The exclusive fraternity atmosphere that was created of the senior boys on Mount Olympus with Zeus as their leader was so attractive that it could turn any boy who spent more than 2 years at Camp Saginaw into a lifer, coming back year-after-year to finally become a Hillman. For most of us it became a life long goal, granted a very short life time to that point, to get up on The Hill and literally look down on the rest of the Boys Camp.
The concept did not just happen, it evolved over a decade starting in the mid 1950’s under the developmental eye of Connie Chalick-Zeus I and Herb Cohen who was responsible for stocking the counselor roster on the Hill with the best athletes he could attract from inside and outside the ranks of the camp. These counselors embraced the principles the Hill stood for and became the role models for the 13 to 17 year old campers that filled Hill 1 to Hill 6 each summer.
Where this really took off was under the watch of Hank Aberman, Zeus II and Mickey Rothstein one of the most inspirational and legendary counselors to come to The Hill. Hill Spirit, Class, Loyalty, and Fortitude were the concepts fostered and nurtured by them and later became the thread in the fabric of every thing the Hill was involved in. These were to be life lessons for the Hillmen to take with them away from camp and help them deal with all the challenges they would face well beyond their Saginaw years.
This Senior Hill Handbook tells the story of this evolution and makes it clear how this idea was used to galvanize a collection of teenage boys into a group of focused and mature young men each summer. The words of the Hill songs and cheers that resounded in the mess hall all summer long in anticipation of the annual Hill-IJ Game reiterate what this is all about.
In the “Marching Song” song the lyrics challenge these young men:
Sing-let them hear us
Every enemy will fear us
Fight for the banner that is dearest to you
Fight for the banner of the Hill
“It Takes A Hillman” reiterates the lesson of fortitude the ’58 and ’68 Hill-IJ Games:
Twice there was a ball game, things looked might low
Then old Herbie Cohen put things on the go
In the Alma Mater the words emphasize they will carry this long after their days at camp are done:
Saginaw, Senior Hill, in our hears we’ll remember
How our lives spent with you
Always guide us forever
The Senior Hill Handbook has survived for over 50 years, relatively unchanged. As you can see in the attached versions below, each year the core story remains the same. There is a welcome from the reigning Zeus, the stats of award winners and record holders are updated, and occasionally a new song is added. But for the most part the handbook delivers the consistent message and to any of us who lived the rituals of the Senior Hill this Senior Hill Handbook will strike a resonant chord. Read through the handbook from your era below and relive the first time you read these words when you finally were welcomed into the ranks of the Hillmen.
Click on the image of the Senior Hill Handbook from your era that you would like to review