Archive for August, 2012

Athletics at Hi-Hills Day Camp August 10, 2012

Good Afternoon,

John Toolan pulls down the rebound and traffic, outlet pass to Dylan Vaidya, Vaidya with the no look bounce pass, Zach Riddle catches it in transition, Riddle is really pushing it, he lofts the ball high in the air, and its slammed home by Ed McCarthy, BUNK 11 HAS DONE IT FOLKS, THEY ARE THE WORLD CHAMPS….sorry about that, guess I’m just getting caught up in athletics today.

Athletics is the alternative to Leagues play here at Hi-Hills as the sports are still there but it’s less about competition and more about making sure the campers enjoy themselves while learning the proper rules for the sports. Sports played often include: tennis baseball, soccer, basketball, GaGa, Polypong, kickball, dodgeball, World Cup, and Ultimate Frisbee.

Today in athletics I got to spend time with Bunks 10, 11, and 13. The campers got to play World Cup and GaGa; for those unfamiliar with GaGa please see last Monday’s blog on Sportsmanship Week as the rules are defined there. World Cup is essentially half field soccer with teams of two competing against each other in a tournament. Teams advance by scoring a goal and the last team left is eliminated. This continues until there are only two teams left at which point it becomes a best two out of three situation.

All the games were closely contended with all of the campers winning at least one game in the various sports we played. Athletics Head John Bellina was proud to tell me about the campers’ time here in athletics. “It’s just amazing how fast these kids learn. When they first came in many of them struggled with certain sports as they were new or confusing, but here in week 7 its clear many of them are not only quite talented but have even started to teach me some things.”

Tennis at Hi-Hills August 10, 2012

Good Afternoon,

Welcome to another exciting entry in the Hi-Hills blog. Today we will be exploring the exciting world of tennis. Here at Hi-Hills our campers get to play this wonderful sport 2-3 times a week and boy do they make the most of it. From learning proper technique to competing in matches, even to creating some new and exciting games, these campers don’t waste a single second out on those courts. Under the expert tutelage of our resident Tennis aficionado Marc Willemsen our campers will soon be able to challenge the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and recent Olympic Gold Medalist, Andy Murray.

Today I spent time with Bunks 10 and 11, otherwise known as Team Party Campers and the Hawt and Spicy Nachos respectively. The session started off as always with proper tennis etiquette and stretching as safety is one of our primary concerns. Once that was taken care of we moved on to some exciting games including Tennis Hazard, Tennis Survivor Island, and Clean the Room. Clean the Room is essentially a Tennis relay race with two lines lining up on opposite sides of the court as each team sending one member at a time to serve a ball, if they succeed the next time in line then takes over, if they don’t they must retry until they make it, first team to complete their line twice wins. Tennis Survivor Island is a game where the campers get to work on returns (both forward and backhand) and location. Campers are tossed a ball and told with which swing to return the ball. If they make it over the net in play they advance, if not they must go to the other side of the net (the ocean) last camper standing wins. While in the ocean a camper can return to play if they A) catch a ball after a bounce or B) catch a ball in the air, at which point everyone in the ocean is returned to the field of play. The final game we played today was one of the campers’ favorites, Tennis Hazard. Tennis Hazard is a combination of Tennis and Dodgeball which involves the campers hitting the ball then running around the court avoiding balls thrown by the counselors and other campers. If they get tagged they are frozen where they stand, only to be freed if another camper can tag them on his or her way around the court.

After tennis was over I managed to talk to the tennis specialist Marc Willemsen about the campers. “I have to say, I’m really impressed with these campers this year. I came in expecting to have to spend a lot of time teaching the rules and proper techniques but these campers absorb information like sponges.” Marc followed up by telling me while it’s a little early to predict future success, he would not be surprised if come the 2020 and 2024 Olympics, the tennis world is dominated by the stars we see here at Hi-Hills.

Sportsmanship Events and Dance at Hi-Hills Day Camp!! August 3, 2012

Good Afternoon,

Today’s blog is action packed as so much has occurred over the last two days. Since the last entry we have had an Apache Relay, a Broadway Musical, a Swim Meet, and I even managed to stop by Performing Arts for a couple sessions this morning. There is certainly never a dull moment around here as Hi-Hills is still going full throttle, even if the summer is winding down.

On Thursday we had our Annual Apache Relays which came down to the wire closer than this writer can recall it ever being. In a change from previous years, this year’s relay was split into stations with points being scored at each station and tallied at the end to determine a winner. The stations this year included: a Crab Race Relay, a Ball & Bucket Relay, Frisbee Toss, Capture the Flag, GaGa, Ladder & Hurdles Relay, a 100 Meter Dash Relay, and a Backwards 100 Meter Dash Relay. Each station was decided by less than ten points and in the end it was the Manatees coming out on top.

We also had the first ever Hi-Hills Musical which was a great success. All the campers’ effort and time was well worth it as it was quite the sight to behold, I’m not one for gossip but there have been rumors of some potential Tony Nominations for both the cast and the producers. A big thank you is in order for the Producers, Stefanie Santoro, Cat McCormack, and Johnny Sanserve, as well as a big congratulations for the actors and actresses: Josh Monto, Jolie Golden, Christina Tamchin, Robert Bellina, Mitchell Dubson, Erin Flaherty, Elizabeth LeClerc, Timmy Miller, Morgan Champey, Abigail Rogers, Lindsay Frucci, Katie, Seidel, Stephanie Oliver, Megan Hausser, and Mariel Ganes, take a bow campers, you’ve earned it.

Pirouette, Twist and Shout, Plié, Charlie Brown: these are just some of the moves our campers have learned this year in the exciting world of Dance. Lead by our incredible Dance Instructor Cat McCormack, campers have been learning everything there is to know about the art of dance. Once or twice a week each bunk gets to spend time working on their dance moves and let me tell you they are a sight to behold.

Today I got to spend time with Bunks 9 & 10 and boy can they bust a move. Both bunks worked on their gymnastic skills as Bunk 9 learned the proper technique for cartwheels and somersaults as Bunk 10 managed to master the one-handed cartwheel. After gymnastics Bunk 9 moved on to an exhilarating game of freeze tag as Bunk 10 began learning ballet including perfecting their Grand Jeté.  After speaking to Dance Instructor Cat McCormack, I was able to gain a little more insight to just how skilled these campers are, “I keep having to turn away talent agents,” says Cat, “I know Julliard, the Joffery Academy of Dance, and the American Ballet Theatre want these campers, but they chose to come to Hi-Hills and as long as they are here, I will teach them to the best of my abilities.”

The final event of the week was the Counselor Pool Relay. This race consisting of five counselors on either side involved dressing in a full suit including blazer, swimming a lap back and forth, undressing, then passing the suit onto the next counselor in line. The competitors included, for Morris: Mike Lubinsky, Will Traver, Guillermo Gonzalez, Emily Pope, and Randy Brown; while racing for Somerset was: Cory Georgeson, Robbie Lister, Craig Brown, Megan DeMichele, and CIT Paul Graybeal. In a photo finish Randy edged out his younger brother Craig by mere milliseconds to give the Morris Manatees the victory.

It’s been an exciting and action packed week here as Sportsmanship Week has wounded down. From a Tug-of-War to a Pasta Hunt- to Apache Relays, and even a Musical, there has been something for everyone. In true Sportsmanship Week fashion the campers and counselors alike have been nothing but gracious no matter what the score was for any of the competitions. In the end, the Curse of the Purple Pasta was broken as the Somerset Sharks won with a final score of 21,475 to 21,412. Regardless of score those it’s clear everyone was a winner this week as the games went back and forth and excellent sportsmanship was shown all around proving that as the old adage says, “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”

Hi-Hills Leagues and Pasta Hunt August 1, 2012

Good Afternoon,

The MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA and now the HHL, that’s right, today’s blog will be on the Hi-Hills League. The HHL started in 2002 as a way to broaden the sports appeal and options for the campers. Prior to Leagues there was athletics but campers competed primarily with their own bunks and there was no championship to win or compete for. Leagues allowed the campers to get to know each other regardless of  their bunk as they get to meet and work together with other campers outside the ones they spend the majority of their day with.

Today the HHL is divided into two leagues the Boys League and the Girls league, each league is made up of four teams captained by a counselor who compete in various sports 3 times a week with two practice days in order to secure the best possible seed for the playoffs in Week Seven. This year the teams include: Emily’s East Coast Eliminators, Catherine’s Crazy Crocodiles, Megan’s Megamillions, and Nicole’s Notorious Narwhals for the girls and for the boys we have Jesse’s Jaguars, Brian’s Bombers, RJ’s Wolverines, and Guillermo’s Annoying Oranges.

Today I had the privilege to be the play by play anchor of a HHL basketball game between RJ’s Wolverines and Guillermo’s Oranges as well as be the color analyst for a HHL game of Tennis Baseball between Nicole’s Narwhals and Catherine’s Crocodiles. Joining me in the booth for the basketball game was Bunk 11 counselor, and fishing buddy in the offseason, Cory Georgeson. In what can only be described as a back and forth battle between two incredibly worth opponents the Wolverines managed to win by 3, 18-15. Even though the Oranges did not win, they made their coach, Harlem Globetrotter hopeful, Guillermo Gonzalez proud. There were behind the back passes, crossovers through the legs, and even a few dunk attempts by the home team. The Wolverines were paced by Nick Spinelli’s 8 points while Edward McCarthy led the Oranges with 7. After the game I jetted over to the Tennis Baseball field for the game between the Narhwals and the Crocodiles. I managed to slip into the booth right as the game started joining my co-anchor, former Professional Tennis Baseball legend turned TV Analyst, Marc Hungarter. What a game folks let me tell you, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time in a back and forth battle the Crocodiles managed to hang on for a 10-6 victory after loading the bases with the tying run at the plate. Kristen McGuire came up huge for the Crocodiles with 2 big hits and 4 RBIs while Lily Lorio and Abigail Rogers led the Narwhal effort with a pair of hits apiece and 5 RBI between them. With just a few days until the playoffs begin this is turning into one league you don’t want to miss.

In a surprise twist this article is a two for one deal as Sportsmanship week continued with a major event this afternoon. Today we had a Pasta Hunt inside the confines of the Gill Saint Bernard’s Track. The campers’ task, should they choose to accept it (which they did) was to gather as many pieces of pasta as they could find within the borders of the track. Plain colored Pasta would be worth 1 point, Red worth 5, Green worth 10, Blue worth 20, Gold  worth 50, and somewhere in there, there was a singular Purple piece of pasta worth a whopping 500 points. At the end of the competition, (and a whole bunch of pasta counting) the Sharks managed to break the curse of the Purple Pasta Piece (in the past the team who found the Purple Paste Piece has always lost) and win, needing the Purple Pasta Piece’s 500 points to turn a 27 point deficit into a 473 point victory. At the end of the day the stands read Sharks 16,506 Manatees  15,816, with the Sharks holding on the lead they’ve kept for much of the week. In honor of Sportsmanship week, and the fact that the Sharks have held a slim lead all week, instead of a quote today it was suggested by some of the Shark’s counselors that it would be fitting to end todays blog with the Manatee’s cheer in an attempt to bring them some luck in the following days. “M-O-Double R-I-S Manatees, M-O-Double R-I-S Manatees!” Good luck to both teams in the rest of the week’s activities and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.