Monthly Archives: July 2018

Camp Hillard Week 5 Highlighted by the 90th Year Celebration!

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!

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.  Visiting Day programs continued in earnest this week, with the Pawnees, the Chickasaw boys and girls and the Comanche boys.

Our 2018 Summer Charity Event began on Monday, July 16.  All campers participated in Hillard Hoops for Focus For a Future during their group’s Basketball period during the week.  Since its inception in 2003, Focus for a Future, a nonprofit organization, has been working with over 120 top sleep away and day camps to provide opportunities for children to attend summer camp who would not otherwise be able to afford to do so. While the camps, including Camp Hillard, offer full-tuition scholarships to those children identified by Focus for A Future, there are also other expenses such as providing the campers with various supplies and equipment needed for camp. During the summer of 2018, Focus for A Future placed 448 children in summer camps.

Focus for A Future is led by Paula and Jack Kaminer, along with a volunteer Board of Directors. Paula and Jack have a long history with camp and education. Among other things, Jack taught for 21 years at Scarsdale High School, where he was also the head basketball coach for many years, becoming a Westchester and New York State Hall of Fame coach. In 2003 they decided to create Focus for A Future.

For over 15 years, the work of Focus for A Future has allowed many children to have a camp experience. Many of these campers have also become staff members at their camps, and the experience has clearly made them more self-confident and has helped improve all of the skills needed to become successful students and eventually adults.

Camp Hillard is proud to be associated with Focus for A Future and we are very excited to be doing this year’s charity fundraiser with them. All of the money raised will help Focus for A Future to continue as an organization and also to help purchase supplies and equipment that these campers need for camp.

All campers donating at least $40 per camper will receive a special thank you package. This package will include a Camp Hillard/Focus for A Future 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 2019. The winner will be announced in the Winter Newsletter, and should the winner be someone not returning 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 23 years. With your help and generosity, we will make this year’s fundraiser the most successful ever.

This week was also highlighted by the Annual Overnight to Brookwood in Glen Spey, New York.  This annual trip is reserved solely for the oldest campers, the Iroquois, but this year it was extended to include the Apaches, as well.  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!  Despite some heavy rain and thunderstorms on Tuesday, campers and counselors had an amazing time.  Indoor activities included, cooking, dance and Broadcasting.  Wednesday’s weather was truly spectacular, and campers and counselors were able to take full advantage of a variety of Lakefront activities; 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; Fresh Fruit, Cheese sticks, Goldfish, Graham Crackers, Oreos, and Kettle Cooked Potato Chips 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.

We enjoyed a variety of fun events at the pools this week.  Pawnees, Chickasaws and Hurons participated in a tropical Swim Luau on Wednesday; the Main Pool complex was transformed to a Hawaiian paradise of palm trees, pineapples, coconuts and limbo sticks!  Campers enjoyed exhilarating rides on the Alligator floats, relaxing floats on the watermelon inner tubes, underwater treasure hunts and more.  On Thursday, Middle and Senior Campers took part in Hillard’s Famous Wacky Dive Contest; Cheyennes and older showed off their cannonballs and belly flops for a team of Celebrity judges who provided exciting color commentary during the Event.

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 Instructional swim program 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 Camp Hillard’s 90th Birthday celebration!  There will be a Birthday Dance Party for all Tribes in the Gymnastics Pavilion and retro Tribal games and activities in honor of this momentous occasion!

For more details specific to your child’s group, please read our Weekly Tribal Newsletters which are found in the Enrolled Camp Families section of our website.  Have a great weekend!

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:

  • Monday was Crazy Hat and Hair Day. All of the campers and their counselors wore their best Crazy Hats and Wild Hairdos.
  • The Cheyenne Boys and Girls participated in Boat Races.
  • 2nd year campers also received banners on Monday while 3rd and 4th year campers received commemorative shirts on Tuesday to celebrate their tenure.
  • We took our Group Photos on Tuesday; everyone was looking sharp!
  • Also on Tuesday, the Apache Iroquois boys and girls and the CIT’s headed out to Playland for some thrilling rides and entertaining attractions.
  • We enjoyed the Festival of Fun and an All-Camp Cookout on Wednesday. It was quite a day, highlighted by a multi-media experience at the Creative Arts Center, inflatables on the fields and at the pools, and a arcade and gaga center.
  • On Thursday, 5th year campers attended a special party, enjoyed ice cream cake, and received a Camp Hillard pillow.
  • On Friday, 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 in honor of Camp Hillard’s 90th summer; a Drawstring bag, embazoned with the Camp Hillard logo, along with a classic baseball cap and a Camp Hillard Pop-Socket!

Camp Hillard’s Swim Program is off to a great start.  All campers 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.  Every Cheyenne and Comanche group has taken at least two trips down the “Great Green River,” the water slide located at South Campus.

Campers at the Main Complex have also experienced some very exciting special events.  Campers participated in the annual Boat Rides, with everyone getting a chance to race across the pool in out inflatable boats.  Also, Junior Campers had a great time getting wet at the car Wash, or running across the Arctic-themed inflatable pool float during The Festival of Fun.  Music Friday is a huge hit as campers get to listen to tunes as they enjoy afternoon free swim.

On the Creative and Performing Arts front, the Creative Arts Staff outdid themselves during Wednesday’s Festival of Fun, creating a colorful and interactive environment where campers did projects, an obstacle course, Zumba, and much more.  It was quite the place to be!  And so many great projects have already gone home this summer, with many more to come.

The Theater staff is busily preparing for their shows.  In junior camp, the Huron Girls are enjoying the songs from the classic musical Annie. They are learning that they are “never fully dressed without a smile” and that there’s always “tomorrow.” Meanwhile, the Huron & Cheyenne Boys are learning how to rock & roll in their show Elvis. The Cheyenne Girls are enjoying the songs from Disney’s classic film and new Broadway hit Frozen.

In middle camp, the Comanche Boys Theater Club is learning how to have “soul” in The Blues Brothers. On the other hand, the Comanche Girls are learning how to “defy gravity” in Wicked!  Finally, in Senior Camp, the Cherokee Girls are having an “Aca-mazing” time with their show Pitch Perfect. In addition to that, the Navajo Girls are learning how to “welcome in the 60’s”, in the Broadway hit, Hairspray!  For the big show, the I-A girls as well as the Cherokee &INA Boys, are paying tribute to 90 amazing years of Camp Hillard Theater with the show It’s Showtime!

In music, the Pawnees, Chickasaw Girls and Boys are busy getting ready to perform for all of you on visiting day next week! They are learning classic songs from Sesame Street such as Rubber Ducky and The Rainbow Connection as well as, a beautiful song called “One Small Voice”. We are very excited about singing them for Visiting Day.

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.

The Sports Program is also off to a great start this summer.  . 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 summer at the Gymnastics Pavilion, the  will focus on safety, balance, flexibility, and movement and travelling as well as jumps and strength.   The main object to at Gymnastics is the safety skills and confidence of our campers.  Our campers will learn to use the gym equipment safely having respect for the gym and others while learning essential skills.   The equipment used in the gym this summer will be the floor, beam, uneven bars, parallel bars, rings, and the vault.  We also have the climbing, parkour course, martial arts equipment, and we will be opening the zip line soon.

We have had an exciting and productive three weeks of camp and we look forward to a fun filled summer of learning and growing.

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

  • Our Annual Charity Event for Focus For A Future begins.
  • The Cherokee and Navajo Boys and Girls will be visiting Powerhouse Studios on Monday.
  • The Pawnees and the Chickasaw Boys and Girls have their Visiting Day on Tuesday,
  • Also an Tuesday, the Apache-Iroquois Boys and Girls leave for their Overnight Trip to Brookwood.
  • There will be lots of excitement at the pools with the Junior Camp Swim Luau on Wednesday and the highly anticipated Crazy Dive Contests for Middle and Senior Camp.
  • 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!

For more details specific to your child’s group, please read our Weekly Tribal Newsletters which are found in the Enrolled Camp Families section of our website.  Have a great weekend!

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

The second week of Camp was just great!  On Monday, we had our annual lollipop hunt, divided by Division.  Over the weekend, fireworks went off above the Upper Field, dropping lollipop seeds everywhere.  When we arrived on Monday morning, 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!!!!   Campers collected and sorted the lollipops into colors, receiving points for the most pops collected.  Congratulations to the Cheyenne A boys, Cheyenne C girls, Comanche B boys, Comanche A girls, Iroquois Girls and Apache-Iroquois 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 3rd, we celebrated Independence Day, Camp Hillard Style!  We had a Patriotic Parade of famous Americans, led by Uncle Sam on a tractor, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and the Statue of Liberty on a Golf Cart, Pocahontas, Betsy Ross and a wide array of athletes, celebrities and American Icons proudly marching down the road to the Main Field.  We all stood proudly as the National Anthem was played and the members of the Greenville Fire Department stood silently in Salute of our Grand Old Flag.  The Theater Staff got kept the Independence Day spirit going, leading an All Camp Singalong of patriotic part tunes that included This Land Is Your Land and Yankee Doodle Dandy.  Jesse Millman got everyone up and moving, as he lead a Party In the U.S.A. Zumbathon to conclude our celebration.

Everyone enjoyed a 4th of July lunch in our air-conditioned Dining Rooms; the extreme heat and humidity meant the All Camp Cookout turned into an All Camp Cook In.  Hillard Dogs, carrots and celery, mixed green salad, Apple Juice and Lemonade and Fresh Fruit for dessert!  We ended the day with a patriotic red, white and blue Firecracker Junior Iced Pop for refreshments .

Speaking of food, the Hillard Menu is varied and delicious, offering a wide variety of tasty, well-balanced meals; hearty baked ziti with cheese, chicken nuggets with roasted potatoes, Mexi-Beef tacos with salsa, cheese and sour cream. And of course their is always a variety of healthy side dishes and desserts daily.  Mixed green salad, tasty carrots and crispy celery, sliced cucumber and tomato salad, green beans and chick peas and a new addition in 2018, Hillard’s Homemade Hummus, sesame free, but creamy and delicious!  And there is always tasty fresh fruit like orange and apple slices, watermelon and fruit salad for dessert!

Sports League Teams have been formed, and inter-tribal games have begun, campers have all been assigned to Instructional Swim Groups, and  on Friday we continued 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. Monday is Crazy Hat and  and Hair Day; the Apache, Iroquois and CIT Boys and Girls can get psyched for trip to Playland on Tuesday; 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; 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 Friday!  All of this in addition to more marshmallow roasts, ice cream parties and more….Phewww!  What an exciting week coming up!

See you Monday!!