Gearing up for a Great Summer!

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

Llama glamor shot!

Hello hello hello! Cara here, and boy, am I excited!

Camp is coming sooner than you think! It’s that time of year where campers and staff start getting psyched for HVC. Can you believe that in less than 4 months, staff will be heading up north to start getting ready for an amazing, stupendous, fantastical, wondrous, incredible summer??

Hidden Valley still looks like a winter wonderland. Soon enough, the snow and ice will melt as we continue working on off-season projects. I sure am missing all the kooky camp traditions and cool activities. I find myself humming the Meg’s planet interest groups song and “tuna noodle baby” by the Half Moon Jug Band all winter long! I can’t wait for all the camp fun to come- zipping down tipi zip line, petting the llamas and Hamilton the pig, doing screen printing and tie-dye, and working on projects in the glass bead and glass blowing studios. Not to mention windsurfing and boating at the lake, climbing the ropes course, playing tether ball in the backyard, eating fried dough on fair day, and sharing picnic lunches with friends. I am also beginning to wonder about the mysteries ahead- what will the themes be for dances and lazy days? Who will emerge victorious in the camper vs. counselor basket ball game? What is revealed on Peter’s forbidden tour on electives night? WHEN IS THE CANDY DROP??

All of these questions will be answered in due time… What I really miss the most about camp isn’t what we do each day, but the amazing community we create every summer- the kind and supportive group of weirdos who make Hidden Valley a home away from home.

Until next time, enjoy some awesome photos from last summer. Here’s to more great memories to come!

Climbing away,

Cara B. Ner

Skating, Skiing, and Sledding into the New Year!

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

The snowy Farmhouse

Hello hello hello! Cara B. here to wish everyone a happy new year with the first Hidden Valley update of 2018!

Brrrrrr! The temps are getting pretty low up here as the ice and snow continue to pile up. In my last post, I told you all about the super cool (pun intended!) winter activities at HVC. However, it’s not all fun and games during the winter months! Lots of awesome off-season projects are still underway. The pool has been upgraded with a fresh coat of paint and a fabulous new llama design. The floors of some older buildings are getting re-leveled, and the Health Lodge- ouch! and Hilton bathrooms are being renovated.

In other news, Hidden Valley was visited by representatives from the American Camp Association during the summer of 2016. This routine visit occurs every five years to assess camp facilities, safety, health, and wellness, counseling, and different program areas. HVC received perfect scores on over 200 standards! Woohoo! Similar results were given after a visit from the Maine Department of Health this past summer. Thanks to everyone who works super hard to help make Hidden Valley so great- especially our amazing community of campers!

Some awesome HVC-ers were given a special thank you for their hard work. At a meeting of the American Camp Association-New England, Jay Stager, HVC director from 1968-1988 was posthumously honored for “bringing children together from all over the world to learn, grow and live peacefully.” Jay helped shape Hidden Valley into the camp we know and love today- one that classes in the arts. AND, Jay brought llamas to camp! Where would Hidden Valley be without our signature wooly pals?

Peter and Meg carried on Jay’s camp values when taking over as camp directors in 1989. The ACANE honored Peter with a Visionary Trailblazing Award for his work to make Hidden Valley more accessible not only to Maine youth who come from low income families and youth with medical concerns, but to gender variant campers. Peter has helped educate other New England camp directors about how to best include transgender and non-binary campers and staff- so cool!

That’s it from me- I hope everyone is staying warm! While you’re all snuggled up and cozy, take a look at some photos of snowy Hidden Valley- posted below!

Climbing away,

Cara B. Ner

Happy Holidays and So Much Snow!

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Phillie and Luke hit the ice!

Season’s greetings! It’s me, Cara, with a holly jolly holiday update.

Over the past couple weeks, Hidden Valley has been covered in a beautiful blanket of snow! While some classic summer activities are made a little difficult with all the white stuff (the lake is just a bit too chilly for swimming,) there are so many fun things to do in the snow. When the snow piles super high, you can sled down the slanted roof of the red barn (the one with a llama painted on it!) and land in a huge pile of snow at the bottom! When the lake freezes over, it’s perfect for skating. And when snow covers the ice, you can even ski over the lake! The cool thing about all of our trails through the woods around camp is that they are perfect for cross country skiing as well. Man, how cool would it be to build a snowman during interest groups, or eat syrup on snow with your cabin?

Ever wondered what else Peter and Meg are up to during the winter? Besides planning for next summer including talking with parents and prospective staff members and taking care of the animals, Peter and Meg actually become… normal people? They work regular work hours and cook their own meals! Meg is HVC’s Certified Pool Operator, and Peter is the chair of the local planning board of Belfast and works with local kids through the Restorative Justice Project. Peter is also on the Education Committee of the Maine Summer Camps association, which sponsors educational events for camp folks throughout the year. Peter and Meg will attend one of these events that Peter’s committee designed that focuses on diversity issues at different camps- awesome!

That’s all for now, folks! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and I’ll catch you all in the new year! For now, enjoy some photos of winter activities and snow around camp.


Cara B.

Happy Thanksgiving and Storing Up for the Season!

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Awesome AWACs at the NYC camp reunion!Hey howdy hey! Cara here wishing you all a happy Turkey Day! I can’t wait to fill my belly with all the holiday faves on Thursday, just like we do at our special Thanksgiving meal during each session of camp- mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce and green beans, I can hardly wait!

There is so much to be thankful for here at HVC- Singing songs and making s’mores with your cabin around the campfire, trading friendship bracelets by the tetherball courts, zipping down the zip-line at the end of the ropes course, stargazing before bedtime while camping at the glade, scoring a goal in soccer fun, glazing a new pottery project, taking a dip in the lake, and even petting a llama! I could list as many awesome camp activities as there are verses to “Down in the Valley-oh,” but I think what we’re most thankful for here at Hidden Valley is the amazing community and special friendships we’ve created here.

Speaking of friends, a couple weeks ago, some campers met up in NYC for our fall camp reunion! Everyone had a blast chatting and catching up with friends and cabinmates. Here at camp, we’re continuing to store outdoor items for the winter. Some photos are included below, but you can check out the HVC Instagram account (@hidden_valley_camp_maine) for more storage pics (one even features a favorite camp vehicle- the Green Pig!)

That’s all for now folks! Look out for the 2017 camp DVD arriving in a mailbox near you next month! The yearbook video will include cabin cheers, clips from camp meeting, and lots of HVC fun. For now, enjoy some photos from the NYC reunion and storage around camp.

Later, gators!

Cara B. Ner

The NYC reunion!

Awesome AWACs at the NYC camp reunion!

Storage pics

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