Tag Archives: choosing a summer camp

Q&A With Shibley Day Camp in Long Island

Shibley Day Camp

It’s cold outside but parents know that summer vacation is fast approaching.  Finding the right camp experience, the right fit for our children is one of the most important things that we can do.  To help give our parents guidance and options in this decision, Kidz Central Station spoke with Heath Levine, Camp Director at Shibley Day Camp in Roslyn, Long Island.

Shibley Day Camp

What are your session lengths and dates and is there flexibility?

We have flexible session lengths because we know that for every family looking for a full 8 week program there is a family that wants to travel or children interested in trying a specialty camp out for a week in addition to spending time at Shibley over the summer. The minimum program is 4 weeks because we feel that is the amount of time needed to make real connections with the other campers and become immersed in the Shibley experience. We allow campers to enroll for any 4, 5, 6 or 7 weeks. There are no rules about consecutive weeks however we always encourage our youngest campers to start at the beginning and attend consecutive weeks when possible for consistency. Our staff is trained to treat each Monday like the first day of camp, especially with our youngest campers who miss their parents the most while at camp.

Shibley Day Camp

What are transportation options?

In Manhattan we pick up campers on convenient street corners up and down the east side. We aim to keep our bus rides at one hour with the understanding that we can not control or predict the traffic on any given day. Buses are driven by professional bus drivers and have at least one bus counselor (usually two) from our wonderful staff. The bus has a bag of fun which includes stickers, coloring, games and books for children who need some entertainment in the morning or afternoon. Camp starts the second they step on that bus and doesn’t end until they are returned safely home at the end of the day. We have air-conditioned mini buses with seatbelts. Car seats are provided by Shibley. We offer a mini day option for 3-5 year old campers that ends at 2pm. The full day buses leave Shibley at 4:15pm. Bus service is also available in Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn.

Shibley Day Camp

Describe the “typical” daily schedule.

The key word when describing a day at Shibley is “BALANCE”. All campers have instructional swim in the morning and all full day campers swim again in the afternoon for fun. We provide a hot lunch (many child friendly options daily & ability to handle most allergies/dietary restrictions) and two snacks daily. The rest of the day will include at least one sports activity, one arts activity and one adventure/climbing/science type activity. We want to make sure that all campers have activities that they love every day while also exposing them to new activities that they may want to spend more time doing after camp ends. It is also important (especially in Junior Camp) that campers have structured activities in addition to unstructured “free play” activities like playground time, Lego building and other forms of creative, self-directed play.

Shibley Day Camp

What are some of Shibley’s best special events or camp traditions?

​We have many exciting special events throughout the summer. Two of the favorites are the Goose Cup, a boys field hockey championship game and the Shibley 500 where boys and girls race wooden cars they have designed at woodworking down our hill to make the fastest time. Our 3rd-8th grade campers have the option of attending Sleepaway Week which gives them a taste of the sleepaway camp experience while surrounded with familiar Shibley friends and staff. Our Theater and Solid Gold productions during show week are also a big hit! Each summer we have multiple dress up days including our GREEN Fridays where we celebrate our GREEN Values – Generosity, Respect, Empathy, Endurance and Nurture.

Heath Levine is a lifelong camper and experienced educator. His passion is for creating a camp program and culture where all children (and staff) take risks, explore interests, make friends and discover who they want to be. He is an active member of the American Camp Association as a standards visitor in the accreditation process of camps. Heath and his wife met as day camp counselors and have two beautiful daughters who attend camp.

Great Sports Summer Camp Options

Not many years ago the best way for a young athlete in NYC to get a solid summer sports camp experience was to attend a sleep away camp outside of the city. Not anymore! In today’s robust youth sports scene, NYC is home to a wide array of summer sports day camps for kids of every age and skill level. Here are some great choices for this summer. As with other sought after programs spots are filling up quickly so don’t wait!

Downtown Giants
A mainstay of the Lower Manhattan youth sports scene since 2006, Downtown Giants runs two football camps for players ages 7-17. The June camp at the Battery Park fields focuses on flag football with drills, skills and games. A July camp, held at Chelsea Waterside field adds some tackle football drills to its flag football lineup. Whether your child is looking to get better for the fall flag or tackle football seasons or is just looking for a fun time, both camps will meet your needs. Highly skilled and energetic DTG coaches run both weeklong camps.

Mo’ Motion
Mo’ Motion offers several exciting summer camp options including its full-day Camp Motion Hoop & Travel (boys grades 4-8), Multi-Sport (co-ed grades K-6), Overtime (co-ed grades 5 and up) and its Camp Motion Hoops half-day camp (co-ed grades k-4 in AM and grades 5-10 in PM sessions). The camps provide targeted basketball training, top-level instruction, games and exercise as well as visits to other parks, ping-pong tournaments, bowling and boxing. Camps are held outdoors in Riverside Park and indoors at the Brearley Field house on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Columbia Sports Camps
Not only do attendees of Columbia University’s Little Lions Day Camp (co-ed ages 6-12) get to enjoy the school’s historic campus in Morningside Heights, they also have access to its top-notch athletic facilities. Little Lions is a kid-centered, fun-based camp that aims to keep kids physically and creatively active with a combination of classic PE games, backyard favorites, sports, arts and crafts, and special surprises run by a highly trained, eclectic staff. For older kids Columbia also runs 17 specialized sport-specific camps run by Division I coaches and Columbia student athletes.

Grapplin’ Gorillas
Grapplin’ Gorillas’ is one of the few youth wrestling programs in New York City, but it’s summer camp is about more than grappling and takedowns. In fact, it’s all about movement. In addition to teaching wrestling fundamentals, the camp incorporates non-wrestling games, dance and yoga into each day’s activities. Wrestling groups are created by both age and skill. The camp is open to boys and girls ages 4-13 and takes place at The Center at West Park on West 86th Street in Manhattan. Outdoor activities such as nuke ‘em, kickball and capture the flag are played in Central Park.

Riverside Parks
Taking advantage of the scenic fields and courts in Riverside Park between 96th and 110th streets, the Riverside Parks Conservancy offers a weekly low-cost, high-quality sports camp experience for children ages 4 to 14. Sport choices include baseball (run by Kids of Summer), basketball, soccer (run by the Carlos Oliveira Soccer Academy), tennis (Riverside Clay Tennis Association), flag football and multi sport. The camps run from June 4 – August 24.

Dutch Total Soccer
For budding soccer stars, Dutch Total Soccer is running a series of camps that offer instructional training and game play. Camps are held at Aviator Sports in Brooklyn and are for boys and girls ages 5 – 15 (camp for players ages 5-7 are half-days).  All camps are geared to help players progress through team play and age-appropriate individual skill development and to challenge them mentally, all in a fun camp experience.  A low staff to camper ratio means all participants will have the benefits of a personalized training environment.

PGA Golf Camp
Just a short drive to the Dunwoodie Golf Course in Yonkers offers beginner to intermediate golfers (ages 8-14) the opportunity to participate in a four-day PGA Junior Golf Camp.  There are four sessions running from July 9 to Aug. 23. Each day includes three hours of hands-on instruction lead by certified PGA Professionals who focus on developing golf skills (full swing, short game, rules and etiquette) while keeping the experience fun and engaging (games and activities). Half-day camps are designed to inspire new golfers and further the development of those playing at an intermediate level. Campers are always grouped by age and playing level. Students will also receive on-course playing time.

PSG Academy NY
Given their belief that the US has many talented soccer players with promising futures, PSG NY works to provide those players with high-quality practices led by certified and experienced coaches from countries that built world champions. As such, PSG Academy’s NY summer camps offer training similar to top European academies with emphasis on technical work, small-sided game and scrimmages. In addition to NYC camps on Randall’s Island and in Brooklyn, PSG also holds camps in New Rochelle and the Hamptons. Coaches provide players with personal evaluations on technical and physical skills at the beginning and the end of each week.

Kids in Sports
Kids in Sports summer camps are filled with the sports and activities kids love including baseball, basketball, floor hockey, football, lacrosse, soccer and volleyball. Cooperative games emphasizing the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship are a staple of all camps and all ages.  Camps always feature a low ratio of coaches to campers.  Younger campers also participate in arts and crafts, story-time and other free-play activities.  Choose from indoor camp in Manhattan (ages 2.5-6) and outdoors on Randall’s Island (ages 4-8 with transportation included)

Kids in the Game
Kids in the Game runs weekly camps for kids ages 4-14 in Park Slope, the Upper West and East Sides, Inwood and Riverdale. Camp counselors include current and former college athletes, teachers, and fitness coaches to ensure kids get the most fulfilling and enriching experience possible. Activities include sports, arts & crafts, zumba, and swimming.  Offsite field trips have included visits to a NY Yankees/Mets games, Bronx Zoo, LEGOLAND, and area museums.

5 Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Summer Camp

Text Summer camp written with chalkDespite the freezing temperatures and snow covering the ground, many parents are starting to think about the important decision of where to send their kids to summer camp. Especially if it’s your child’s first time, it’s important to make an educated, informed decision that best fits your family. But what factors are the most important to consider when choosing a summer camp? Check out the following five important things to consider from Paul Isserles, director of Buckley Day Camp!

Culture. Camp culture is what will make or break the camp experience for campers and their parents, so parents need to make sure the camp they choose has the right feel for their family. “Camp should be a place where campers and families feel positive and are comfortable to be themselves,” says Isserles. A great way to get a sense for the culture of a camp is by talking to the owners about their camp’s culture, visiting/attending a camp open house, and talking to families whose children have attended during previous summers.

Structure. It’s important that parents understand the structure of a camp’s program—both for now and for their child in the future. Is the camp a traditional one or is it more elective based?  Is it more trip-based? It’s important to know what you’re looking for and find a program that fits your child. So if your child is very athletic and you’ve found a camp that doesn’t put much emphasis on sports, you may want to continue your search to find camps with more of an athletic focus.

Philosophy. Listen to how the camp administration talks about children—this will set the tone for how the staff work and act every day.  It will also tell you a lot about what the camp’s philosophy is about working with children. The people who run your child’s camp should operate under a philosophy you relate to and believe in! The more you talk to the owners/administration of a camp, the more you will understand their philosophy behind running it.

Staffing. It’s important to ask the following questions in relation to staffing: How is the camp staffed? What is the staff-to-child ratio for each age group and the camp overall? What are the qualifications of the staff working with my child? What kind of training is done with the staff before camp? What is the retention rate of the staff? Make sure you are totally comfortable and happy with all of the answers, as the counselors and administration will be keeping watch over your most precious creation all summer long.

Flexibility. “Families should understand how flexible a camp is with changing weeks, absences, allergies etc.,” explains Paul.  Especially if you have unique circumstances that require a degree of flexibility, it’s important to know how accommodating a camp is when you’re looking so that there are no surprises once the summer begins.

So now that you know what to consider when choosing a summer camp, search Kidz Central Station to find the perfect camp for your child this summer!