Hey there, folks!
Lady of the Lake here, with one last batch of HVC news. It’s hard to believe that the day is finally here – departure day. Our busses have all headed out nice and on schedule, and in just a little bit the last of our campers will be headed home by car.
We had our final night together last night, and it was truly a fantastic way to commemorate our time together. We began the evening with the ultimate feast: our traditional, infamous lobster banquet. We arrived at our tables to find a spectacular spread of delicious appetizers. There were zesty potatoes, bread and butter, a fresh salad, and Maine coast mussels. We began devouring our food, and in a short time, our lovely waitrons – yes, we were waited on by our kind counselors – delivered our entrees. We had our choice of a chicken dish, spanicopita, or fresh, tasty lobster. We munched on our yummy dishes, and when we were all content, we began waiting for dessert.
At Hidden Valley, there’s a longstanding tradition that we all bang on the tables in anticipation of our ice cream. As we bang and scream and make quite the ruckus, Meg comes out in a cow costume. Yes, a cow costume, complete with spots and a cow head. She then places bags of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream on our table, and we begin the second part of our banquet. We all got to eat our fill of fantastic flavors, highlights including Phish Food, Cherry Garcia, and Chunky Monkey.
With our bellies warm and full, we gathered at the base of Tipi Hill to begin our final evening program, Closing Pine Grove. When we were all there, we began ascending the hill in utter silence, enjoying the fresh air and taking a moment to reflect on our time here at Hidden Valley. Seated around the fire up at Pine Grove, which is, naturally, a grove of tall, striking pines, we waited for the night to begin. As always, the AWACs started the night by singing our candle song and strolling in together. When their song was complete, they placed their candles by the fire and rejoined their cabins.
Next, the Tipis crew took the stage. Those campers that spent time up at our Tipis this session joined the counselors to sing Airplane Over the Sea. Those of us who knew the song joined in to sing the beautiful tune. That was the beginning of our wonderful evening of songs and stories. Nearly all of our cabins performed together, leading the cabin in either a heartfelt song or a ridiculous and funny campfire tune. Avalon sang the classic Pizza Man and Chateau Fiasco sang Lima Bean. Paquatahnee sang Because I Came to HVC and the two counselors organizing the night led us in the Princess Pat. Forbidden took us through a rousing round of the Penguin song, and Wombles sang a short verse of Bumblebee Tuna. We also heard some new takes on some old songs. The Burrow sang an amazing version of These Are a Few of my Favorite Things, tailored to Hidden Valley. Adventures showed us the new spins they put on a number of songs while they hiked. Shangri-La changed the words to the song Can You Dig that Crazy Gibberish to be about one of their counselors. We all had a good laugh at that one!
Other cabins sang songs that captured the mood of the evening just perfectly. Camelot sang What a Wonderful World, and Taj Mahal sang Daylight. Fiddler’s Green sang L-O-V-E, and Down Under led the whole camp in Lean on Me. Our AWACs gave us a truly touching performance of Hey Jude, and of course all of camp joined in.Valhalla sang House of Gold, and French Quarter sang If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out.
Continuing the mood, Alive sang songs from High School Musical 2 and the Island Song. Camp enjoyed those lighter notes scattered throughout the night. One of our pro staff members also took us through I Want It That Way. It was completely necessary to have some Backstreet Boys at our ceremony. We had a fabulous time when two of our staff members told us the Pickle Story. For those of you who don’t know, the story is a camp favorite. We’re divided into sections, and each section makes a different noise when a certain word is called out. For instance, those who were in one section said “meow” every time the word dragon was said. The story is always a hit, as it’s quite humorous.
As the night went on, cabins began starting the candlelight ceremony. The candlelight ceremony concludes each session, year after year. Each member of camp receives a candle, and we head down in a line saying goodbye to every individual. It’s the perfect way to say farewell to everyone, and to take a moment together to remember special times. As we head down the line, we have the option to touch the flames of our candles, our to embrace in a hug. (Of course, we blow out our candles first if we go for the hug!) As the songs winded down at the fire, the line of candles grew longer and longer. By the end of the evening, every cabin and all our staff had made it down the line. With that terrific send off, we headed back under the beautiful stars to our cabins one last time.
This fine morning, the cabins were awakened by the lovely voices of Taj and Forbidden campers belting out songs. The final days are filled with traditions, and that’s another one of them. The campers sang a variety of songs, including classics like Build Me Up Buttercup and newer pop songs like Roar.
With everyone bright eyed and awake (okay, some of us were still a little sleepy), we had our first breakfast. Shortly soon after, the first busses started pulling up. We loaded them all up, campers and all, and they began driving away. As they headed past, the remaining people at camp sang and danced the Funky Chicken. That’s the last of our very special traditions. We all stand in a line as the busses drive by and sing a very wacky song, and wave our final goodbyes.
Now, most campers are home and staff are working to close down all the areas of camp.
For now, this is goodbye. It has been a truly magnificent summer. Olive Oyl and I are sure to be back in a month or so, but in the meantime, Snoop Cat will be posting one final check in tomorrow. We can’t wait until next time.
Lady of the Lake