Archive for July, 2015

Olympics Week at Hi-Hills July 30, 2015

The highly anticipated Olympics Week is here! Campers have been engaging in various team games and events for which they are awarded color wars points. While the competition is fierce, sportsmanship is emphasized above all else. Our philosophy is that all camp activities go hand-in-hand with good character, humility and graciousness. For this reason, campers and counselors are awarded points and recognized for their good sportsmanship and leadership.


On Monday, the blue and green teams competed in an old-fashioned kickball game. However, there was no clear winner. Instead, campers and counselors learned a lesson in sportsmanship by sharing points to reinforce the value of teamwork. The following day, a gaga game ensued with the green team emerging victorious. The blue team’s captain stood out with her stellar sportsmanship cheers for which they were awarded 250 points.


Thursday was an action-packed day for Olympics Week. The day kicked off with the blue vs. green survivor challenge #1. The challenge entailed tying sticks together to retrieve a key, which would open a box with a mystery message written as a puzzle. Both teams worked together using their creativity and wit to accomplish the tasks. Ultimately, the blue team prevailed and racked up 1,250 points. Following the challenge, everyone made their way over to the front courtyard for a Hi-Hills favorite tradition: the blue vs. green pasta hunt. While the blue team found the highly coveted purple pasta, the green team reached a close second with 1,976 points!


We are all gearing up for Hi-Hills’ first survivor day tomorrow. The blue and green teams will be required to complete a total of ten challenges from paddle boat races to a fish casting challenge, sling shot and bean bag games, water balloon launching, an archery challenge, a scrabble puzzle and tether rings. Each activity requires an immense about of teamwork and support. We can’t wait for campers to put their skills to the test.


Good luck blue and green teams!

The Annual Hi-Hills Carnival July 23, 2015

Week five at Hi-Hills marks the much anticipated Carnival Day. On Wednesday, campgrounds converted into a spirited carnival. The morning began over at the Home Winds campus, where water balloon catapults, a dunk tank, cotton candy and a waterslide were waiting for us. Campers shot hoops at the beanbag toss game and arrows in the archery range. Bunk 9 in particular enjoyed squirting each other during a water gun fight. Everyone had a blast posing with silly disguises at our photo booth, and cotton candy was truly the perfect treat. With laughter and smiles all around, we could not have asked for a more fun-filled morning!


In the afternoon, everyone donned their costumes and made their way over to the Athletic Field for even more fun and games. In addition to a water balloon toss game, nail and tattoo station and a pie-eating contest, we enjoyed tasty snow cones, made spin art, and competed in a potato sack race! Our specialty counselors, Mr. Nature and Mr. Em kept the fun going with their flamingo fishing and Coke and Pepsi challenge games. With so many creative costumes, the costume competition was tough to judge. Our winners this year included:

  • Anjola and Anna as “Sweet Treats”
  • Ellie, Campbell, Quinn, and Bianca as the characters from Inside Out
  • Emma, Julia and Erin as characters from Mario Kart
  • Betsy and Kiara as clowns
  • Nick as Ron Burgundy
  • Jason as a grumpy grandma

We all had a fantastic time at carnival, and would like to thank everyone for their participation, creativity and enthusiasm! Look out for photos from carnival and updates in this week’s upcoming issue of the Hi-Hills Herald.

Special Events at Hi-Hills 2015 July 16, 2015

Each week Hi-Hills brings new and exciting events and activities to our campers. This week we had three special events!

Tuesday was Bring your Friend to Camp Day, where we gave a warm Hi-Hills welcome to all our new friends. Campers and their friends participated in all bunk and specialty activities. In nature, they met Aurora, the hairless guinea pig, as well as other furrier critters. During arts & crafts, our friends immersed themselves in this week’s visual arts theme by working on some tie-dye art. Down in the great outdoors, our new friends participated in archery, fishing and paddle boating, and friends joined their campers’ leagues teams for the day. Despite the passing showers, everyone had a blast!


On Wednesday, Kinder Camp participated in their annual Garden Party. Evans Hall was beautifully decorated with sunflowers that had our Kinder Campers photos on them. Kinder Camp celebrated summer by singing fun songs that they had been practicing since the first day of Hi-Hills. Parents, siblings and even grandparents attended to support their little campers stellar performance. The program concluded with each camper receiving a “Be You” tag for the #BeBetter Movement. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed some tasty refreshments.


Our third exciting event of the week was the parent luncheon. Parents joined their campers for a scrumptious lunch, where they met their friends and counselors. Campers showcased their artwork hanging in the dining room along with the group murals from weeks one through three. It was a fabulous afternoon, and we are already excited for the next parent luncheon on Thursday, August 6.


On behalf of the entire Hi-Hills team, thank you to our campers, parents, counselors and staff for making all of our special events this week so incredible! Look out for the fourth issue of the Hi-Hills Herald this Friday.

Meet Our 2015 Hi-Hills Team July 8, 2015

It is another fabulous week here at Hi-Hills. With Week #3 underway, we thought it was time to meet all the incredible faces that are working with the campers every day.

Bunks 1 & 2: Kinder Camp

Beth Hansen: Beth joined Hi-Hills Day Camp in 2003 as a head counselor in Kinder Camp. In 2012 she became the Kinder Camp Supervisor, and at the end of the summer joined the Gill St. Bernard’s staff full time as the Transportation Coordinator. Beth has an A.A. in Early Childhood Education and a B.A. in Psychology. During the camp off-season, Beth spends her days arranging transportation for various groups and working on the next summer’s camp activities and events.

Zoe Quan-Shaw: Zoe attends Gill St. Bernard’s School where she is an honor list student. She will be a senior this coming year. She fences and loves to bike ride and ski. Zoe is a volunteer at Mustard Seed Child Care Center, and is interested in going to university in the UK for environmental studies. She is also involved in a club called HOPE, which stands for Helping Other People and the Environment.

Jamie Goetchius: Jamie is excited to be back at Hi-Hills this summer. She has attended GSB for thirteen years and will head off to Bucknell University in August. Some of her passions include theater, music, art and cooking. Jamie loves to meet new campers and reunite with old ones! She looks forward to this summer being her best yet!


Bunk 9: The Firejets

Joanne Hibbett: Married to the Big Guy, aka the Archery Man, Joanne is excited to join Hi-Hills this year. She has worked in NYC for twenty years, at a financial company based in the World Trade Center, the Hard Rock Café and Bloomingdales. Joanne loves to attend concerts, dance and go to the gym. She has a strong affinity for animals, and has volunteered at Common Sense for Animals. Joanne has been involved with Special Olympics, and has worked at a daycare for eight years. She is currently working at Warren Hills High School as a personal aid for a special needs student. Joanne enjoys working with children and helping them grow and excel with all of life’s opportunities and endeavors.

Jason Monto: Jason is a high school student entering his senior year. He is a member of his school’s baseball team, drama club, key club and the National Honor Society. He loves working at Hi-Hills and wants to attend a four-year college, aspiring to work in the film industry.

Ben Hogoboom: Ben is going to be a freshman at Pomona College in the fall. He is interested in computer science, theater and foreign languages. In high school, Ben enjoyed acting both in main stage and drama club productions as well as writing and editing the humor page of his school’s newspaper.

John Raymonds: John is currently majoring in interactive media and game development at The Savannah College of Art and Design. He aspires to one day work at Valve Corporation and design the next big video game! When John is away from the computer, he spends his time hiking, kayaking, zip-lining and enjoying the great outdoors!


Bunk 10: The Lovely Ladybugs

Betsy Swartz: Betsy is a recent graduate of Elizabethtown College with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She plans to pursue her lifetime goal of becoming a teacher. Throughout college, she worked closely with the Education and Child Life Program at Penn Stare Hershey Medical Center as a volunteer. She hopes to work closely with sick children in the hospital setting to keep their education on track. When she is not at camp, Betsy enjoys cooking, swimming and spending time with her family!

Kerry Stranick: Kerry will be a junior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. She is an honor roll student, and participates in the school’s symphonic band. She plays the flute, piano and loves to draw. Kerry has been taking dance classes since she was four years old. Her favorite classes are ballet and pointe, but she also takes modern and contemporary dance. She has been attending Hi-Hills as a camper since she was seven, and as CIT for two years. She looks forward to a great summer at Hi-Hills!

Kiara Marin: Kiara will be a sophomore at Rowan University, double majoring in math and education. She plans on becoming a secondary education math teacher. Kiara has volunteered in a classroom setting as a teacher for five and nine year olds.


Bunks 11 & 13: The Speedy Cheetahs

Patrick DeMichele: Patrick is a recent graduate of Bridgewater-Raritan High School. In the fall, he will be attending Misericordia University in Dallas, PA, where he will be studying to become a physical therapist. Patrick started at Hi-Hills Day in 2004 as a camper, and is now in his third year as a counselor. Patrick was the drum major of the nationally recognized BRHS Marching Band. In addition, he was on the BRHS Varsity Lacrosse Team and was a member of the BRHS Wind Ensemble. Patrick was also a member of the NJ All State and CJMEA Region II Symphonic Bands. He has been an active member of the Somerset county 4H Association since 2008, and loves reading, music, video games, lacrosse and working with children.

Ben Green: This is Ben’s fourth summer at Hi-Hills as a head counselor. He just completed his second year of teaching fifth grade students in Hamilton, NJ. Ben loves movies, books and any kind of game!

Julian Gammon: Julian was formerly a camper at Hi-Hills for seven years and is excited to begin his counselor journey. He will be entering eleventh grade at Mendham High School in September. Julian enjoys skiing in the winter and running spring track. He also likes playing soccer, basketball and tennis. Julian plays clarinet in the wind ensemble and takes private lessons. He also volunteers for ASP, an organization that builds homes in Appalachia.


Bunks 12 & 14: The Hi-Hills Heroes

Megan DiMichele: This year marks Megan’s twelfth year at Hi-Hills and her fifth year working as a counselor. She graduated from Bridgewater-Raritan High School in 2013 and is currently a rising junior at Elizabethtown College, where she is majoring in Occupational Therapy. At school, Megan serves on the executive board for three clubs and plays for the school’s lacrosse team.

Dylan Rowell: This summer marks Dylan’s fourth year at Hi-Hills. She is a rising sophomore at the University of Richmond where she plans to major in journalism. At school, she serves on the executive board for the Richmond Rowdies and is also a member of the Debate Team and Delta Gamma sorority. In addition, she will be an Orientation Advisor for the class of 2019 this fall.

Amanda Toolan: Amanda is a rising junior at West Morris Central High School. She is involved in a project called Peace and Highlanders for Humanity. Amanda loves children, and recently volunteered at a track meet for disabled children. She is looking forward to working with Hi-Hills, and giving campers a great summer!

Emily Fuchs: Emily is a senior at Ridge High School and has spent the last eleven summers at Hi-Hills. She is on the varsity ski team, and is currently working on her Girl Scout Gold Award. She is looking forward to working with the campers and helping them make new memories like she has over the last eleven years.

Erica Phiansunthon: Erica has been a student at Gill St. Bernard’s School for eleven years and is about to start her eleventh summer at Hi-Hills. She has been involved in many roles at Hi-Hills day camp from a teen travel camper, to a Counselor in Training and now a junior counselor this year! Erica lovess being active, and is a part of the GSB varsity girl’s soccer team and varsity track team. Along with sports, she loves being creative and doing arts and crafts. Erica is excited to help engage the kids in all activities and she hopes to give her campers the same fun and exciting new experiences that she had as a camper.


Bunks 15 & 17: The Bronanas

Matthew Rivas: Matt will be entering his senior year at Texas Christian University in Fortworth, TX this fall. This is his third year working as a head counselor at Hi-Hills.

Bridget Toolan: Bridget is going into her sophomore year at High Point University in North Carolina. She is working towards a degree in Graphic Design. This is her third summer at Hi-Hills as a staff member, but her fourteenth summer here in total.

Andrew Hansen: Andrew has been attending Hi-hills for eleven years now, going on twelve. He started as a camper in 2003, and became a CIT in 2012. He will be entering his senior year at Mount Olive High School. Andrew has played the trumpet in band for nine years, and enjoys playing video games and giving campers their best summers ever.

Graydon Rogers: Graydon is going into his junior year at Morristown High School. This is his first year working as a counselor at Hi-Hills, but his twelfth year here in total.


Bunks 16 & 18: The Sensational Showstoppers

Maria Diaz: Maria has been working with Hi-Hills for thirteen years. She is a head counselor for the upper girls bunk as well as a bus driver. For eighteen years, Maria has also been employed with Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School’s Transportation Department. In 1999, she was awarded the Golden Apple Award from the Bridgewater Board of Education for excellence in community service. Maria is a mother of three wonderful daughters and a grandmother to five awesome grandchildren. She loves working with children, being outdoors, reading, crochet, working out, movies, Broadway shows and fine dining. In the future Maria hopes to retire and enjoy spending time with her family and travel to different states and countries.

Jess Cefalo: Jess currently attends Bridgewater-Raritan High School and in two years she plans to attend college to become a doctor. Her favorite activity is yoga, and she also likes to play sports. This year marks Jess’ tenth summer at Hi-Hills!

Cara Rosen: Cara is a recent graduate of Ridge High School. This fall she will be attending the University of the Arts in Philadelphia for five years to become and art teacher and work in hospitals for art therapy.


Teen Travel:

Craig Brown: This summer marks Craig’s fifth summer as a Hi-Hills counselor, during which he has worked with both the youngest and oldest age groups at camp (and almost all other age groups in between!) He currently studies at Rutgers University in his third year of college. He is a big music fan and loves to ski and play ultimate Frisbee.

Specialty Counselors

Chris Walsh, Low Ropes and Tennis: Chris holds a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education from Florida State University as well as a coaching certificate. In addition, he has received a Teacher of Health and Physical Education Certification in New Jersey. Presently, Chris teaches grades Pre-K to twelve, coaches two tennis teams, and is in charge of the scoreboard operation and public address announcements for basketball events at Gill St. Bernard’s.


Missie Becker, Low-Ropes: New to Hi-Hills this year, Missie is a music education major going into her senior year. She has taken advantage of many opportunities to teach music and other activities to children and adults, and has loved every minute of it! She is very excited to be working here at Hi-Hills this summer!

Em Foster, Great Outdoors – Fishing: Em has an educational background with both bachelor and maters degrees in education and math. He is starting his thirty-second year at Hi-Hills!

Matt Hibbett, Great Outdoors – Archery: Matt is a retired (twenty-eight years) deputy fire chief. In addition he was the platoon commander for ten years. Among many outstanding positions, Matt has worked as a rescue squad officer, was deployed on 911 to the World Trade Center, and was a part of the Ground Zero search and rescue operations. He is certified in high angle rescue and swift water rescue. In addition, Matt has extensive archery experience, from being a national archer to being NASP Certified as a Level 3 specialist instructor. He has been an assistant coach for two archery teams, which have achieved multiple state championship wins. Matt is an NJ Fish and Wildlife Hunters Education Instructor for firearms and archery. He has thirty-five years of experience in hunting, fishing and hiking in areas including but not limited to Montana, Colorado, Alaska and Nova Scotia. Matt also has twenty-five years of experience in construction trades.

Sarah “Bam Bam” Hogoboom, Great Outdoors – Archery: Sarah, commonly referred to as “Bam Bam” at camp, will be a junior this fall at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, where she hopes to major in world politics with minors in history and education. She tutors three times a week with local second graders and loves all things Disney!

Thomas Stranick, Great Outdoors: Thomas is a lifeguard and all around helper at the Great Outdoors. This is his first year working at Hi-Hills, although he has been attending camp here for nine years. He is an incoming junior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. Thomas is also an avid musician and plays guitar and violin.


Taylor Patullo, Performing Arts: Taylor is a college student going for her Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology. She has been performing her entire life and hopes to continue as a performer, vocal therapist and director after graduation.

Stefanie Santoro, Performing Arts: Stefanie is a graduate of the John. J Cali School of music with a degree in flute performance. She is currently studying with the principal flutist of the American Ballet Theater and Judith Menendhall in New York City. Stefanie teaches private flute, piano and voice lessons at Scotch Plains Music Center. Fun fact about Stefanie: she is one hundred percent Italian, and speaks the language fluently.


Savannah LoPrinzi, Pottery: Savannah is currently a fine arts student at Raritan Valley Community College. She enrolled in many ceramic classes and plans to further study ceramic throughout her Bachelors. She recently received her second Nota Bene award from Raritan Valley. The Art Department has also awarded Savannah with a scholarship to Peters Valley School of Craft this summer.

Lindsay Bloom, Arts & Crafts: Lindsay is a graduate of Montclair State University and holds a degree in Early and Middle Childhood Education. Currently, she co-teaches kindergarten and runs an afterschool homework club at an elementary school in Great Meadows. Lindsay has seven years of classroom experience teaching pre-kindergarten through the sixth grade. In addition to being a teacher, she is also a volunteer firefighter for a local fire department and coaches the fire department’s friendly competition team in firefighting skills. Lindsay enjoys barbequing, baking, being in the water and motorcycle rides. Most of all, she enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and dog, Nattie.



Augie Lorio, Division Coordinator – Aquatics: Augie holds a B.S. and M.S. in physical education and has been teaching for 29 years. Currently he teaches physical education and health at Bridgewater Raritan Middle School. He has coached and taught swimming for over 20 years and has his water safety instructor certification from the Red Cross. Auggie has managed a swim club for over 15 years and has expertise teaching all levels of swim instruction from infant to adult.

Camila Castano, Lifeguard: This is Camila’s third year at Hi-Hills. Last year, she was a Counselor in Training. Camila is Columbian and moved to the U.S. in 2011. She will be a senior at Gill St. Bernard’s School this fall. Camila plays tennis and volleyball, and intends on going to college in the fall of 2016. She is interested in psychology, business, French and the arts.

Brendan McKee, Lifeguard: Brendan is seventeen years old and a junior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. He is an AP student and member of the high school lacrosse team, as well as the Red Cross and SHARE clubs. Brendan is a certified as a Lifeguard and in CRP through the Red Cross. He has worked at Hi-Hills as a Counselor in Training and also volunteered as an assistant coach for his town’s Pee-Wee lacrosse players. In the future, Brendan’s goal is to pursue a career in medicine and genetics.

Tatiana Milner, Lifeguard: Tatiana will be entering 11th grade at Randolph High School. She has many diverse interests which range from playing on the varsity tennis team, acting for film, volunteering as a drama instructor for the after school program at Center Grove Elementary School and being a Certified Therapy Dog handler and evaluator. She enjoys working with children and has participated in the CIT program at Hi-Hills. Tatiana plans on majoring in Pre-Veterinary Studies in college.

Jenna Naples, Lifeguard: Jenna is a rising senior at Immaculata High School. She has played varsity lacrosse all three years and was a captain this past season. She is a part of both the National honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. Jenna will participate in her third year of building homes in Appalachia this summer. She cannot wait for an awesome summer!

Lea Gurval, Lifeguard: Lea Gurval is a rising senior at Union Catholic High School. She is a certified lifeguard as well as a certified babysitter. Lea is a member of the Spanish National Honor Society. In addition, she plays varsity softball at Union Catholic and also plays for the 18u Clifton Cobras. After high school she plans on attending college and studying broadcast journalism or law.

Eric Patullo, Lifeguard: Eric is a rising senior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. He is a member of the Bridgewater varsity soccer team and plays club soccer for the Jersey United U18 ASL team. He is hoping to play soccer in college. Eric enjoys volleyball and golf as recreational activities. This past year he was a volunteer for the Special Olympics and plans to go to college for Elementary and Special Education.



Karen Morrow: Karen joins the Hi-Hills camp office staff this year. She currently teaches second grade in Tewksbury, NJ. Karen attended the University of Maine in Orono, and is currently working on a Masters of Education in Reading. Growing up in Maine has instilled in her a love of outdoors and nature.

Sarah Wyatt: This is Sarah’s eighth year here at Hi-Hills Day Camp and she has loved every minute of it! Sarah just received her associate’s degree from Raritan Valley Community College and will be attending Montclair State University in the fall. When Sarah is not at camp, she spends her time with her two dogs, Baxter and Samantha.

Stay tuned for weekly updates in The Hi-Hills Herald posted every Friday!

Leagues at Hi-Hills July 1, 2015

With week two in full swing, there is one word on everyone’s minds: leagues! Leagues is an exciting athletic competition that Bunks 9 through 18 take part in during Hi-Hills. Campers are assigned to teams that consist of members of their own bunk and those from other bunks as well. There are four boys’ teams and four girls’ teams which will compete in this year’s sports: basketball, soccer, and tennis baseball. The philosophy behind leagues is “to create an atmosphere of friendly competition, in which campers of all athletic ability levels can experience the camaraderie and social benefits of playing on an organized team.” The weekly schedule for leagues allows campers to play games on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while teams use Tuesdays and Thursdays to re-group and practice. Weekly team standings will be announced and posted in the Hi-Hills Herald, and additional trophies and accolades will be awarded to teams and individual campers for achievements this season.


Now in its 15th season at Hi-Hills, everyone at camp is ecstatic for the 2015 leagues season to commence. On Monday, campers were placed into teams, where they came up with creative names. This year’s boys’ teams are Bat-Men, ‘Lil Cutie Clementines, Bengal Tigers and Maroon Macaroons. The girls’ teams consist of Blue Lightening, Blazing Comets, Kerry’s Kangaroos and Dark Magic. Down in arts & crafts, campers have been making team shirts that will serve as their uniform for the season. All week long, teams have been playing scrimmages in preparation for Monday’s first official competition. Good luck to all teams, and let the games begin!