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
- Pre-camp outing to Citi Field for a Mets game
- Spring Festival in May
- Special nights at camp for Super Seniors and CITs
- Junior Camp Swim Party & Bus Rides in JUNE
- Camper/Staff Meet & Greet in June
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!