Monthly Archives: July 2016

Camp Hillard Week 5 Highlighted by Tropical Island Beach Day

It’s hard to believe we have just finished up the fifth week of Camp!  We are now deep into the camp season and there’s no end to the fun we have been having.

The boys and girls departed for their mini-sleepaway to Camp Pontiac on Sunday morning, and they had an amazing time!  Water front activities, including banana boating, kayaking and the brand new Tarzan Swing were a big hit with campers and counselors alike.  The boys and girls also enjoyed arts and crafts, cooking, dance and woodshop.  The food at Camp Pontiac was varied and delicious; multiple salad bars, pasta, grilled chicken, homemade, thin-crust pizza hand-fired in state of the art pizza ovens, in addition to afternoon snack offerings and evening trips to the Canteen or the Ice Cream Shop. A particularly cool aspect of Camp Pontiac’s Canteen, The Pont Roc Cafe, is that it is a stylized version of the Hard Rock Cafe!  One particularly special highlight of the trip was an Overnight Sleepout in Tree Top Village for both the boys and the girls.  This sleepout was a great opportunity for team building and bonding, as well as for a mini-prank war between the boys and the girls.  When the Pontiac Shuttle buses returned to Hillard, the everyone chattered excitedly about their experience, and they are all looking forward to visiting again next summer.  But everyone was really excited to be back home at Hillard, just in time for the Beach Dance Party in the Gymnastics Pavilion and the Cruise Ship through the Islands in The Creative Art Center!

Speaking Beach Party Day; during the fifth week of Camp every summer, we celebrate a different special event.  Everyone know that the regularly scheduled programming at Camp Hillard is unparalleled, but every once in a while, we like to switch thing up a bit and add something special.  In summers past, we have celebrated Halloween in July, complete with spooky costumes and trick or treating; International Day, when we celebrate different cultures and customs from around the world; and this summer, DJ Joe spun the hits on the turntables for our Beach Dance Party, complete with colorful leis and grass skirts, a Limbo Contest, and a Tropical Snack; refreshing Pink Lemonade and Pretzel Goldfish.  A Cruise Ship to the Islands embarked from The Creative Arts Center, and campers and counselors enjoyed a relaxing excursion to a variety of Tropic Locales, including the West Indies and the Hawaiian Islands.  Tropical Tribal Games, including nautical relay Races and steamy Scavenger Hunts were also on the Itinerary+ for the day, which concluded with an extra special afternoon refreshment; a Banana Chocolate Rocket Pop!

It has been an awesome 5 week of camp for Here at Hillard. A little more than half the summer is done but there are so many fun activities to go!!

  • Our Swim Festivals begin next week!  Campers can expect treasure hunts, boat rides, lifeguard relay races, music at the pools and more!
  • The INA Boys and Girls Night will take place on Monday night.  The INA boys and girls eagerly anticipate this Annual Evening Event, a Hillard tradition, that includes spirited competition between the Green and Gray teams known as the Apache Relay.
  • The INA girls can look forward to some more wintry fun on Wednesday when they travel to the Playland for an ice skating trip.
  • Our Visiting Day and Evening Programs continue with Cheyenne Boys and Girls and the Cherokee Girls scheduled for next week.
  • Ice cream parties and s’mores roasts continue, as do Talent Shows and Hillard Voice.
  • Camp Hillard Olympics Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for Friday

Camp Hillard Week 4 Highlighted by Annual Charity Event

The fourth week of Camp was another exciting and successful one!  Camp is now in full gear with all of our swim, sports, and arts programs, as well as specialty activities and special events. Campers are in their instructional swim groups, sports leagues are in motion, as are all our regular program areas.

Our 2016 Summer Charity Event began on Monday, July 18. All campers will participate in a fun art event during that week. Any campers choosing to participate in the charity fundraiser can make a donation. More details on how to make donations will follow shortly. All money raised will be given to Friends of Karen.

For 38 years, Friends of Karen has been providing financial, emotional and advocacy support, at no cost, to families in the New York Tri-State region who are caring for a child battling cancer or another life-threatening illnesses.  In 2015 alone, Friends of Karen helped 669 critically ill children and 1010 of their siblings. Your donation will enable their experienced team social workers to guide families through their child’s illness and help them anticipate changes in employment, family routine, financial stability, social life and school. They cover vital medical and household expenses, child care for siblings, food, and other necessities that become unmanageable when medical costs soar and parents must stop working to care for their child – and address so much more during a family’s very difficult journey will illness.

Friends of Karen has consistently received the top 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates the financial efficiency and responsibility of over 8,000 U.S. charities, and is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau, meeting 20 rigorous standards for accountability.  83 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to helping Friends of Karen’s families. For more information about this summer’s charity, visit the Friends of Karen website

All campers donating at least $40 per camper will receive a very special thank you package. This package will include a Camp Hillard/Friends of Karen T-shirt as well as many other surprises.  In addition, any camper donation of at least $100 per camper will entitle the camper’s family to participate in a raffle for a free summer for 2017. These donations must be made this summer during the fundraiser. The winner will be announced in the Winter Newsletter, and should the winner be someone who is not returning next year to Camp Hillard, they can give the award to a friend who is.

Thanks to Camp Hillard families, we have been very successful with our annual charity events over the past 21 years. With your help and generosity, we will make this year’s fundraiser the most successful ever.

This week has been highlighted by some exciting out of camp trips.  On Monday, the Navajo and Apache Boys and Girls visited Powerhouse Studios.  They enjoyed participating in an interactive game show, The Wild ‘N Wacky Challenge, where every camper had the chance to get doused with green slime or to get a pie in the face.  Good times!  The Emcee would call on certain campers to play the Lucky Number game, and the winners would get to choose a counselor or a Tribe Leader to slime!  One highlight of the trip was the lunch; really tasty pizza and All You Can Drink Soda!!!

On Tuesday, the Iroquois Boys and Girls embarked on a very special, Iroquois Overnight to Brookwood in Glen Spey, New York.  This annual trip is reserved solely for the oldest campers, the Iroquois, and the campers really look forward to it.  We departed from Camp early on Tuesday morning, in order to get in a full day of fun at Brookwood!  Lake activities were very popular with campers and counselors alike; everything from kayaking and paddle boating, to water tubing behind a speedboat and the Blob, a giant trampoline-like inflatable that campers could bounce up and down on, splash-landing into the refreshing lake.

The food at Brookwood was great; breakfast, lunch and dinner were served daily, and campers had the option of mac and cheese, fresh veggies, chicken nuggets and waffle fries, spaghetti and meatballs, tacos, grilled cheese, and more.  In the evening, we enjoyed a bonfire by the lake and a delicious s’mores roast.  We had a great full day of activities of Wednesday before saying goodbye to our new friends and making the return trip to Hillard.

Speaking of food, can we talk for just a minute about the food at Camp Hillard?  It really is pretty fabulous. A great deal of time and thought is put into the Menu planning prior to the Summer Camp Season.  Some of the more popular lunch offerings include Hillard’s Famous Cheese Pizza, Nachos Grande with Cheese, crispy Chicken Nuggets, the insanely popular Chicken O’s (think a chicken nugget shaped like a donut), Mexi-Beef Tacos served with Salsa and Sour Cream,  Asian-inspired Chicken with broccoli, to name just a few.  In addition to the Daily Menu, a variety of substitutes are readily available so as to accommodate all camper’s tastes, preferences and dietary needs.  Mid-day snacks and afternoon refreshments are also served daily; Goldfish and Pretzel Goldfish, Graham Crackers, Oreos, and fresh fruit are among some of the daily snack options.  Ice cream and iced pops are served on an alternating schedule in the afternoon; Twin Pops, Chocolate Eclairs, Firecracker Pops, Ice Cream sandwiches and more.  There is no better way to end a busy Camp day than sitting down with friends and enjoying a cool and refreshing treat before boarding the bus to go home.

Friday was our Annual Song and Cheer Contest and Tribal Color Day.  All of the campers and counselors sang their hearts out!  The judges are feverishly studying their notes and the Awards will be announced during Monday morning assembly.

The boys and girls attending the mini-sleepaways departed on Sunday morning.  One again, the boys and the girls will be visiting Camp Pontiac in Copake, New York.  Randi and Bruce, the INA girls and Boys Divisional Head Counselors, are very excited about joining the campers on their mini-sleepaway.

It is hard to believe that Monday is the start of the second half of the summer season.  There are still so many great activities and special events on tap.  Our Senior Camp Challenge continues with the Gray team currently ahead, instructional swim is in full swing and theater practice continues for Visiting Day and evening performances.

Swim races, s’mores roasts and ice cream parties are scheduled for next week, and Thursday is Tropical Islands Day; campers and counselors will participate in several tropical activities and events during the day, including a special Beach Dance Party in the Gymnastics Pavilion.

Camp Hillard Week 3 Highlighted by Festival of Fun

Camp is now in full gear with all of our swim, sports, and arts programs, as well as specialty activities and special events.  Campers are in their instructional swim groups, sports leagues are in motion, as are theater rehearsals, arts and crafts projects, and so much more.

Last week was highlighted by the following special events:

  • On Monday, 5th year campers attended a special party, enjoyed ice cream cake, and received a Camp Hillard pillow.
  • Junior campers enjoyed some exciting boat rides at the pool.
  • On Tuesday, the INA boys headed out to the ballgame, taking in a Rockland Boulders Minor League Baseball Game.
  • Wednesday was our Annual Festival of Fun.  This year’s theme was Hollywood; upon arriving at Camp, campers were greeted by an array of iconic Hollywood characters and celebrities, from Darth Vader and Princess Leia, to a plethora of Angry Birds and Minions, in addition to the iconic Super Heroes, Superman and Captain America, and Batman and Robin.   
  • On Thursday, campers who have been here for 6 or more years, celebrated with a special breakfast; pancakes, french toast sticks, tater tots, eggs and turkey sausage.  They also received an extra special gift, an insulated Hillard lunch tote, which included a Hot Cup, a Water Bottle and a Bento-style box complete with a salad dressing container, a spork and a knife!
  • Senior camp boys and girls all had fun on Friday with the Senior Camp boat races.
  • The Senior Camp Challenge continues, with Grey currently in the lead but there is still many weeks left of fun competition!

Camp Hillard’s  Swim Program is off to a great start.  In Junior Camp, the Pawnees, Chickasaws and Hurons have been assessed and placed in their appropriate swim lesson group. The campers have been assessed based the American Red Cross Learn to Swim Program and the Camp Hillard Aquatic Groups  by certified Water Safety Instructors. Afternoon swims are for play and fun. Campers swim with their friends and are able to use different pools throughout the week. Many campers enjoy a ride on the water slide, while some have fun playing with rings, beach balls or noodles. The deep water challenge is offered to any Junior Camper that is interested. Once campers have passed the deep water challenge they can use the diving board.

The Middle Camp swim program is also off to a great start! After being skills tested, all Cheyenne and Comanche campers are completing their third week with their swim groups. They are already learning new skills and refining old ones. Our instructors are working diligently with your children to help them achieve their swim goals for the summer.

Campers are taking a break from the summer heat during afternoon free swims and enjoying all that the Camp Hillard pools have to offer! Every Cheyenne and Comanche group has taken at least two trips down the “Great Green River,” the water slide located at South Campus. At Main Complex, the campers who have passed the deep water test jump off the diving board, go down the slide, and swim in the deep end.

A lot was accomplished at Senior Camp Swim during these first three weeks of Camp. Many of our campers have taken and passed the Deep Water Challenge.  We continue to offer the challenge every single day of the summer.  All campers have been placed in swim classes, we have had many full days of swim instruction, and all campers are progressing nicely.

In the afternoons, many fun activities are well under way.  Campers have had the opportunity to play in a structured game, enjoy the cool water of the Hamptons (ask your kids about this) and all groups have now experienced the Great Green River water slide.  In addition, this Friday campers participated in Boat Races.  It was a relay race by letter group, and campers had a wild time paddling their boats across the pool.  We also had “Music at the Pool” the last two Fridays.  It’s a joy to watch swimmers and counselors alike grooving to songs as they relax and play in the water.

Camp Hillard’s Performing Arts program has gotten off to an illustrious start.  The Huron and Cheyenne Girls are travelling under the sea to perform The Little Mermaid, where they hope to find out if the grass is really greener under someone else’s lake, while the Huron and Cheyenne boys are off to Never Land, in search of the Lost Boys in their performance of Peter Pan.

The Comanche  Girls   are having an “Aca-mazing” time with their show Pitch Perfect, while the Comanche Boys are learning how to have “soul” in their production of The Blues Brothers.

In senior camp, the Cherokee and Navajo Girls are celebrating the iconic sounds of  Carole King in their production of Beautiful, while the Iroquois and Apache girls and boys are preparing for the really big show, a Ten Year Anniversary performance of High School Musical!

In music, the Pawnee and Chickasaw Girls and Boys are busy getting ready to perform for all of their family and friends on Visiting Day, which is right around the corner.

Speaking of Visiting Days and Evenings, the Cherokee Boys enjoyed a very successful Visiting Evening on Wednesday. While Visiting Days are always fun and exciting, there is something extra special about a Visiting Evening; campers get the opportunity to stay after camp has ended, where they get to enjoy a Tribe Dinner at South Campus before family and friends arrive for the evening program.  The Cherokee boys showed off their progress at swim before hitting the courts and the hockey rink to showcase their athletic skills.  The Comanche Boys are looking forward to another exciting visiting evening on Monday; they will be the first Tribe to hit the stage to perform for their family and friends.

There is never a dull moment on the fields at Camp Hillard. The Junior Campers have done a wonderful job playing baseball and softball. They have been working hard on the skills of throwing and catching, hitting live pitches, and running bases.  The Cheyenne Boys have also been working on their baseball skills. The boys have learned how to use pitch backs to not only work on their throwing but also their fielding skills.

The Cherokee Girls have also spent a lot of time on the softball field.  The focus for the last couple of weeks has been practicing situations. “You have the ball, now what?” Hitting skills and fielding skills have shown great improvement.

Soccer has been a major focus over the past few weeks for the Cheyenne and Comanche girls, who have been working on their throw-ins and trapping, shooting a moving ball, as well as honing and refining their dribbling and passing skills.

The Iroquois, Navajo, and Apache Girls have also been hard at work on the soccer fields.  They have been focusing on following their passes, shooting a moving ball, and dribbling.

The Iroquois, Navajo, Apache Boys as well as the Comanche and Cherokee have been working on their basketball skills. Shooting, passing and zone defense have been stressed by the sports counselors and the carry-over has been seen in game play. Their skills are getting better each day. The Sports counselors are very excited over the improvement.  

Sports Leagues are in full swing and are going well. Exciting Intra-Tribal competitions take place daily on the hockey rink, the soccer fields and the basketball court, on the baseball and softball diamonds and on the flag football gridiron.

This week will again be very busy.  Here is what’s on tap:

  • Our Annual Charity Event for Friends of Karen begins.
  • The Navajo and Apache Boys and Girls will be visiting Powerhouse Studios on Monday.
  • On Tuesday, the Iroquois Boys and Girls leave for their Overnight Trip to Brookwood.
  • The Comanche Boys Visiting Evenings will take place on Monday and Wednesday.
  • On Friday, it is our annual Song and Cheer contest.  The campers have been practicing every day for this big event.  Make sure to have your campers wear their Tribal T-shirt.
  • Marshmallow Roasts and Ice Cream Parties continue, Talent Shows and our regular programming schedule continues!


Camp Hillard Week 2 Highlighted by Lollipop Hunts and July 4th Celebration

The second week of Camp was just great!  After a patriotic Three Day Weekend in honor of Independence Day, campers and counselors were anxious to get back into the Camp routine!

The week started off with our Senior Camp Challenge opening ceremonies.  Cherokees and INA’s were divided into teams of Green and Gray, with everyone receiving a special t-shirt.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we had our annual lollipop hunt, divided by Division.  Over the long holiday weekend, fireworks went off above the Upper Field, dropping lollipop seeds everywhere.  When we arrived on Tuesday morning, junior campers discovered that lollipops had sprouted and we needed to collect them so we could play ball again! Freshly picked lollipops always taste the best!!!!  On Tuesday, middle and senior campers enjoyed their Lollipop Hunt, with as slightly different twist.  Campers collected and sorted the lollipops into colors, receiving points for the most pops collected.  Congratulations to the Cheyenne C boys, Cheyenne A girls, Comanche D  boys, Comanche A girls, Cherokee C boys, Cherokee A girls, Apache  Girls and Navajo Boys for being the best lollipop pickers in camp.  As a reward they will each receive a super yummy S’mores Roast!!!!

On Tuesday, July 5th, all our 2nd year campers received the traditional Camp Hillard banner, and on Wednesday, July 8th,   3rd and 4th year campers received their specially designed and highly coveted t-shirts!  On Thursday, campers and counselors sported the traditional white Camp Hillard shirt and their best and brightest smile for their Group Pictures.

 Marshmallow Roasts began with the INA boys and the Chickasaw and Huron girls this past Wednesday.  It was a very messy, but delicious affair.  The Chickasaws followed suit on Thursday and they really showed us how to really get messy!!!!!

The Apache, Iroquois and CIT boys and girls embarked on a fun-filled trip to Playland on Thursday, July 7th, where they enjoyed various rides and attractions and games of skill of chance.  The hot weather was actually a hit rather than a hindrance; smaller crowds, shorter lines, more fun!

On Friday we started our summer tradition of Music at the Pools during the afternoon free swims.

It has been an amazing first two weeks of camp fun, but we still have lots of special events to look forward to. 5th year campers can get psyched for their Ice Cream Party on Monday; the boats are out of dry dock and are being shined and polished for Junior Camp Boat Rides and Middle and Senior Camp Boat Races ; the INA Boys are heading out to the ballgame on Tuesday, for a Rockland Boulders Minor League game; preparations are already in high gear for our Festival of Fun and our second Tribal Color Day on Wednesday; the Cherokee boys are gearing up for their Visiting Evening on Wednesday; and 6th year and more campers will enjoy a bountiful breakfast buffet and a special gift on Thursday!  All of this in addition to more marshmallow roasts, ice cream parties and more….Phewww!  What an exciting week coming up!


Camp Hillard’s 88th Summer is Underway!

Camp Hillard’s 88th Summer Season kicked off on Monday, June 27th.  After a long, cold winter, campers and counselors and parents were thrilled that Opening Day was finally upon us!

On Opening Day, campers and counselors got to know one another.  As groups got off the bus, they were brought to their respective Tribal meeting areas where camper and counselor introductions were made. Tribes got to know each other’s names by playing all different types of Getting To Know You games. After putting things away in our bunks, we had a great first day of activities including our first swim.  Camp Hillard’s famous pizza was on the menu for all campers, and the end of day refreshment, a Twin-Pop, was truly delicious!

The rest of Week 1 was also highlighted by:

  • Campers being assigned to their swim instruction groups.
  • Exciting sports instruction and games.
  • Many groups had their first arts and/or other specialty activities.
  • Tuesday was our first Tribal Color Day.  Camp was awash in a sea of colors as campers and counselors alike were decked out in their special colored t-shirt.
  • Our Independence Day celebration on Friday was highlighted by an exciting Independence Day parade, an all-camp cookout, special refreshments, a visit from the Fire Department, and other special activities throughout the day.

Next week will be another fun filled week of excitement.  In addition to all the fun of the regular schedule, we will also have the following special events:

  • The Junior Camp Lollipop Hunt will take place on Tuesday, as will the Senior Camp Challenge Opening Ceremonies for Cherokees and INAs.
  • The Middle and Senior Camp Lollipop Scavenger Hunt takes place on Tuesday.
  • 2nd Year Campers will receive their Camp Hillard banners on Tuesday, and our 3rd and 4th Year Campers will receive their special T-shirts on Wednesday.
  • Thursday is our Camp Pictures day.  All groups will have their group picture taken.  We ask that all campers wear their white Camp Hillard T with the green logo.
  • Some tribes are also scheduled for their Marshmallow Roasts.
  • On Thursday, the Apache and Iroquois Boys and Girls and the CIT’s will visit Playland Amusement Park in Rye.

We hope everyone has a safe, healthy, happy, festive 4th of July Holiday!  We can’t wait to see everyone on Tuesday!