Monthly Archives: August 2015

Empty Chairs and Empty Tables

Friday, August 21st, 2015

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Hello, humans!! Humming Bird here with my final update for the summer!! Wow, it went by so fast!!

Every camper has gone back to their folks, and at this point the camp has been fully winterized in preparation for the inevitable snow– shocking as it may be to think of 100 inches of snow covering, for example, our beloved apple tree! But though winter seems far away to us now, the frozen schvitz will doubtless come and go here at camp before we begin another beautiful summer in just 9 short months! Check out pictures of our beautiful, empty camp! No humans to be seen, and a few notable differences in our grounds! See if you can spot ’em!

Now please allow me to monologue for a short moment. As I watch the counselors taking down all my favorite areas of camp, I can’t help but think back on what an incredible summer it’s been here at Hidden Valley, and I’m so glad I got to share every day of it with you! Thank you for checking in on our campers and reading up on our wild antics up here in Maine, because it has truly been a pleasure to report on it!

But alas now I, Humming Bird, must bid you adieu and fly south for the winter.

Humming along to The Princess Pat as I migrate,

Humming Bird

P.S.

Olive Oyl here…and reporting for duty as your wintertime correspondent! Check back in a couple weeks for camp highlights and updates as the seasons change in Maine. Even though we may be far away, I can’t wait to continue to share the camp news with you folks back at home!

Where Did All the Campers Go??

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

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Good morning, Sunshines!! Humming Bird here with Cat Nap, bright eyed and bushy tailed! We’ve been up for a few hours already here, because it’s DEPARTURE DAY!! We were woken up this morning by the melodious stylings of our very own Taj Mahal and Forbidden Planet campers and counselors! Among the noises heard at the bright hour of 4:45– along with Taj and Forbidden’s singing– was a siren. What siren? Why, the siren of our ’54 firetruck, of course! We’ve got some staff working really hard to revive the age-old truck, and this siren is just the first success they’ve achieved in their revival! Stay tuned for more firetruck news in the future!

Anyway, we’ve all been up and at ’em since 4:45 this morning! What could we possibly have been doing during all this time?? Well, we got dressed and did final cabin sweeps, removing all our belongings before we left for the last time as cabin groups! We enjoyed the continental breakfast provided by our bright-eyed kitchen staff, and headed out to the front yard to send off our first bus! The bus left full of campers as we lined Camp Road and did the Funky Chicken!! By 7:00 both the New York buses were well on their way back home, sent off– once again– by our Funky Chicken-ing! It was a truly beautiful sight, so check out the pictures below! The buses are all gone, which now leaves just our campers who are being picked up! Check out pictures of what some of these campers are up to!

Now for a recap of last night’s activities!

We have SO MANY Lobster Banquet pictures for you all! It was a beautiful, bountiful feast on Maine’s Finest! Each cabin was served by one of their beautiful counselors, so we all got to just sit back, relax, and destroy enjoy our lobsters! And then afterwards it was Ben and Jerry’s time!! I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM!!!!!!! And we did scream… our ears are still ringing from all the screaming for ice cream!! Check out pictures of the MADNESS and MAYHEM and FABULOUSNESS that was our lobster banquet last night!!

After the bountiful feast we gave a standing ovation to our incredible kitchen staff, who have been preparing our meals for the last two months, and who have worked incredibly hard early mornings and late nights to make sure we all walked out of the dining hall with happy tummies three times every day! The kitchen staff was headed up by their fearless leaders, Chris and Lillian, who have been unbelievably generous with their time and talent this summer. They all deserved our rounds of applause, and we are so grateful for everything they’ve done for us over the course of this summer! Thank you so much!

When the applause died down and the kitchen staff had taken their final bow, we filed out of the dining hall, bug spray-ed up, and met again at the bottom of Tipi Hill! We walked up to Pinegrove in silence together, holding hands, led by our flaming torch. There were some wonderful acts, and a really beautiful candle lighting ceremony, so we all got to say goodbye to every camper, counselor and AWAC. We don’t bring cameras up to Pinegrove, so we don’t have any pictures to show you of the night, but trust us when we tell you, it was truly magical.

Right now our staff are taking down the camp and preparing it for the rest of the year, until next summer. We’re taking down every tent, and hunkering down all our buildings to prepare for the unthinkable– snow!! Tomorrow we’ll have pictures for you of the winter preparations, so stay tuned!

For now, Cat Nap and I are off to secure the llamas! I hope they don’t mind a cat and a bird in their pen… We’ll see!

Chirp, Hum, Meow,

Humming Bird and Cat Nap

Packin’ it all up!

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

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Hello hello on a beautiful packing day! Humming Bird and Cat Nap here! We’re boxing up our cat toys and bird feeders and getting ready to go home at the crack of dawn tomorrow! Read all about what we’ve been up to!

Last night we had so much fun dancing around at the Fair Day Dance! We had some fabulous music playing and we were all jamming out to classics, including The Blob of course!! We switched it up a bit last night and didn’t play Don’t Stop Believing as the last song– WHAT?? We ALWAYS play Don’t Stop Believing!! Last night we ended with Bohemian Rhapsody instead, just to shake things up a bit. But we couldn’t go TOO long without Don’t Stop Believing, so we all enjoyed a mini dance party at Meeting this morning! As it turns out, we actually enjoyed several unusual features at Meeting this morning!

Phillie announced the winners of the Fair Day Road Race yesterday, so we all got to congratulate our runners! In addition to congratulating them, we also payed recognition and appreciation to some people who have made this summer as incredible as it has been. Peter went through, cabin by cabin, and called up the counselors who have ensured a safe and fun summer for all our campers! He also called up our office staff who have organized logistics and administrative business for the camp, often behind the scenes! Next was the Maintenance staff and the Lady Bugs, who have kept our grounds clean and manicured so we could enjoy the beautiful facilities and nature that we have available to us! Peter also honored our professional staff, who don’t live in cabins with campers, but teach classes– not just to campers, but also to counselors during our staff training! Finally, Peter gave credit to our fearless Program Directors who controlled the chaos and payed attention to all those tiny details that most of us don’t even think of, but which are integral to camp running smoothly! Take a look at the pictures of everyone’s moment of recognition– which included roses and personalized cards written by Peter, Meg and the Program Directors.

 

After our heartfelt Meeting, we all went back to our cabins and did a SUPER CABIN CLEAN UP! WHOOO!! We packed our bags, and like any normal cabin clean, we cleaned the floors and bathrooms and showers. But unique to this clean up, we took out every single mattress and cubby, and we wiped them all down with disinfectant wipes, then left them out to dry. The cabins were COMPLETELY empty, so we had so much space to sweep and get everything out of every nook and crannie! The cabins are SO clean now, it almost hurts our eyes to look at them!!

Once all of our cabins were cleaned, luggage was brought outside, and a PD gave each cabin the OK, we all headed to lunch, and then enjoyed our final cabin activities!! Here’s what the cabins all did!
Loons had a dance party in the Hilton
LCH did an egg drop from the Upper Carriage House
Avalon made pizza in the pizza oven
Gimme Shelter destroyed technology including a computer and cell phones
Chateau Fiasco went on a frog catching excursion
Atlantis burned clay and played basketball
Forbidden Planet went on a scavenger hunt for a car
Camelot wrote compliments to each other
Wombles had a dance party
Down Under went on a creek walk to the treehouse
French Quarter made life-sized traces of their bodies
Paquatahnee did a scavenger hunt and a yarn activity
Shangri-La had a dance party in the dark
Valhalla bonded at the lake
Taj Mahal wrote each other compliments
Fiddlers Green played the yarn game on the top of Tipi Hill and reflected on their month together

We’ve achieved a nice level of closure for the month as cabins, and now campers are moving their luggage to the appropriate spots around camp, so that everyone’s belongings get to the right place tomorrow! After the crazy luggage moving, we will be rewarded for all our hard work with a big. beautiful. bountiful. banquet. What kind of banquet, you ask? A LOBSTER BANQUET!! We will be posting SO MANY pictures of the lobster banquet tomorrow, so stay tuned!! The pictures will be just as bountiful as the lobster and Ben and Jerry’s we feast on tonight!

After the Lobster Banquet we’ll enjoy a touching night up at our Pinegrove, singing songs, telling stories, and wrapping up our beautiful month together with the classic Candle Lighting Ceremony. It’s bound to be a really special night, and as we won’t have any technology to take pictures with up there, we will not be posting pictures of the events that happen at Pinegrove. But we will give you an update on some of our favorite acts! We have some exciting things to look forward to, and we can’t wait to tell you all about it tomorrow, after all our campers are on the buses, headed back home to you folks!!

For now, Cat Nap and I are off to dig out our lobster bibs!!

Chirp, Hum, Meow,

Humming Bird and Cat Nap

HORSING Around on Fair Day! (Hehehe!)

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

 

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Hello, hello! Humming Bird and Cat Nap here with lots of updates on this beautiful day!

This morning we enjoyed a beautiful Brumby Horse Show! Bea, Juliet, and Olivia have done worked so hard this session, and it was so exciting to see everything they’ve learned and practiced with their horses! Check out pictures of their successful show!!

After the Brumby show we all ran (calmly and in an orderly manner, of course!) to FAIR DAY!!! We had some AMAZING booths!! Here’s what every cabin did…

Forbidden Planet made fried dough
Taj Mahal organized Kiss-O-Grams
The AWACs handed out pretzels
Valhalla served ice cream
Shangri-La kept us hydrated by giving out drinks
Camelot officiated weddings at the Marriage Booth (they even married Peter and Meg!)
Atlantis DJ’d the day
French Quarter did the chocolate fountain
Fiddlers Green painted everyone’s faces
LCH did pillow jousting
Loons ran the poop shoot (a dunk tank toilet!)
Chateau Fiasco did sumo wrestling
Avalon ran the slip ‘n slide
Wombles tallied the Jelly Bean Count
Paquatahnee did the Moon Bounce
Down Under ran the name change registration
Gimme Shelter told our fortunes

In addition to the cabins’ contributions to Fair Day, we also had a horse drawn carriage, a hot dog stand (provided by our kitchen staff) and even a rock climbing wall! There was also a beautiful art show in the Red Barn, the Pottery Studio, the Hilton glass studio, and the Hilton dance studio, where all of our campers’ art work from the whole session was displayed and viewed! Tonight that art work will be carefully wrapped up and packaged in preparation for campers’ travel back home!

After the Fair we all did our part and cleaned up the camp! And now campers are settled in the Rec Hall watching a slideshow of pictures from the session, put together by our wonderful photo area heads, Sarah and Elise! Then the video classes from these two weeks will show the videos they made!

After that, we will eat a yummy delicious dinner prepared by our one and only glorious kitchen staff, and then we will have the FAIR DAY DANCE! We’ll be out in the backyard signing white books, dancin’ around, and jamming out to some classic camp tunes on this wonderful final camp dance! Stay tuned for pictures of the events!

Also stay tuned for updates on the upcoming Packing Day, Lobster Banquet, and *sniff sniff* Departure Day!

We’re off to catch the tail end of the slide show (geddit? TAIL end! Birds and cats have tails! Hahahaha!… Cat Nap is glaring at me for my bad joke. Oh well, I think I’m funny!)

Chirp, Hum, Meow,

Humming Bird and Cat Nap

What A BEAUTIFUL Morning!!!!!

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

 

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Good Morning Kittens! Sorry I couldn’t post the pictures form yesterday sooner, but we were having too much fun at the ALIVE show!!!

Last night, ALIVE took us on a journey through the decades with songs, dances, funny skits, and a dance party at the end!!! Check out pictures below to see some of the magic!!!

And today is me and Humming Bird’s FAVORITE day!!!! FAIR DAY!!!!! We started off the day with our very own HVC Road Race on Hidden Valley Road! Check out pictures below! Right now cabins are setting up their booths for Fair Day, then we’re off to the Brumby Horse Show!

If you’re wondering what this “Brumby Horse Show” I’m speaking of is, I would be happy to tell you! A select number of campers each session sign up to participate in “Brumby” which is our advanced horse program at HVC. These campers wake up earlier than the rest of camp to groom the horses, feed them, and get them ready for the day. These campers also get assigned their own “Brumby Horse” which they care for a ride throughout the session to prepare for today’s show! Today the rest of camp is going to watch the hard work and dedication they’ve been putting into the month! Humming Bird and I are SO excited to watch it! 🙂

Check in later today for pictures from FAIR DAY and the Brumby Horse Show!!!!

Have a purr-fect day!!!!

– Cat-Nap

Our Last Lazy Day!

Monday, August 17th, 2015

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Good Afternoon Kittens! Cat-Nap here giving you the inside scoop on the last Lazy Day of 2015! Hard to believe the session is almost over!

Today, Older Half stayed on camp for “Ancient Civilization” Day, while the Younger Half went to the Roller Rink!

During “Ancient Civilization” Day, campers got the chance to create sculptures out of spaghetti and marshmallows, play a little discus (throwing frisbees), play some tennis, or even chill on the Nile (AKA signing white books, making friendship bracelets, playing cards)! And what a beautiful day on camp it was!

While the Older Half was hanging out on camp, the Younger Half was having a blast at the Roller Rink! They skated around to some of their favorite songs and took a quick break to get a snack!

Once the Younger Half got back to camp and had their lunch, it was time for Rest Period! Campers began to get their cabins ready for the Inspectors and also begin a little packing (“No! Don’t talk about packing!! I want to stay here forever!!!” – Humming Bird). After a long and hot morning it was time for Pool Activities!

Right now, all of Camp is gathered at the Pool, relaxing, and taking a dip in the refreshing Pool!

Check in later for some more pictures of today’s Lazy Day AND an update from tonight’s Evening Program: The ALIVE Show!!!!!!!!!

Have a purr-fecf evening!

– Cat-Nap

Sharing Night, Oh What A Night!

Sunday, August 16th, 2015
Hanging out at Meg's planet...

Hanging out at Meg’s planet…

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! Olive Oyl here with a special guest report about our wonderful showcase of sharing and talent this evening.

We had a whole bunch of amazing acts tonight, showcasing all of the creative and impressive work that our campers have pulled off these past two weeks. We had beautiful music from guitar class with an acoustic version of the camp favorite “Oh How Lovely Is The Evening” in the form of a round. We had a very dynamic mash-up from ukulele class, heard an original song in Perri’s singing class, and a duet from Sandia’s singing class. Burning Down The House, and awesome creation and destruction class, (safely) burnt down a huge structure that they built. Stomp class did a paint and percussion routine a la the Blue Man Group and Zumba class did an upbeat dance routine. We also heard some poetry, which turned into chaos and craziness, from Wild Things. We saw some elegant moves from our Ballet and Jazz classes, and broke it down with Hip-Hop and Irish Dance. We saw some wacky tricks from Circus class and also saw a funny skit from out campers up at the Tipis. All around it was a fantastic night featuring a whole range of skills and creations, hosted by our hilarious cop MCs, who did indeed catch the bad guy in the end.

It’s hard to believe that camp is winding down, with our final Trip/Lazy day tomorrow and Fair Day on the horizon. All of the awesome performances aren’t quite done yet…we have the Alive! show tomorrow night! They’ve been working on a production all summer entirely written, directed, created, and performed by the teen arts campers. I’ve heard mumblings and seen snippets and I can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store!

Also be sure to check out the amazing photos of a newcomer we’ve had at camp…let’s just say he’s large and fluffy and really enjoying the HVC experience. Even more photos of our new furry friend will be coming in the next few days.

Au revoir,

Olive

 

 

LAST DAY OF CLASSES!

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

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Good morning, beautiful humans! Humming Bird here with updates on all things camp!! Let’s get started!

Yesterday afternoon we had a little bit of thunder schvitz. It struck during Interest Groups, and even knocked out some of our electricity! But don’t worry, the generators kicked back in so we were all safe and sound! It was exciting to pile into the Red Barn and all be together as a camp through the schvitz! Unfortunately, however, we had to take a schvtiz-check on our camper-counselor basketball game! We got off to a good start before the schvitz began, leaving the score at 12 to 17 in favor of the campers, and we will pick back up where we left off after lunch today! We’ll update you tomorrow!

During Meeting after the schvitz subsided enough for us to sit out together in front of the gazebo, we had another WHEEL PRIZE!! French Quarter had the privilege of making a yummy delicious smoothie for poor Anna to drink in front of the camp! In a later interview, Anna reported that the smoothie was “not that bad,” though rumors suggest there was plenty of yogurt, orange juice, and some form of spicy sauce included in the concoction! What a stomach of steel! This morning we also enjoyed another Wheel prize! Our counselor, Will, got his hair straightened by Atlantis! Check out the wacky photos of both Wheel prizes blelow!

Last night’s evening program was an incredible performance of Grease by our very own HVC Musical class! Their hard work really payed off in their energetic performance! They all enunciated, projected, and emoted so well throughout the show, it really felt like we were right there, riding in Greased Lightning with them! We have some wonderful photos of our thespian campers singing and dancing their hearts out, so take a look!

Today is our LAST DAY OF CLASSES!! Cat Nap just turned to me and asked, “Humming Bird, how did camp go by so quickly?” I dunno, Cat Nap. I just don’t know. Our counselors are starting to employ techniques we’ve talked with Peter and Meg about concerning how to handle all the emotions that begin to pop up towards the end of the session. It’s an emotional time here at camp, but we have so much to look forward to in the last four days of camp!

Tonight, for example, is Sharing Night! We’ll get to see all the beautiful work our campers have done in their classes for the past two weeks. Tune back in for pictures from the night! Then tomorrow we have our Ancient Civilizations day/younger half Roller Rink trip, ending with the Alive show! We’re also looking forward to fair day, packing day, Closing Pinegrove, and THE LOBSTER BANQUET!!! As you can see, there’s a lot going on to look forward to, and Cat Nap and I can’t wait to tell you ALL about it, so keep checking in with us!

We’re off to practice our “Blog Writing” demonstration for Sharing Night!

Chirp, Hum, Meow,

Humming Bird and Cat Nap

IT’S THE WHEEL (prizes)!!

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

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Hello, hello, hello!! Humming Bird here with Cat Nap and EXCITING NEWS! We had a cash-in on a Wheel prize at Morning Meeting, and we have the GRUESOME pictures to prove it!

Now before we tell you exactly what happened, we want to reassure you that the torture inflicted on our counselors is 100% willing and consensual. Our counselors volunteer different prizes they would be willing to subject themselves to, and today’s torture was no exception! Fiddlers Green got to wax Peter’s chest in front of the whole camp! Poor Peter’s screams could be heard all the way from the lake! Check out the pictures!

Later today Will is getting his hair straightened by a lucky cabin, and earlier this morning LCH got a tractor ride to breakfast by Ed! We’ll keep you posted on all the Wheel prize mayhem, so keep checking in!

After Meeting this morning Peter and the Program Directors talked to our campers who are 13 and older. What could they have been chatting about? Why, none other than our wonderful Teen Programs! Our oldest campers this year will have the opportunity next year of moving off Main Camp, and trying out any of our specialty programs! Their options are Community, Alive and Adventures! In Community they live at Blodgett House and make their own meals, and help out doing different community service projects! Alive is our arts program where campers learn about different art forms, and eventually write, direct, produce and perform their own show for the rest of camp! Our Adventures campers go on some incredible hikes, canoe trips and climbing excursions for a week at a time, and then come back to camp to tell us all about it! They’re all incredible options for our oldest campers!

Today is the camper/counselor basketball game! Our campers on the basketball team have been working super hard on their drills, and are ready to play against the dreaded TEAM X, which is jam packed with counselors, PDs, and even our very own Peter and Meg! All of our interest groups– even snack!– will take place around the basketball court so we can support and cheer on our athletes! Stay tuned for pictures tomorrow! Until then, enjoy some pictures of our campers in their classes, and a special picture of our talented Shakespeare class campers and AWACs who put on an inspiring rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream last night!

This morning, Peter and Meg explained the winterization that will begin to happen over the next couple of days: the yurt will come down, the docks will come in, the ropes course will come down etc. To many campers, this is a reminder that the session is coming to a close, and that soon we’ll all be going back to our “real world” routines. That can bring up all sorts of emotions-nerves, sadness about leaving, excitement about going home etc. Sometimes, when we have all of these feelings it’s hard to handle them all, finish up camp, and say goodbye to our whole cabin all at once! But we also reminded campers that they have great resources for handling all of these emotions in their counselors, their fellow campers, and all of the directors around. We also reminded them that a lot of fun is packed into the last week of camp, and to enjoy it to the fullest! So now we’re prepping ourselves for one last week jam-stuffed-full of some amazing camp fun!

Cat Nap and I have to go practice shooting hoops now… our paws and wings aren’t great for sports, but we’re trying our best!

Chirp, Hum, Meow,

Humming Bird and Cat Nap

Down the Rabbit Hole!

Friday, August 14th, 2015
What beautiful faces!

What beautiful faces!

Good day, good day, we’re late! We’re late for a very important date! Humming Bird here– or should I say White Rabbit today? Well, either way we’re late! So come on, let’s get going on our Alice in Wonderland-themed day!

Our younger half stayed here and enjoyed the crazy, imagining impossible things before breakfast! During our Alice activities we had some wonderful things going on! (See what I did there?? Sorry, no time for that! We’re late!) We had some Card Guards painting the roses red around camp, our Queen was playing croquet in her gardens, the Mad Hatter hosted a very merry unbirthday party, we had some games of cards going on, the Caterpillar was blowing bubbles in the backyard, we had some Flying Tea Saucers (otherwise known as frisbee!), Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee led a wacky obstacle course, we had swimming with the walrus, and campers even got to make their very own looking glasses!

It was a super fun day! Campers and counselors and AWACs alike dressed up to celebrate the day and pay homage to that classic story that we all love so much! Now let’s take a look at what our older half campers were up to!

The older half went roller skating today! They were transported back into an ’80s wonderland at the brightly colored roller rink, and everyone had so much fun skating (or blading), eatin’ pizza, and hanging out with friends!

Tonight’s evening program was the long awaited, highly anticipated Shakespeare performance extravaganza!! Our Shakespeare class campers have been working hard for the last three weeks on their performance of a Midsummer Night’s Dream, and we were all amazed by their talent and hard work! After the show we all enjoyed a super fun dance party, too! According to our resident Shakespeare experts (the directors of the show), the Bard himself used to hold dance parties (or the Shakespearean equivalent) after his shows– so we’re basically turning 2015 Hidden Valley into Elizabethan-era England, don’t you think?

I’m off to go write a Shakespearean sonnet…
Shall I compare thee to my orange peel?
Thou art more porous and more orange-y

I’m working on it.

Humming away,

Humming Bird

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