Archive for the ‘Staff Voices’ Category

The “Be Better” Movement February 28, 2014

When choosing a day camp, a parent looks for a place that will suit their child’s needs, their child’s likes and dislikes. Some families go to camp fairs, others go to open houses and some simply surf the web looking for the ideal summer getaway for their child to go and make life-lasting memories. What is it about summer camp that makes a child savor and cherish a moment? Is it the games in the pool; the camp songs; the campouts? Summer camps offer a variety of options for your child to enjoy their youth and have some plain old fashion fun, but what separates one camp from another? Aside from day-to-day offerings and unique facilities used on campus, have you ever considered the message the camp promotes? Sure, camp promotes fun; all camps do in some way, shape or form, but what camps go deeper in their mission statements and go above and beyond to make sure their mission — providing your child with the summer of a lifetime — happens?

As a leader of the Hi-Hills Day Camp staff, I found this an imperative question to answer. The people who are responsible for making your child’s summer are the camp staff. They provide the activities, the games, the events and all of the other fun that makes camp just that: camp. A staff member’s job is to motivate a child’s life in a positive manner. They need to have the will, the mindset and most importantly the training to do so. Each year camp brings along something new for the campers, whether that be a playground, a splash pad, or give-a-ways. This year, Hi-Hills is bringing a fantastic staff to the table. With a combination of returning and new staff members, Hi-Hills has made their staff a priority for no other reason but to ensure that your child has the best summer ever.

We pride ourselves in giving your child limitless options of activities in state-of-the-art facilities with an atmosphere of fun. It is our mission at Hi-Hills to not only provide your child with the summer of a lifetime, but give them the skills to make a difference in their lifetime. In doing so, we have created an in-house motivation message called the “Be Better Movement.” Our movement consists of four parts: Be You, Be Creative, Be Challenged, Be Strong. Each part is unique and will provide your child with the necessary skills to make their journey through life the best that it can be. Our variety of activities allows your child to be who they want to be; our “your choice” daily sessions allow for your child to be creative by opening their mind; our lessons in swim, tennis, yoga, and other skill-based activities allow for your child to challenge themselves and show improvement; and the social exposure our camp provides allows for your child’s personality to grow in strength. Each week at Hi-Hills has a different theme. We will have a Be Better Bunk challenge at the end of each week that correlates with camper skits to see which bunk used the theme of the week to help them “Be Better.” This will allow for both educational and physical growth of your child on a daily basis through the exposure of fairness, responsibility and initiative.

be_better_blog_500px

As a staff, we find it very important that you as parents have access to your child’s day-to-day experiences. We will create a series separate from our website on the social media outlet Tumblr to provide parents with pictures, write-ups and descriptions of the campers’ improvements with the Be Better Movement. This will not only be a great outlet for the camp to keep you updated with your child’s experiences, but it will also be great documentation of your child’s individual progress throughout the summer. This progress will show that your child is receiving the summer of a lifetime and is learning the life skills necessary to journey through life happily.

We will send frequent reminders as to when the Tumblr account has launched and other exciting things to look for via our social media outlets and website! If you have not registered for camp yet you can do so here on our website or contact the camp office at 908-234-0067.

Assistant Director
Nicole Spiotta

Staff Voices: Happy Holidays from Hi-Hills December 23, 2013

brian_resavedThe holidays are always a magical and exciting time of year. Hi-Hills Day Camp provides me with those same feelings come summer time. I’m really looking forward to this coming year with the Hi-Hills Community. To give us all a taste of the summer while spreading some holiday cheer, let’s stop and smell the chestnuts roasting over an open fire, the holiday ham, grandma’s fruit cake, fragrant Christmas trees, and those holiday cookies that are everywhere.

Some of our fondest memories take place in and around the kitchen, sharing special meals and treats. This prompted me to think of the moments spent with my own children, when it was still easy to carry them both in my arms and make their favorites. The holiday sugar cookie is a great traditional treat and can be handled by the hands of grandchildren to grandparents. The recipe is simple, the decorations are fun and the forms they take are limitless.

Below is the recipe I used for my children or you can ask grandma for hers to share with you that you can pass onto later generations.

Spend time with family and friends creating these wonderful holiday cookies and memories that will last a lifetime. Feel free to send pictures of your creations that can be posted and shared with rest of the Hi-Hills community.

Enjoy these holiday moments and have a Happy New Year.

Brian Gary, Activities Specialist – Arts and Crafts

Brian’s Sugar Cookie

Ingredients:

  • Sifted, all-purpose flour (4 cups)
  • Baking Powder (2 tsp.)
  • Sugar (1 ½ cups)
  • Eggs (2)
  • Butter (¾ of a cup)
  • Vanilla Extract (2 tsp.)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Stir flour and baking powder into a bowl
  • Beat butter and sugar (until fluffy), then add eggs and vanilla
  • Combine and stir the flour and baking powder bowl with the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla bowl
    • Will form a stiff dough
  • Roll out on a lightly floured surface
  • Cut into shapes (1/4 thick)
    • Pick your favorite cookie cutter for this part
  • Place onto a lightly greased cookie sheet
  • Bake for 10 minutes
    • Rotate on the 5th minute
  • Once cooled, Enjoy!

Staff Voices: Happy Thanksgiving from Hi-Hills November 26, 2013

As a self-confessed “sentimental fool,” I’ve always considered the period between Halloween and the winter holiday season as my favorite time of the year. Whether it’s the changing color of the leaves, my family’s traditional Italian Thanksgiving–yes, there’s plenty of pasta before the turkey!–or the joy I feel after the year’s first snow, these upcoming months are truly magical.

Lately, though, I’ve found there’s another two-month period that I treasure just as dearly as those precious holiday moments. Each summer, from mid-June to mid-August, I go to a place that has created more wonderful memories for me over the last 15 years than I thought I’d experience in a lifetime.

The place? Hi-Hills Day Camp.

For 15 years, Hi-Hills has truly been my “summer home.” I’ve worked in various different capacities ranging from bunk counselor to athletics director to specialties supervisor to…well, whatever I’m needed for, in an environment that I feel truly fortunate to be a part of each and every glorious summer day. Whether it’s the hustle and bustle of campers heading to the pool for a refreshing swim, athletes competing in a dramatic Leagues contest or the connections being made between counselors and campers in the early morning hours prior to assembly, there truly is something special for everyone at Hi-Hills.

marc_gesualdo_basketball2

While seven months may seem like a long time to many, Summer 2014 at Hi-Hills will certainly be worth the wait. And I have two little Gesualdo girls who, though they don’t see eye-to-eye with their father on many things at their age, would definitely agree on that point. My daughters don’t have to go to Hi-Hills during the summer. But they choose to go each year because of the dedicated staff, the outstanding variety of activities and the unquestionable beauty of the Gill St. Bernard’s campus.

I hope to see many of our 2013 campers back for another summer joined by a plethora of newcomers as we continue to build on traditions and add to the ever-growing Hi-Hills family. Thanks so much for sharing your children with us each and every summer. While the two months we spend with them seem to be gone in the blink of an eye, the memories we make will last a lifetime.

On behalf of Hi-Hills Day Camp, I’d like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our families. We’ll see you before you know it!

Sincerely,

Marc Gesualdo, Program Operation Coordinator