Hillside Summer Camp Hits A Half Century

July 20, 2022

Childhood summers are at the heart of some of the very best memories and for many, summer camp is one of life’s most meaningful experiences. Recognized as one of Putnam County’s oldest camp programs, Hillside Summer Camp is marking 50 years of welcoming campers from the Brewster community and beyond for another season of fun and friendship.

Hillside Outdoor Education Center was established in 1972 as an educational partnership between Green Chimneys and the Edwin Gould Foundation. The 50-acre site adjacent to Green Chimneys’ main property on Doansburg Road opened to various educational groups offering outdoor experiences for students and faculty, including day visits, overnight programs, teacher workshops, college courses in outdoor education, and professional conferences. The original site featured a forested area with a lodge, log cabin, two dormitories, a tenting area, and several staff residences. In 1981, Green Chimneys assumed full operation of Hillside and gradually shaped the program into its present-day ACA-accredited community summer camp.

Hillside veteran Landy boating with campers in 2009.

Over the years, Hillside has served thousands of families, proudly helping young children grow into their teen years, often seeing them return as camp counselors. Assistant Camp Director Landy Guastadisegni is a veteran camp staff member who first arrived from South Africa as a Hillside camp counselor in 2001.

“Camp is such a magical place,” says Landy. “It’s a place where you can truly be yourself, get to know new people, and explore your abilities all while having fun. It made such an impact on my life that I returned in various roles and here I am today, reliving that magic each summer. Seeing a camper’s smile when they make it to the top of the climbing tower, achieve the next level in their swim test, or are filled with excitement and energy during all-camper events is what makes every day a memorable experience!”

One of the most unique aspects of Hillside is the international staff that has joined each year since the community camp program began. “Hosting staff from all over the world is a very special feature of our camps,” says Camp Director AJ Johnson. “Our campers have the opportunity to learn about other cultures, traditions, and walks of life first-hand. Summer camp serves to provide new experiences, friendships, and ways to look at the world; opening our doors to a wide range of individuals does precisely that.”

Calling all Campers!

In celebration of 50 years, Hillside Summer Camp is issuing a call to all past campers, camp families, and staff to share their favorite photo memories.

From now through August 15th, photos can be emailed to [email protected] for inclusion in an online photo album that will be shared on the Green Chimneys website. Photos should be the rightful property of the person providing, and should exclude any unidentified individuals. Permission for online use of all photos will be assumed upon receipt.

Hillside Summer Camp’s 50th anniversary coincides with Green Chimneys’ year-long celebration of its 75 years in service to children. From summer recreation to therapeutic education and special supports, Green Chimneys is devoted to providing children with genuine connections to nature, helping them to discover their strengths, and develop knowledge and skills to carry them far into the future. 

Learn more about Green Chimneys Summer Camps