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!

January…sNOw worries, it’s almost summer!

Friday, January 27th, 2023


Happy 2023 HVC Families, 

It’s a new year, but the happenings at my home in Hidden Valley are still Mainely the same. 

What are everyone’s new year’s resolutions? This year, mine was to read more.

In fact, I was reading up on summer camps and went down a gopher-hole learning about the tradition! Turns out, there are over 14,000 summer camps across the United States. 

In addition, the American Camp Association published a survey that revealed that going to summer camp has a myriad of benefits for young campers. In my reading, I was reminded of all the ways that Hidden Valley impacts the lives of its campers. It’s amazing every year to watch kids meet new friends (and keep the old!) from all over the country and world.

At Hidden Valley, campers are allowed to explore so many unique new things and challenge themselves along the way! Campers have the option to learn unique types of art such as glassblowing, stained glass and glass flameworking. Here they can use their artistic skills to create bead pendants, figurines, and jewelry to bring home with them.

In the Beehive, our flameworking studio where campers can create glass beads.

Other art programs include sewing, woodworking, screenprinting, jewelry making, pottery, painting, and more!

In the woodshop!

Campers looking to experience adventure can check out the ropes course, zipline,  take up mountain biking class, or try their hand at archery.

Getting ready to head down the zipline!

Campers that enjoy swimming and spending time on the water can hang out at the lake swimming, paddleboarding, or kayaking.

Those who enjoy spending time with animal can hang out with my animal friends, including Otis the llama and Hamilton the pot-bellied pig, or head up to the horse barn to ride in HVC’s sand rings and wooded trails.

Other unique opportunities include rock band, the musical and play, and a variety of sports, from basketball to ultimate frisbee that campers can sign up to participate in.

Whether campers find themselves interested in sports, music, art, or adventure, there are classes for everyone. But there’s more to camp life than just classes! Lazy day activities, evening programs, and cabin life allow campers to make lifelong friends and  share unforgettable moments.


The camp season may only last the summer, but the memories will last a lifetime. And it’s already January, which means only a couple of snowfalls and four more full months until the start of the first camp session in June! Not to say that it’s almost summer…but I could always gopher a little bit of optimism. 

In the meantime, campers all get to work on the fun stories that they can share with their camp friends when it’s time to head back up to Maine. 


Gopher Girl

Al and Derek! Derek and Al!

Tuesday, December 13th, 2022


Hello HVC families!

Gopher Girl here with a little time update: We are officially… only 6 months, 1 week, 5 days, 7 hours, 38 minutes, and 27 seconds from the first day of camp! As the weather gets chillier and chillier I know I’ve got my summer memories to keep me warm… as well as all my friends who stay here at Hidden Valley all year long.

This month I interviewed two who I am sure many campers have seen around camp and know well: Al and Derek (and Al’s dogs Allie, Huck, and Hank)! Al and Derek are HVC’s Ultimate Maintenance Maestros! I am so grateful for the opportunity to sit down with them and ask them all about themselves as well as what they do here at HVC. Here are their much-anticipated answers:

Gopher Girl: Derek and Al, thank you so much for talking with me today. I want to start with the basics; how would you describe what you do at HVC?

Al: Whatever is needed and whenever it’s needed to be done!

Derek: I do anything and everything!

Gopher Girl: Wow! Seems like a very important job around here that takes a wide range of skills. How did you end up at HVC?

Derek: I heard good things from people that worked here, Tim and Drew told me about camp and got me in here.

Al: I answered an ad in the Caretaker Gazette, it’s a real thing. I was deciding between a place out on Martha’s Vineyard and HVC. The llamas were what convinced me to go with camp, I’d never been around them before.

Bike repair all winter long!

Gopher Girl: What has been your favorite project to work on at HVC, Al?

Al: I enjoy working on the trails here. My favorite trail? All of them. The newest one I’m working on will connect the blueberry field trail with camp road.

Gopher Girl: I’m sure that will make blueberry hikes all the more special in the future. Things like our blueberry field and the llamas make HVC a very special camp. What’s something that surprised you about working at HVC?

Derek: How big it is, I mean the amount of campers and staff who come to camp—I didn’t realize it was this big!

Al: I’ll never forget driving down here for the interview. As we pulled in I said to Kathy, “Everything is red, let’s get out of here!” But Kathy said, “let’s just see what it’s like first,” and it all turned out good, but I was surprised.

Gopher Girl: Interesting! I’m so glad to hear about what you do at camp. I’m curious to hear more about you both as people; who’s your favorite musical artist recently?

Al: I love Lizzo. Seriously.

Derek: I don’t listen to a lot of music, I like audiobooks more.

Gopher Girl: Those are both great picks. I’m curious, Derek, what piece of advice would you give to your younger self that our campers could also learn from?

Derek: Don’t ride your bike in the road!

Derek hauling away parts of the old H-dock!

Gopher Girl: Al, a similar question, what is your motto or personal mantra?

Al: “Don’t think about it, be about it.” That’s how I convince myself to do things I don’t want to do. It’s easier to just get it done than to think about it.

Gopher Girl: You seem like someone with a lot of big goals; what’s the next item on your bucket list?

Al: I want to visit Greenland. It’s cold and icy and snowy and there are no bugs. I’ve always thought it would be cool.

Gopher Girl: And finally, what are you happiest doing?

Derek: When I’m hunting and fishing. I’ve gotten two deer this fall.

Al: When I’m with my kids, or when they’re here at camp with me. That’s when I’m happiest. Also when I’m napping. No, not really, but I do like it. Also anytime I’m outside biking or skiing.

Gopher Girl: Thanks so much again to both of you for answering all my burning questions! And thanks for being able to interpret my gopher-ese into your native human language of English.

Campers and families, have anyone else from around camp that you would like to see interviewed? Drop their names down in the comments below! And be sure to stay warm out there this winter. Right now, I’m about to go burrow my little hole in the backyard (sorry Derek and Al!) to stay toasty and cozy myself. I just hope the ground hasn’t frozen yet, so my teeth can break it!


Gopher Girl

Thankful for HVC this November

Saturday, November 12th, 2022

What’s up HVC Families?

Long time, no Junk Food Day!

Luckily, Thanksgiving is coming up, and though most of us won’t be eating Pop Tarts and ice cream sundaes, I’m looking forward to the feast of lettuce and grass that my gopher family is going to share.

It also has me thinking about how lucky and thankful I am to call HVC home and to get to hang around so many animals, campers, staff, and who share a love for such a magical community.

In fact, I found myself exploring the history of the camp the other day.

This beautiful area of mid-coast Maine was actually first inhabited about 12,000 years ago by Native Americans, including the Penobscot and Wawenok tribes. These tribes created semi-permanent settlements and lived off of abundant wildlife, including one significant hunting ground and trading route only a couple miles down the road that runs through Hidden Valley Camp.

Hidden Valley Camp was first established thousands of years later in 1948, and started as a work and farm camp for 12 teenaged campers. This group of campers and directors, Hal and Dean Tiffany, converted the Red Barn from a dairy barn to a living and eating space.

Today, this Red Barn hosts games of ping pong, a library, a variety of board games, and lot of memories.

Peter and Meg Kassen began running Hidden Valley Camp in 1988 and have been directing Hidden Valley Camp ever since!

It goes without saying that the history of HVC is much more complex than these fun facts. A more detailed history can be found on the Hidden Valley website here.

Gotta gopher a quick run to the store. I just checked the clock and realized it’s almost Bagel Sunday. I’m out of butter!


Gopher Girl



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