Long Live the Ladybugs!

Monday, May 1st, 2023


Hello HVC families!

As April comes to a close a May begins I am beginning to realize that we are getting closer and closer to the start of camp! I am so excited for Hidden Valley to be full again. I miss my camper friends and am ready to be reunited with them this summer!

Because camp is coming up we recently re-welcomed the Ladybugs, Cindy, Sam, and Serena back. They help us with so many of our day-to-day needs. I was lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with them to hear all about what they do in and out of HVC. Take it away!

Gopher Girl: How would you describe what you do at HVC?

Cindy: Pretty much everything–a jack of all trades, master of none.

Sam: It’s unpredictable day-to-day and fun!

Serena: I carry a shovel around and try to look busy.

On the dragonfly, their golf cart of choice!

GG: How did you end up at HVC?

Cindy: There was a lady named Laura who used to work in the laundry room, and she was looking for someone to help her in the spring clean cabins and get camp ready, and I took the job. Laura really created the housekeeping department, and eventually, I began working full-time. This was in 1999. We didn’t become the “ladybugs” until we got our first golf cart, which was painted red like a ladybug.

Sam: I started doing a bit of work here when I was 14 years old, part-time. I helped do things like picking rocks from the soccer field, clean up, and things like that. 

Serena: Dick Trull, who used to work here as one of the maintenance guys, did carpentry work with my grandfather, and he told him there was work here.

GG: Who’s someone that inspires you at HVC?

Sam: I think Meg, she’s just emotionally savvy and knows how to get things done. 

Cindy: I’d say Peter–he’s very detail-oriented and specific and I feel similarly.

Serena: Meg inspires me, she’s real.

GG: What has been your favorite project to work on at HVC?

Sam: I like clearing out the ditches in the spring to help the water flow through them. It’s very satisfying to watch the water flow as you clear away leaves and sticks and stuff. 

Cindy: I really like setting up the Red Barn for the summer, making sure the space flows well and is functional. 

Serena: I love working on all the gardens, and especially The Dome!

GG: The Dome is very, very special. What’s something that surprised you about working at HVC?

Cindy: The friendships that you make with people from all over the world!

Serena: There’s free food always!

GG: Two very important F’s: friendship and food. I’m curious to hear more about your lives outside of HVC. Who’s your favorite musical artist currently?

Cindy: Aerosmith!

Sam: I like JellyRoll. 

Serena: I love Tanya Tucker. 

Sam going the extra mile to find that missing sock!!

GG: What’s something unique about you that not many people know about?

Sam: I have a double uvula, which is the thing that hangs in the back of your throat. So weird! 

Cindy: I think that one thing people wouldn’t guess about me is I really like to think and plan ahead, and I’m good at finding creative solutions to problems.

GG: Those are both so cool! I’m also wondering about your hobbies. What are you happiest doing?

Sam: When I’m picking sea glass at the beach, or cleaning. 

Cindy: I love reading and canoeing. 

Serena: I’m happiest when I’m mushrooming (foraging for wild mushrooms). It’s also kind of a unique skill I have.

GG: What is your motto or personal mantra?

Sam: “You can’t control what other people do, say or think.” I live by this. 

Serena: “Pick up your sh*t.”

GG: Serena, I agree completely. As much as I love nibbling at camper’s leftovers I much prefer when they pick up after themselves! One last question: what’s the next big item on your bucket list?

Cindy: I want to get to the Botanical Gardens this summer, and visit the ice castles in New Hampshire!

Serena: I want to be in a tropical paradise!

Fabulous! Those are some great goals. Let me know if you need a gopher friend to tag along. Thank you so much, Cindy, Serena, and Sam for doing this interview with me and answering all my burning questions. And thank you so much for all you do at HVC! We wouldn’t have camp without you!


Gopher Girl

In the mood for camp food!

Monday, March 20th, 2023


Hello HVC Families!

Spring is March-ing right in these days! 

I’m not great with math, but I’m pretty sure as the numbers play out, that means only one more season until SUMMER camp. 

This spring I’ve been working on perfecting my blueberry muffin recipe for summer…but it’s clear that nothing I can whip up in my gopher kitchen compares to HVC’s camp food favorites. 

Shout out to Mike and the dining hall staff for never failing to put a smile on camper’s faces!

Mike, Jess and their stellar crew!

There’s nothing quite like heading to the dining hall in the morning, before a busy day of classes, to feast on waffles, or pancakes, or take a trip to the egg bar!

Or the surprise that comes with waking up in the morning and discovering it’s every camper’s favorite day…Junk Food Day. Donuts and pop-tarts for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch, and sundaes for dinner do not disappoint. 

Poptarts as far as the eye can see!

And speaking of sundaes, let us not forget about the best day of the week…Bagel Sunday! My personal favorite concoction is to butter one side, put jelly on the other, and add granola in between, for the perfect, crunchy, flavorful concoction. 

Lazy Day dinners are another highlight…with so many types of pizza to choose from, and an infinite variety of taco toppings, I could taco-bout these meals all day long. 

None of the grass that grows near my gopher hole even comes close to the flavorful vegetables that come from Meg’s Planet and head straight to the dining hall, to put together the freshest of salads. 

Meg’s Planet bounty!

For campers wishing to sharpen their cooking and baking skills, there is no better class than Iron Chef, where each day campers use their creativity to come up with a food to make using a secret ingredient. 

Campers also get to try their hand at cooking with HVC’s very own blueberries, straight from the wild blueberry field on the edge of camp property. Blueberry muffins with freshly picked Maine blueberries from HVC’s field are beyond delicious! 

And of course…we can’t forget about Blindfolded Baby Food Taste Testing…but sometimes campers and counselors can’t seem to remember the flavors. 

However, the end to every camp season brings the Lobster Banquet…which is a meal that is simply impossible to forget. From spanakopita to chicken parmesan to Maine lobster, there is no bad choice…

…and it’s a meal shared with good friends of HVC, Ben and Jerry of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, brought to us by some udder-ly special guests. 

Speaking of special guests…only a couple more months until campers arrive and we couldn’t be any s’more excited!


Gopher Girl

A Love Letter to HVC <3

Tuesday, February 21st, 2023

HVC in February may seem empty

But you needn’t look far to find people a-plenty

Who all have their spots they’ll inhabit all seasons

Here are just a few and their very good reasons


Al likes the split rock up on Tom’s Trail

Phillie knows being 50 yards out from shore can cure your ails

Cindy prefers the hill on the backside of the pool

She can usually find quiet and such a pretty view



Peter, an adventurous one, climbs the roof of the Log Cabin

To look down at the lake and watch the world just happen

Lucia also likes to climb but up to the treehouse

She says it is the best spot on camp to just hang out



Elise sees the whole camp from under the huge pine

Right at the top of the hill where there’s also the zip line

Sam knows where she can find peace in the bustle of day-to-day

The dome by Deer Meadows at sunrise will have the whole world fall away



Aileen loves the moment you can see the whole lake

The exact spot on the trail, a sense of calm you cannot fake

Serena, like Al, has her spot on Tom’s Trail

The one with reishi mushrooms impressive in their scale



Celie has a favorite tree found by climbing the big hill

Turn left, walk a bit, your view it will fill

A huge old oak with a dominating presence

Standing under is amazing you can feel its ancient essence



Meg’s go-to spot, not far from the horses

Is the tip-top of Brumby field, on the edge of Prince’s forest

Here’s a piece of trivia, for those who did not know

Chris Prince was once a staff member who helped first get that field mowed



Of course, even our animals have their favorite places at camp

Huck and Allie, the manure pile, and Nellie, the woods she’ll tramp

Otis, of course, has only one true love… his rock

Hamilton prefers wherever the very best apples are stocked



Hank has seasonal preference, his tastes change throughout the year

In summer, where the campers are, in winter a wood stove he likes to be near

Happy Valentine’s Day, Hidden Valley, from Gopher Girl to you

We celebrate all your best places and love you through and through



Gopher Girl


Special Report: Celebrating 75 years of Hidden Valley!

Wednesday, February 15th, 2023


Hello Everyone,

Even if you have not been around HVC for the past 75 years (or the past 10 years, or the past few weeks) you can share in the excitement of our 75th anniversary.

We are certainly recognizing that in 1948, two school teachers brought a dozen children up to Maine from New Jersey to create a farm and work-camp on an old homestead. (Read more history here, including critical info about our Indigenous forebears.) That was a huge accomplishment!

A llama cart!

The Log Cabin, built by HVC campers in the 1970s

Even more so, we also celebrate 75 years of what was then a brand new way to organize community life at a camp…No uniforms, no religious services, no guns. Instead, cooperation replaced competition as a central element in peer relationships. And this new camp provided more choices, more recognition of individuals’ interests and needs and a greater devotion to diversity along all dimensions.

Former owner Jay in his element!

As the camp’s founders said in 1951…

If you, as a thoughtful parent or guardian, are increasingly concerned that your son’s or daughter’s summertime activity shall be happy, healthful, safe and creative…

If you believe with us, that young people today require and rejoice in genuine opportunities for self-expression under mature and sympathetic guidance…

If you share our conviction that boys and girls revel in sensibly supervised adventure “out in the open” away from home and deserve just such freedom during summer days…

If you are anxious that your child shall enjoy the great satisfaction of acquiring skills, of learning to work and play happily with others, of adjusting easily to a wholesome community life in a mountains-and-meadows, lake-and-green-woods setting…

We have absolute confidence that Hidden Valley will prove a continuing delight to you and yours.

These values continue to flourish in this very special place.
– Peter and Meg
P.S. Check out even more HVC photos from the last 75 years at our interactive timeline!
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