Carnival Of Homemade Fun A Hit At Camp Iliff
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 • 5:39pm
NEWTON, NJ - Giggles, bubbles, and music drifted through the air as the second Annual Carnival of Homemade Fun got underway at Camp Iliff in Newton.
“The one thing we are proud of is that we are going back to old time fun, and getting away from electronics. We wanted to create a relaxed atmosphere,” explained Theresa Iliff, owner.
Scores of volunteers and staff were available to help youngsters of all ages try their luck at games of chance and skill.
“Many people don’t realize what it takes to put something like this together," Iliff continued. "We couldn’t have done it without our volunteers. Everything you see here was handmade. We are proud to have so much community involvement as well. Here, we bring together athletes, public servants, those who have come through our program, and their families and friends.”
For example, many of the staff are former campers.
"I’ve been involved with Camp Iliff since before I even knew it, since the beginning,” explained Josh Sibblies.
He was four years old when he first began attending.
“It’s a great environment because everybody’s nice," Josh said. We all try to make the kids have as much fun as possible.”
Josh, a senior at Newton High School, is a star wrestler. Josh now works as a counselor, full-time during the summer and weekends during the school year. And he is not the only one.
Theresa’s daughter, Ashley Iliff, graduated from Newton High School last June. She is a national wrestling champ who is working towards competing in the Olympics four years from now. Ashley is also Miss Newton of 2012. She will be competing for Miss Sussex County at the upcoming Sussex County Farm and Horse Show on August 4, at 7pm in the Main Horseshow Ring.
Looking at the crowd, she explained, “Seeing smiles on people’s faces brings joy to me. It’s great to get to know everyone here.”
Andrew Iliff, Theresa’s husband, is a math teacher and wrestling coach at Newton High School. He lends his expertise at the camp by offering special Wrestling Camps there.
"This is a real neat community event for people to come over, see our facility, meet our staff and have a good time,” he explained.
Andy was running the sumo wrestling contest, where contestants wore chubby suits and head gear.
The DJ kept the crowd hopping and hula hooping. There was face painting, sand art, lots of tossing games, and a pie eating contest. Winners received points that could be traded in for prizes including cowboy hats, bubble guns and animal balloons.
Camp Iliff is a unique blend of child care, summer camp and a fun place to play that is open to the public. Parents can bring their children to play for the day, arrange a special birthday party, or sign up for child care for infants through the 13 year-old after school program.
"It’s not just child care, it’s a community program,” said Iliff. “We hold fundraisers for schools and for medically affected children.” Present at the carnival were three Newton Police Officers showing their cars and giving out coloring books and crayons.
The Newton Volunteer Fire Department and First Aid Squad allowed the children to climb into their vehicles and get a lesson on saving lives. One of the members of the Squad enrolls her child at the camp.
Newton is not the only location for Camp Iliff. In October 2011, they opened a second location at the Rockaway Mall, just outside of JC Penney’s on the first floor.