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Memories at Shibley Day Camp

posted: April 18, 2018By:


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!

robert@shibleydaycamp.com