Sportsmanship Week at Hi-Hills July 31, 2013

Each week at Hi-Hills, we add a unique twist to our favorite activities with a different theme. Some of this summer’s themes have included: mad science, marine life, the arts and planet earth. The week six sportsmanship theme is a special one because it coincides with a camp-wide Leagues competition, always a favorite with our campers.


The Leagues program organizes campers into eight different teams that compete for points in games like “kickball,” “tennis-baseball,” basketball and soccer. The playoffs begin next week, and trophies are at stake!

Here are this week’s Leagues standings:


Team Wins Losses Ties Points
Mighty Ducks 8 2 0 16
Pandas 6 7 0 12
Orangutans 4 6 0 8
Parnmesans 2 8 0 4


Team Wins Losses Ties Points
Jellybeans 10 0 0 20
Mummies 5 5 0 10
Elephants 4 4 1 9
Destroyers 0 9 1 1

During sportsmanship week, we expand our regular Leagues program with several special events. Instead of the usual Leagues teams, the whole camp splits up into Team Peapack and Team Gladstone. On Tuesday, campers competed in an athletics tournament involving a mash up of their favorite Leagues games. Today was the “Pasta Hunt,” a scavenger hunt that challenges campers to search for colored pasta shapes in order to score points. Also today, campers competed in a “penny-diving” competition at the pool.


There are even more great events planned for the remainder of the week. Thursday is the Hi-Hills “Mini-Olympics.” Friday is the “Counselor Swim Relay Race,” where the counselors get a chance to show off their skills to the accompaniment of cheering campers. Some of the specialty counselors are also getting in on the fun–Stefanie is hosting a singing competition in music and Johnny is pitting Team Peapack and Team Gladstone against one another in a Pictionary showdown during arts and crafts. As always, campers will get the chance to show off their team banners and cheers at Friday’s Council Ring.

As an integral part of every event, points are awarded for good sportsmanship in order to encourage fair play and friendly competition.

Good luck to both our teams!

Week Six Enrichment Programs July 30, 2013

Each week at Hi-Hills Day Camp, we offer a flexible schedule of half-day and full-day enrichment programs in athletics, academics, performing arts and more. Week six boasts one of our most diverse schedules to date–in addition to Coach Mergin Sina’s Hoop Academy, campers can sign up for sewing class, an expository writing clinic, Singapore Math Review and a hands-on lab science program. Black Rocket, a favorite with our campers, is back this week with a class on Hollywood special effects.

Campers enrolled in “Gooey, Slippery, Slimy, Sticky Science,” led by GSB Lower School science instructor, Lynn Prosen, explore the fun side of science through hands-on experiments. Campers learn fundamental aspects of chemistry while creating slimes, foams, bubbles and other fun, sticky substances. Some of their experiments include making a fizzy volcano, fake snow and a Mentos geyser.

In Sewing Camp this week, campers are creating their very own pillows, skirts and bags–all from scratch. Along the way, they learn how to operate an electronic sewing machine, read a pattern and properly measure fabric–no more asking mom or dad to sew on buttons!


GSB Middle School Language Arts teacher Zoe Tuohy is offering an expository writing class this week to refresh students’ essay and paragraph writing skills. Students enrolled in the program work on their individual needs with regards to the structure, mechanics and voice of their academic writing. Likewise, students enrolled in Singapore Math Review get a refresher on last year’s progress while previewing the main topics of the coming school year.


Read more about our specific programs and about Hi-Hill’s flexible scheduling.

Hi-Hills Carnival 2013 July 25, 2013

The annual Hi-Hills Carnival is one of our favorite camp traditions–something our kids look forward to all summer. Campers showed off their carnival spirit yesterday by dressing up and competing in a costume contest. Superheroes, clowns, pirates, cheerleaders and even the Phantom of the Opera made an appearance at morning assembly; some of the bunk counselors and CITs also joined in on the fun.

When Carnival time finally came, the bunks rushed onto the athletic field, where the specialty counselors and CITs had prepared the first wave of activities. Some of the featured attractions at this year’s Carnival included: the “Wild Rapids” water slide, a pie-in-the-face booth, a dunk-tank run by the lifeguards, several skill games and a marriage booth, where campers exchanged pipe cleaner rings with their new “best friends for life.” Em hosted a Coke-Pepsi taste test, and Mr. Nature ran a duck-fishing game. The kids also enjoyed some freshly-made cotton candy.


Not to be outdone, each bunk sponsored its own booth during the afternoon session of Carnival, which took place after lunch. The boys set up a cow-milking station using rubber gloves, and they ran several sports-themed challenges, such as a football accuracy game and a water balloon toss. Bunk 17, The Chicken Fingers, held a pie eating contest. The girls painted nails, applied temporary tattoos, and ran a Frisbee toss and a water gun accuracy game. At each booth, campers earned tickets which they traded for some fun prizes. Stefanie, Johnny and Diana painted faces while Mindy and the CITs made delicious snow cones. Carnival ended with grand finale, as the campers unveiled some secret routines they’d been working on during dance classes during a flash mob dance party.


With Carnival over, and as the operations crew removed the last traces of broken water balloons and whipped pie filling from the athletic fields, one question alone turned over in the minds of Hi-Hills staff: “how long until next year?”

Check out our gallery to see photos from throughout the day.

Art Education at Hi-Hills July 17, 2013

All around Hi-Hills, our campers have been singing, dancing, painting, sculpting, acting and, above all, celebrating their own creativity as part of our week four theme — the arts. Here at camp, we believe that art education is an essential part of any well-rounded academic experience, whether it is taking place in a traditional school setting or at summer camp. A 2002 study by the Arts Education Partnership has shown that students involved in arts programs perform better in reading, writing and mathematics courses than students without access to such programs. Likewise, the Center for Arts Education in New York has published a 2009 study which shows that schools offering programs in literary, visual, media and performing arts boast some of the city’s highest graduation rates.

Our pottery instructor, Brian Gary, studied painting and drawing in Amsterdam and New York City. According to Brian, it is important for students to be exposed to the arts early on in their education because it teaches them “self-expression and a lifelong sense of self-confidence and creativity.” Johnny Sansevere, an art educator during the school year and our arts and crafts instructor here at camp, adds that studying the arts “fosters solving problems in a creative way.”


Diana Fiore, our dance instructor, reflecting on her own training in ballroom and tango dancing as a child in Colombia, stresses the connection between learning dance and being exposed to other cultures. “Dance,” she says, “was culturally embedded for me, and gave me the opportunity to socialize with other people.” Where language barriers build up walls between different cultures, Diana feels that music and dance are universally human and allow people from different backgrounds to find common ground. Beyond learning coordination and balance, Diana’s dance students learn how to collaborate and connect with other cultures.


For Stefanie Santoro, who studied flute performance as an undergraduate and is the camp music instructor, studying the arts is also a fun way to challenge students to step outside their comfort zones. This is especially important for students who are more introverted; participation in the performing arts can give them a platform for public self-expression that will build confidence that carries over into daily life.


Stefanie and Johnny, along with some choreography help from Diana, are currently rehearsing with the kids for our camp musical, The Wizard of OZ. A more difficult production than last year’s High School Musical, this year’s musical involves campers from all bunks, including Kinder Camp. Opening night is slated for August 2, with more details to follow as we approach the big day.

Be sure to check out the Hi-Hills Herald, as well as our weekly photo galleries, for more information about the great arts programs we offer here at camp.

Pony Camp at Hi-Hills July 10, 2013

This week at Hi-Hills, campers and staff are celebrating our planet earth theme by learning more about the natural world. Keeping with this theme, we’re excited to offer pony riding lessons hosted by Morristown, New Jersey’s Ponyshare LLC. Since 1985, Ponyshare has offered mobile riding lessons for summer camps and after-school programs, as well as entertainment for birthday parties and other outdoor events.

Campers enrolled in the Pony Camp and Pony Share Petite enrichment programs, after learning essential safety techniques, are introduced to three ponies: George, Pepsi and Vanilla. The Ponyshare philosophy stresses the importance of earning the right to ride by understanding and appreciating the animals. Campers learn proper grooming techniques, including brushing a pony’s mane and cleaning its hooves. After, they are given a thorough explanation of horse tack, or equipment, such as the bit and the stirrups. Then, finally, they’re ready to get up in the saddle.


By the end of the week, campers, many of whom began the program with no experience in equine sports, will gain a mastery of basic riding technique. Our younger campers in the Pony Share Petite program (from three to five years old) will learn to make their ponies start and stop on command, and will be able to steer their ponies independently. Campers in the Pony Share program (ages nine through 13) will even learn to trot their ponies.


According to Ponyshare staff, the potential for constant achievement drives interest in equine sports; there are always more skills and techniques to master for riders at every skill level. And, unlike in other sports, riders have the unique opportunity to grow along with their animals as they advance their own skills.

Check out our website for more information about our unique enrichment programs.

Academic Enrichment Programs at Hi-Hills July 3, 2013

Summer is a time for fun and relaxation–a time for kids to recharge their batteries before they return to another year of academic rigor in preparation for high school or college. But many experts say that two or three months away from the classroom can actually undo some of the hard work that students and teachers put in during the school year. According to research from the National Summer Learning Association, 66 percent of teachers reported spending three or four weeks of the school year re-teaching the previous year’s curriculum; twenty-four percent of teachers even reported spending five to six weeks on old material. That’s why at Hi-Hills Summer Camp, we believe it’s important to mix summer fun with academic programs designed not only to keep students in a scholastic mindset, but to give them a head start on the upcoming school year. To that end, we offer several flexible enrichment programs in mathematics, computer skills and writing that allow campers to enjoy traditional camp activities while also devoting time to their studies. Campers can attend a half-day enrichment or academic program and then spend the rest of the day in the pool, on the athletic fields or in one of our other great programs.

In mathematics, we offer a six week geometry session taught by Gill St. Bernard’s Upper School instructor Ed Brown. Students enrolled in this course cover a full range of topics in Euclidean geometry and receive course credit and advancement to Algebra II upon successful completion of the program. We also offer a math clinic geared toward students in grades 6-12 that evaluates troublesome math concepts and works with students individually to reinforce the skills needed to succeed in the coming year. For students entering ninth grade, we offer a special math refresher designed to prepare incoming freshmen for the challenges of high school level geometry and algebra courses. Interested parents can also enroll their children in a fourth and fifth grade Singapore Math Review program later in the summer.


Strong computer skills are no longer optional for students in our tech-savvy world. We offer courses in keyboarding for students in grades 5-6, and also a course in Microsoft Office for students in grades 7-8. Eileen Procaccino, the data systems manager for the GSB I.T. Department, teaches both courses.

For students looking for a refresher in expository writing, Zoe Tuohy, who teaches middle school English at GSB, is giving a writing clinic for students in grades 5-8. Students enrolled in the course will improve the structure, mechanics and voice of their academic writing.

Full program descriptions and dates are available here on our website. Take advantage of our flexible half-day program schedule and sign up today.

Mad Science Week with Black Rocket June 26, 2013

It’s Mad Science week here at Hi-Hills, and we’re excited to offer a one week filmmaking course hosted by technology education pioneers, Black Rocket. The “Lightz! Camera! Action!” program guides students through the entire process of filmmaking, from creating a story and script, all the way to editing the final cut. By the end of the week, our campers will have worked together and created their very own short films. These will be available for download on Monday, June 1, on Black Rocket’s website, which parents will be able to access with a unique user ID and password supplied by Black Rocket.

The award winning Black Rocket program, which the New Jersey Small Business Development Council named small business of the year in 2011, is a technology-based education program that prepares students for global competition in an increasingly tech-focused economy. Encouraging cognitive reasoning and divergent thinking, Black Rocket introduces students to the latest technological innovations in order to foster tech skills in a fun and creative learning environment.


Our campers brainstormed ideas with Black Rocket staff before writing scripts for a short film in either the mystery or comedy genre. Some of their ideas included: a classic whodunit involving a stolen stuffed animal and the enigmatic Double Cape Bandit, a time-travelling adventure story, the invasion of camp by cookie-fearing aliens, and a surprise birthday party with a twist ending you’ll need to see to believe. Black Rocket staff were impressed by how well our campers collaborated on their creative stories!

Throughout the week, campers acted out their scripts, designed props and filmed scenes across our campus. They took turns as actors/actresses, directors and technical assistants. Black Rocket staff guided campers through the basics of the editing process, but ultimately the artistic direction of each film was left to the campers. We’re all looking forward to seeing the finished products!


Hi-Hills will be offering other great Black Rocket enrichment programs later this summer. In “App Attack,” offered from 8/19 to 8/23, campers will have the opportunity to create their own mobile application or video game and learn all about app publishing. Other programs include 3D and LEGO video game creation tutorials, as well as classes in stop motion animation and claymation. Check out our site for more scheduling information and sign up today!

2013 Week #2 Recap June 21, 2013

Week #2 of Summer at GSB has come to a close here at Hi-Hills. In addition to our tried-and-true camp classics like dance, swimming, and athletics, Week #2 featured specialty programs in sewing, mountain biking, and chess. Throughout the week, our Hi-Hills specialty counselors stopped by to put the finishing touches on their program areas in preparation for next week.

We kicked off Week #2 early with staff orientation this past weekend. During Saturday’s session, we were excited to have Kyle Medeiros from the American Camp Association lead the training. He taught counselors some fun games to play with campers, as well as important techniques and information to make camp a safe, fun, and inclusive environment all season long. On Sunday, the counselors were assigned their bunks for the summer, and began to set up the campus for our official start date on June 24.


Campers had the opportunity to participate in a week-long intensive mountain biking enrichment program led by Gill St. Bernard’s School photography instructor Bob Ort. They learned the fundamentals of the sport while taking day trips to Stephens State Park, Allamuchy Mountain State Park, Allaire State park, and more!


As part of our sewing enrichment program, led by instructor Cecelia Rhodes, campers made personalized throw pillows and had the chance to design and sew their own skirts. Sewing will be offered again later in the summer from 7/29 to 8/02. Be sure to check out last week’s recap for more information about our Chess Enrichment program, led by Coach Marty Sobin, the founder of NJ Chess.


Camp Programs Director Cindy Wyatt put the whole family to work as daughter Sarah and son Josh helped out all week with set-up and office duties. Brian Gary, our pottery instructor, transformed the robotics room into an art studio complete with spinning wheels and plenty of clay. Elliot, our archery instructor, built us a few targets on the range. The ever-popular Mr. Nature even brought over a few of his creatures to the scout barn. Meanwhile, Hi-Hills is proud to present the newest addition to our pool facilities: an aquatic rock climbing wall!


We brought the week to a close on Friday (the first day of summer!) with another edition of our camp talent show. Participants showed off their dancing, acting, and musical talents in front of their counselors and peers. After the show, campers cooled off in Founders Hall with some delicious ice-cream sundaes. Take a look at our new online photo gallery to see pictures of all our great activities.


It has been another great week at Summer Fun, and we all can’t wait for the start of Hi-Hills Day Camp on Monday, June 24. Next week we’re proud to feature Maestro Soccer Camp, led by Gill St. Bernard’s 7th/8th grade soccer coach Jim Buchanan. Campers in the program will have the chance to improve their game through comprehensive training in fundamentals and tactics. Next week will also feature classes in archery, pottery, dance, and cooking. There’s still time to sign up today!

Mountain Biking June 19, 2013

This week during Summer at GSB, our campers had the opportunity to participate in a week-long intensive mountain biking enrichment program led by Gill St. Bernard’s School photography instructor, Bob Ort. “Mountain Biking – Mind, Body, Spirit” offers a comprehensive introduction to the sport for those at the beginner to intermediate level. Campers learn the fundamentals of bicycle maintenance and repair, as well as the techniques needed to operate their bicycles safely and efficiently on a variety of different trail types. When he isn’t guiding campers through the physical challenges of mountain biking, Bob teaches healthy lifestyle skills using the Mind-Body-Spirit philosophy of the sport.


Bob has been involved in cycling sports for fifteen years. He began cycling while competing in triathlons, but eventually segued into mountain biking and competitive road biking. He still regularly competes in cycling events several times annually, while also running a mountain biking club at GSB during the school year. Bob incorporates his photography background into the program by documenting the campers in action. According to Bob, these photographs are important not only because they preserve an exciting memory of the experience, but because they allow campers to share the moment and encourage others to get involved with the sport.

On Monday, after getting a quick orientation to the program, campers stopped by Marty’s Reliable Cycle in Hackettstown, New Jersey to pick up some necessary safety equipment for the week. Fully equipped, the group headed over to nearby Stephens State Park to get their first taste of real life mountain biking. The park offers 6 miles of marked trails, including a 2 mile section of the Highlands Trail which runs the length of the park. Campers enjoyed a fast and exciting run down “The Maze!”

On Tuesday, the group took a trip over to the Deer Park trails at Allamuchy Mountain State Park. Wednesday, they headed south to Monmouth County to test their skills on the sandy trails at Allaire State Park. Experiencing nature firsthand is an important goal of the program, and each day campers travel to new parks and trails across the state.

A typical day on the trails involves an hour and a half of biking in the morning, followed by a break for lunch and then another hour or two of trail work before packing up and heading home to campus. During lunch breaks, Bob steers his campers away from greasy fast foods and encourages them to fuel their bodies with nutrient rich food that will allow them to perform at their highest level, physically and mentally.

Mountain biking is more than just a fun and exciting experience. The sport encourages an appreciation for the outdoors beyond what you can see through the window of a car. It fosters an all-around healthy lifestyle by combining physical exertion, good food, and a positive mindset. Throw in some experiential education out in the elements, and you have the Mind-Body-Spirit philosophy that is so integral to the mountain biking experience.

Summer at GSB offers “Mountain Biking – Mind, Body, Spirit” again later in the summer from 7/08 to 7/12. We are also proud to offer Bob Ort’s digital photography classes (available for grades 6-8 and grades 9-12) from 6/24 to 6/28 and from 7/01 to 7/05. Take advantage of our flexible scheduling and unique enrichment programs and sign up today!

2013 Week #1 Recap June 14, 2013

Summer Fun has officially begun here at Hi-Hills Day Camp! Our first week of the 2013 season was full of great activities, both indoors and out. Our campers escaped the heat in the swimming pool, matched wits on the chess board, and showed off their skills in our camp talent show as we kicked off what is sure to be another great summer.

A light drizzle on the first day of camp couldn’t dampen our spirits as we watched the first groups of eager campers arrive at the entrance to the Lower School. Our martial arts instructor, Ben, put campers through a Tae Kwon Do workout, while our dance teacher, Diana, taught the campers a few new moves. Campers expressed their creativity in Arts and Crafts classes, and in our Lego-Land room. Meanwhile, our Intensive Musical Theater Experience enrichment program rehearsed with long-time GSB performing arts teachers, Amy and Dave Southerland.


On Tuesday our campers celebrated the sunshine by enjoying some free swim time in the pool and on the Splash Pad. They played soccer, and experienced our unique Ga-Ga pit during a few exciting games of GSB Ball! Our younger campers even won some fabulous prizes in Camp Bingo.


All week, Coach Marty Sobin, our Hi-Hills chess instructor and the founder of Jersey Chess in Sparta, led his students through a crash course in the finer points of the age-old game. Coach Marty has nearly ten years of experience as a chess teacher, and he runs several after school enrichment programs in the area, including the chess program at the Lower School here at GSB. Some of his private students have even gone on to compete in U.S. Chess Federation rated tournaments. Coach will be here all next week (June 17 – June 21) and will also be teaching at Hi-Hills during the week of August 19th. If you’d like your camper to have some educational fun while practicing logic, cognitive skills, and discipline, there is still plenty of time to sign up!


Thursday, campers continued to work on their talent show routines in between their regularly scheduled activities, like dance classes, martial arts, and athletics. When the big day finally arrived Friday morning, campers dazzled and amazed with their singing voices, musicianship, and acting chops. The Bunk 7 girls “just wanted to have fun” with their dance routine, and the Bunk 6 boys presented the newest installment of their popular “Dorito-Eating Monkeys” skit. Later in the show, the Bunk 4 boys got the audience going with some live Rock and Roll!


By closing time on Friday afternoon after the talent show, campers were exhausted from a week of Summer Fun but perks right up for a special ice cream sundae social! The Hi-Hills staff will be busy getting ready for an exciting Week #2 at Hi-Hills. In addition to our great traditional day camp activities, we will be offering enrichment programs in Mountain Biking, Sewing, and Chess!


Take advantage of our flexible programs and scheduling – sign up now for next week!