"Twenty Questions" We Hear About Our Overnight Camp

  1. ARE YOU A STRUCTURED OR NON-STRUCTURED CAMP?
  2. HOW WILL MY CAMPER CHOOSE ACTIVITIES?
  3. CAN YOU DESCRIBE A TYPICAL HVC CAMPER?
  4. WHERE DO HVC CAMPERS HAIL FROM?
  5. WHAT IS THE IDEAL LENGTH OF STAY AT HVC?
  6. DO CAMPERS COME TO HVC ON THEIR OWN OR WITH A FRIEND?
  7. CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT HIDDEN VALLEY CABINS?
  8. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MY CHILD IS "TOO OLD" FOR HVC?
  9. PLEASE DESCRIBE ONGOING CONTACT BETWEEN FAMILIES AND PETER & MEG.
  10. WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS A FOOD ALLERGY?
  11. HOW DOES MY CAMPER TRAVEL TO HVC?
  12. WHAT CONTACT WILL I HAVE WITH MY CAMPER?
  13. I'M WONDERING ABOUT HOMESICKNESS
  14. WHEN MAY PARENTS VISIT?
  15. DO YOU LIMIT PERSONAL ELECTRONICS AT HVC?
  16. HOW DO YOU HIRE AND TRAIN YOUR COUNSELORS?
  17. PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT YOUR MEDICAL STAFF
  18. PLEASE DESCRIBE RISK PREVENTION AT THE LAKE AND ELSEWHERE
  19. WHAT EXTRA CHARGES CAN WE EXPECT?
  20. You've been really patient with me! Last question... WHAT IS HVC WEATHER LIKE?

ARE YOU A STRUCTURED OR NON-STRUCTURED CAMP?

In a word, both! Campers choose their own activities on a 2-week cycle and we keep track of them throughout the day. Children quickly learn that they have many options to create and explore, and that a helping hand will always be there for them. Read more about a typical day at HVC.

HOW WILL MY CAMPER CHOOSE ACTIVITIES?

Campers choose classes for two weeks at a time based on their own interest, not necessarily with their cabin groups. At they end of two weeks, they pick a new round of activities.

Children make these choices in small groups, based on individual interests, guided by their counselors and the camp's program directors. If campers find they are uncomfortable in a particular class, we can easily switch them to another.

Please let us know 1 or 2 of your child's special activity interests before the summer and we will "pre-sign" them prior to arrival.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE A TYPICAL HVC CAMPER?

Hidden Valley campers are independent, non-competitive, creative and open-minded. This is not a fancy place, so we don't worry about wearing certain kinds of clothes or "who-is-friends-with-who?" In short, these are upbeat children who throw themselves happily into camp life. Get a camper-eye view here.

WHERE DO HVC CAMPERS HAIL FROM?

Our diverse group is not concentrated in any one place. Families come from up and down the east coast ad from throughout the rest of the U.S. (California, the Chicago area, New Orleans, etc.) And about 7-8% of our campers are from overseas, so American children will likely find someone from Europe or Asia in their cabin.

WHAT IS THE IDEAL LENGTH OF STAY AT HVC?

Over the years we have found that the 26-day session ("4-weeks") here provides a wonderful opportunity for children to adjust and establish themselves as independent young people with peers and counselors.

First-timers note: Most campers – new or returning – attend for 4 weeks. A 2-week “intro” program welcomes some young people for a "first summer" of friendship and independence. “4-weeks” sounds daunting to a few families. What we know is that, after an initial adjustment period,  with our support all HVC campers become successfully immersed in camp life. Please contact us to discuss your family's needs.

Most HVC campers attend for 4-weeks. About 15% of campers stay for 6 or 8 weeks with special activities and trips providing both variety and continuity.

DO CAMPERS COME TO HVC ON THEIR OWN OR WITH A FRIEND?

Most campers do come on their own, preferring to establish an independent identity with a group of “camp friends.” Our counseling efforts during the first days of the session help campers and families achieve this goal.

Some children do come with friends and can be placed in a cabin together. We ask that these children be prepared to share cabin life with their larger group. Here’s a look at our creative campers.

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT HIDDEN VALLEY CABINS?

Open and airy. Each cabin has full bathroom facilities, private showers and toilets, hot water, etc. Campers: Let us know if you prefer a top bunk or bottom.

Cabin life is central to the camp experience: Children are grouped by age/grade/gender and live with 3 to 4 adult staff who alternate time off. Staff put a great deal of effort into creating a family atmosphere in the cabins, planning group activities for Arrival Day and throughout the session. Cabin staff also bring their groups together at meals, evening programs, a cozy bedtime, etc. Directors monitor group life and meet regularly with cabin counselors. Learn more about cabin life.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MY CHILD IS "TOO OLD" FOR HVC?

Our 8-14 year olds thrive in a socially un-pressured environment where "big kids" do not dominate the scene. As directors, we can then concentrate on developing independence, confidence, and friendships with a minimum of social distractions.

Older 14’s, 15 and 16 year olds enjoy challenging small-group teen options in community service, wilderness adventures, advanced arts and more. Read details about HVC Teens.

PLEASE DESCRIBE ONGOING CONTACT BETWEEN FAMILIES AND PETER & MEG.

In the winter we’ll provide you with preparatory info on a regular basis and are ready to answer any questions you have. Please call/email us in Maine, all year long!

Once the summer is underway, please contact us about camp issues and special requests for your child. You can also expect to hear from your child's counselor. And we’ll post daily news reports on our News Report page and on Facebook.

Read details about our ongoing relationship with parents.

WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS A FOOD ALLERGY?

We easily accommodate almost all nutrition issues in a beautiful, modern dining and kitchen facility. Read here for details.

HOW DOES MY CAMPER TRAVEL TO HVC?

We work with each camper's family to help choose the most convenient form of transportation:

  • We chaperone air-conditioned buses leaving from New York, Connecticut and Boston.
  • We pick children up at the Portland and Boston airports.
  • Some parents drive their children to camp.
  • Most luggage travels on cars, buses and planes. Shipping ahead of time is fine too.
  • Find out more about travel to and from HVC.

WHAT CONTACT WILL I HAVE WITH MY CAMPER?

  • The most common means of contact are letters and incoming emails (which are printed and delivered with snail mail) as well as faxes (helpful for those of you overseas.) Children are required to write home weekly.
  • Phone calls can be arranged to say hello midway through the session and for special occasions. Extra calls are fine as family circumstances require. Remember: No cell phones or personal electronics at HVC.
  • Overall, we encourage letters and incoming email as these allow campers to go through their camp day uninterrupted, immersing themselves in their independent lives with friends and staff.
  • Packages are OK with limited food. No Amazon pantry please! Games and books are preferred.

I'M WONDERING ABOUT HOMESICKNESS

In brief (you can learn more here) we begin with an understanding that missing home is natural and a sign of connection with family and one's self... During our two-week training period, counselors are sensitized to the more subtle signs of homesickness... Counselors give lots of TLC and help the young person make friends and join in the life of the community... Meg and Peter speak with children daily and contact parents to review the situation... We all work together and a full adjustment is usually evident after a few days have passed.

WHEN MAY PARENTS VISIT?

Anytime, though we strongly suggest you wait 10 days to allow your child to adjust to camp. We have no set visiting day, preferring that parents choose a typical camp day to immerse themselves in their camper's world, tour camp, share a meal here, etc. Please call ahead to let us know your plans. Find out more about your time at camp.

DO YOU LIMIT PERSONAL ELECTRONICS AT HVC?

Yes... Take a look to learn how our "no devices" policy fosters vital community life every summer.

HOW DO YOU HIRE AND TRAIN YOUR COUNSELORS?

Many staff return year-to-year... We conduct extensive interviews and check both references and backgrounds... And we over-hire in case we determine that we have not made a proper match.

Over 2-3 weeks of orientation, much is accomplished!

  • Initially, we train and certify staff in these areas: wilderness, ropes, lifeguarding and horse riding.
  • Then – with our entire staff group – we spend 6 days examining Hidden Valley’s values and talk about how these guide our efforts in cabin life, relationship building, conflict resolution, etc.
  • During the final week, cabin staff prepare for “family life” in their cabins, “get to know” individual campers (on paper, so please send us info to share with staff) and work with us to make lesson plans as their teaching schedules are established.
  • Prevention, hygiene and risk reduction issues are addressed throughout.
  • Here's an in-depth look at staff training.

PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT YOUR MEDICAL STAFF

On site we have a complete professional infirmary and four RN’s, along with staff trained in First Aid and CPR. A full hospital and pediatrician's office are 15 miles away in Belfast. Orthodontists and other specialists are available as well. Here’s a look at our wellness commitments.

PLEASE DESCRIBE RISK PREVENTION AT THE LAKE AND ELSEWHERE

Through our partnerships with the American Camp Association, the State of Maine and our insurance carriers, we have developed a strong regimen of procedures and training in this regard.

At the lake and pol, we certify Red Cross Life Guards each summer and they are present at all times. Campers use a "buddy system,” swim evaluations are given to all on opening day, and life jackets are worn while boating.

WHAT EXTRA CHARGES CAN WE EXPECT?

Very, very few... Our all-inclusive fee includes insurance, laundry (done weekly right in camp!), trips, and all camp supplies. We have no canteen fee, providing mid-morning and afternoon snacks. And up to a reasonable limit, we make supplies (stamps, shampoo, batteries, etc.) available free of charge. Horseback riding is the only workshop requiring a nominal extra fee.

WHAT IS HVC WEATHER LIKE?

It’s lovely! Maine is known for its clear, temperate summers. Daily average temperatures are around 80 degrees and the lake averages 70 degrees all summer. P.S. We have a low pollen count and no poison ivy.

 

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