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.”

 

 

Summer Blogging! July 10, 2012

Good Afternoon Parents,

My name is Tyler Rowell, and I will be your blog host for the duration of the summer. Each day I will be detailing a different activity or event that occurs here at Hi-Hills Day Camp. My goal is to keep you educated and up to date on what exactly it is your children at doing here at the place affectionately referred to as the Best Summer Ever.

Today I got to spend my morning with Bunks 1 and  2, known collectively as Kinder Camp. These children  may be young but you wouldn’t know it the way they took to the pool. Under the watchful eyes of Sarah, Monica, Stefanie, and Merideth these campers could have easily been mistaken for a school of fish.

During my time with Kinder Camp I spoke to Aquatic Director Augie Lorio and he explained to me the program that we use here at Hi-Hills. It is called the Learn To Swim Program and was created by the American Red Cross and is used nationally. There are six levels to this program with most of our campers residing in the first four levels. Level One involves a basic introduction to swim, which includes having a lifeguard holding the child up as they learn to kick and start to float. In this level the child’s head stays above water at all times. In Level Two, they learn to float on their front and back. In Level Three they begin to learn basic swimming techniques, including the Freestyle and Backstroke. Level Four consists of refining these strokes.

I also spent time with Lifeguard Randy Brown who explained how they plan to teach the campers a new stroke each week and that during each level they work on survival floating, treading water, and other water basics. Each lifeguard also has certain levels that they work with certain bunks on in order to build consistency with the campers in order to further their learning.

That just about wraps up Day 1 of the new and improved Summer Blog, if you will allow me to leave you with a quote Randy gave me that exemplifies working here at Hi-Hills, “I may work primarily at Level Two, but these campers are all Number One in my heart.”

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

‘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, jdinwiddy@gsbschool.org .

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

Jack

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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 hihills.com

Kids Zone –

A big announcement at the reunion was the unveiling of our new “kids zone” on hihills.com. 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,

Jack

 

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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 hihills.com 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,

Jack

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 hihills.com

Best wishes,

Jack

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.

Jack

info@hihills.com

Keep up to date with Hi-Hills Day Camp on Facebook.com/hihills . Simply ‘like Us’ and updtes will appear on your newsfeed.

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

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!

Jack.

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! Chuck Hogan, our Nature Director, even brought along some of his friends for the day.

Chuck Hogan, aka Mister Nature

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 (www.facebook.com/hihills) and see more pictures.

Jack

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,
Jack

P.S. Remember to keep up to date with the latest Hi-Hills news via our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/hihills. 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!

The Case for Camp — Why Kids Need It Now More Than Ever January 5, 2011

This week we share with you a post by Peg L. Smith, chief executive officer of the American Camp Association.

NJ Day Camp, HI-Hills Day Camp, Outdoor Adventure Camp

Tug of War 2010

Change is a part of life. It is often directly related to survival and can enrich one’s life in ways unexpected. Childhood is in essence a time of profound change and development. It is exciting and disquieting at the same time. When it comes to our children, we need to be sure that change is made for the better.

Youth Camps Offer Opportunities in Healthy Living

We’ve been so concentrated on the brain, we forget about the rest of our bodies. This change in focus has lead to an obesity rate that is unacceptable. Our kids are not as healthy as the generation before.

Families used to live in a community. We’ve lost that, keeping kids inside and losing a sense of neighborhood.

Add to that the fact that our kids stand to inherit all the economic, social, and environmental challenges we’ve created, and the legacy we have left our children and youth begins to look bleak.

So, how do we prepare our children with the skills and more importantly, the competencies they will need to tackle changes in our world?  We could start with a positive camp experience. A quality camp experience provides our children with the opportunity to learn powerful lessons in community, character-building, skill development, and healthy living — a meaningful, engaged, and participatory environment.

Kids Adventure Camps Provide Community

Camp promotes community. It creates this great space that shows kids how to live together and care for one another. There are norms and negotiation of boundaries; there are rules. Camp is a place where kids can “practice” growing up stretching their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive muscles outside the context of their immediate family. This is what childhood is supposed to provide.

Summer Camps Provide Critical Thinking

Camp teaches critical thinking. We need to remember how important it is to be actively involved in the learning process, and camp affords that. We’re going to need really strong problem solvers in the next century. We need the science, math, and biology, but without the ability to relate, connect, empathize, or inspire innovation, how will our kids be able to make a difference in the challenges now facing us?

Fun Natural Activities for Kids

The camp experience embraces the natural environment. While children have fewer and fewer opportunities to be outdoors, the camp experience advances the outdoor learning environment. As we become more concerned about saving the planet, we run out and make DVDs and videos about it. But the environment needs to be experienced to be appreciated. Kids need to catch tadpoles in the creek, wander among the trees, and feel the sun on their faces to understand the importance of those things. What happens to a generation that may grow up not seeing stars in the dark of the night?

Leadership Opportunities within Summer Camps

Camp creates future leaders. The camp experience offers kids a close-up look at compassionate leadership through the camp director, counselors, resident nutritionist, and other camp personnel. And kids get loads of opportunities to practice being a leader themselves — song leader, lunch table leader, team captain, the list goes on and on.

Camp is an equal opportunity life changer. It addresses universal childhood needs not specific to a particular racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic group. Nobody is left out. It’s all about childhood development.

Summer Day Camp Pals

Summer Day Camp Pals

Camp has a lasting impact. One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is a sense of success and achievement. Camp teaches kids how to be active participants, ask questions, ask for help, and try new things. They leave understanding that it’s okay to feel a little uncomfortable sometimes, because that’s generally what happens when you’re getting ready to learn something. The camp experience translates back in real-world experience — in an “I can” attitude.

Advocate for Fun Summer Activities for Kids

We need to advocate for our young people. We should promote opportunities for kids — give them camp experiences that serve as an antidote for the world’s challenges. We need to recognize this is not a series of frivolous activities. We often think if it looks like fun it must be unimportant, but “fun” is a young person’s “work” — to learn, to grow, to be productive, creative, and happy. If they don’t do that work, they won’t turn into healthy adults.

Now more than ever, kids need camp. Visit www.CampParents.org to find out how you can change a life by helping make it possible for every child to have a camp experience.

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.

Welcome November 9, 2010

Welcome to the new Hi-Hills Camp Blog!

This blog is your source of information for all things related to the Hi-Hills Camp and Summer Programs at Gill St. Bernard’s School.

Summer Camp Activity Updates

We will provide here valuable information for parents looking at summer day camp programs for their child; if you’re looking for summer employment at Hi Hills Day Camp, you’ll find out how to apply for a camp counselor position; for campers from past summers you’ll find summer camp pictures and videos of the summer camp activities you enjoyed; and, finally, once the summer gets going, we’ll have frequent updates here on current camp activities.

Playing Tennis at Hi Hills NJ Summer Day Camp

Tennis Summer Fun!

Summer Camp Topics

This blog is an important part of the regular website. During the non-camp months we will talk here about topics that you are curious about if you are searching for a camp. We will highlight programs and activities that makes Hi-Hills special. Some of the topics you’ll see include:

  1. What should you be looking for in a camp?
  2. The special needs of young campers.
  3. Teen Travel – stories about the locations visited by this popular program.
  4. Hi-Hills special theme weeks
  5. Preparing your child for their first summer at camp
  6. Beyond Hi-Hills – other summer programs your child can enjoy at Gill St Bernard’s.
  7. And much more!

Real Time Summer Camp Updates via Social Media

You can also follow our activities on Facebook and Twitter. You’ll find links on our homepage to our pages on both so that you can always hear what’s happening at Hi-Hills, regardless of your favorite method of communication.

NJ Adventure Summer Day Camp Playground

Hi-Hills Day Camp Playground

Suggestions Welcome

Thanks for checking in here! If you have a topic you would like to hear more about, or any suggestions on the camps website, please let contact Hi Hills Day Camp or call 908.234.0067.