Archive for June, 2013

Mad Science Week with Black Rocket June 26, 2013

It’s Mad Science week here at Hi-Hills, and we’re excited to offer a one week filmmaking course hosted by technology education pioneers, Black Rocket. The “Lightz! Camera! Action!” program guides students through the entire process of filmmaking, from creating a story and script, all the way to editing the final cut. By the end of the week, our campers will have worked together and created their very own short films. These will be available for download on Monday, June 1, on Black Rocket’s website, which parents will be able to access with a unique user ID and password supplied by Black Rocket.

The award winning Black Rocket program, which the New Jersey Small Business Development Council named small business of the year in 2011, is a technology-based education program that prepares students for global competition in an increasingly tech-focused economy. Encouraging cognitive reasoning and divergent thinking, Black Rocket introduces students to the latest technological innovations in order to foster tech skills in a fun and creative learning environment.


Our campers brainstormed ideas with Black Rocket staff before writing scripts for a short film in either the mystery or comedy genre. Some of their ideas included: a classic whodunit involving a stolen stuffed animal and the enigmatic Double Cape Bandit, a time-travelling adventure story, the invasion of camp by cookie-fearing aliens, and a surprise birthday party with a twist ending you’ll need to see to believe. Black Rocket staff were impressed by how well our campers collaborated on their creative stories!

Throughout the week, campers acted out their scripts, designed props and filmed scenes across our campus. They took turns as actors/actresses, directors and technical assistants. Black Rocket staff guided campers through the basics of the editing process, but ultimately the artistic direction of each film was left to the campers. We’re all looking forward to seeing the finished products!


Hi-Hills will be offering other great Black Rocket enrichment programs later this summer. In “App Attack,” offered from 8/19 to 8/23, campers will have the opportunity to create their own mobile application or video game and learn all about app publishing. Other programs include 3D and LEGO video game creation tutorials, as well as classes in stop motion animation and claymation. Check out our site for more scheduling information and sign up today!

2013 Week #2 Recap June 21, 2013

Week #2 of Summer at GSB has come to a close here at Hi-Hills. In addition to our tried-and-true camp classics like dance, swimming, and athletics, Week #2 featured specialty programs in sewing, mountain biking, and chess. Throughout the week, our Hi-Hills specialty counselors stopped by to put the finishing touches on their program areas in preparation for next week.

We kicked off Week #2 early with staff orientation this past weekend. During Saturday’s session, we were excited to have Kyle Medeiros from the American Camp Association lead the training. He taught counselors some fun games to play with campers, as well as important techniques and information to make camp a safe, fun, and inclusive environment all season long. On Sunday, the counselors were assigned their bunks for the summer, and began to set up the campus for our official start date on June 24.


Campers had the opportunity to participate in a week-long intensive mountain biking enrichment program led by Gill St. Bernard’s School photography instructor Bob Ort. They learned the fundamentals of the sport while taking day trips to Stephens State Park, Allamuchy Mountain State Park, Allaire State park, and more!


As part of our sewing enrichment program, led by instructor Cecelia Rhodes, campers made personalized throw pillows and had the chance to design and sew their own skirts. Sewing will be offered again later in the summer from 7/29 to 8/02. Be sure to check out last week’s recap for more information about our Chess Enrichment program, led by Coach Marty Sobin, the founder of NJ Chess.


Camp Programs Director Cindy Wyatt put the whole family to work as daughter Sarah and son Josh helped out all week with set-up and office duties. Brian Gary, our pottery instructor, transformed the robotics room into an art studio complete with spinning wheels and plenty of clay. Elliot, our archery instructor, built us a few targets on the range. The ever-popular Mr. Nature even brought over a few of his creatures to the scout barn. Meanwhile, Hi-Hills is proud to present the newest addition to our pool facilities: an aquatic rock climbing wall!


We brought the week to a close on Friday (the first day of summer!) with another edition of our camp talent show. Participants showed off their dancing, acting, and musical talents in front of their counselors and peers. After the show, campers cooled off in Founders Hall with some delicious ice-cream sundaes. Take a look at our new online photo gallery to see pictures of all our great activities.


It has been another great week at Summer Fun, and we all can’t wait for the start of Hi-Hills Day Camp on Monday, June 24. Next week we’re proud to feature Maestro Soccer Camp, led by Gill St. Bernard’s 7th/8th grade soccer coach Jim Buchanan. Campers in the program will have the chance to improve their game through comprehensive training in fundamentals and tactics. Next week will also feature classes in archery, pottery, dance, and cooking. There’s still time to sign up today!

Mountain Biking June 19, 2013

This week during Summer at GSB, our campers had the opportunity to participate in a week-long intensive mountain biking enrichment program led by Gill St. Bernard’s School photography instructor, Bob Ort. “Mountain Biking – Mind, Body, Spirit” offers a comprehensive introduction to the sport for those at the beginner to intermediate level. Campers learn the fundamentals of bicycle maintenance and repair, as well as the techniques needed to operate their bicycles safely and efficiently on a variety of different trail types. When he isn’t guiding campers through the physical challenges of mountain biking, Bob teaches healthy lifestyle skills using the Mind-Body-Spirit philosophy of the sport.


Bob has been involved in cycling sports for fifteen years. He began cycling while competing in triathlons, but eventually segued into mountain biking and competitive road biking. He still regularly competes in cycling events several times annually, while also running a mountain biking club at GSB during the school year. Bob incorporates his photography background into the program by documenting the campers in action. According to Bob, these photographs are important not only because they preserve an exciting memory of the experience, but because they allow campers to share the moment and encourage others to get involved with the sport.

On Monday, after getting a quick orientation to the program, campers stopped by Marty’s Reliable Cycle in Hackettstown, New Jersey to pick up some necessary safety equipment for the week. Fully equipped, the group headed over to nearby Stephens State Park to get their first taste of real life mountain biking. The park offers 6 miles of marked trails, including a 2 mile section of the Highlands Trail which runs the length of the park. Campers enjoyed a fast and exciting run down “The Maze!”

On Tuesday, the group took a trip over to the Deer Park trails at Allamuchy Mountain State Park. Wednesday, they headed south to Monmouth County to test their skills on the sandy trails at Allaire State Park. Experiencing nature firsthand is an important goal of the program, and each day campers travel to new parks and trails across the state.

A typical day on the trails involves an hour and a half of biking in the morning, followed by a break for lunch and then another hour or two of trail work before packing up and heading home to campus. During lunch breaks, Bob steers his campers away from greasy fast foods and encourages them to fuel their bodies with nutrient rich food that will allow them to perform at their highest level, physically and mentally.

Mountain biking is more than just a fun and exciting experience. The sport encourages an appreciation for the outdoors beyond what you can see through the window of a car. It fosters an all-around healthy lifestyle by combining physical exertion, good food, and a positive mindset. Throw in some experiential education out in the elements, and you have the Mind-Body-Spirit philosophy that is so integral to the mountain biking experience.

Summer at GSB offers “Mountain Biking – Mind, Body, Spirit” again later in the summer from 7/08 to 7/12. We are also proud to offer Bob Ort’s digital photography classes (available for grades 6-8 and grades 9-12) from 6/24 to 6/28 and from 7/01 to 7/05. Take advantage of our flexible scheduling and unique enrichment programs and sign up today!

2013 Week #1 Recap June 14, 2013

Summer Fun has officially begun here at Hi-Hills Day Camp! Our first week of the 2013 season was full of great activities, both indoors and out. Our campers escaped the heat in the swimming pool, matched wits on the chess board, and showed off their skills in our camp talent show as we kicked off what is sure to be another great summer.

A light drizzle on the first day of camp couldn’t dampen our spirits as we watched the first groups of eager campers arrive at the entrance to the Lower School. Our martial arts instructor, Ben, put campers through a Tae Kwon Do workout, while our dance teacher, Diana, taught the campers a few new moves. Campers expressed their creativity in Arts and Crafts classes, and in our Lego-Land room. Meanwhile, our Intensive Musical Theater Experience enrichment program rehearsed with long-time GSB performing arts teachers, Amy and Dave Southerland.


On Tuesday our campers celebrated the sunshine by enjoying some free swim time in the pool and on the Splash Pad. They played soccer, and experienced our unique Ga-Ga pit during a few exciting games of GSB Ball! Our younger campers even won some fabulous prizes in Camp Bingo.


All week, Coach Marty Sobin, our Hi-Hills chess instructor and the founder of Jersey Chess in Sparta, led his students through a crash course in the finer points of the age-old game. Coach Marty has nearly ten years of experience as a chess teacher, and he runs several after school enrichment programs in the area, including the chess program at the Lower School here at GSB. Some of his private students have even gone on to compete in U.S. Chess Federation rated tournaments. Coach will be here all next week (June 17 – June 21) and will also be teaching at Hi-Hills during the week of August 19th. If you’d like your camper to have some educational fun while practicing logic, cognitive skills, and discipline, there is still plenty of time to sign up!


Thursday, campers continued to work on their talent show routines in between their regularly scheduled activities, like dance classes, martial arts, and athletics. When the big day finally arrived Friday morning, campers dazzled and amazed with their singing voices, musicianship, and acting chops. The Bunk 7 girls “just wanted to have fun” with their dance routine, and the Bunk 6 boys presented the newest installment of their popular “Dorito-Eating Monkeys” skit. Later in the show, the Bunk 4 boys got the audience going with some live Rock and Roll!


By closing time on Friday afternoon after the talent show, campers were exhausted from a week of Summer Fun but perks right up for a special ice cream sundae social! The Hi-Hills staff will be busy getting ready for an exciting Week #2 at Hi-Hills. In addition to our great traditional day camp activities, we will be offering enrichment programs in Mountain Biking, Sewing, and Chess!


Take advantage of our flexible programs and scheduling – sign up now for next week!

So Why Hi-Hills? June 11, 2013

ingredientsChoosing the right camp for your child is not as easy as it once was. There are more options than ever before, so how do you choose?

Most of us are into health and wellness, and are learning to read nutrition labels. Read the nutrition label of your camp and see what meets the needs of both your child and your family. You may find the perfect camp is right here in Peapack–Gladstone!

Here are the ingredients in Hi-Hills:

  • We are ACA accredited, which means we meet the over 344 standards set by the America Camp Association.
  • Transportation is available for up to one hour from camp in one of our state inspected vehicles and driven by a trained driver.
  • We offer age-appropriate lessons in swim, tennis, nature, technology, art, athletics, archery, dance and science.
  • Lunch is provided by Flik Dining Services, offering healthy and nutritious choices. Some food even comes from our own garden!
  • Facilities you really need to see to believe! 77 acres of fun with a splashpad, pool, fields, ropes course and classrooms along with air-conditioned areas to keep camp going rain or shine!
  • Staff, new and returning, all go through an extensive training program for three days to review procedures on safety and security as well as the day-to-day procedures to make for a smooth-running camp. The fun part is we get to play the games and participate in the activities, too!
  • Last but not least is flexibility. With 11 weeks of camp and over 60 week long options there is truly something for everyone. Hi-Hills requires no minimum number of weeks, so you can come for a week or come all summer long!