Monthly Archives: June 2014

Pine Grove Scoop and the First Day of Classes!

Monday, June 30th, 2014
The Snack Scott!

The Snack Scott!

Heyo folks! Lady of the Lake and Olive Oyl here with news from our first day of classes!

Campers are all in their first period classes after an exciting morning meeting! We started off the day with a truly fantastic breakfast – our first egg bar! At meeting we were introduced to many different characters who will be with us this summer. Peter announced Interest Groups which happen during fifth period. Instead of signing up for a class, campers can choose from a number of options each day, like swimming in the pool, playing frisbee in the backyard, making glass beads, and going to Meg’s Planet (Meg’s amazing garden), among other fantastic activities. This morning, the announcing of Interest Groups was interrupted by mysterious bagpipes and drums. With his musical party in tow, Snack Scott emerged, waving a Scottish flag, to tell us all about snack, which happens at the start of Interest Groups. It was joyous! The Birthday Psychic also made an appearance to announce three different birthdays. All of camp joined together to sing two rousing versions of happy birthday – the English version, and the Dutch version, a HVC classic. Then, after class locations got all sorted out, Peter sent us on our merry way!

Last night, we had a superb evening program – Opening Pine Grove. Pine Grove, a majestic grove of pines, sits on the top of Tipi Hill. We have Pine Grove at the start and end of every session. It gives us all an opportunity to share whatever we please with the entire camp community, such as music, stories, or campfire traditions. We always walk up in silence, and to respect the serenity of the place, we don’t take photos or use our flashlights. Because we have such a fantastic group of campers this year, every single cabin performed at Pine Grove. It was truly remarkable. Many cabins sang (or told) camp classics – Avalon led us all in Lima Bean, Valhalla in Brown Squirrel, Chateau in the Pickle Story, Wombles in the Pizza Man, Paquatahnee in the Jellyfish Song, LCH in Bazooka Bubble Gum, French Quarter in Baby Shark, Forbidden Planet in the Princess Pat, Halley’s Comet in Everywhere We Go, Wabanaki in I don’t Know What I’ve Been Told, and Shangri-La in Spongebob’s Campfire Song. Other cabins sang (or read) songs and poems previously unheard at Pine Grove. The Burrow sang Turn the World Around, Loons sang the Lion Sleeps Tonight (with some great twists that got many of us singing), Camelot sang Tonight, Tonight, Taj Mahal sang Ho Hey, Bermuda Triangle sang Best Day of My Life, Fiddler’s Green read a poem, and Community told us about what Community means. Meg and Peter also spoke and led us in a round. After the last act, we headed down Tipi Hill to get snuggled in our beds.

After a busy first day of classes, we’ll have our first Cabin Night of the session this evening. Cabin Night gives each cabin group a chance to get to know one another, bond, and create some lasting memories. More details to come tomorrow!

Farewell,

Lady and Olive

 

We Love Orientation Day!

Sunday, June 29th, 2014
Class sign ups!

Class sign ups!

Hi there, folks at home! Olive Oyl here with your Orientation day update!

It’s been a jam-packed day since we first heard the donkeys roar this morning! All cabins have been travelling around camp doing five main things today: signing up for classes, swim evaluations, tours, photos, and the health lodge. For class signups our pottery man Dan gave his famous “schpiel” about signups, explaining how our two-week and four class period day works, plus going over interest groups and extras like doing the ropes course, visiting the Hope Elephants, the overnight camping trip, or opting to join Tipi Village.

The lake path has been bustling with cabins traveling to and from the waterfront for swim evaluations. Thanks Hidden Valley’s amazing solar heating system (aka the sun), the lake has been nice and warm for our campers. Cabins also made sure to stop by the health lodge, where everyone got a lice check and we are happy to report that we are lice free at HVC! The nurses also spoke to the cabins about general camp health, like hydrating, applying sun screen, and daily tick-checks. At this stop campers also got their photo taken, which will be sent home shortly. Interspersed between all of these many activities were camp tours and plenty of down time, perfect for get to know you games like “The Wind is Blowing,” “Two Truths and a Lie,” and a fun HVC favorite “Ninja,” where you strike you best ninja pose and try to strike your neighbors out in just one fluid motion.

We also had an extra long rest period this afternoon, which gave cabins plenty of time to go over cabin rules, sort out logistics like shower schedules and chore charts, and decide on cabin books for the summer. We also had time to figure out songs or stories to share at this evening’s Pine Grove ceremony, which is sure to be a peaceful and beautiful way to ring in the start of summer here at HVC.

Be sure to check out the photos of all the action happening so far today! More news to come soon.

Peace and love,
Olive

Safe and Sound and Ready To Go!

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

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Greetings, friends! Olive Oyl here with your final Arrival Day update!

Our New York and Boston bus-ers have arrived safely and soundly just in time for an informational and hilarious camp meeting and then a delicious dinner of fried chicken, potatoes, salad, and some carrot cake to top it all off. After dinner we made our way to the Rec Hall for Opening Night skits, where we learned all about the classes being offered over the next two weeks. All of this information was shared by our counselors and awesome MCs, who played a group of kids who went into a Narnia-esque door and ended up in various other movie sets, such as The Pink Panther, The Titanic, and Jurassic Park. Pete and Meg made sure to say a big goodnight to all of our campers as the PDs announced a bed time, followed by a gorgeous wave of “silent ups” throughout the Rec Hall.

Tomorrow is a jam-packed day, with cabins rotating around five main activities: the lake for swim evaluations, the health lodge for general camp health info, lice checks, and photos, a camp tour, and finally, class signups! There will also be an extra long rest hour and some free time throughout the day, giving cabins a time to settle in and fully unpack from today’s big move. Tomorrow night’s evening program is Pine Grove, where cabins will share music, stories, and laughs, settling us in the beautiful nature of Hidden Valley and the camp spirit of kindness and silliness that we’ll continue throughout the summer.

I’m off to get some sleep before our busy day tomorrow! Be sure to check out the photos of bus arrivals and opening night skits!

So long,

Olive

 

 

The Arrival of Arrival Day!

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

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Hey guys! Lady of the Lake here with exciting news about arrival day!

Cars have been trickling in since around 9am this morning, and camp is abuzz with excitement! Campers and their families are meeting the staff and chatting with Peter and Meg. Campers are settling in and unpacking, as well as partaking in the many activities taking place in the front yard. Some campers are gathered around a guitar to have a sing-a-long, while others are beginning intricate friendship bracelets. Soccer balls are flying and frisbees are soaring – it’s beginning to look a lot like camp! The kittens are making appearances, too, and are a big hit (how could four lovable, fuzzy kittens not be?). There is also a giant mosaic that campers are working on, and it’s sure to come out phenomenally. Inside the Red Barn, campers are playing foosball and other games, like Uno and cards. Families are also wandering around camp and getting to know the area, as well as having some quality time with the llamas. Lots of families are also joining us for lunch. The New York and Boston buses are on their way, and will be here in time for dinner.

Be sure to check out pictures of campers loading the NYC and Boston buses and everything that’s happening here in Maine! We’ll also be posting this evening once our campers have arrived safely and soundly.

Until next time,

Lady of the Lake

Cabin Prep and the Pizza Dragon

Friday, June 27th, 2014
Under

Under the HV-Sea

Hey everyone! Lady of the Lake and Olive Oyl reporting in.

It’s hard to believe that camp is finally upon us. We’ve had a beautiful last day of staff training and have been putting the final touches on our camp preparation. Earlier this evening, every cabin’s counselors and AWACs worked together to make chore charts, shower schedules, and mailboxes for their cabins. Each cabin has a theme for the session: The Burrow’s theme is Mythical Creatures, Wabanaki’s is the Cosmic Wobbies, Loons’s is the Spirit Pizza, Wombles’s is the Wombots, Fiddler’s Green’s is the Fiddlers Fairies, Dear Meadows’s is the Adventurers, French Quarter’s is A Bug’s Eye View, Lower Carriage House’s is Monsters, Forbidden Planet’s is Shipwreck, Camelot’s is Sisters of Camelot, The Bermuda Triangle’s is Survivors, Brumby’s is Horsie Hippies, Valhalla’s is the Animal Kingdom, Avalon’s is Adventures Around the World at HVC, Paquatanee’s is Private Eyes, Shangri-La’s Under the HV-Sea, and finally, Taj’s is the Twilight Zone. The counselors and AWACs have been decorating their cabins accordingly. We can’t wait to see what these cabins do this session.

Tomorrow is finally arrival day! We’ll be out in the backyard, greeting families and buses as they arrive. They’ll be activities going on, too, like making friendship bracelets and playing frisbee. We’ll also have updates tomorrow on Justin and Facebook, so be sure to stay posted.

We couldn’t be more excited.

Until tomorrow,

Lady of the Lake and Olive Oyl

P.S. Make sure to check out the awesome pictures of the dragon on our new pizza oven! Counselors have been hard at work sculpting the fantastic creature, and their work has certainly paid off.

 

The End of Staff Training, But We Can’t Say We Didn’t Have Fun!

Friday, June 27th, 2014
Pure happiness at the Candy Drop

Pure happiness at the Counselor Candy Drop

Hiya, HVC-ers! Olive Oyl here with your final staff training update as we excitedly await for Arrival Day! After a few days of cold and rain, the sun has finally come out, so our campers will surely have a warm welcome tomorrow!

We’ve been busy getting camp ready for our wonderful campers– super cabin cleans, AWAC assignments, and bunk decorating have all been happening today. Some counselors have been pretty creative with their cabin themes, such as the Wombles Robots (aka the Wombots), Shangri-La’s Under the HV-Sea, and French Quarter’s Bug’s Eye View. Our counselors have been spending time in their cabins with their co-counselors, planning and organizing for our first few busy days full of swim lessons, class sign ups, and of course, lots of fuzzy time activities, like Ninja and Two Truths and a Lie. We’ve also had staff meetings to prepare for our incoming arrivals, discussing things like providing a warm welcome and spending time to build relationships on the first day.

Tomorrow will be a very exciting day, with super greeters welcoming campers arriving by car throughout the day and lots of sing-a-longs, friendship bracelets, and name tag making in the front yard as our cabins fill in. Our chaperones left this morning to accompany our New York and Boston buses, which we will happily greet in just about 24 hours! Tomorrow night we’ll have Opening Night Skits, where counselors will preview their classes for the next two weeks, complete with hilarious songs and skits in between.

The staff has been wrapping up their training, with last night’s Lobster Banquet and Pine Grove ceremony. We enjoyed delicious lobster (or alternate yummy dinner of your choice) and of course to top it all off, pints upon pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Much Phish Food, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Chocolate Fudge Brownie were consumed before we hiked up Tipi Hill and gathered around the fire amongst the peaceful woods of Pine Grove. Counselors shared stories, songs, poems, and quotes as we reflected upon all our time and hard work during the past few weeks and looked forward towards the start of our first session together.

Earlier in the week we had our own Staff Talent Show, which our Shift Heads MC-ed, introducing acts and providing humor as a wacky Hawaiian band. We saw the many talents of our staff, like didgeridoo, tap dancing, and of course, lip-syncing. Be sure to check out the pictures to see our amazing set of counselors!

It’s been an incredible staff training– lots of meetings, but also lots of fun (our very own Candy Drop!!!). Camp is now camper ready and the counselors are now counselor ready. We can’t wait!

I’ll be sure to keep you updated as first session unfolds tomorrow!

Adios,

Olive

Camp is Almost Here and We’re Ready!

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

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Hello, friends! Olive Oyl here with another dispatch full of staff training news and info as we prepare for our first session of the summer here at Hidden Valley.

Things have been moving quickly this past week– lots of meetings and specialty trainings to get ready for our roles as both counselors and instructors. We’ve covered roles that certain staff have on camp, for example, our former camper meeting, where these special folks discuss the transition from camper to counselor and how to best continue on with the values and mission of HVC that this particular group grew up with and now have the opportunity to pass on.

There has also been a lot of discussion this past week about teaching classes, in particular effective lesson planning and catering to different learning styles, age groups, and skill levels. Peter gave his famous “toilet talk” where one lucky volunteer showed the rest of the group how to best clean a toilet, involving visual, kinesthetic, and aural instructions to appeal to all styles of learning. Our maintenance man Tim also gave a talk about toilets involving his special “plunger yoga”, encouraging all staff to do their part in keeping their bathrooms functioning smoothly.

We’ve also had some talks discussing general counseling skills and styles, like setting boundaries and creating a safe and inclusive cabin space. We finally received our eagerly awaited cabin assignments a few nights ago, and we’ve now had the opportunity to connect with our co-counselors and settle into our new homes for the next month. We’ve been brainstorming cabin themes, ideas for cabin nights, and getting to know our incoming campers before they arrive (only four more days!).

Today’s also the special day that counselors get their HVC t-shirts. We even had a fashion show this morning at breakfast to model the fashionable Hidden Valley wardrobe, such as the classic periwinkle llama sweatshirt and royal blue Crazy Creek. (Be sure to check out the photos!)

This evening is the staff talent show where we get the chance to showcase our many talents and special skills. There’s sure to be a lot of music, dancing, and laughter. Stay tuned for updates as the week progresses and Arrival Day quickly approaches!

Don’t forget to check out the photos to see our staff on the ropes course and much more!

Lots of love,

Olive

Evening Programs Galore!

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

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Hi, friends! Olive Oyl here with your staff training dispatch!

We’ve been busy with our daily priorities– starting specialty trainings in glass, pottery, theater, and animal care (just to name a few) plus our big training areas of ropes, waterfront, and horses. With our busy days we’ve utilized the evening the let off some steam and bond with one another as a staff group. On Tuesday night we had Booth Night, where returning counselors held informational booths about various areas of camp, such as Cabin Night, Off Time, Camp Lingo, and Interest Groups. New counselors got the opportunity to get all their questions answered by those who have experienced life at Hidden Valley before.

The following evening was Big Circle Night, a favorite of staff training, where we take an evening to get to know each other on a more personal level, both answering deep questions and playing fun ice breaker games, all in the beauty of the majestic Old Dance Studio. We start the meeting by setting a mood with Meg’s crystal bowl, and the rest of the night takes on an air of serenity and intimacy as we learn about each other’s past years and our goals for the future.

Thursday night’s evening program was a little less serious, the Contra Dance, which was a spectacular success with folks dressed in their best flannels and denim. Everybody was bustin’ a move and breaking a sweat to the fantastic fiddling and groovy guitar music. There were whole group dances, line dances, square dances, and even a lovely waltz to wind down the evening.

Friday morning we had some more meetings and priorities, and then headed to the wonderful Camden for a picnic lunch in the state park, followed by an afternoon of enjoying the adorable seaside town. It was a fun and relaxing day off, but we’re back at work bright and early this morning for more speciality trainings and Lesson Planning night in the evening.

That’s all for now! Don’t forget to check out the photos to see our amazing staff in action!

Stay tuned,

Olive

Priorities and Pizza (Oven)!

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

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Greetings, earthlings! Olive Oyl here with my new trusty sidekick Lady of the Lake!

Things have been moving along with staff training- our waterfront team is officially certified at both the lake and the pool and the ropes staff has been working on their emergency drills. Our horse crew are also working hard caring for and training the beautiful horses. We’ve been holding priorities, which are our specialized trainings, in our various other areas of camp such as glass beads, animal care, and theater. We’ve also had a group sanding down mugs in preparation for glazing, a special project that all counselors get to be a part of. The pizza oven project is progressing, with the crew lighting a fire to cure the bricks on the inside and making sure it’s even with no hot spots. The pizza oven is sure to be a huge hit once campers arrive and it can be used on cabin nights or for electives.

The sun poked its head out this afternoon, a nice treat after a damp morning. The weather is expected to continue to be sunny and bright, going along with our sunny and bright spirits as the staff get to know each other and bond as a community of co-workers and friends.

Tonight is Big Circle Night, which is sure to be a wonderful time for self-reflection and setting goals for the summer. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as staff training continues and we anxiously await for arrival day!

Forever yours,

Olive and the Lady

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