Make Way For Arrival Day!

Saturday, July 24th, 2021

Reporting live from arrival day, it’s Sadie the Llama!

It’s been a day of mellow vibes and sunny skies around these parts. Campers flocked in from all over. They arrived on planes, trains and submarines. Just kidding, it was mostly cars! Regardless of their mode of travel, boy were they glad to rejoin us in this little slice of paradise. After a relaxed afternoon, campers feasted on our classic first meal: fried chicken, potatoes, dinner rolls, salad and that show-stopping carrot cake. Our evening program was Opening Night Skits which introduced them to all of our counselors and all the classes that will be available for them to signup for tomorrow at class signups. Shoutout to a few camp favorite classes: llama care, basketball team, photography, glass classes, archery and of course anything down at the lake (funner!).

Stay tuned for more updates tomorrow! And don’t forget to check out the photos!

Over and out,

Sadie the Llama


A Time for Packing, Lobster, and Bidding Farewell

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021

*yawn* Morning, humans! Everyone was up early today at HVC, as most first-session campers boarded various forms of wheeled transportation en route to their respective final destinations. Later in the day, campers who are staying for six or eight weeks will be headed off on the Intersession trip or to spend time with their families.

Yesterday was quite a day! Everyone packed up their belongings and placed them around camp based on their cabin and travel plans, cabins were cleaned out, and art projects and lost and found items were returned. In the evening, once all of that work was complete, we had our Lobster Banquet, complete with rolls, potatoes, mussels, an especially delicious salad, and as always, spanakopita, chicken parm, or a gluten-free veggie option for folks with non-lobster dietary needs. Dessert, as always, was Ben & Jerry’s ice cream delivered to each table by cow suit-bedecked camp celebrities. Now I’m a worm and insect girl myself, but from what I’ve heard, everyone loves this final meal together, both because of the food that is served and because it is a chance to be in community and bask in the relationships forged and strengthened over the month together. Particularly touching was the standing ovation given to Lillian and Mike and their kitchen crew in appreciation of all they have done to nourish and sustain us over the last four weeks.¬†After the meal was our Closing Pinegrove campfire, where we reflect together on the session in word and in song and everyone gets the chance to say goodbye.

Today is Departure Day, when we hugged one another tightly and campers set off by bus, plane, and car for the world outside Hidden Valley, full of a renewed sense of themselves and appreciation for how it feels to be truly known. We at the animal pen and throughout camp can’t wait to see them again and marvel at how they have grown.

Humans, it has been my absolute pleasure to share slices of camp with you over the last couple of weeks; I hope you have enjoyed all the photos and descriptions of camp life. Check back starting Sunday for the start of the next session!

Signing off,

Carolina Duckling

Which Day Is the Fairest of Them All?

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

Hello to all you humans from HVC, where a storm is about to roll through in the half-hour or so before the Lobster Banquet. Never a dull moment here at camp! I promised you plenty of pics from yesterday and I got ’em! But before that, a little something to “wet” your appetite (see what I did there?): a few photos of the swim team’s trip to Belfast on Saturday to swim in the ocean!

And now that we’re all caught up on that, on to yesterday! I’ve heard a lot of campers say that Fair Day is the best day of camp, and while my hearing parts are much closer to the ground than their speaking parts, here’s what I understand to be the reason: so many special, once-a-session events take place! The day begins with the HVC Road Race, in which any interested campers and counselors are driven up to the end of the camp road and run the 1.3 miles or so downhill into camp, where they are cheered on by the rest of the community. Peter likes to say that Montville’s town motto is “It’s All Downhill From Here,” which would certainly be fitting! We got some terrific photos of both the race’s start and all of the finishers (although not in order!). The weather was great for running and folks seemed to have a blast. Check it out!

After the road race, cabins set up their booths for the fair, and then everyone headed up to the Brumby Horse Show! These campers have spent the last four weeks in a specialized riding program in which they take care of the horses and have extra riding time each day. I do wish that I had been able to go up and watch myself, but if I’m honest, horses are awfully big and I find them a little intimidating. Still everyone who went said that it was such a treat to see all that the campers had been working on and their special connection to the horses. I’m so glad I at least got to see these photos that our photo staff took!

After the horse show, the fair began! The magic of Fair Day is that everyone plays a part in making the fair happen–campers divide into shifts and each spend some time working at their cabin’s booth, but when they aren’t working, they can explore the fair and everyone else’s booths and all the delicious treats on offer! Betty Cartwheels, one of the kittens in my chosen family, listed all the cabins’ booths for me:

  • Loons: Inflatable Waterslide
  • Avalon: Jelly Bean Guess
  • Wombles: Facepainting
  • French Quarter: Fortune Telling
  • Paquatahnee: Name Change
  • Gimme Shelter: Soft Pretzels
  • Valhalla: Ice Cream
  • Shangri-La: DJ Booth
  • Bermuda Triangle: Inflatable Jousting
  • Fiddler’s Green: Moon Bounce
  • Camelot: Marriage Booth
  • Taj Mahal: Hershey’s Kiss-o-Grams
  • Forbidden Planet: Fried Dough
  • Halley’s Comet: Drinks
  • HVA: Riddle Booth
  • Community: Trash for Treats

There were horse-drawn hayrides too, but as you can imagine, I kept my distance. Look at how much fun everyone had!

Speaking of group efforts, another special part of Fair Day is the Art Show, in which campers’ pieces from the entire session are beautifully displayed by our arts staff: everything from leatherworking, screenprinting, and photography to collage, painting, and pottery, from stained glass, woodworking,¬† and glass-blowing to fused glass, glass beads, mosaics, and toy-making! I think that not having thumbs would keep me from being able to do a lot of this artwork myself, but I sure would love to learn! Have a look at the campers’ creations!

This fabulous day ended with the Fair Day Dance, which provided such a joyful finale to what might just be the best day of camp. I could hear the music and everyone singing along all the way across camp at the animal pen! Campers, counselors, directors, and GORPs were out there at the gazebo, just enjoying getting to be together as the session draws to a close.

And that, friends, was Fair Day. There’s an awful lot to love about it! Hope you’ve enjoyed the photos. I’ll be reporting once more tomorrow, to tell you about the very end of the first session, and then our next news report will be on Sunday, once second session has gotten underway.

Fuzztastically yours,

Carolina Duckling

Teen Program Interlude

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

Morning, everyone out there in Blogsville! I know I promised Fair Day pics–and they’re absolutely on their way later today!–but I have a fresh crop of teen program photos and I wanted to be sure to share them with you. The first bunch are of HVA during their various adventures this session, and then the second batch are of Community and the projects they’ve been working on.

Enjoy and more soon!

Carolina Duckling

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