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.

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