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

posted: November 11, 2023By:

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.