Archive for the ‘Hi-Hills’ Category

Hi-Hills Traditions August 19, 2016

The 2016 camp season was a memorable one for us at Hi-Hills as we ushered in our 50th anniversary. We have so many reasons to celebrate this year on the picturesque campus of Gill St. Bernard’s, with this blog series featuring many wonderful stories. It provided personal narratives about our camp staff, the value of an ACA accreditation, opportunities for learning enrichments and academic advancement with GSB faculty, the beauty of the great outdoors and the expanded Home Winds campus, and lastly, the traditions and benefits of our camp clubs.

This summer campers had the opportunity to select from one of five dedicated clubs that included drama, arts and crafts/yearbook, all-sports, the great outdoors, and cooking. Every day, campers had a slotted time to attend their “club,” which provided an opportunity to meet older and younger campers as well. A new twist in 2016 was to pick just one club for the summer, rather than moving to and from the various clubs each week. It was a time to learn, be creative, try something new and call that club a second home each day.

The great outdoors club had robust camper participation and was always full of adventures and discoveries under the direction of Activity Specialist Matt Hibbett. Campers explored the Home Winds terrain on foot and uncovered creatures such as the Carolina Wren and Golden Finches, along with garden snakes and western box turtles. Fishing was a popular option with the goal to see how many sunnies or bass a camper could catch and release. Throughout the summer, campers traveled to the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center to learn more about the life cycle of rainbow trout, which are farm raised here. Campers also discovered which wild life animals are native exclusively to New Jersey. The club culminates this last week with the hanging of birdhouses made by campers. Each birdhouse is unique with holes to accommodate the different species that call the great outdoors home.


The cooking club under the culinary direction of counselors Megan DeMichele, Betsey Swartz, Emily Fuchs and Maria Diaz was a sweet success this summer as well. Campers learned several skills and techniques needed in the kitchen. However, all eyes were on the oven or the stovetop when preparing sweet and tasty treats. The club was able to visit the GSB Community Garden and gather some seasonal fresh ingredients for recipes and learn the fundamentals of cutlery. This access allowed campers to see the benefits of having a garden, where some fruits and vegetables come from and how to make healthy recipes. What everyone enjoyed the most, however, were the camp classics such as monkey bread and Rice Krispie treats!


The arts and crafts/yearbook club headed up by Media Specialist Julie Harris, Camp Photographer Bridget Toolan and Head Counselor JoAnne Hibbett provided a forum for our drawers, designers and photographers. Campers had access daily to a digital camera and were able to make their own personalized yearbook of camp activities. This scrapbook of drawings and pictures went home with campers as a keepsake from the club. Several campers preferred to have a box of markers and crayons and created their own daily yearbook of Pokémon characters or other images of their liking. It was a wonderful summer forum to be creative.


The all-sports club led by Patrick DeMichele, Erica Phiansunthon and Mark Broseker was a popular spot to play camp classics such as capture the flag, spud, kickball, hide and seek, keep away, gaga, around the world and red light/green light. Campers were never at a loss for learning a new game, perfecting a skill and having an amazing time.


Drama club under the creative direction of Hi-Hills Performing Arts Specialists Stefanie and Giulia Santoro and GSB Performing Arts Chair Paul Canada revolved around summer’s coolest musical, Grease. For six weeks, campers and counselors rehearsed lines, learned dance moves and created costumes to prepare for their upcoming performances. Campers and counselors debuted the show twice this summer as we went back to Rydell High and together sang with Sandy, cheered for Danny, rooted for Pinky and were inspired by Teen Angel. Our talented crew of Hi-Hills campers and counselors showcased their summer talent right in the GSB Theater! It was a wonderful ride in the Greased Lightning car as we experienced life and love in the 50s right here at Hi-Hills.


As our camp season comes to a close, thanks to all the counselors and Hi-Hills staff for sharing their tremendous artistic, culinary, creative, and athletic talents with campers this summer. Their second home awaits them again next summer.

Exploring the Great Outdoors at Hi-Hills August 4, 2016

Come explore the great outdoors at Hi-Hills! Nestled among the trees on the Home Winds Campus, a winding stone path leads to the home of popular camp activities such as fishing, paddleboats and archery. It has also served as the site for specialty events like Carnival and color war competitions. Campers are even able to learn about animal life by visiting the goats, donkeys, ducks, and the most recent addition, a family of bunnies. The great outdoors here spans 128 acres, with an additional 80 making up the rest of Hi-Hills at Gill St. Bernard’s.

Matt Hibbett, an avid outdoorsman, oversees this program. Hibbett has a clear passion and respect for his terrain. He is a retired Deputy Fire Chief and was a Search and Rescue Responder in the World Trade Center after 9/11. Hibbett enjoys hunting, backpacking and fishing in his spare time. He is also a nationally certified trainer and coach with NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program), where he works with elementary through college students in Warren County. On top of all this, Hibbett is an instructor with the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Hunter Education, for the state of New Jersey.

Hibbett joined Hi-Hills three years ago as the archery specialist. His responsibilities have grown tremendously since he first joined us–he now supervises all great outdoors activities (fishing, paddleboats, archery and nature), a camper outdoors club, and constructs many of the color war “Survivor” challenges. Hibbett also began a project as part of the camp’s 50th anniversary where members of the outdoors club made birdhouses to offer another home for wildlife at the great outdoors.

New enhancements introduced by Hibbett this summer include motion-sensor night vision cameras to discover the animals that roam the area after camp hours. These cameras give campers a first-hand view of this nighttime natural habitat. One of Hibbett’s goals for this summer has been to establish a geo-caching site for Home Winds. Geo-caching, a popular outdoor game, involves giving players geographical coordinates of items which they then search for with a GPS device. The game teaches campers how to navigate using points, weights, latitudes and satellite coordinates.

Hibbett thrives in the outdoors and has clear methods of directing, teaching and infusing excitement into all the activities. Anyone who has spent time with him can attest that he easily engages with campers young and old in a meaningful fashion. Hibbett’s ultimate hope is that, each summer, campers leave Hi-Hills with respect and love for the great outdoors.

What Does Hi-Hills Camp Accreditation Signify to Families? July 22, 2016

Hi-Hills has been an accredited member of the American Camp Association (ACA) for the past 30 years. An ACA accreditation signifies that the Hi-Hills camp directors, together with Gill St. Bernard’s School, are committed to providing and maintaining the best practices in camp operation. These guidelines for accreditation are set forth by a collaborative panel of experts from the ACA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross and other noted youth-serving agencies. During a re-accreditation process, a thorough review of over 300 health, safety and program operation procedures are evaluated and reviewed to ensure that a camp is meeting its nationally-recognized standards.

So, what kind of standards are there at ACA? There are guidelines for camper-to-staff ratios for every age group, goals for camper activities, food service guidelines, staff qualifications, safety regulations, requirements for emergency transportation, first-aid facilities, training for special programs and staff and many more!


Accreditation is not a requisite for running a camp; rather, it is a voluntary one. There is a financial investment as well as the ongoing commitment to stay current on camp trends and standardized practices. More importantly, an ACA accreditation is a visual industry benchmark and acknowledgement to campers and their families, the community at large, and to the state, that Hi-Hills provides a safe, nurturing and quality camp experience for children ages three to 16. ACA standards are recognized mandates by courts of law and government regulators as the standards of the camp community.


Camps offered at Hi-Hills are all accredited as they each serve a distinct audience. Whether you are exploring Kinder Camp for your preschooler, a traditional day camp for a child in grades one through six, Teen Travel for middle schoolers, or lastly, our new Leaders of Tomorrow Camp for rising high school students seeking to foster leadership skills as well as develop their communication and decision making skills, our camps reflect a commitment to the growth and development of each and every child. Each program is recognized for its “intrinsic merit in enriching the lives through the camp experience,” the tagline of American Camp Association (ACA).


Camp prepares a child for life and provides opportunities to foster key life skills like responsibility, cooperation, courage and self-esteem. We at Hi-Hills certainly agree: we’ve been doing it for 50 years!

What’s Your Game This Summer? July 13, 2016

The summer sports season is in full swing. Is your child playing a summer sport or participating in off-season training? At Hi-Hills, we offer many options for summer exploration! This includes learning the basic fundamentals of a sport, strengthening a child’s athletic prowess, or fostering life skills with First Aid, CPR and lifeguard certification. Hi-Hills provides over a dozen sports specialty camps for children ages three to 16 to meet their personal goals in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.


Our camps take advantage of the impressive fields complex, basketball courts and Athletic Center located on site at the picturesque, 208-acre campus of Gill St. Bernard’s School in Gladstone, NJ. Hi-Hills works with notable club coaches and GSB athletics staff who contribute to players’ understanding and respect for the game and assist in general skill development. Participants will receive in-depth fundamental and team training, in addition to building their leadership skills.


Upcoming camp programs being held at Hi-Hills include soccer camp, Club Soccer and High School Prep Camps, pre-school soccer camp, and tennis technique and skills camp. Previous camps include lifeguard training, First Aid, CPR certification and re-certification, mountain biking, softball and Leadership Academy.


Experience Hi-Hills sports camps in 2016, and set your adventure on the playing fields or the court! If you have any questions, please contact Assistant Director of Summer and Auxiliary Programs, Nicole Spiotta, at 908-234-1611, ext. 251. Let’s go Hi-Hills!

What’s on Your Summer Agenda? July 7, 2016

Summer is the ideal time to swim, relax, travel and spend time with friends and family. Summer is also the perfect chance to explore a new interest, strengthen a particular skill or take an academic course for advancement. Whatever goal you may have in mind, Hi-Hills offers a diverse curriculum of summer enrichment and academic courses that will inspire your child. Our programs are open for children from preschool through grade 12. Cindy Wyatt, Director of Summer and Auxiliary Programs at Gill St. Bernard’s School and Hi-Hills, is on hand and ready to help navigate your goals as well as offer a parent perspective to your summer mix!


Enrichment camps are a wonderful summer forum to captivate a child in addition to developing and preparing for the year ahead. Whether your child’s passion is in the creative and performing arts or science and technology, Hi-Hills offers numerous options to grow. The goal is not to become an expert, but rather to inspire future exploration. Some of the programs offered here at Hi-Hills include musical theater, sewing, STEM and STEAM camps, coding, gaming, cooking, gardening, and creative writing. Our schedule includes both morning and afternoon time slots allowing for a balanced day of learning and traditional summer camp.


Academic camps are a terrific avenue to pursue a love of learning, along with opportunities to participate in an accredited course for the upcoming school year. Course offerings include geometry, algebra, chemistry and biology as well as study skills, writing and Singapore math classes. Students can gain knowledge, confidence and advancement in a small class setting led by GSB faculty.


So what’s on your summer agenda? We have many options to explore all summer long! Let us fill your child’s summer with learning, engagement and fun. The door is open for you here at Hi-Hills! Contact us today to learn more.

Every Summer Has Its Story June 30, 2016

Every summer has its own story: a rich tapestry of traditions, songs, pictures and games joined together with campers, counselors and camp staff. This summer, Hi-Hills has a remarkable story to tell! 2016 marks our golden anniversary: 50 years of providing summertime fun and making memories that remain in the hearts and minds of our campers.

Hi-Hills began in 1966 in the mountains of Watchung, then moved to the fields of Bernardsville and today makes its home on the beautiful 208-acre campus of Gill St. Bernard’s School in Gladstone. With each change in venue, Hi-Hills has grown. Today, we offer an incredible range of activities and programs in academics, outdoor exploration, performing arts, sports and traditional day camp.

Hi-Hills Camp is so excited to be celebrating 50 years and to mark this exciting milestone with our campers and families.

Camp pride is evident at Hi-Hills. Our campers love to return each summer, and many of them go on to become counselors and activity specialists, returning to summers at Hi-Hills as teenagers and young adults. Over the course of 50 years, we have seen time and again as camp pride evolves into staff pride. Our counselors are the best ambassadors, passing on the wisdom and traditions of Hi-Hills.

There are several staff members who can trace their origins with Hi-Hills back to Marv and Bunny Goldberg, the founders of the camp. Em Foster marks his 32nd summer with Hi-Hills. Having served as a counselor, bus driver and the athletics director, Em is now the camp’s fishing specialist.


Auggie Lorrio, the division coordinator for swimming and water safety at Hi-Hills, has been a major force in Hi-Hills aquatics for 21 years.


Additionally, Jenn Monto is celebrating her 11th summer at Hi-Hills. She has the unique perspective of having been a camper, counselor and camp parent. Perhaps one day we will welcome her children, who attend camp alongside her now, among the next generation of counselors. Monto has served as a counselor, special events division head, spirit coordinator, and is now the director of the Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) program.


Join the celebration for a day, a week or the rest of the summer and set your sights on a memorable journey alongside our amazing staff.

Wildlife at Hi-Hills August 12, 2015

The Home Winds Campus has been a fantastic addition to Hi-Hills this summer. Encompassing 128 acres, the property is home to the great outdoors program. In addition to the fishing, paddle boating and archery activities, campers have had the opportunity to see some of the local Home Winds fauna. Just in the pond itself, campers caught bass, blue gill sunfish and perch. They also found small turtles, fresh water clams, and various frogs (bull frogs, leopard frogs and tree frogs). Some of the bunks were lucky enough to see an osprey, a great heron and a corn snake. We even welcomed some of the wildlife into our Hi-Hills family like Blue the baby painted turtle (who has been appointed as our junior mascot), and Crusher (who has become our resident snapping turtle).


This summer, our great outdoors coordinator, Matt Hibbitt, set up a wildlife feeding station that has been monitored by motion activated cameras. The station has yielded over 400 photos and includes infrared photos of deer and raccoons. In addition, the camera has caught bucks, doe, fawns, squirrels and flying squirrels in action. Campers have been able to view the photos on their visits to the great outdoors, and have learned all about the different animals and how they interact with each other. Consequently, we have been able to allow campers to connect technology with their natural surroundings.


All bunks have been able to enjoy their summer at Home Winds. Even Kinder Camp paid a visit this week for their first great outdoors session of the summer. During their trip, they visited the chicken coops and the donkey pens. It has been an incredible summer, and we cannot wait for even more fun to be had next summer at Hi-Hills!

Hi-Hills Goes “Under the Sea” August 11, 2015

Week seven brought us performing arts week at Hi-Hills, and it was nothing short of fun, fabulous and of course dramatic. All of Hi-Hills had been buzzing with excitement for our production of The Little Mermaid. Thanks to the hard work of our performing arts specialty counselors, Stephanie and Taylor, the theater transformed into a nautical spectacle with dazzling costumes and props.


Every camper involved delivered a fantastic performance and wowed us with their singing! We would like to recognize them all:

  • Madison Gesualdo as Ariel
  • Josh Monto as Prince Eric
  • Andres Castano as Sebastian
  • Cassidy Gesualdo as Flounder
  • Eddie McCarthy as Scuttle
  • Julia Spinelli as Ursula
  • Robbie Bellina as King Triton
  • Mitch Dubson as Grimsby
  • Christina Tamchin and Anna Leung as Flotsam and Jetsam
  • Abigail Saitta, Amanda Bullet and Anjola Olawoye as Mersisters
  • Ariella Robbins as Seahorse
  • Caitlyn Murgatroyd as Sea Creature

In addition to The Little Mermaid, we have been celebrating performing arts all around Hi-Hills. Parents, grandparents and siblings got to join in on the fun during our second Parent Luncheon for the summer. Kinder Camp performed a lovely song, and Bunks 11 & 13’s counselor, Patrick, played the saxophone as everyone dined and bonded. Alongside the daily trivia, we have also been giving out a bonus Broadway question. Moreover, Friday’s dress-up day brought out many drama inspired costumes.


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!


Camp Pride at Hi-Hills June 24, 2015

Welcome to your Best Summer Ever! Hi-Hills has officially kicked off Summer 2015, and we are thrilled to announce this week’s theme: Camp Pride! Throughout the week campers have been orienting themselves with all things Hi-Hills. On Monday, bunks met up to get to know one another and worked together to create a bunk name and bunk cheer. They will be showcasing their bunk pride at Friday’s Council Ring. During performing arts, campers learned the Hi-Hills song. For this week’s dress up day, we will all be donning our favorite camp t-shirts! We can’t wait to see all the Hi-Hills spirit!


One of the best ways we embody camp pride here at Hi-Hills is through the #BeBetter Movement. Founded by our Assistant Director of Summer and Auxiliary Programs, Nicole Spiotta, the #BeBetter Movement integrates camp spirit with character growth. Each week, both bunk and speciality counselors recognize campers who go above and beyond to accomplish goals by awarding them with a dog tag. Campers can be commended for making good choices, trying out new activities, conquering fears and welcoming new friends. The movement encourages four focal points: Be You, Be Creative, Be Challenged, and Be Strong. The #BeBetter Movement is not just limited to campers; even counselors and staff can be recognized for outstanding achievements throughout the week. As a result, we practice camp pride and spirit by also encouraging self-improvement and development.


We look forward to wrapping up a fabulous Week #1 at Hi-Hills. Check back Friday for the Hi-Hills Herald and weekly photo gallery.

Summer Fun 2015 Week #2 Recap June 19, 2015

Week #2 of Summer Fun at Hi-Hills Day Camp ended on an incredible note! This week our campers’ schedules were jam-packed with various outdoor activities including low ropes, swim, sport court, tennis, archery and fishing. Indoors, campers relaxed in the game room, created masterpieces in pottery and arts and crafts, and of course played a good old game of gaga. Check out the highlights below!


This week, each bunk trekked over to the garden, where Mrs. Prosen led campers through the beds to pick radishes, lettuce and strawberries to take home. What a treat!



Here at Summer Fun, we never let the rain dampen our fun! With the game room loaded with board games, including jumbo chess and checkers, and Lego Land stacked with Legos to build and create, our campers certainly kept their spirits high. On Thursday, low ropes moved to Bruckner Hall, where Mr. Walsh and Missy led team-building exercises. In addition, the Athletic Center was converted into volleyball, tennis and badminton courts.



New to Summer Fun and Hi-Hills this year, the go-carts have already become a camp favorite. Campers raced around our circuit, and practiced safety at all times.


Arts and Crafts:

Our Summer Fun arts and crafts/pottery specialist, Savannah, prepared exciting projects this week. With finger puppets, puffy paint creations, and mushroom bobble-head pottery work, our campers definitely brought out their inner artists.


Performing Arts:

Taylor, our performing arts specialist, played an advanced charade game called Celebrity with several bunks, where campers acted out characters and famous people that they know. They also learned a theater warm-up and Hi-Hills favorite game called Zip Zap Zop. Campers showcased their skills during Friday’s talent show. From skits to songs to artwork, this week’s talent show was entertaining all around.


Although Summer Fun has come to an end, we are all excited for the start of Traditional Day Camp at Hi-Hills on Monday, June 22! Thank you for a great week we hope you enjoyed Summer Fun just as much as we did!

Summer Fun 2015 Week #1 Recap June 12, 2015

What a fantastic start to Summer 2015! Week #1 of Summer Fun at Hi-Hills Day Camp was better than anyone could have imagined. The Home Winds addition allowed campers to enjoy archery and fishing. Bingo included fun and exciting prizes like the infamous Rubber Chicken! The weather stayed in our favor so that all outdoor activities, including swim and tennis, were enjoyed by our campers. Bunks participated in low ropes where they put their balance to the test. Campers worked on Father’s Day presents at pottery and practiced for the talent show during performing arts. We also explored the GSB Garden and picked strawberries at the Community Strawberry Festival.


Week #1 wrapped up in true Summer Fun fashion with gaga games, talent show performances and an all-camp dance party! We can’t wait for next week!

Coding and Camp February 19, 2015

Hi-Hills Day Camp prides itself on flexibility, convenience and fun! One way we are able to provide all three to our families is through the combination of traditional day camp and enrichment programs offered over our 11-week summer session. We have something for all ages, from academics, athletics, and the creative and performing arts, to science and technology.

Each year, Gill St. Bernard’s School (where Hi-Hills is located) participates in the global “Hour of Code” movement. The Hour of Code is an international project designed to introduce students to computer coding. The program is based on the recognition that most students never (or rarely) have had an opportunity to try computer coding and that computer coding skills will become increasingly important in the coming years. For more information on the Hour of Code please visit

Due to the overwhelming demand and popularity within our campers’ various school systems, we at Hi-Hills have expanded our technology programs to include coding. In the summer of 2015, we will offer app, mod, video game and aircraft design classes.

Camp creates an atmosphere where children can grow and succeed in areas they enjoy both inside and out of the classroom. As an extension of the Gill St. Bernard’s family, our combination program allows for students to conquer their individualism while also having fun. Furthermore, it helps students stay involved in education for more than just the school year. Providing these types of opportunities for children is something we strive for here at Hi-Hills.


On March 1, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., we will be hosting our second Open House of the season. Come meet members of our great staff as well as gather more information with regard to combining traditional day camp and enrichment programs. Pre-register for an Open House. Any additional questions, please call the Camp Office at 908-234-0067 or email us at

Second Annual Hi-Hills Professional Development Day January 16, 2015

The holidays are a time when families and friends gather around for delicious food, laughter and good fun. The Hi-Hills staff is quite similar in the sense that it becomes a family over the summer when creating a fun-filled atmosphere for all Hi-Hills families (and of course there’s always great food compliments of Chef Anthony). One of the best parts of being a Hi-Hills staff member is that we, as a whole, continue our support for one another throughout the entire year.

On January 3, Hi-Hills Day Camp hosted its second annual Professional Development Day for all summer staff members. The day was filled with fun activities and informative information to help create an even better summer for campers. We reviewed our survey results from campers, parents and staff. This was a great way to recognize the hard work of our staff, as well as to discuss specifics we could improve to make next summer that much more successful. After discussing ideas for new themes and dress-up days for 2015, as well as reviewing the #BeBetter movement and upcoming Hi-Hills events such as camp fairs and open houses, we broke for lunch and prepared for the always-impressive American Camp Association members to join us. The American Camp Association discussed how to establish solid group dynamics, how to lead an elective activity and how to be an effective activity leader—all areas of the camp that can be applied to every age group and make for an even stronger staff.

Last year’s goal for the staff was communication. This year the goal is consistency. There are many different aspects of the Hi-Hills Day Camp that we want our camp families to enjoy. In order to provide the best customer service, flexibility and convenience for our families, we strive to stay consistent with our product and hope it continues to help develop the camp and our campers as individuals.


We are extremely appreciative of our campers and families, because without you all Hi-Hills would not be what it is today. In order to continue being the go-to camp for the best summer ever, we will pursue our goal of consistency by providing our staff with extra training and learning opportunities throughout the year. We at Hi-Hills wish you a very healthy and happy New Year. If you have not registered yet, please visit our sign-up and/or camp dates pages for more information. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Summer is almost here! June 4, 2014

With Summer Fun starting June 9 and Hi-Hills Traditional Day Camp beginning June 23, the Hi-Hills staff has been working especially hard over the last few weeks to get the GSB campus ready for camp. Everyone has been busy with decorating the “Top 10 Reasons” kiosk (see our Facebook page for a recap!), prepping the barn for our activity specialists to begin their projects and wrapping up our final open house with a record-breaking number of attendees.


Two weeks ago our program leaders met to review and finalize their summer schedules which are jam packed with fun and exciting activities for the campers. This week we will be hosting our first staff training session of the season. We will be welcoming members of the American Camping Association from New York who will be providing our staff with more tools and skills that adhere to the ACA standards, making our camp the place for your child’s best summer ever!

To sign up for Hi-Hills Day Camp, head on over to our registration page. We look forward to seeing you at camp this year!

Hi-Hills Introduces “Staff Voices” December 19, 2013

While our campers are busy with their school work during the off-season, here in the camp office we have our own work cut out for us as we prepare for the summer ahead. There are many exciting announcements coming up in the world of Hi-Hills Day Camp, and we can’t wait to share all of the ways we plan on making summer 2014 the best summer yet!


Earlier this month, we introduced our new assistant director of summer and auxiliary programs, Nicole Spiotta. We would also like to introduce our updated “Staff Profiles” page. Along with our new profiles page is our ongoing “Staff Voices” series, which began with Thanksgiving last month.  We hope these new additions will keep you in the camp spirit as the calendar works its way toward June!

Here Comes Harry! December 13, 2013

To kick off the holiday season right, Hi-Hills has a present for all: a new and improved mascot! We are excited to introduce Harry the Hawk!


Harry has many different styles. He can be fun and friendly as well as bold and proud. Each camp season brings a new beginning to summer, and even though Pauly has been a pal of ours for some time now, this summer brings new beginnings with a new friend. Take a look below at pictures of our new camp buddy.



Harry will be a major part of camp this year and will be featured on clothing, bags and other merchandise for sale. We here at Hi-Hills look forward to the beginning of Harry’s journey alongside with the fun-packed summer we have planned for your child. We wish all of our Hi-Hills family a safe and blessed holiday season.

Continue to check our website and visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for frequent updates and upcoming events.

Hi-Hills Welcomes New Assistant Director November 11, 2013

nicoleHi-Hills is proud to announce the appointment of Nicole Spiotta as the new assistant director of summer and auxiliary programs. Spiotta is a graduate of Drew University and holds a degree in political science. Her responsibilities at camp include supporting Camp Director Cindy Wyatt in the day-to-day operations of Hi-Hills’ and all summer programs. In addition to her many years of experience managing camps and sports clinics, Spiotta also has an extensive career in softball, serving as both a player and a coach. Spiotta, who played Division III softball with Drew, currently coaches at Raritan Valley Community College.

On a personal level, Spiotta has an infectious personality and thrives at completing new challenges. When not on the softball field or working out with her team, Spiotta manages her own business, which offers private softball instruction and DJ Entertainment. She also volunteers her coaching experience with younger girls, through local recreational and town programs.

Spiotta looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm and high energy level with campers during her first summer here at Hi-Hills! “The Hi-Hills reunion made me want the summer to get here that much sooner,” she said. “I can’t wait.”

Welcome Nicole!

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!

What’s New With Hi-Hills? April 18, 2013

What’s new?

So much! Hi-Hills has a new website, new look, new low ropes course, new games, new programs, new activities, new dinning hall and more.

Beginning in the fall of 2012, Jack, Cindy and new to her position of office manager, Beth, have been working with the new GSB Communications department to create a more uniform and easy-to-navigate website.  We are very pleased and excited with the outcome.

The website and appearance speaks for itself and we hope you are as happy with it as we are. The new game and programming ideas came through surveys from both parents and campers. We heard we should add more Legos so we asked our GSB woodworking department to build two Lego tables for our program. Mr. Ort was eager to work with Beth and have his classes become involved to create and build them.

We also heard you want some technology and science. We have partnered with two great companies: Sensational Science and Black Rocket Technologies. Both companies will be offering week-long programs under our enrichment portion of Hi-Hills and Black Rocket will also be one of the new activities during the Hi-Hills traditional day camp. In addition, we have our own Mrs. Prosen offering two new science courses.

Our low ropes course has been an idea in the making for the last two years. Hi-Hills is looking forward to the many benefits of team building beginning with our staff during orientation to our Kinder Campers learning the benefits of communication and teamwork as they balance on the whale watch.

The new dinning hall has been a wonderful addition. We now have a food court where we once had seating and now all seating is air-conditioned.

We look forward to sharing these new additions as well as the many old favorites which have come to make Hi-Hills a very special place to spend your summer!


The 2012 Hi-Hills Day Camp Teen Travel Program February 24, 2012

Traditionally the Hi-Hills Teen Travel Program creates a great deal of excitement with our oldest  campers.  Besides the obvious appeal of action packed day trips and water parks, The Teen Travel Program has become a rite of passage. Many campers join our Hi-Hills community from an early age (as young as 3 years old) and wait patiently  for this opportunity and privilege.

Teen Travel

Awesome Day Trip Fun

Our Teen Travel program is unique in a number of ways, but above all for our scheduling. Teen Travel Campers spend 3 days a week (Tues-Thurs) traveling on exciting day trips.  Monday and Friday they experience our Traditional Day Camp with a special schedule geared toward them.  At Hi-Hills we feel  campers at this age can and should be able to make more choices.  So we provided them with options and they create their day under the watchful eyes of our trained counselors.  Whether it’s participating in a dance class or creating a challenging game of gaga.  From arts and crafts to swimming and hiking Hi-Hills has a facility to deliver a fun day rain or shine.

We used feedback from our 2011 Teen Travel staff and campers to develop our 2012 program, that we recently announced, click here to view our 2012 Teen Travel Schedule. We are very excited about EVERY trip this summer.

 Teen Travel Overnight Trip

Back by popular demand we are heading to Connecticut for another round of ClubGetaway as our annual overnight trip. Each year ClubGetaway develops a range of new programs and activities for our campers. Parents can expect their children to participate in everything from, zip lining and sports tournaments, to water sports and Bouncy Boxing, Club Getaway has it all.

2012 Day trips include Six Flags, Mountain Creek, Dorney Park, CBK a Safari, NY Sightseeing, and a trip to Broadway, Surf Lessons, the Jersey Shore, Karting, Climbing, Camping, Paintballing, and much much more. 

Week 8 Teen Travel Camping Trip

One of my favorite trips of the summer has to be the overnight camping trip in week 8. This is an opportunity for children to experience a “residential” rustic camp . We build a camp fire, cook S’mores, bring a guitar and tell stories. We have the best capture the flag game of the summer and “hang out”. After spending the summer together it’s a great way to end the program and reminisce about all the fun and great memories we made together.


Teen Travel

Teen Travel Camping Trip 2011


If you have any questions about our Teen Travel Program please feel free to contact Jack in the camp office 908-234-0067 or email him at

Have a great weekend


‘Tis The Camp Fair Season! February 14, 2012

The first thought that comes to mind as I reflect on the past month is where did it go?? January and February are very busy months in the summer camp calendar because it’s the time of year also known as the Camp Fair Season.

We kicked off January and the Season with our first Supervisors meeting. The Team joined me for a delicious meal at a local bistro. We used the time to catch up, talk camp and make plans for the upcoming year.  I always enjoy spending time with this particular group. I sent them away thinking about their specific personal goals in their role, for the upcoming summer, in preparation for our next meeting on March 3rd.  

January 8th marked our first Summer Camp Open House of the season. Cindy and I, with help from the Supervisor Team spent the day giving camp tours to families. Children and parents are always very excited about camp after seeing the Gill St. Bernard’s campus. (If you missed it, be sure to see check the schedule for upcoming Camp Open House Events at our Somerset County NJ campus.)

We spent the remaining weekends of January and into February at Camp Fairs in various locations across New Jersey.  Those cold winter days indoors always get everyone excited for the summer days outside at Hi-Hills!

Hi-Hills Camp Fair
Hi-Hills Day Camp, Camp Fair

Camp Fairs also provide the opportunity for parents to find information about our camp and summer programs for kids; to meet the Directors and Staff; and to ask questions in search of the best camp for their children.

We find that parents are always interested in the unique qualities that set Hi-Hills Day Camp apart from neighboring camps. There are many, but I will share 5 with you.

  1. The Hi-Hills Philosophy, which emphasizes the overall development of the camper. 
  2.  Our Unbeatable Facilities: Gill St Bernard’s School is a beautiful 73 acre “New England” style setting with  facilities that allow us to offer numerous programs in all weather conditions. (And for days when the summer heat gets out of control; parents love the AC!).
  3. We provide Flexible Scheduling options to suit the ever-changing needs of parents. Whether parents request a shorter day, week or require extra care, we are able to tailor our program to accommodate.
  4.  Our extensive (and health-conscious!) Food Menu, provided by Flik Independent School Dining Services. (Click here to view a sample menu.)
  5.  Convenient Door-To-Door Transportation options. We provide services throughout Morris County and areas of Somerset, Middlesex, Hunterdon, Warren, Sussex, Union and Essex Counties.

For more information on Hi-Hills Day Camp feel free to contact me at the camp office: 908-234-0067 or email, .

Throughout February I will meet with returning staff and focus on program planning. Stay tuned for more news to come soon!


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A New Camp Tradition! December 9, 2011

Hi-Hills’ new camp tradition, our CAMP REUNION.

Originally scheduled for October but due to the unseasonable snow the reunion was moved to December.  This turned out to be a great way to kick start the holiday season. It was such a delight to see so many of our “summer” friends again. GSB’s Bruckner Hall was crammed with holiday craft activities and games, Mr. Nature brought along some of his animals, including Dalmatian the rabbit. Hi-Hills’ Athletic Duo John and Marc were on hand to lead camp games in the old Gym and we even had a 5 in one inflatable castle, outside. That’s correct, “outside” on December the 4th!  We made snowflakes, had face painting, lucky dip and guess how much candy was in the candy cane.  It’s tough to decide which of the games was more fun: “pin the Nose on Frosty” or “fill Frosty’s hat with snow balls”. I have uploaded a few picture highlights of the afternoon.  Next year and weather permitting, we will revert back to our original theme, the Hi-Hills Halloween Party.  


Hi Hills Summer Camp Reunion

Our First Ever Camp Reunion


December is a busy month here at camp. We are planning for January 8th Open House and New Jersey Camp Fairs in Bridgewater and East Hanover. I want remind all parents that our “referral” offer is still available into 2012, so be sure to tell your friends and colleagues to stop by at one of our camp fairs and many summer camp Open House events, (1/8,  2/12,  3/4,  4/1, 6/3). I would be more than happy to lead a private tour also.

Camp Calendars and Teen Travel Update-

In early 2012 we will announce on our Day Calendar and Teen Travel Schedule with details of our overnight trip on

Kids Zone –

A big announcement at the reunion was the unveiling of our new “kids zone” on This area of the website is packed with year round camp games, craft projects you can take on at home, competitions, Birthdays, a camp countdown (coming very soon) and more. The kids zone will be updated monthly with more fun than you can handle.

Calling All Staff!

If you are interested in working at camp, whether you are new to Hi-Hills or looking to return for the summer of 2012, please fill in the following application form and send them to the camp office. We will be interviewing from January.

Please stay tuned for more exciting blogs including some special guest bloggers!

Take care,



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Exciting Times At Hi-Hills Day Camp! November 22, 2011

Hello Hi-Hills,

Here in the GSB Summer Programs Office we are busy re-planning our first ever Camp Reunion, after the wacky October snow storm forced us to cancel first time around. The rescheduled afternoon will now take place on December 4that 2pm.  I want to remind families to RSVP as soon as possible. Details for the reunion can be found here.

Our Very Own You Tube Channel.

In other news, I have set up our very own, Hi-Hills Day Camp ‘You Tube’ channel that is now available!   Be sure to check out the video highlights from the Summer of 2011, more to be added soon. Our aim is to capture tons more next summer, so watch this space.

Kids Zone.

Do your children wish camp was year-round?  Then look no further!  Coming soon to is our NEW ‘Kids Zone”, where campers can interact and take part in camp games, activities and competitions for all ages all year long.

Splash Pad.

As most of you know we are extremely excited about our latest addition to Hi-Hills Day Camp 2012: the Splash Pad! Check out these pictures, the foundations have been laid!!!


New Hi-Hills Summer Day Camp Splash Pad|NJ Summer Day Camp

Digging the foundations



Lastly, Happy Thanksgiving from all at Hi-Hills. Have an incredible time with your family and loved ones.  We certainly have a lot to be thankful for here at Hi-Hills Day Camp.

See you at the Reunion,


The Reunion Must Go On November 3, 2011

Dear Hi-Hills,

I certainly had no idea what I was signing up for when I moved to the USA. Snow in October? What an out of the ordinary Halloween. I hope you are all safe, well and with power.

GSB finally had power restored yesterday afternoon and once I had packed away the remains of what would have been our first ever camp reunion, I was able to catch up with camp correspondence and find time to write this blog.

Hi Hills Day Camp Pumpkins | Hi Hills Day Camp Holiday Party

No Pumpkins Were Harmed

Hi-Hills Holiday Party!

Having been so excited about the Hi-Hills reunion since we announced it back in August, cancelling Sunday was a real a shame. The Pizza’s had been ordered, the 5 in 1 gigantic inflatable bouncy castle was packed into a van ready to be transported from Staten Island, Mr. Nature had prepped the animals for their day out, 60 Pumpkins were laid out waiting to be painted, decorations were up, staff were excited to see all their summer friends and then….oh well, I was sad to see this extreme weather prevent our celebrations. But my sadness didn’t last too long, because…. we are delighted to announce a new reunion date, December 4th, between 2pm-4pm. The Hi-Hills Halloween Party will now be the Hi-Hills Holiday Party!

We hope you will join us in celebrating the Holidays early, in true Hi-Hills Day Camp style!

More details to follow on

Best wishes,


Sportsmanship Week at Hi-Hills Day Camp October 27, 2011

Hello Everyone,

The weather is beautiful out here in Gladstone, NJ. We have fall in full glory! In the UK, Fall months, or as we refer to them, autumn, often become blurred with miserable dull rainy days and we do not have the opportunity to fully appreciate this remarkable season. Also, back home seasons switch from summer to winter a lot sooner. So while most are complaining about the drop in temperature, I am admiring the beauty of this time of year.

Camp Reunion-

Everything in the camp office is well. This week I have busy making arrangements for Sundays FIRST EVER Halloween Camp Reunion. I even found my costume, but you’ll have to wait until Sunday to see it.

In other news,

I have also been working on our Marketing and Advertising for upcoming publications and camp fairs. Here’s one of the new ads. What do you think?

Hi-Hills Day Camp 2012
Hi-Hills Day Camp 2012


Sportsmanship Week at Hi-Hills Day Camp

Each year at Hi-Hills we dedicate Week 6 to Sportsmanship week. Sportsmanship week is part of the camp culture and goes way back. The Directors introduced this concept to educate and promote Sportsmanship, teamwork, fairness and respect in healthy competition.

How Sportsmanship Week Works

Each camper is assigned to one of two teams and throughout the week within their bunk group compete and work together in various activities to earn points for their team. Each team develops a team name, a flag, a team chant/ song and with the help of their counselors discuss the meaning of teamwork and sportsmanship.

At various points during the week, teams come together for all camp events. These include, the Pasta Hunt, Apache Relay, Tug’o’war and of course the final event (The chant off and the Flag awards). This year was a huge success. I have uploaded some short highlights from this years Tug’o’war event. It’s a real gem, Enjoy!

Early Bird Discount- Extended!

I have great news for all un-registered parents. Our Early Bird Enrollment has now been extended another week and is open until November 4th. See our website for further discounts.

I hope to see you Sunday, at the reunion.


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Hi-Hills Day Camp Is Back! September 14, 2011

The new school year is underway and so is planning for Hi-Hills Day Camp, 2012!

As you find your stride for the next few months, I wanted to take a second to wish you well for this academic year. Good luck, work hard and have fun!

July 4th Celebrations Hi Hills Day Camp New Jersey

July 4th Celebrations

I am so excited to turn my attention to the summer of 2012 this week and wanted to keep you posted on a number of updates in our camp community.

Hi Hills Day Camp Office Life

Here in the camp office, the pace of life has slowed, slightly. I moved back to the Summer Programs Office, above Founders (Dining Hall). Perch House (Camp Office) is now a space used for GSB students to master the art of music, buses report to a different part of the campus (I noticed two things this morning, as I walked past the buses. The first, no one leaving the bus was anywhere near as excited as those who hopped off the bus on a summers morning and two, there were no awesome counselors greeting them as they arrived!) Sorry, I felt the need to share that.  And all the camp equipment is packed away in the barn for another year. And so the only traces we have left that camp ever happened, are the pictures, the newsletter (see achieved editions of our camp newsletter the Hi-Hills Herald), and of course the wonderful memories for all those involved. I often find myself gazing into space with a smile on my face, reminising of summer.

Throughout the year I will publish frequent blogs, full of highlights from the summer and keep you updated on camp news via Twitter and Facebook.

Other Camp Updates

  • Our Camp Reunion, The Hi-Hills Halloween Party, will take place on October 30th See the Website for further details.
  • The announcements section of our homepage (see the right-hand Column) will also detail camp news and updates.
  • Parents, please see the parent notices section of our website for information and updates about camp.
  • The Hi-Hills Herald will be published during the year.

I hope to see you all at the reunion.

Good luck with the semester, enjoy!


What’s been happening in and around camp? June 23, 2011

What’s been happening in and around camp?

It’s hard to believe I have been in the USA almost three months. Time has flown by and camp is less than 4 days away!

Here in Perch House (our summer office) we are busy finalizing plans and getting everything ready for the first day of camp!

Much of my time this week has been spent answering parent calls, speaking with staff, sending out last minute paperwork, writing schedules and setting up the final parts of camp. Everyone here is enthusiastically awaiting the arrival of our campers.

Last weekend we finished our 2011 Staff Orientation. The three day training session included games, interactive themed workshops, camp tours and, of course, physical camp set up. We had a blast! The picture below shows staff competing in the ‘crocodile race’

Crocodile race

Early June marked the move to our summer office. Two weeks ago on a warm spring morning, Aaron (Assistant Camp Director) and I, with the help of Head Counselor Ryan Milanaik moved our offices across the Gill St Bernard’s campus into Perch House, where we will be stationed for the next 8 weeks. We will also be joined by Lorraine our Office Manager and Mike Trapani. If you pass by be sure to pop in and say, hi!

Ryan getting the camp ready for opening day.

Another highlight of past few weeks was our Open House. I enjoyed the opportunity to speak with parents and meet some of our campers prior to camp. Cindy informed me it was our most successful Open House in the history of Hi-Hills!

There we go, come Monday this silent and empty Gill St. Bernard’s campus will be filled with energy, excitement and happiness. I should head out and check our new heated pool!

See you bright and early for the start of your BEST SUMMER EVER!

Be sure to ‘Like US’ on Facebook ( and see more pictures.

Meet the New Summer Camp Director for Hi Hills Day Camp May 12, 2011

Hey, Hi Hills,

Leaders of Hi Hills Day Camp Gladstone NJ

Jack Dinwiddy and Cindy Wyatt - making this summer your child's Best Summer Ever!

My name is Jack Dinwiddy and I will be the new Camp Director this summer! You have no idea how excited I am to be here, I cannot wait to meet you all. We are going to have the BEST SUMMER EVER!!

Okay, a little bit about me. I was born in London, England, and grew up in a small seaside town on the South Coast. I moved to New Jersey this year. I have two younger brothers, Adam and Simon, and a wonderful fiancee named Stacie. I studied for my BA (Hons) degree in Sports Studies with Business at Southampton Solent University. In my spare time I like to travel the world, play soccer and surf.

I never went to camp when I was young, so when you see me acting like a camper it’s because I’m making up for lost time. When I was 19 I spent a summer as a soccer coach and bunk counselor at a residential camp in New Jersey. It was an incredible experience that changed my life. So much so that I continued to return to camp for four more summers before joining a day camp full time in the UK. I absolutely love everything about camping, from playing in the sunshine and making all types of awesome friends, to laughing all day and trying new activities!

Only 46 days until camp. We are counting down the days!

See you soon,

P.S. Remember to keep up to date with the latest Hi-Hills news via our Facebook page: Simply click the “like” button and the most recent updates for parents and campers will appear in your news feed.

Great Programs for our Youngest Campers! February 28, 2011

Hi-Hills NJ Summer Day Camp Carnival Event

Kids Love the Hi-Hills Carnival Event

At Hi-Hills Day Camp our youngest campers have a program all of their own called “Kinder Camp.” Children in this program, for ages 3 ½ to 6, participate in many of the same activities as the older campers, but the programs are scaled down to be appropriate for their age and supervised with a higher counselor-to-camper ratio.

One of the most important skills to be learned at a young age is how to swim, and we take special care to assure that young campers develop a high degree of water safety while also appreciating the fun that can be had in the pool. Our certified and experienced pool staff teaches children how to swim using the Red Cross Swim Instruction program, and campers receive instruction and free swim time every day.

Hi-Hills NJ Day Camp Kids Garden Party Event

Fun Activities at Hi-Hills Summer Garden Party

Music and art play a big role in their summer activities. Campers sing, dance and laugh in our air-conditioned classrooms, and they put on performances several times during the summer for family and friends. Our art staff helps your child to create special projects…always a hit with little hands!

A variety of games and sports help Kinder Campers develop their hand-eye coordination and physical skills. Campers even get tennis instruction on one of our seven tennis courts!

Our nature program explores the outdoors with activities such as walking along a crystal clear stream catching minnows and salamanders, helping to plant a garden, taking hikes and collecting ferns to turn into fossils and helping care for our animals and reptiles.

Hi-Hills NJ Day Camp Kids Garden Party

Hi-Hills Garden Party Brings Smiles

Campers eat together in the dining hall where they will find healthy selections each day. You won’t need to worry about your picky eater, as the counselors help campers with their meals and eat alongside them. Speaking of eating, a favorite among Kinder Campers is the hands-on cooking class, where children will make yummy and nutritious snacks.

All of this is under the watchful guidance of our seasoned and caring staff. Our leaders are teachers trained and certified in Early Childhood education, who eagerly share their enthusiasm and knowledge with your child.

Don’t miss out on the fun, sign-up for summer camp. We look forward to seeing you this summer!

How to Pick a Day Camp for Your Child December 15, 2010

Before you know it you’ll be looking to fill the summer weeks with exciting activities for your son or daughter. I know what you’re thinking, we haven’t even gotten through the holidays yet! Why should I begin thinking about next summer?

Winter is a great time to start sorting out the summer day camp choices with your youngsters. If your child has never been to day camp before, they will certainly have many questions. If you begin planning now, you won’t feel rushed into a decision as Memorial Day approaches.

Swimmers Having Fun at NJ Summer Adventure Day Camp

Swimming Summer Fun

New Jersey Camp Shows

Your first stop should be a camp show, sponsored by the local chapter of the American Camping Association (ACA). These are held at locations around the New Jersey and metro area, and are a great first step towards finding out what different camps offer. Most of the shows are in January, and you can find a list of them by clicking here.

Bring Your Kids to Camp Show

When you go to a camp show, bring your kids and ask lots of questions. Don’t worry about trying to absorb all of that information at once – it can be overwhelming. Pick up materials from camps that you might be interested in, then go home and do your research. Check out their websites, call and ask for a visit (yes, most camps will offer you tours year round). And don’t forget one of your valuable resources – your friends. Find out where they’re sending their kids, and why they like the camp.

Prepare Early, Ask Lots of Questions

Preparing early will result in less stress for you, the parents, and a more enjoyable experience for your child. Of course feel free to Contact Hi-Hills Day Camp or call 908.234.0067 with any questions regarding how our Day Camp, Kinder Camp, CIT Program or Teen Travel works.