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Hi-Hills Reunion Halloween Party November 13, 2012

Dear Hi-Hills,

For the second year in a row Mother Nature attempted to put a damper on our Hi-Hills Halloween reunion, but she was unsuccessful this year.  We were sorry that many of our families and staff were unable to attend with Hurricane Sandy just hours away.  We missed you all.

We truly hope this blog post finds all our Hi-Hills families safe after the recent events of not only Hurricane Sandy but also Nor’easter Athena.

The reunion was a blast.  Thank you to all of our camp families and friends who were able to attend our Halloween party.

The costumes were amazing, spending quality time with camp friends reminiscing on the fun and good times of last summer; conversations about the Hi-Hills Musical, the staff/ camper basketball game, carnival, leagues and even, the now infamous all-star week. My favorite question to ask campers was what is your summer highlight? The responses ranged from, campouts, day trips and fishing, too slip’n’slide, arts and sports tournaments.

Camp Reunion

Hi-Hills Day Camp Reunion

 I count myself lucky because I go to Hi-Hills every day of the year. I constantly think about the goals we achieved during the summer of 2012 and what fun we had doing it.  So to hear staff and campers laugh together as they relive a moment from a campout or an activity is a wonderful feeling. I enjoy watching our camp community remember just how fun these experiences were and how much these times mean to each of them.

There were games and activities, including Halloween crafts: pumpkin painting, fusion beads, lanyard and face painting. In the Athletic Center we played basketball and bounced until our hearts content on our Halloween themed bouncy castle.   And of course it wouldn’t be Halloween without apple dunking.

Julia S. won the jar of candy for making the closest guess of ‘how many pieces of candy were in the jar’. She guessed 185, and there were 200 pieces in the jar. The best costume went to Sophie and Erika (see photo), both winning a Hi-Hills sweatshirt.

Reunion Party

Sophie and Erika

Please see our website for photos from our camp reunion. Be sure to send in your pictures from the event and we will add them to our gallery.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Jack, Cindy and Beth

Athletics at Hi-Hills Day Camp August 10, 2012

Good Afternoon,

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

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

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

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

Tennis at Hi-Hills August 10, 2012

Good Afternoon,

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

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

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

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

Good Afternoon,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hi-Hills Leagues and Pasta Hunt August 1, 2012

Good Afternoon,

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

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

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

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

 

Tug of War July 31, 2012

Good Afternoon,

Oscar Olson, Sidney Johnson, Henry Seiling, Conrad Magnusson, and Patrick Flanagan. If these names are unfamiliar to you, that’s not too surprising; these are the men who comprised the only American Gold Medal in the now defunct Olympic sport of Tug of War. Yes, that’s right, tug of war was once an Olympic game. The Tug of War was an Olympic sport from 1900-1920. You may ask why I’m bringing this arcane trivia up, but don’t worry, no I haven’t lost my mind, today is our annual Hi-Hills Tug of War Games. Every summer we have a tug of war competition during Sportsmanship Week between the two teams using appropriate sets of Bunks. This means Bunks 9 and 11, Bunks 10 and 12, Bunks 13 and 17, Bunks 14 and 18, and finally a competition between the counselors on both teams. Each round is done in a best of three format, meaning the first to win two out of three is the winner.

Every single match was incredibly close and in true sportmanshiplike fashion many of our campers, whether they won or lost, offered congratulations and shook the hands of members of the other team over a tough challenge. The Sharks won the first two match-ups 2-0 and 2-0 for Bunks 9 and 11 and Bunks 10 and 12. The Manatees came storming back to win the second two matches 2-0 and 2-1 for Bunks 13 and 17 and Bunks 14 and 18 respectively. The final match-up came down to the counselors of the Sharks and the Manatees. After losing quickly in the first match the Manatees managed to land a 5 Star blogging recruit out of the office to even things up and win match two. The rubber match saw another 5 start recruit from the office join the fray in the Sportsmanship week’s program director Mike Trapani. After a tough competition which last well over 3 minutes, The Manatees just barely managed to squeeze out the victory. After the match was over there were hi-fives and handshakes all around on both sides as each team clearly gave it their all and it was a fun thing to be a part of.

Overall today was an exciting day, I got to go fishing with Bunk 11 in the morning and help support the Manatees in their victory in the afternoon. At the end of the day the scores for Sportsmanship Week read Sharks 2361 – Manatees 2216. Allow me to leave you with a snippet of a conversation I overheard between two of the Bunk 11 counselors after the Tug of War match-up. “Congratulations on the victory Mike you guys really earned it.” said Bunk 11 counselor Cory Georgeson, “Congratulations to you as well Cory,” said fellow Bunk 11 counselor Mike Lubinsky “Today wasn’t about catching the most fish, winning Tug of War, or even Team Shark and Team Manatee, rather, it was about the campers, and based on the fun they’ve had and the smiles on their faces, it’s clear that today, here at Hi-Hills, we are all winners.”

Fishing at Hi-Hills! July 31, 2012

Good Morning,

In a surprise twist, today will be a double feature as there is just too much going on in camp to limit today to just one blog entry. The morning will detail a fun excursion into the Deep Blue, while the afternoon will chronicle a competition of epic proportions.  This morning I got to spend my time fishing with Bunk 11, the Hawt and Spicy Nachos. Twice a week, every week, a bunk gets to go fishing at a beautiful lake in Schooley’s Mountain Park in Chester, New Jersey.  Em Foster, our fishing specialist drives the bunk to the lake and starts off the day by explaining rod and reel safety and proper fishing etiquette. Once that is taken care of each camper waits in line to have a worm attached to their line and off they go fishing away to their hearts content.

While this was my first time fishing at this lake, The Hawt and Spicy Nachos had already been here once this summer, so they were seasoned pros. I could not catch a single fish all morning meanwhile most of the campers were catching multiple fish. By the end of the trip the Hawt and Spicy Nachos had caught over 20 fish. Needless to say I was quite impressed. “Don’t be too surprised these campers tend to thrive at everything they put their mind to,” said Bunk 11 counselor Cory Georgeson. “The first time they went fishing they were a little hesitant as they were still learning the rules and proper safety, but look at them now, they managed to catch more fish than all of the counselors and CIT’s combined.”

Sportsmanship Week!! July 30, 2012

Good Afternoon,

Here at Hi-Hills sportsmanship is of the utmost importance. It is for that reason that we devote an entire week to it and its principles in the attempt to teach and encourage using sportsmanship in all facets of life. The goal of sportsmanship week is to build a sense of teamwork and cooperation between campers and staff through fun games and competitions. While there is a point system for the competitions this week there will be just as many points distributed for proper sportsmanship as there will be for actually winning thus showing that how you play the game is just as if not more important than what the scoreboard says.

At the beginning of camp today, the campers were split into two separate teams, the Somerset Sharks and the Morris Manatees. The Sharks are captained by counselor Brian Trapani and Jen Monto while the Manatees are captained by counselors Guillermo Gonzalez and Catherine Sharretts. This morning as the teams met for the first time they began to create team cheers as well as started to design their flags for their respective teams.

Today we had five competitions including two games of kickball, a game of hockey, Gaga, and Nuke ‘Em. For parents unfamiliar with GaGa and Nuke ‘Em, their rules are fairly simple. GaGa is essentially a small court (octagon) version of dodgeball where campers cannot catch the ball, there are no lines, and they are out if they are hit on the legs; while Nuke ‘Em is volleyball but the campers can catch the ball instead of having to hit it.

Every single game was unbelievably close as no game was won by more than five points. The Somerset Sharks won the first kickball games by the slimmest of margins narrowly edging out the Morris Manatees 6-5 and in game two scored 7 straight in the final inning to win 13-8. The hockey game went down to the wire as the Manatees scored three quick goals at the end which proved to be the difference maker in a 9-6 victory. After hockey I managed to catch the end of the third GaGa game. The first game was swept by the Manatees winning the top 4 spots. Not to be outdone the Sharks came back and did the same in game two. In the pivotal game three, Sharks occupied fourth, third, and second while the Manatees managed to notch First place.  The final competition Nuke ‘Em saw the Sharks’ amazing comeback come up short as time ran out on the Manatees’ thrilling 15-12 victory.

All the teams played their hearts out as is clear from the closeness of the scores. To show that winning isn’t everything even though the Manatees won four of the five events, yet the final score on the day was 1154 to 976 in favor of the Sharks.  At the end of the day I managed to sit down with the Director of this week’s Sportsmanship Program Mike Trapani. “At the end of the day it isn’t about who won or who lost; it’s just as easy to be a sore winner as it is a sore loser. What we try to do here is teach campers how to play fair and have fun. As long as those two things are accomplished it really doesn’t matter what a scoreboard says because in the game of life, as long as the game is played just and fair, everyone is a winner.”

Olympics at Hi-Hills July 28, 2012

Good Afternoon,

Start with Blue, Black, Red, Yellow, Green Rings, toss in a Torch and make it once only every four years. If you haven’t guessed by now today is the start of the Olympics (Go USA)!!!! To honor that all week we have been having Olympic themed events and activities. From music to art and even sports everyone has been getting involved and creating fun Olympic themed activities.

In Music the campers got to listen to 10 different countries national anthems, including: England (the host country), the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Russia, Germany, Portugal, and South Africa. They all picked their favorites as well as identified the instruments. In Arts & Crafts the campers got to make Olympic themed creations including torches, medals and crowns. Dance allowed the campers to feel what it’s like to win an Olympic medal as medals were awarded for different competitions.

The campers all received Red White and Blue bracelets in honor of the Olympics. It truly has been a festive week. Gracious as always, Olympic host country, Great Britain’s representative at Hi-Hills, Camp Director Jack Dinwiddy was heard wishing the United States “good luck” as “second place behind England would still be a pretty impressive accomplishment”.

Lower Bunk Late Night at Hi-Hills July 28, 2012

Good Afternoon,
Not even the Greek God Aiolos, (keeper of storm-winds, squalls, and tempests) could stop Thursday night from happening. If you could not make it tonight I’m sorry to say you missed an amazing Late Night. Capture the Flag, swimming, and some delicious Hi-Hills Burgers and Hot Dogs.

The night started out with a few friendly games of capture the flag in which score was not kept but fun certainly was. Afterwards the campers were in need of a refreshing break so we all adjourned to the pool for some fun water games and even got to spend time in the always impressive Splash Pad. Also, while at the pool we had possibly the greatest dance off in Hi-Hills history. Due to the impending storm, we moved dinner inside of Founders and it’s a good thing we did as the storm started not too long afterwards. For food, all the counselors worked together to make Hi-Hills burgers and hot dogs making sure all the campers were well fed. For those who were still hungry after dinner we had 2 highly tasty cakes and ice cream sundaes for campers and parents.

Overall it was a very fun and exciting night. Between playing sports, getting to relax in the pool and more food than one could shake a stick at, there was opportunities for everyone to thrice and enjoy themselves. Bunk 12 counselor Dylan Rowell could be heard asking, “Can we do this every week?” and Bunk 11 counselor Mike Lubinsky said, “This is the most fun I’ve had all summer.” Clearly the campers aren’t the only ones enjoying themselves during this best summer ever.

Carnival!! July 25, 2012

Good Afternoon,

Hi…welcome…to….today’s…blog. Sorry I’m so out of breath, I’ve just been having so much fun at Carnival today. I spent today touring the different booths with Bunk 11 counselor Mike Lubinsky. There was face painting, the Pepsi-Coke Challenge, miniature golf, Cotton Candy, a ball and cup version of three-card Monte, frog toss, a pie eating contest and even a tattoo parlor. The two biggest attractions (literally) were the Amazon race and the Wet and Wild Water Slide.

Each bunk had a chance to make up their own individual booth and run it with the help of their counselors. The booths were designed for the campers to be able to win tickets which they could then exchange for some really awesome prizes, including some delicious Cotton Candy. As has become the norm when I compete with the campers they beat me (yet again) at essentially every booth I tried. These campers sure are something special, they even beat me at miniature golf, and I actually golf on the weekends.

After getting soaked on the Water Slide, I managed to talk to Bunk 9 counselor Robbie Lister about previous Carnivals as he has been at Hi-Hills since he was a camper. “Honestly, I don’t know how they do it. Every year the Carnival just gets better and better, and it was already pretty awesome to begin with.” Well there you have it folks, from a counselor who has been here for years, our Carnival may not have a flashy name but it more than makes up for that with its amazing fun and games.

Winter Wonderland July 25, 2012

Good Afternoon,

Take some snow, add a corncob pipe, a button nose, two eyes made out of coal, and an old silk hat with just a pinch of magic left. This particular combination can only mean one thing; it’s time for the Winter Wonderland. Not even a heat wave could stop the dedication of these spectacular campers and counselors last Friday as many of them came dressed up in winter clothes following last week’s theme of Winter Wonderland.

Some of the bigger events included snowman races and a holiday shopping spree. The snowman races required campers to run around a group of snowman carrying a “snow” filled sled over there head. Due to the weather, water was used instead as a way to keep cool. The holiday shopping spree, consisted of a race around a Christmas Tree and Hanukkah Menorah presents in hand passing them off to the next camper in line until the entire line finished.

With the heat as strong as it was last week it would have been very easy for everyone to say, “It’s too hot let’s not do this,” but these campers and counselors would not let that happen. The dedication they show week in and week out is just incredible, and I applaud them for truly working to make this the Best Summer Ever. “I hope one day my children can go to a camp of this caliber,” says Bunk 11 counselor Cory Georgeson , “there is just such a camper first mentality here it’s amazing. The effort all the counselors put forth for the campers, it really brings a smile to my face.”

Pottery Corner! July 23, 2012

Good Afternoon,

Welcome to the exciting world of pottery. For today’s blog entry I got to spend the morning with our resident Pottery expert, Steven Panicani and Bunk 13 down by the Scout Cabin as we taught the campers how to make a multitude of items, including: nameplates, pendants, necklaces, keychains, and pinchpots.

 The first activity we did this morning was nameplates. By taking basic clay and molding it into a rectangle, the kids could then carve their names on them and voila, some beautiful nameplates were designed. Last week, some of the campers started making pinchpots, so when the nameplates were finished those campers got to start painting their pinchpots with Glaze while the other campers focused on making keychains and pendants. When they were done Steven and I took all the artwork to the kiln to be (cooked) and the campers will hopefully be able to take home their beautiful creations later this week. It’s really amazing how advanced these campers are when it comes to pottery,” says pottery specialist Steve, “when I was a camper I couldn’t do half the things these campers can.”

 This was the third occasion I got to spend time with Bunk 13, and they just continue to impress me. They just keep getting better and more talented each and every week.  “It’s really something else watching these campers work” says Bunk 13 counselor RJ Rescigno  “the amount of focus and skill they have in incredible. If I’m lucky maybe by the end of camp some of their skills will rub off on me.”

Archery at Hi-Hills Day Camp!! July 20, 2012

Good Morning,

William Tell, Robin Hood, Legolas, Green Arrow, and Hawkeye. Can anyone tell me what these legendary and/or fictional men have in common? A) They would have loved to spend time this summer at Hi-Hills B) They all pale in comparison to our expert archery teacher Elliott Cohen  C) They all dot their “i”s with hearts or D) They greatly enjoy dancing in the rain.  If you guessed B, they all pale in comparison to our expert archery teacher Elliott Cohen you would be correct. We would also accept answers A and D as well.

If you haven’t guessed by now, today’s blog is on the wonderful world of Archery. Archery is an ancient sport that dates as far back as 10,000 BCE and possibly even further. While rendered obsolete on the battlefield with the invention of firearms, it still remains a hugely popular recreational activity and sport (It’s even included in the Olympic Games).

“At Hi-Hills our goal is to teach the campers proper bow etiquette and usage,” says Archery Instructor Elliott Cohen, “along those lines safety is always the biggest concern so prior to every bunk getting started, I like to sit down with them and make sure they clearly understand all the rules and safety precautions.” Elliott went on to explain to me how the campers use a 50 point system with five arrows worth up to 10 points each depending on where they land on the target. There are different distances set up for the campers, ranging between 20-30 feet away from the target depending on skill level.

Between bunks I was granted a one-on-one tutor session with Elliott to see just how hard this archery thing is. Let me tell you, the skills these campers are showing are quite spectacular, I struggled to hit the target more than once while most of the campers are hitting it three or four times from an even further distance than me. After failing miserably Elliott said to me, “Don’t feel too bad, these campers make it look so easy. It’s not every day you get campers of this skill level, these Hi-Hills campers are quite the young marksmen.”

Kinder Camp Garden Party July 19, 2012

Good Afternoon,

I honestly don’t know where to begin; in a surprising first I’m nearly speechless. If your curious as to why all you need to do is ask someone from the extended Kinder Camp family.  I just arrived back from the party of the century. The Kinder Camp Garden Party featuring Bunks 1 and 2 absolutely blew the roof off of the athletic center this afternoon. The campers sang a seven song set to rival just about any music act from the last 30 years. Move over Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and anyone else who thinks they’re on top; The Sunnies and Munchkins are the new kids on the block. With a mix of new songs and even a few from my childhood the Sunnies and Munchkins put their names on the music map emphatically. They sang Baby Shark, Crocodile Song, Skidamarink (one of this bloggers favorite childhood songs), I am H-A-P-P-Y, Smile, The More We Get Together (my other favorite) and finished off with the instant classic The Hi-Hills Song.

After their standing ovation finished we were served cake and lemonade in celebration of Kinder Camp’s first in what should be an incredibly long line, of shows. I even hear they are set to headline The Tonight Show next week. During the cake eating I had the privilege to speak to music director Stefanie Santoro who told me just how hard the campers had been practicing leading up to this event.  “I would practice with them just about every other day and could always hear them practicing as they would walk down the hallways.” It’s clear that campers and counselors alike put a large amount of time and energy into this party and I am glad to tell you it was a rousing success.

By the end of the show I couldn’t tell who was more impressed the parents or the talent scouts that were scattered in the audience. As always here is a quote to end on, “Overall a good time was had by everyone and these campers will be singing for a long time to come,” said music specialist, Stefanie  Santoro “I just hope when the millions start pouring in they remember the simple young music teacher who helped them organize their first show. ” Also an autograph or two isn’t too much for the blogger who was there to document their debut, right? (…right?)

Parent Luncheon!! July 19, 2012

Good Afternoon,

Let’s start off with a nice roast turkey carver, add some roasted potatoes and the always amazing GSB garden vegetables. Add in two highly deliciously Chocolate and Vanilla cakes and we have quite the meal. No need to adjust your blog, this isn’t the Food Network, but it is PARENT LUNCHEON DAY!! Today you get to join me in spending part of the day with your children seeing exactly what they have been up to the last 3 and a half weeks.

During lunch we enjoyed the splendid musical styling of Music Specialist Stefanie Santoro on the flute. I managed to sit with a few bunks and got to speak with counselors, campers, and their families. “It’s really nice to meet the families, “says Bunk 13 counselor, RJ Rescigno, “we’ve gotten to spend so much time with the campers these last few weeks its really cool to get to know them in a different setting.”

The Parent Luncheon has been a key event at Hi-Hills since its inception back in 1966. “It’s a great way to showcase the camp,” says Camp Director Jack Dinwiddy, “one of the best attributes to this camp is the sense of community that exists as a whole. The parents always come out in great numbers and it really allows them to see just what their children are doing that makes going to Hi-Hills truly the Best Summer Ever.”

After lunch parents were allowed to stay and spend time with their children during clubs. Overall it was a rousing success and quite an amazing time to boot. On my way out I managed to get one final quote from my favorite counselor. “I really enjoy being able to tell the parents about all the amazing and incredible things these campers have done so far,” says Bunk 10 counselor Dylan Rowell “The only thing better than seeing the parents reactions is actually seeing the campers succeed.”

Picture day and Music at Hi-Hills Day Camp!! July 17, 2012

Good Afternoon,

 

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

In the lane, snow is glistening.

A beautiful sight,

We’re happy tonight.

Walking in a winter wonderland.

Today’s blog is a double whammy. First, this week’s theme is Winter Wonderland and today I spent time with bunk 14, the Fuzzy Bunkaroos. After spending a session with them I have to say, boy do they know their music. Our music specialist Stefanie Santoro started off the day working with the basics of music including learning measures, clefs, and notes. Once the campers had a strong foundation they begin learning how to read and write notes in 4/4 time using Claves (a simple percussion instrument) to make and keep beats and rhythm.

We followed that up by learning the different instruments and what families they belong to.  The campers then had a chance to identify music from movies including answering what movie they were from and more importantly what instruments they could hear. We finished off the time we had by learning the notes and singing the classic holiday song composed and written by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith respectively, Winter Wonderland.

I mentioned earlier in the blog that today was a double whammy and I am a man of my word. In addition to spending time in music, today was also Picture Day. If any of the parents out there are wondering why your children were told to wear their Camp Tees today, this is why. Each camper posed for an individual picture in his or her camp tee shirt and another picture or two with his or her bunk. A few bunks even decided to take a few snapshots of themselves making funny faces, some of which had the photographer and this blogger in stitches. These pictures will be posted online shortly.

Music specialist, Stefanie Santoro was pretty busy with all her classes but I did manage to get this quote from her in-between classes, “These campers are honestly unbelievable, they soak up everything I teach them like sponges. If that wasn’t impressive enough they then use what I teach them to learn even more by themselves. The campers at Hi-Hills are easily the best students I have ever taught.”

 

Arts and Crafts at Hi-Hills!! July 13, 2012

The year is 1985, Back to the Future is setting records in the box office, The Goonies our director’s favorite movie isn’t far behind. A-Ha and Wham! can be heard on nearly every station on the radio…Sorry this Blast to the Past theme is getting to me. Good afternoon and welcome to another amazing edition of Match Game 73 I’m your host Gene Rayburn…wait that’s not right, I’m Tyler and it’s time for another entry into the Hi-Hills Camp Blog.

Today I got to spend time at one of the most creative locations in the camp, The Arts & Crafts Room. Before starting for the day I got to speak to the man of the hour, Arts and Crafts specialist Johnny Sanserve,  “It’s really about keeping the kids focused and entertained, there are a lot of art programs out there than only run through the motions. I like to pride myself and especially these kids on the ingenuity they show here in the Art & Crafts Room.” Today’s events included tie-dyeing t-shirts for some of the older bunks while the younger bunks got to paint door hangers and create flowers out of everyday household items.

The older bunks got to learn a little about the tie-dyeing process as well as the history of it which dates back to certain locations in Ancient Japan, Peru, and even the Hausa region of West Africa. They learned that it was first documented in America in around 1909 and later on became a strong social symbol in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

I ended my day hanging out with the always wonderful Kinder Camp where we got to paint door hangers and created and paint flowers out of items easily found around the house. The door hangers came out splendidly while the flowers were true works of art. By drawing and coloring a stem on a piece of construction paper and gluing a painted coffee filter at the top we created Daisies, Roses, and an assortment of other beautiful flowers.

The more time I spend with the campers here at Hi-Hills the more I’m amazed at just how spectacular each and every one is. As has become tradition, here is a particular poignant quote I picked up on during my time in Arts & Crafts. “It’s really amazing what these campers can do with a brush, crayon, and marker,” says Kinder Camp counselor Sarah Wyatt, “there are definitely some budding Picassos and da Vinci’s in each and every bunk.”

Special Events at Hi- Hills! July 13, 2012

Good Afternoon,

Before I start today’s blog I would like to give a brief overview of our special events programs here at Hi-Hills. Each week is centered around a different theme. We plan events, we participate in events, we learn about, and even dress up according to the week’s particular theme.  2012 themes are as follows, Week 1: Dr. Seuss, Week 2: Stars and Stripes, Week 3: Blast from the Past, Week 4: Hi-Hills Winter Wonderland, Week 5: Olympics, Week 6: Team Spirit, Week 7: Muppet Invasion, and Week 8: Super Heroes.

Following the theme of this week Blast from the Past, we had two major events today. The first was the arrival of an Iris Mist colored 1967 Pontiac GTO. The campers got to take in a beautiful model as well as learn a little about how cars were designed back in the late 60’s. This included how this particular model had a “pop top” which would protect the vinyl seats from the sun’s UV rays and how it was one of the first models to be up to the CARB (California Air Resources Board) standards. It was then a revolutionary act as California was the first and only state to have regulations that preceded the Federal Clean Air Act. Amidst the “ooohs” and “ahhhs” of the campers I managed to get one staff member’s opinion on the car. “It’s really a gorgeous car, “ says camp photographer, Wes Spears “and to think I could learn so much from just one model, this really makes me want to do some more research when I get home.”

The second of our two major events of the day was a “Classic Car” Water Race, which consisted of two expertly designed cardboard cars made by our Special Events Coordinator, Mindy Schwartz. With the help of the CIT’s, including drivers Christina and Elisabeth, the race was on. In what can only be described as the race of the century, Christina who was representing the Kinder Camp and lower bunks crossed the finish line milliseconds before Elisabeth who was representing the older bunks and teen travel. Overall it was a fun and fair race. To be honest I think the counselors may have enjoyed it just as much as the kids. “I didn’t want the race to end” said lifeguard Randy Brown, “watching the kids reactions, and cheering on both teams, I just wanted to stay in the moment as long as I could.”

This just about  does it for Day 3 of what I like to think of as the Best Blog Ever . As always I’d like to leave with a quote, “At the end of the day it’s all about the campers and as long as they’re having fun, we are all having fun.” Said Counselor Robbie Lister dripping with water after helping lead his car to victory.

Camp-out at Hi-Hills! July 11, 2012

Once again, it’s your friendly neighborhood blogger here to update you on the fun and exciting events taking place at Hi-Hills during the Best Summer Ever. Every summer the girls and boys in the upper bunks (age nine or older) look forward to the camp outs. The camp outs are held on the beautiful campus of Gill Saint Bernard’s down by the Scout Cabin adjacent to the stream. Tents are set up for the campers to spend the night after an evening chock full of events.

Last night Bunks 13 and 17 affectionately referred to as The Corndoggs and The Thundercats had one incredible camp out. There was soccer, swimming, capture the flag, a cookout, s’mores, and more fun than you could shake a stick at.

The afternoon started off with a friendly game of soccer that saw Sean Kellogg score a hat trick (3 goals) and captain his team to a 4-2 victory. Also lighting up the scoreboard were Counselors, Guillermo Gonzalez & Cory Georgeson and Day Camp Supervisor Marc Hungarter with a goal apiece. After working up quite a sweat, everyone headed over to the pool for some free swim. By the time we got out of the pool it was already dinner time, where Marc and Bunk 17 counselor Brian Trapani cooked up some awesome Hi-Hills Burgers and hot dogs.

After dinner we finished off our athletics for the night with an amazing game of Capture the Flag in which This Team narrowly edged out The Can’t Touch This Crew with a score of 3-2. In a surprise twist, yours truly was selected by team captain Tim Miller to compete on This Team. Campers Ben Wolff and Sean Kellogg ran circles around the counselors to the tune or two quick scores. Not to be outdone counselor RJ Rescigno managed to get a point in as well. In an attempt to show that age is just a number, the two oldest competitors, Marc and a dashing blogger named Tyler finished off the scoring for the night.  By this time we were all exhausted and returned to the campsite for what can only be described as the most spectacularly delicious s’mores this blogger has ever had the chance to eat. The next morning the campers awoke at the crack of dawn to the smell of some scrumptious pancakes cooked by bunk chef Brian along with other assorted breakfast foods.

As is clear to see we had quite the exciting time last night. That being said, I need some sleep, so in similar fashion to yesterday allow me to leave you with a quote from last night.  “I really enjoy being able to spend more time with these kids,” says Bunk 17 counselor Will Traver, “They are just such a fun group to be a part of it and doing events like this camp out only makes us closer as a group.”

 

 

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 info@hihills.com

Have a great weekend

Jack

Hi-Hills Day Camp Halloween Party October 5, 2011

Many people assume the camp office is extremely quiet in October and there is little to do until next June. I am often asked the question, ‘what is it you do the rest of the year?’ I usually laugh and say, ‘well, I take a 10 month vacation’.

Truth of the matter is, although I live 10 months of the year for 2 months of summer, we are incredibly busy (good busy) and it feels like June here in the camp office, (June is probably the busiest month in the camp calendar).

We have many exciting things happening and I wanted share with you some of the projects we are working on.

We are currently planning the FIRST EVER Hi-Hills reunion, we are evaluating the summer of 2011, reading through all your camp feedback and planning the program for 2012. We are asking ourselves all sorts of questions, like, how can we make Carnival be EVEN better next year? Which Teen Travel trips should we consider? Can Sno Cones be EVERY DAY? Along with this, we spend time meeting with new parents and giving camp tours and we are beginning to meet with staff to coordinate who is able to return to camp next summer.

Away From Hi-Hills Day Camp,

My Mum (as we say in the UK, not Mom) visited from England. She had never been to the USA before and we had a great time. We spent most of our time in NY, NY sightseeing and doing all kinds of fun stuff that you forget to do when you live so close to the city. We went to the top of the Empire State building, we took a cruise around Manhattan Island and visited the Statue or Liberty, we walked through times square at night, had lunch in Central Park and she even wanted to take a ride in a yellow Taxi. I was also able to share all my stories from the summer with her and she wishes she could be at the reunion. 

 

Mum's visit (Central Park, NY)

 

The Hi-Hills Day Camp Reunion

Speaking of which, each of you should receive an invitation for our Hi-Hills Halloween Party in the mail shortly.  The Hi-Hills Day Camp reunion is on October 30th between 2-4pm at Gill St Bernard’s. There will be prizes for the best Halloween Costume.  Please RSVP to the camp office before October 20th

Hi-Hills Day Camp Halloween Party

Hi-Hills Halloween Party

The Hi-Hills Herald

I am in the process of editing the Fall edition of the Hi-Hills Herald. If anyone would like to share a story from summer or update the camp community on what you have been doing since camp, we would love to hear from you.  Please email your article to info@hihills.com

In the meantime I hope you are enjoying the beautiful month of October and I hope to see you at the Reunion.

All the best,

Jack

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!