have a career year and Michael Conforto will emerge as one of the best hitters in the game. I am very excited to watch two new young dynamic players, Amed Rosario and Brandon Nimmo.

My concerns are how long Adrian Gonzalez can keep up in this young man’s game. Will Todd Frazier hit for a respectable average? Can the catching duo of Kevin Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud provide more offense then in previous years? Do they have the arms to gun down opposing base stealers? And finally-can the bullpen with Blevins, Lugo, and company keep us in the game once our star pitchers hand the ball over.

All in all I think the Mets have a great chance at securing a wild-card spot. And with a little bit of luck, battle the Washington Nationals for the top of the NL East.

I can talk baseball all day long. As a matter of fact, I have a great idea! Please join Shibley on Sunday, May 6th as we descend upon Citi Field to root for our beloved Metsies so we can continue this conversation in person!!

Please email me at and tell me your thoughts on this year’s baseball season. I promise to respond… even to the Yankee fans!