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-sleep away 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 wood shop. 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 Sleep out in Tree Top Village for both the boys and the girls. This sleep out 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, everyone chattered excitedly about their experience, and they are all looking forward to visiting again next summer. But everyone was really excited to be home at Hillard, just in time for the Camp Hillard’s 90th Birthday Party.
The 90th Party was a great celebration. The Camp was decorated with many photos and other memorabilia from the 90 years. It was so much fun seeing pictures from the past, including photos from even 5, 10, or 15 years ago of current staff member back then, some as counselors, some as campers. So many great memories, with many more to come in the future! There was a very fun dance party with DJ Joe in the Gymnastics Tent that included some fun group photos of each group, and then some dancing to music from the various decades. The Creative Arts Center featured some special projects for the day including tatoos and Zumba with Jesse. There was a building showing old Camp videos and showcasing plaques from the various charity events over the years. But perhaps the highlight was the Camp Hillard Birthday Cake for everyone at dessert!
The Camp Hillard Tradition is a rich and storied one, dating back to 1929 when Morris and Hannah Libman founded what was to become Westchester’s very first Day Camp, originally named Camp Morris and located in White Plains. When Hillard was born the following year, Morris and Hannah renamed the Camp in honor of their first born, and relocated to the current location at 26 Elizabeth Street a few years later. Morris and Hannah pioneered the day camp movement, developing ideas and techniques that are still used in many camps throughout the country. Over the ensuing decades, Hillard and his wife, Elaine perfected these ideas and techniques, and Camp Hillard developed a reputation as a top summer Day Camp that combines spirit, tradition and fun.
The family tradition continues with Kathleen, Jon and Jim. They continually build on and improve the legacy established by the prior generations, taking a hands-on approach to every aspect of Camp Hillard, from recruiting and hiring a quality and talented Staff, many of whom were Hillard campers, to grouping, scheduling and creating a Camp environment that emphasizes individualized instruction and personalized attention. Kathleen, the Creative and Performing Arts Director, revolutionized the Theater Program, creating shows and musical performances of such quality rarely seen in a summer camp. And this summer Kathleen greatly transformed the Arts and Crafts program as well. The tradition continues into a 4th generation with Jon and Kathleen’s daughters, Dylan and Taylor, both of whom were campers and are now seasoned counselors themselves.
The Hillard Family Tradition; One family, Four generations; can be seen and felt in every aspect of Camp, and it is not limited to the Libman Family alone. Campers become Counselors, their children become Campers who grow up to be Counselors and so on, creating a uniquely unparalled sense of family and community who call Camp Hillard their home.
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!
- Tuesday is Favorite T-Shirt Day!
- On Wednesday, The INA Boys and Girls can look forward to a trip Yankee Stadium to watch the Bronx Bombers take on the Detroit Tigers.
- Our Visiting Day and Evening Programs continue in earnest, with Cheyenne Boys and Cherokee and Navajo Girls scheduled for next week.
- Ice cream parties and s’mores roasts continue, as do Talent Shows and Hillard’s Got Talent.
- Friday is Tribal Color Day IV.
For more details specific to your child’s group, please read our Weekly Tribal Newsletters and the Program Newsletters which are found in the Enrolled Camp Families section of our website. Have a great weekend!