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.
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.
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.
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.
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.