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!