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Depending on 2024 health conditions, families may have specific pre-camp contagious disease responsibilities. See details here.
Packing for Camp
PACKING LIST ...is important. Please read packing page in detail.
PLEASE DO NOT SEND over-the counter meds, food/gum, jewelry of any value, cosmetic "make-up", curling irons, fire-works, or pets...
- Please respect our "no devices" policy.
- Games are OK on the bus only; we will then store in our office
- Phones only for those campers flying to/from camp for whom it is an absolute necessity. We will then store for the summer.
We much prefer soft luggage (see below) as they are easier to transport to HVC, move around camp and store here. They'll also take up less room at home!
HELPFUL OPTIONS FOR CAMP SUPPLIES
- Everything Summer Camp Find many items your camper might need, including a name-labeling option and recommended Popup Soft Trunk. (Press the link “Find my camp,” select Hidden Valley Camp, and any available discounts will be applied automatically.)
- Oliver's Clothing Labels can be accessed via your Online Camp Account. Click "Camper Clothing Labels" under "Your Camper."
- Campbound and Campmor - good general sites for outdoor gear.
Overall, it's best if luggage accompanies children by car, bus, or plane. If not...
To HVC: If you choose to ship luggage ahead, we will make sure it is placed in your camper’s cabin. You make all shipping arrangements and pre-payments via UPS, Fedex or similar service. Our address: Camper Name - Hidden Valley Camp - 161 Hidden Valley Rd. - Freedom, ME 04941
To home: If you use a shipper, you must make all pickup arrangements and payments ahead of time. Please coordinate with our office staff
We will store musical instruments in our office. Camp is not responsible for lost items.
WANT SOME HVC SWAG? Then visit Planet Meg, our virtual “camp store,” featuring loads of fun HVC items, none of which is a necessity, though a water bottle and "crazy creek" outdoor chair are recommended. Note: We give each camper an HVC T-shirt during the summer season.
Spending Money and Supplies
We do not charge for incidental or program expenses. Free of charge, we provide standard items such as an HVC t-shirt, trip fees, post-camp DVD, etc. Additionally, campers can obtain stamps, shampoo, stationary, souvenirs, etc. at our camp store, (no extra charge to families) up to a $35 limit that we monitor. (No refunds if children do not use this option) And we will give children cash as needed for camp trips, so there is no need for campers to bring any cash (or debit cards, credit cards, bitcoins!) this summer.
Communication with Camp
Mail is very important to campers, so please write often! Even a postcard makes a difference in your child's day. We'll require him/her to write you once a week. Pack stamps, please, and consider pre-addressed envelopes for younger campers..
Our address is:
"Cabin Name" (An email will come to you with housing info a few days prior to arrival.)
Hidden Valley Camp
Freedom, Maine 04941
Outgoing email is unavailable. For incoming messages (no photos or attachments please) the email address is [email protected] with camper name in subject line, printed and delivered with regular mail within 24 hours. Please note that our bloggers provides daily News Reports from HVC, a great way for you learn about daily life, so tat you can write to your camper about what's going on up here.
Dial 207-342-5685 and limit letters to two pages. These will be delivered with regular mail within 24 hours. Outgoing faxes from campers can be arranged, especially to overseas.
Should contain only non-edibles like books, games, puzzles etc. Please inform relatives and friends of our non-junk food policy, and tell them not to send candy, gum, etc.! Packages from Amazon Pantry will be returned unopened. And please work together to limit care packages to two per camper per month. Many of our campers receive no packages due to a range of family circumstances; over-indulgence on your part contributes to cabin tension, jealousy, etc.
With almost 400 people in residence here, we obviously need to limit phone use. Campers may call home once during the month to say hello. Additionally, we can easily bring you together for birthdays, other needs, etc.
Please understand that campers' active schedules do not bring them near the phone. Leave a message, and our office people will schedule a call at an upcoming meal time when she/he is nearby.
We ask that you limit calls to one per session. Of course, should any circumstances require that additional conversations are required, we can make these arrangements. If you have a particular concern about your child's progress or want to "check in" with Meg or Peter, call us at 207-342-5177. If we are involved in camper activities or meeting with staff, leave a message and we'll call back shortly.
If you have potentially upsetting news to discuss with your child, please tell us first so that we can provide support after the phone call. This approach is also helpful should upsetting news be included in a letter.
IN GENERAL, MAIL AND EMAIL ARE BEST: To best facilitate your child's camp adjustment, we suggest writing often. Former campers tell us that mail "lasts longer" than calls, as letters can be carried around camp and re-read in the cabin. Phone calls - while providing parents with immediate contact - disrupt campers from friends and active routines.
Find out how we take care of parents all year long here.
Problems at Camp...
...Can be avoided if we work together in advance. We know that camp is a special experience for your family and we will work very hard to do the best possible for your child. So please inform us prior to the summer if you have any concerns about your child's adjustment to camp.
Once your child has arrived here, if you feel that there is a problem, bring it to our attention immediately. Do not wait until September! We hope that you will feel comfortable speaking with us about any camp situation.
Meg, thanks so much for taking time to speak with me about Zoe’s letter home. Glad to know that you and the counselors are ‘on top of’ everything and that Zoe’s schedule is all sorted out.
- HVC Parent
NOTE: Details below address all general medical prep. For 2023, we will also expect families to:
- Make sure all eligible children are vaccinated, and provide relevant documentation.
- Pack masks and prepare children as required. All info will come to you in the spring as we analyze health conditions. FYI: Consult our prep for last summer here.
Regulations and common sense require that you return, by May 1st, health forms, some completed by parent/guardian, others by a physician during the calendar year, based on a recent exam (within 12 months) and signed by a parent. Once campers are enrolled, this will be done via an Online Camp Account. Please note:
- Make an appointment for a physical ASAP.
- You will be asked to provide a medical insurance authorization.
- Full immunization records required as well; please attach.
MEDICATION at HVC
All daily medication must be prepackaged (unless it is a liquid.) Your options:
- Local pharmacies can do this.
- Have your physician call prescriptions into Belfast Drug, 17 miles from camp.
- Please read all details here.
- HVC no longer accepts: - Dosages prepared at home. -CampMeds.
All medication must be kept in the Health Lodge (including vitamins) as per Maine State law and Camp Association standards
Inhalers & Epi-pens can be held on to by campers. In these instances, parents must sign a release. Please contact us with any questions.
- If your camper takes daily over-the-counter meds, please prep as noted here.
- We are stocked for occasional needs (headache, etc.)
HOW WE DISPENSE MEDICATION
All medication (even vitamins) is required to remain under the control of camp health personnel. Camp's RN's dispense meds. If a child is on an out-of-camp trip and no nurse is present, instructions are provided to a staff-member who makes sure that medicine is administered.
Nurses are scheduled to dispense medication at mealtimes and bed time. Because many children receive medication, no one child is singled out; the process is discreet. If medically necessary, we arrange for your camper to receive medication at times other than those noted here.
PREVENTION AT CAMP
To best care for your child and other members of the camp community, we must have full information about campers' histories of communicable diseases, inoculations, medical conditions, recent accidents, illnesses, etc. Please take time to inform us about all relevant situations right up until the first day of camp.
Head Lice: We check all campers and staff upon arrival. If a case of head lice is found: We take all necessary precautions to prevent a spread of this annoying condition. If your child is found to have lice: We charge families for an effective prescription medication plus an additional $250 for ongoing treatment (ongoing washing, combing, etc.) and may ask you to allow us to trim your child's hair to aid our efforts.
Learn about HV's full wellness approach.
COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTS
In the rare instance of injury or an illness requiring an overnight at the health lodge, nurses or Meg will contact you by phone or email. We can arrange conversations with campers and camp pediatricians as needed.
On your child's medical form, please provide full insurance information to cover any summer medical expenses. You are also responsible for payments related to pre-existing conditions (asthma, allergies, orthodontics, orthopedics, etc.)
For HMO-based insurance, please alert your provider that your child is at camp so that coverage travels with them. Some HMO's will refuse payment if they have not been pre-advised about travel.
Class selections take place during the first day of camp in small groups and with the supervision of Program Directors.
If your child has their heart set on an activity - or if you have any preferences this winter - we can pre-sign campers for one or two classes before arrival. Please call or email; alternatively, you can do this on an Activity & Swim Request Form via your Online Camp Account, going to "Forms and Documents."
To see the range of activities that we offer, visit our programs section.
For 2023: Note that visitation may be limited this summer as a health precaution. We'll keep you posted...
Under normal conditions, because many families come from far away, only about 1/4 of families visit. We keep these visits (Saturdays only please!) short and informal. Should you choose to visit, please do this:
- Take a look at guidelines and recommendations regarding a visit to HVC.
- Consult Peter and Meg's Vacation Guide.
GOING OUT WITH OTHER FAMILIES
If taking out other campers, only relatives or "pre-existing" friends from home please. And only 1 camper other than your child. This minimizes disruptions in cabin life. Thanks for your understanding.
Permission is necessary to leave camp with relatives other than a parent or legal guardian. (For example: going out to dinner with grandparents.) So, to avoid disappointment, please anticipate such visits, and tell us your plans the Visitation Form at your Online Camp Account, going to "Forms and Documents."
Birthdays are celebrated with balloons, singing, and a cabin party with cake and ice cream. Please send a gift and perhaps something for the cabin group to share. We'll arrange for a phone call, of course.
For children who will be in attendance between our two 4-week sessions, parents have two options:
- Spend these 60-72 hours with your camper, or
- Have them join HVC’s activities during this time.
American Camp Association policy prohibits the tipping of counselors. We do strongly encourage you to write a nice note to staff members expressing your appreciation.
Policies on Banned Substances
Possession of drugs or alcohol or abuse of prescription meds will result in those involved leaving camp immediately. This absolute prohibition extends to marijuana, including for medicinal use.
Hidden Valley also has a no-nicotine policy which applies to visitors as well. Campers in possession of tobacco or any nicotine delivery system - "vapes," "juuls," etc. - will be sent home. Live-in staff are required to leave camp in order to use these substances on off-time only. A very small number of commuting staff is permitted to smoke far removed from campers.