Shire Village Camp

About Us

Shire Village is a spirited community which is created every summer by the campers, counselors, and specialists who attend. Nestled in the gentle mountains of the Berkshires, Shire Village has over forty years of history and adventure and an empowering philosophy of child-centered camping.

Specialists offer strong programs in areas such as theater, horseback riding, arts and crafts, farm and nature, and swimming. The camp has about one hundred 8-14 year olds and has a camper/staff ratio of just 3 to 1. This allows us to create a supportive environment which emphasizes our core values of cooperative play, respect for individual differences, creativity, active participation, and healthful living.

Shire Village offers young people a unique and joyful experience; many of our staff (including two of the directors) are former campers who return and stay for many summers.

We invite you to review the information on this site and, if you are interested, go to the “For Families” section. If you’re interested in a staff job at Shire Village, please go to the “For Staff Applications” section.

Shire Village Camp is a not for profit camp overseen by a Board of Directors comprising Parents and Staff.

Shire Village Camp consistently meets all requirements of the Massachusetts and Cummington Boards of Health, and is regularly inspected by and monitored by the local Fire Department, Building Inspector, and Electrical Inspector. Working to meet these local and state standards provides a framework similar to the American Camping Association standards and therefore we do not seek ACA accreditation.

 

Mission

Each summer Shire Village Camp seeks to fulfill a wonderful ideal, that the most important experience we can offer children is the opportunity to appreciate their own uniqueness and the uniqueness of others. In a lovely setting, we offer our campers the rewards and responsibilities of life in a close-knit community, and every summer we renew our commitment to the ideal.

Shire Village strives to bring together a group of children and adults diverse in background and experience. The children are encouraged to recognize and respect the many ways people in a complex world think, feel, and live. In an atmosphere that fosters kindness and collaboration, we challenge campers to help build a supportive environment for themselves and their peers. By accepting our challenge, the campers take a step in the lifetime struggle to build a just, humane world.

We see the children flourish in the camp’s playful, non-competitive environment. We offer guidance, creative opportunities, and tools to encourage campers to develop skills and personal relationships at their own pace. New experiences, new insights, and new friends are treasures often discovered in a camper’s stay.

The balance of adventure, exploration, and responsibility requires a highly dedicated staff, sensitive to the needs of individual campers and to the larger camp community. Working together, our staff implements a thoughtful and exciting daily program, infused with whimsy and fun, that reflects the goals, and the ideal, of Shire Village Camp.

The Board of Shire Village Camp
Cummington, Massachussetts

 
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Board of Directors

The Shire Village Camp Board of Directors comprises parents, staff, and other members of the Shire Village Community.

Elizabeth Adamo

Registered Nurse for 30 years in NYC. 22 year career at St Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center for 22 years, specializing in med- surg, ER, OR, and Cardiothoracic Surgery. Currently works at Northwell Health Staten Island Operating Room as well as Upper School Nurse at MMFS. Has been camp nurse for July session for 4 years, parent of 3 Shire Village campers.

Heather Burchyns

Heather Burchyns is a parent of a Shire Village camper and an educator. She started as a preschool teacher in Washington D.C. After many years she headed to NYC to attend Bank Street College and taught elementary special education. She held positions as a Lower School Coordinator and Admissions Director in a school for children with learning disabilities. She is currently a director at an early childhood program in lower Manhattan.

Ben Doren

Ben Doren’s experience as counselor at Shire Village for three summers showed the way for a life about children. He started in architecture and design, quickly realizing that he was better at crafting social environments. He has been a teacher of science, math, art and adventure education in public and alternative schools in various parts of the country. Ben is currently a middle school principal in the amazing Berkshires, about an hour from camp. He has two very lucky kids who have gone though Shire since they were young. Ben is jealous of his children.

Claire Mcdonnell

Claire first became involved with Shire Village Camp as a staff and board member for three summers in the early 1980s. Following this she returned two decades later as a parent of two campers, as well as a staff and board member again. In addition, she served on the boards of block association and community organizations in her town of Somers, NY. She is a special education teacher for the Bedford Central School District, a union representative to the Bedford Teachers Association, and an active participant in the Bedford Autism Support Group. Her favorite activities are hiking, camping, and kayaking during the summers in Western Mass. Claire is most proud of her children, who after being campers and then staff members at Shire Village, have gone off to create independent lives in which they are following their own passions.

Louis Minsky

Louis first came to Shire Village as a camper in 1999. He returned on staff in 2010 and has worked as a Kitchen Prep, Bunk Counselor, Group Counselor, CW Supervisor, Associate Director, and now Assistant Director. He is currently a teacher at the Packer Collegiate Institute.

Beth Schneider

Beth Schneider began her Shire Village life as a camper with her two brothers. She returned as a staff member and camp director for many years and now acts at the camp registrar and president of the board. She began her teaching career at the Woodward Park School in Brooklyn. She is currently the Associate Head of School at the Mary McDowell Friends School.

Noah Schwartzberg

Noah Schwartzberg was a Shire Village camper and staff member. He began his career in second language teaching, working abroad in Thailand with K-12 students, and with students enrolled in post-secondary and graduate programs in New York City. The second half of his career has been spent as an acquiring editor in education and professional trade subjects. His son is a Shire Village camper.

Jim Signorelli

Jim has been involved with camp since 2006. He watched his two kids grow up at Shire Village and cherishes every moment he spends on the property. When not at Shire village, he is the middle school dean of students at the Mary McDowell Friends School.

Patti Smith

Patti Smith has been on the Shire Village staff for the past twelve summers, originally as Arts & Crafts Specialist, then Specialist Supervisor and Assistant Director. This is her 4th year serving as Director. Both of her children attended camp from the ages of 4 and 6 through their CW years. Patti teaches Visual Art at Poly Prep Lower School in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Maggie Uschakow

Maggie Uschakow started at Shire Village in August of 2001. At the end of the session, on departure day the first thing she said to her mom was, “Next year i’m coming for 7 weeks.” Since that day she was a camper for four summers, kitchen staff for one summer, CW Supervisor for five summers and Assistant Director for four summers. While not at Shire Village, Maggie teaches PreSchool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

John Wiltshire

John held several staff positions at Shire Village starting in 1977 that have included, Counselor, Group Counselor, Camp Manager and Photography Specialist. John has served on the board since 1978 with a lapse of just a few years. He has also served on the board of Camphill Village and is currently Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Five Points Runners Track Club, Inc. John holds an MA and a BA from Long Island University with Post Graduate Studies at New York
University, New York.