Happy March and happy Monday, HVC! Hummingbird here, feeling a lifetime away from the summer! For most of us around this time of year the long, warm, carefree days of summer have been buried far beneath neverending snow. But deep in the Camp Office, our office queens are working endlessly to keep the summer sun burning, and set everything up for SUMMER 2019!! Let’s hum over to their endless summer zone and see what’s up with Lucia and Cassie!
How many years has each of you been working in the HVC office? How have you seen camp change in that time?
Lucia: This summer will be my 30th summer!! Sept of 2019 will be my 31stst anniversary of arriving at HVC! Camper Cabins, Paquatahnee, Wabinaki, Blue Moon, and Avalon were built since I started here as well as The “new” staff cabin, The “New” Dining Hall and many other camp building. When I first came to HVC the Dining hall was in the Red Barn! The next time you pass through there try to imagine it!! The Deer Meadows/ PD Barn and Pool property were all purchased in the time I have been at HVC.
Cassie: I just celebrated my 5th winterversary, but this coming summer (2019) will be my 11th. My primary job is to answer incoming emails from people researching camp for their kids. I also help Peter with getting all of the trips and performers booked, and I help Meg get all of the staff paperwork organized. I also LOVE sorting the mail! How have I seen camp change? Well… we have a brand-new office, for a start. That’s pretty big news. And this is more under the radar, but we changed some of our logos and printed materials to reflect the fun, artistic community that we are so proud of.
Campers don’t tend to spend a lot of time in the office, so we’re dying to know… What is it you do in there all day?? Are there any office secrets you can let us in on? Do you have any snacks in there?
L: Wow, where to start… Our jobs change a bit from summer to the “off season” but all year long we are answering phones and emails. We are talking to prospective and enrolled families. We coordinate all sorts of things in preparation for the next summer. Office Secrets… I cannot tell… And snacks? ALWAYS! We have so many thoughtful and caring friends from all over the world that know we are far away from any stores here in the valley and generously send us yummy treats from as far away as New Zealand, UK, Australia and China. We also do love to share!
C: I have a stash of Sharpies that, if you ask nicely, I might let you borrow! Other secrets? We love corgis and chocolate from around the world. There’s a drawer in my desk dedicated to snacks to share- if you’ve done PK’s secret tour of camp you may have even visited me!
How many spools of friendship string does camp go through in a summer?
L: ooooooh that is a Cassie question, she is the Friendship Bracelet QUEEN! But a wild guess would be in miles.
C: I don’t know if it’s ever been documented, but I would assume it’s in the thousands!
Cassie, you are FAMOUS around camp for all your interest groups songs and ideas… can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration? Do you have an absolutely most favoritest song from over the years?
C: It’s actually kind of hard to come up with songs! Interest Groups are the last class period of the day, and the activities change every day- it’s my job to organize what activities happen, write them out on the white board, and to organize how the counselors announce them at morning meeting. To be honest, I’ve been known to bribe people to help me (most notably PD Georgia with last year’s song, and a few years ago counselors Olivia H. and Robin M. came up with ‘Thrift Shop’)… I’ve got a pretty good one for this year (but it’s a surprise). My personal favorites over the years have been the 1D ‘That’s What Makes You Beautiful’ and, it’s shocking, but THE COCONUT SONG. It’s so catchy! Sometimes campers have ideas, which I love and try to make happen.
Lucia, you have been at camp forever, you must know absolutely everything there is to know about Hidden Valley! You must know so many secrets of the Valley… but readers REALLY want to know about your super cute doggie who plays with Nellie sometimes, what can you tell us about Louie?
L: Forever, true but also it seems like yesterday! I have been at HVC more than half my life! I am but one among a lovely group of folks in the “30 +” club that include, Peter & Meg, Chris & Lillian, Tom, Dani, Nurse Michele as well as so many former campers-turned staff-turned HVC parents. I DO have a super cute doggie! We adopted Louie from a local shelter almost 4 years ago- after he was seen there by Peter & Meg’s younger daughter Lily. He loves coming to work with me however, he is not so proficient with his “inside voice” and he has A LOT to say – so sometimes he stays at home in the summer and comes in for an occasional special visit.
What are your favorite office supplies to play with?
L: I am a total FREAK for Post it notes; all colors and sizes!
C: I have a very soft spot for the laminator. We go way back!
Last month we heard from Chris and Lillian, who told us the dining hall dragon comes to life at night to eat our leftovers. Can you confirm or deny? And what do you think the dragon’s favorite camp meal is?
L: Well I HAVE seen some mighty large footprints in the snow outside… Venturing a wild guess the dragon’s favorite meal would be Chris & Lillian’s luscious Jamaican Pork.
C: The Dining Hall Dragon is a close personal friend of mine. We’ve been able to spend some quality time together over the winter! If I had to guess, I would say the Dragon has a soft spot for Lillian’s vegan chocolate chip cookies.
What is it like to be at camp all year round? Do you get to eat all the leftover Candy Drop Candy?? Do you cuddle Nellie all day??? Do you play in the snow???? Tell us all about wintertime in the Valley!
L: It is a much slower pace in the Winter. One of the fun things we get to do in the winter is to order Tshirts and Sweatshirts and cool stuff for Planet Meg. We get to talk to lots of people who call and have questions about HVC. This Winter is extra special because we have had office mates! Upcoming Program Director Hope shared our office for a spell before embarking on 5 months of world travel; Horse Director Hannah B stayed on after summer and is working hard preparing for the horse programming; and Georgia arrived in February to start working on her PD duties!
C: Camp is absolutely gorgeous no matter what season it is. In the fall and spring, Lucia and I sometimes take walks around- in the fall, there are apples to pick, and animals to look for, and in the spring there’s always some cool new project happening. Winter is super pretty, and there’s lots of opportunity to ski or snowshoe. Leftover Candy Drop candy is unfortunately a myth… but sometimes Meg comes in and gives us a Meg Drop (where she showers us with candy for the snack drawer). Nellie comes to the office a lot, and so does Louie, and sometimes we have Huxley and Luke visit too- it can get very busy!
What is Peter Kassen’s favorite song to whistle in the office? Does Meg sacrifice pickles in there over the winter?
L: Oh gosh, Peter can whistle anything! He is so talented with his whistling, he sounds like a flute!
C: Meg doesn’t usually sacrifice pickles in the winter (they’re hibernating), but she has made some unreal soups and baked goods for us to sample. Meg Kassen secret: she makes the most incredible walnut tart. And lemon anything!
Finally, if you’re in the office, you MUST know when Candy Drop 2k19 will be… any hints for our readers?
L&C: No idea on day, but we’ve been speculating who might be in line to be the next Bombadeers! 😉
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Office Queens! Now I’m off to invade Cassie’s candy drawer.