1947-1984 Hilltop Summer Camp for Girls
Together, Herbert & Eloise Fritz transformed the farm buildings and land into the Hilltop Summer Camp for Girls. The original barn, still strong and serving as the main facility to this day, was built in 1893; its three levels originally housed cows and hay. Herbert redesigned the spaces to provide a summer kitchen and dining room on the lower level, an elegant Barn Living Room on the middle level and a balcony upstairs to house campers. The grainery attached to the barn became the Counselor’s room and a bathroom. The original milk house for the barn was redesigned to become the Shower Room – currently serving as bathroom and shower facilities for visitors during events.
Other buildings were added to Hilltop to provide lodging and various activity centers for the summer campers. When the River Valley School District consolidated, many schoolhouses in the area became available. Herbert purchased several of these schoolhouses and brought the buildings to Hilltop where they were placed and redesigned specifically for their use at camp. Six schoolhouses and one town hall eventually became a part of Hilltop. [To see the location and history of these structures on the property, please see the Overview Site Map in the Contact section.]
As Hilltop Summer Camp for Girls, Herbert and Eloise opened their home and hearts to share a way of life with young people seeking an opportunity for personal growth and expression – not to mention fun and adventure. Activities included a full spectrum from the arts and creative crafts such as music, dance, drama, creative writing and flower arranging to the more physical activities of horseback riding, swimming, canoeing and archery.
Horsemanship was an important part of the Hilltop program, making the stable and corral another core of Hilltop activity. Twentysome horses, primarily American Saddlebred and Thoroughbred, were part of the English pleasure and breeding program. Campers rode daily and learned to train foals each summer. Several of the horses became champions. Both of Herb and Eloise’s children, Teresa and Ty, became highly skilled horseman competing in hunter and open jumping classes. Today, Teresa continues to train horses and teach riding at her ranch in Colorado and western pleasure riding has become a mainstay of Ty’s life in Arizona.
Physical skills and accomplishments were enhanced and enriched by spiritual and mental awareness. Generations of campers found lifelong enrichment through their experience at Hilltop.