Monthly Archives: June 2015

Aloha, Aloha, Aloha!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

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Hello, hello! It’s Humming Bird here, with updates on a fabulous Cabin Night last night!

Every cabin enjoyed some stellar quality time together, with activities ranging from campfire s’mores to making glass beads!

Loons made beautiful finger painted art in the backyard! LCH enjoyed a classic twist on time camp favorite by putting s’mores in ice cream cones, while Avalon made a painty slip and slide! Gimme Shelter performed an initiation ceremony, consistent with their Birds of Prey theme, and Bermuda Triangle did an egg drop from the treehouse! Chateau Fiasco had a surprise movie night in the farmhouse, and French Quarter made pizzas in our beautiful outdoor pizza oven, with help from Carmi! Forbidden Planet took a blind hike, ending in some glass bead-making and s’mores! Wombles embraced their super hero theme by making capes! Down Under went on a scavenger hunt, ending with s’mores, and Paquatahnee enjoyed the tipi zipline! Shangri-La did tye dye and batik in the Animal House, and Valhalla enjoyed campfire songs and s’mores around a cozy fire! Wabanaki made s’mores and a quilt, and the Camelot secret agents went on Mission 001– an obstacle course that led to– you guessed it!– s’mores! Taj Mahal had a goddess initiation with a fire and s’mores! Halley’s Comet played team-building games, the Fiddler’s Green superheroes made capes, masks and shields, to protect our beautiful camp, and Deer Meadows went rock climbing in Camden! We are just so excited about Cabin Night that we need all of the exclamation points!!!!!!!!

As you can see, last night was pretty fun here at camp! But the fun doesn’t stop there! Today is Aloha Tuesday! “What’s Aloha Tuesday,” you ask?? Why, Aloha Tuesday is the best day of the week! We wear Hawaiian-themed shirts and other apparel that we feel embodies the spirit of Aloha, and at evening meeting, campers and counselors alike play the ukulele and marvel at the Aloha spirit that is ever present here at Hidden Valley! Coinciding with Aloha Tuesday is No Mail, No Meal! Campers use letters and postcards home as a ticket in to dinner tonight. But never fear, if any camper doesn’t have a letter or postcard already written, counselors are stationed at the dining hall doors with blank paper and pens so everyone can eat! Parents, be on the lookout for updates from your happy campers!

After a delicious dinner tonight, we have a rolicking Meg’s Rodeo! Counselors will be stationed around Deer Meadows field, running different events for campers to participate in! Of course we’ll have old fan favorites like Blind Llama Sculpting (clay pictionary) and the Laugh Sheriff– I hear he’s pretty hard to crack this year! But there will also be some new classics, like the Tissue Box Wiggle, in which campers tie a tissue box of ping pong balls to their backs and must wiggle the ping pong balls out of the box, with no hands!

We are so excited about all of the fun things coming up for us here on this beautiful, sunny Tuesday, and can’t wait to show you all the pictures of our Rodeo!! Look out for them tomorrow!

Aloha!
Humming Bird

First Day ‘O Classes!

Monday, June 29th, 2015

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Goodmorning, folks! Olive Oyl here with your first day of classes news!

We had a lovely Pine Grove last night, held in the Rec Hall due to the schvitz, featuring lots of beautiful music, goofy stories, and old camp traditions. We gathered in the Front Yard for a procession to the Rec Halll, in a similar way as we do when we walk up Tipi Hill, which served as time to reflect in silence as we think about the amazing summer that lies ahead. We heard from most cabins on camp, with Valhalla doing the Pickle story, Wombles leading us in the Princess Pat, Loons with the Baby Shark song, and French Quarter doing the LL Bean song. We had Shangri-La with a twist on the Hermie the Worm story featuring a camper playing Saxophone and another playing the part of Hermie in a sleeping bag. Fiddler’s Green created an instant camp classic with the Burrito chant and LCH led us in the Pizza Man, an old camp favorite. We also had plenty of sing-a-longs, with Wabanaki leading Wagon Wheel, Taj with Build Me Up Buttercup, and Meg and Peter leading us in the round “Oh How Lovely Is the Evening.” It was a wonderful night full of time for reflection, looking towards the future, and sharing in camp traditions new and old.

After a day of schvitz, it was amazing to wake up this morning with some sunshine for our first day of classes! We had a super yummy breakfast of egg bar, sausages, fresh fruit, cereal and toast. After fueling up for the day, we gathered in the backyard for our first official camp meeting! We met all of the special characters for this summer, the Clean Queen who informs us about laundry schedules, the Snack-tronaut who helps us out with snack fifth period, and we’ll soon be meeting the Birthday Prom Queen! We also heard from Gimme Shelter with the Bird Fact of the Day, and of course Taj with Thought du Jour and Chateau Fiasco with the Spirit Animal of the Day!

Campers are currently in their first period classes, doing anything from Alpaca care to Ukulele. We’ll have a busy day of our new classes, join together for lunch, then have a much-deserved rest period, then off to fourth period and interest groups. This evening we’ll have Cabin Night, where cabins get a chance to bond, get to know one another and their counselors, and do something fun! More info and photos on cabin activities to come tomorrow. For now, check out some photos of the first day of classes and our adorable camp animals!

With love,

Olive

 

Orienting ourselves to camp life!

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

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Salutations, from a fun-filled orientation day at Hidden Valley! This is Humming Bird reporting on a schvitzy day here at camp– it never rains at Hidden Valley, it’s only a heavy schvitz! Allow me to give an overview of how orientation day works for us!

We begin with a beautiful breakfast, provided to us by our incredible dining hall staff. We celebrated this Bagel Sunday with– believe it or not– bagels! We also chowed down on some soft boiled eggs, and we got a special treat of hot chocolate, provided to all inhabitants of our community!

After a hearty breakfast we continue on to Morning Meeting, where Meg and Tom play a beautiful morning tune on their dulcimers– what a relaxing treat for all of us! Some campers will even make their own dulcimers at camp!

From youngest cabins to oldest, campers are signing up for classes to take these next two weeks, in the fire-heated red barn. From rock band to soccer, to glass beads and more, we are all ready and ecstatic to begin our classes tomorrow!

Every camper has their photos taken in the Hilton Dance Studio– as opposed to our sunny day spot, right in front of the Health Lodge (OUCH!). As soon as the camera goes “Click!” campers are whisked away to the next-door Rec Hall, where our seasoned nursing staff check every head on camp for Ookoos (lice).

Even the Dining Hall has been able to adapt to the weather! Lunch today was a comforting meal fit for the schvitzy day, of mac ‘n cheese (pictured below), chicken, and salad, with delicious cookies for dessert. Now that we’ve all eaten, we head to rest period to discuss our cabins’ rules, ensuring all new residents of the cabins are in agreement. All fed and rested, our campers now have enough energy to take their swim evaluations!

Rather than preparing for swim evals in the Foothills Dance Studio, campers are gathered in the PD barn (an HVC first!), where a cozy fire is burning. Seated around the fire, campers are learning about our three levels of swimming ability– which determine what areas of the pool and lake campers can swim in, and which waterfront classes a camper can take, like windsurfing, boating, or just plain swimming! Then campers jump into the pool– always supervised by our trained lifeguards, of course!– and flip their fins around the water.

After this quick dip in the pool, campers return to their cabins for more bonding, unpacking and showering– and some warming up! We will enjoy another scrumptious meal with our cabin groups at dinnertime, and then head to the rec hall for a beautiful Opening Pine Grove Ceremony.

What’s that you say? What’s Pine Grove? I’ll tell you! At the beginning of each session, we gather together as a camp community around a beautiful campfire. Each cabin has the opportunity to share a silly story, a classic camp song, a pensive poem, or anything, really! Personally, I’m hoping to hear about the Princess Pat and her Rickadandoo tonight!

We’ll all get to bed early tonight, so we’re well rested for our first day of classes tomorrow!! Look out for more updates to come!

Toodaloo!

Humming Bird

P.S. Our teen program, Community, is going swimmingly! Yesterday, when they weren’t moving in to Blodgett, the beautiful off-the-grid house where the program is based, the campers bound their own journals, wrote in their freshly bound journals, and got to know each other a bit better! Today, they cooked the first of many Community breakfasts (doesn’t it look yummy?), got oriented to camp, and prepared for pine grove! Their first community service project starts tomorrow, and they couldn’t be more pumped!

The Gang’s All Here!

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

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Hello, one and all! Olive Oyl here with a late night update for you folks at home!

It was an exciting afternoon of arrivals, with our three New York buses plus various airport and car-traveling campers trickling into camp. There were many beautiful moments of joyous reunions (featuring hugs and yelps) and time to catch up after the long year spent apart. Once all of our cabins were complete, we gathered in the backyard for our very first evening meeting! We heard the first “Hey, you guys!” of the summer, met our fabulous PD team, and learned all about the dinner groups for the summer (they’re different parts of the brain! so cool!). We then ate a delicious meal of fried chicken, potatoes, green beans, salad, and carrot cake for dessert. Yum!

This evening was opening night skits, where a wacky group of aliens looking to start a camp led us through all the class offerings at Hidden Valley. Tomorrow campers will have a chance to sign up for classes ranging from Tea Party cooking to Geocaching. We’ll also be doing swim evaluations, chatting with the nurses, and getting to know our counselors and cabin-mates. We can’t wait to get this summer started!

Be sure to check out lots of awesome photos!

Goodnight,

Olive

Campers, Campers, Campers!!

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

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Hello, there!! Humming Bird here! I’ve just slipped away from our arrival activities to send you all a quick update about our busy day!!

We are all super excited here at Hidden Valley to be receiving campers who have arrived by car! Our Super Greeters are standing out, greeting cars as they roll in on Camp Road, and calling out the cabins of the cars’ camper occupants! Counselors from each cabin who are hanging out in the front yard run over to their campers’ cars and hop in to show families to their campers’ new summer residences!

Meanwhile in the front yard, campers and counselors who are already settled in are playing music by the swinging bench, making colorful nametags, and working on their first beautiful friendship bracelets of the season! There are games of cards, soccer, tetherball and frisbee going on all over camp!

Our fabulous kitchen staff prepared a deliciously tasty lunch featuring vegan chocolate chip cookies, for our newly arrived campers, adoring parents and energetic staff, so we can enjoy a full day of introductions, bonding games, and general excitement here within our rapidly-growing camp community!

I’m off to play some more name games with my energetic campers! Keep an eye out for a post from Olive Oyl about tonight’s Opening Night Skits… I can’t give too much information, but I hear it’s supposed to be “out of this world!” (But you didn’t hear that from me!)

Ta-ta for now!!

Humming Bird!

Our First Campers, and Final Cabin Preparations!!

Friday, June 26th, 2015

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Howdy, friends, Humming Bird here!! We’ve been busy today finishing up our preparation for arrival day tomorrow, when all of our energetic campers will– you guessed it!– arrive here at camp!

The counselors and newly assigned AWACs are busy making bunk signs, welcome posters, chore charts, mail boxes and more!! Camp is a HUM (get it? I’m Humming Bird!) with excitement to receive our first campers late tonight, and the rest tomorrow!

All day the counselors have been cheerfully cleaning bunks and bathrooms camp-wide, making sure our cabins are in tip-top shape for the campers to live in all month! We’ve assigned our bunks, making sure new and returning campers alike are spread evenly throughout the cabin, so every camper is equally a part of the cabin, and

All of our cabins’ decorations follow the theme our creative counselors have come up with! We have…

The Avalon aliens

The Loons creepy crawlies

The LCH superheroes

The Wombles wonder-girls

The Valhalla vikings

The Gimme Shelter birds of prey

The Fiddlers Green fearless fiddlers

The Deer Meadows door meadows

The Shangri La outer space ladies

The Camelot secret agents

The French Quarter fireflies

The Paquatahnee pixies

The Wabanaki gnomes

The Halley’s Comet unicorns

The Taj Mahal greek godesses

The Community spirit animals

The Bermuda Triangle adventures out there

The Forbidden Planet forbitten kittens

The Chateau Fiasco creatures of the shadows: the jungle

The Down Under disco

Sleep tight, friends!! We’ve got a big, big day tomorrow!!

 

Photos! Photos! Photos!

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

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Hi there! Hope you’re in the mood for lots of beautiful photos…

Check out the pics from the staff talent show and our work in the Beehive (new glass blowing studio)! Stay tuned for more news as a few campers begin to trickle in and we await arrival day this Saturday!

Yours truly,

Olive

Beehive Photos and More to Come!

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
Beautiful Meg's planet

Beautiful Meg’s planet

Hi, friends! Olive Oyl here with lots of beautiful photos and some updates for you!

It’s a beautiful day here at Hidden Valley, and we’ve got meetings and priorities in full swing until lunchtime, after which we’ll be off for the day. Hooray!

We had an incredible evening last night with the Staff Talent Show, MC-ed by our lovely shift heads, who were on a mission to find the Blob! We had two talent agents and two paranormal investigators on the hunt for the elusive Blob, which was discovered at the end of the night thanks to the help of our many Blob dancers. In the search for the Blob, we encountered many talented acts along the way, like beautiful singing and guitar, poetry readings, juggling, and a fabulous skit by the PDs that acted out two months of camp in just a few minutes. It was a night full of laughter and lovely music, an amazing showcase of the myriad talent that our staff has to offer for the summer ahead.

Things are picking up in our new areas over camp, like the glass blowing studio (called the Beehive), where Carmi has been training some staff on the wonderful art form that is glass blowing. We can’t wait to share this awesome new activity with campers throughout the summer.

Co-counselors are continuing to prep for camper arrival–getting to know one another and coming up with cabin themes and daily schedules. It’s a super exciting time as we await for our cabins to fill up.

Be sure to check out photos of the new beehive plus staff talent show pictures to come tomorrow!

Cabin Prep and Looking Forward to Meeting our Campers!

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
Sequoia working on some stained glass

Sequoia working on some stained glass

Howdy, folks! Olive Oyl here with some more news for you!

It’s been an exciting time here at camp as counselors have received their cabin assignments and co-counselors and have fully moved into their homes for the first session. We’re getting acquainted with our co-counseling staff, attending meetings dealing with issues specific to our age groups, and brainstorming fun cabin themes.

On Monday night we had Blue Book Night, where we got the chance to chat about our incoming campers both with our current co’s and with returning staff who have worked with them previously. We also got the chance to get to know the living habits and personalities of our counseling team as we prepare to live and work with each other for the first session.

Yesterday was a beautiful warm and sunny day, which gave our lifeguards the perfect opportunity to do the big lake swim to complete their lifeguard training. We’ve also been busy prepping our new and expanding areas, like glass blowing and archery, which we’re really looking forward to exploring this summer. We’re also currently in the process of naming one of our new baby alpacas (campers will name the other new fellow when they arrive) through a voting system. Current names up for debate are Olive (my personal favorite), Nugget, and Tyrion. We’ll see what the counselors decide on and what the campers come up with when they arrive!

We’ve got some more trainings and meetings happening today, and an exciting night approaching with the Staff Talent Show! We’re super psyched to see what the staff has in store for us– lots of music and laughs are surely guaranteed.

More photos and news to come as we count down the days until the campers arrive!

Always,

Olive

Rain or Shine, We’re Getting Ready!

Sunday, June 21st, 2015
Lesson planning night!

Lesson planning night!

Good morning, all! Olive Oyl here with staff training news for you!

It may be a rainy day here at camp, but that sure is not slowing us down. We’re taking the time to do a bunch of meetings, like safety and first aid, while we’re enjoying the warm indoors. We’re also continuing with all of our rain-friendly priorities, like pottery, screenprinting, and glass arts. This afternoon will be an exciting time as we get our cabin assignments! We’ll take some time to move into our new cabins for the session and get to know our co’s. We’ll also be getting to know our soon-to-be campers and making a game plan for the session during Blue Book night. We’ll be brainstorming cabin themes, chore charts, and wake up songs as we gear up for first session!

The other side of camp, classes and teaching, was cultivated last night with How to Be Great Teachers and Lesson Planning Night. First off, we got in groups and rotated around the backyard and front yard to learn different teaching styles, techniques, and skills applicable to classes at HVC. Peter did his classic toilet skit, in addition to discussions about great teachers we’ve experienced in our lives and teaching styles that work for us. Then we all gathered in the Dining Hall to make lesson plans for our classes and exchange knowledge between returning and new counselors. Returning counselors walked around with signs noting their specialities (glass, sports, music, etc.) and gave advice and ideas to new counselors embarking on their first rock band or stained glass adventure. It was a great night full of skill sharing and connecting with co-teachers. We can’t wait for the campers to arrive so we can show off our teaching prowess!

Until then, we’ve got less than a week until first session is in full swing and we can’t wait. This week we’ll be finishing up area trainings and getting our cabins prepped for camper arrival. More photos and news to come as we shift into first gear!

Lots of love,

Olive

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