Hi, friends! Olive Oyl here with your daily dose of HVC news.
Before we get started, it’s about time for a little refresher course in HVC lingo so that all you folks at home know exactly what we’re talking about! Yesterday was a momentous occasion as it was No Mail, No Meal, which means that each camper must write a letter to someone at home as their ticket into dinner. If a camper forgot their letter, no worries! We always have postcards and pens waiting outside the dining hall. We received many letters last night and had many happy and full bellies! Yesterday was also a glorious day as the sun came out and the schvitz cleared. Schvitz is the word we use instead of rain, as it never rains at Hidden Valley, for this is a magical place devoid of gloomy condensation. When we do get schvitz, it’s a whole new adventure! There’s always puddle jumping and rainbow puddles because campers at HVC know how to have a good time no matter the weather. We also have some silly vocabulary at camp meetings, like yelling “fun!” after the pool (because it’s always so much fun) and “ouch!” whenever someone says Health Lodge. It’s these little traditions that keep campers on their toes during meetings and continue on with the quirky HVC way. We also have our dynamos during interest groups, who are three counselors who do a little skit based on something starting with the letter “M” before they announce their activity for the afternoon. Yesterday was dyna-Moses, where our counselor named Moses parted the red sea of campers with his wooden staff. Be sure to check out the photo from yesterday, it was hilarious!
We also have some special vehicles around camp, like the Green Pig, which is an old green truck that only Peter gets to drive when he gives his secret tour on electives night, which will be coming up this evening! We also have an old firetruck around camp that is commonly used as a meeting spot as it is too old to function. There’s also the bumblebee, which is a colorful bug-inspired golf cart that the PDs get to ride around in. The Ladybugs, our cleaning staff, get to ride around in an newly decorated ladybug golf cart. It’s so fun to see giant bugs zooming around camp and getting their jobs done! Another new addition to camp this summer is the pizza oven, which has been in the making since long before campers have arrived. The oven is wood burning and a fire gets started a few hours before it’s ready to be used so that it can get nice and hot. Once it’s at a good temperature, we can make all sorts of pizzas, like classic pepperoni and vegetable, but also fun desert pizzas like s’mores. The pizza oven is also extra special because it’s a fire-breathing dragon! The pottery staff added a giant clay dragon to the side of the oven, complete with two beautiful green sparkly glass beads for eyes, thanks to our glass staff! It’s been an amazing addition to camp, perfect for electives, cabin nights, and everything in between.
Let’s also take a quick moment to talk about what we at HVC refer to as “backyard games.” Backyard games are the activities we play in small groups and cabins when we have free time, and they take all shapes and forms. Some are getting to know you games, like “The Winds are Blowing.” In that game, one person stands in the center of the circle and announces that “the winds are blowing if…” and then inserts a fact about themselves. For instance, they could say, “the winds are blowing if you are from New England.” Then, those folks on the outside of the circle who also are from New England leave their shoes and race to find someone else’s shoes. The person in the middle races too, and the person who is left without a pair of shoes is now the center person. The game is great for discovering commonalities among all our differences.
Other games, like “Ninja,” are purely active games. In “Ninja,” everyone starts out in a circle. On the count of three, each person strikes their best ninja pose. Then, folks take turns trying to make contact with the arm of the person next to them. To do this, though, the person whose turn it is has only one move. Their target, too, gets one move to retreat. As the game goes on, participants lose arms until one person is left standing. The game takes strategy and quickness, skills any good ninja needs.
Another game we love to play is “This or That.” We play “This or That” everywhere on camp – in the backyard, of course, but also in the pool or the lake. At the waterfront, one kid jumps into the water while another gives her or him two options. For instance, it could be chocolate or vanilla, dogs or cats, inside or outside, hot or cold, llamas or mini horses, and so on. The jumping person then tries to yell out her or his answer before reaching the water. The game provides many laughs as kids come up with great combinations and answers.
Well, now that you’re filled in on all of our fun little traditions, it’s time to talk about last night’s awesome evening program…Meg’s Rodeo! Otherwise known as Llamapalooza, as our promo yesterday passionately debated. Promos are a class that work on promoting activities on camp and then perform hilarious skits every night at evening meeting. Both Promos and Meg’s Rodeo are longstanding Hidden Valley traditions. At Meg’s Rodeo, there were a variety of activities taking place on Deer Meadows field, with two rotations going on for the older and younger half. We had classic activities like the water balloon toss, where campers had to catch water balloons on a tarp, and they also played a game where they stood in a circle and had to pass a water balloon around without dropping it. We also had the tissue box jiggle, where campers tied a box around their waist and had to get the balls out of the box by dancing. We also had rock, tree, bridge, where you stand in a line making your body either a rock, which another person then jumps over, a tree, which you go around, or a bridge, which you go through. We also had the elephant march, where you use your arm as a trunk to knock over cups of water in a relay race. There was also marker fencing, a llamapalooza classic, and blind llama sculpting, where one person must blindly sculpt an object out of clay while other team members try to guess what it is. There was, of course, the obstacle course and the sheriff smile, where campers must try to make a very serious counselor crack a smile (let alone a laugh). The final activity of the evening was the counselor wake-up challenge, where cabins nominate a counselor to “wake-up” by getting out of their “sleeping bags” (which are really just trash bags), get dressed in a silly outfit, then eat their breakfast, which consists of a bowl of cereal, without using their hands. They must then recite the alphabet backwards. It’s a silly event to witness and pretty crazy event to participate in. It was a goofy and incredible way to end a night full of Hidden Valley traditions.
Tomorrow’s another exciting day as it’s our first Trip/Lazy day of the session! The older half will be going to the Bangor State Fair and the younger half will stay on camp for Zoo Day! Everyone’s bound to have a good time, whether they’re getting off of camp and going on rides and eating yummy food, or staying on camp, hanging by the pool, and doing awesome zoo-themed activities. Until then, tonight is electives, which is always the best because there are so many options to choose from! More to come tomorrow about this evening and the Trip/Lazy day.