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Spotlight on Sports (In its Many Forms)!

Tuesday, November 28th, 2023

Hi there!!    

As the cold weather seeps in here in Freedom – snow is on the horizon ☃️ – we’re reminiscing about warm (not exactly lazy!) days spent frolicking and friendship-making in our vibrant fields and polished courts. These are some of the many infrastructural elements (some nature-gifted) of which we take full advantage at camp!

Although HVC is doubtlessly a place where the myriad arts are taught, nurtured and flourishes – testified by the bustling glass and pottery studios, the abundance of visual arts and crafts classes on each summer’s roster and the incredible play and musical productions produced in just four weeks – we are also aware of the unique magic of sports with its combination of physical activity, camaraderie and teamwork. With this in mind, we also offer an impressive variety of activities in this arena!

Huddle before the annual camper vs. counselor bball game!

In the context of classes, campers can try their hand (and feet and whole body!) at mountain biking on leisurely loops around camp (featuring lovely scenery including prime animal-and- people-watching and friends-waving) as well as on designated trails through the lush woods.

For those that prefer their riding instrument to be a bit less man-made, more personal (although perhaps equal or more tricky to maneuver!), HVC offers horseback riding to accommodate all riding levels, whether brand new or veteran. For the more casually interested, campers can sign up for riding classes as one of their four class options rotated each two weeks, where experienced counselors acquaint beginners with the majestic animals and ease them into the technical yet rewarding endeavor of riding.

Horse riders practice in our sand rings and wooded trails!

For the more experienced, HVC also offers a special four-week ‘Brumby’ program, during which participants wake up a tad earlier than their friends to tend to the horses and do barn chores before riding for first and second periods, rejoining friends in classes of their choosing for third and fourth periods plus the fifth ‘interest group’ period. Featuring a tight-knit community with equine-passionate counselors, the program is structured to let participants spend more time on the trails and with the horses while still getting a full camp experience.

For the more traditionally ‘sporty’ – or just anyone interested in having fun while being active! – other mainstay class offerings include soccer on the soccer field, basketball at the basketball court, frisbee in the backyard, archery at our archery spot, and tennis as well as pickleball (new as of last year) on the tennis courts featuring designated pickleball nets.

Pickleball, it’s all the rage!

In addition to engaging in such activities for fun (or to learn the rules or hone technique), HVC also offers two unique opportunities for more serious sports enthusiasts: the Soccer and Basketball Teams! Alongside forming a bonded group while practicing together over four weeks, team members are shoo-ins for the epic Camper vs. Counselor Soccer and Basketball games that occur with great fanfare once per summer! (Spoiler-alert hint: the campers always win 🤭)

PK the referee!

To elaborate on the last part, camp really comes together in a sporty spirit on such occasions. (Traditionally, the soccer game features the fan-favorite game day hot dog alongside several activity stations.) Perhaps they’re really just an excuse to get everyone gathered in the same place, vocally cheering for their friends and (maybe) counselors…as opposed to, for instance, being gently reminded to courteously avoid talking during the play and musical 😆

One departure from tradition last summer that may have staying power (we’ll see!) was the decision, initially weather-mandated, to change the day of the Basketball Game such that it coincided with – and thus became a thrilling part of – Fair Day right around the session’s end! (The serendipitous effect was lots of high spirits plus bittersweet bleacher White Book signing.)

The camper soccer team running drills!

With regards to pickleball (though it may have garnered a rep as tennis for the *old*, its appeal is truly universal) another amazingly successful introduction to camp last year was that of the multi-weeklong Pickleball Tournament with separate brackets for campers and counselors! 

Galvanizing the spirit and talent of experienced players alongside newly-inaugurated pickleball aficionados (even some freshly-born masters), the tournaments drew impressive crowds including vocal commentators and produced friendly competition at its liveliest! (Nothing pickly about this decision – the event is a keeper!)

All this talk and no mention of one of the most favorite (ideological and literal) areas of camp: the waterfront! (*Cue waterfront sports!*) Poolside, there are naturally swim lessons to be endured enjoyed – indeed, as dutiful observer alongside reporter, I have personally witnessed the teachers’ much-appreciated efforts to make swim lessons remarkably fun at camp, water- games-abounding! (I am also reminded of an enchanting ‘Mini Class’ option one session last summer: synchronized swimming!)

On HVC’s lovely private lake, classes are offered to quench any desire ranging from casual interest to heat-induced fantasy including kayaking (the campers’ on-boat smiles always speak for themselves) and stand-up paddleboarding (campers even seem happy falling off) alongside swimming for some signed up for lessons.

That said, while swimming at the pool is always an option during pooltime on camp-based Lazy Days, pool (fun) and lake (funner) are sometimes also activity options for the multiple Cabin Nights that occur per session as well as choices on Elective nights. So even should they choose to fill their days with studio classes and land sports, campers are not deprived of their deserved water time 💦

On the topic of ‘extracurricular’ sporty things, it’s also worth noting that less formally, sports are frequently integrated into camp programming including Electives, Lazy Days and Evening Programs – not to mention the Ropes Course! For about half a day once per session, all campers have the chance to tackle the ultra-safe, fun and rewarding (yet challenging!) ropes course, nestled in a quiet spot in the woods ’round the corner from the ‘burbs, featuring two routes.

Meanwhile, a popular classic Elective offering is Capture the Flag divided between younger and older halves while casual participation in some traditional sport or another is always on the lineup. A heartwarming sight on a sunny (but not too hot) Lazy Day is that of campers enthusiastically running around the back and front yards (for instance, in a classic game of live Candy Crush!).

Moreover, Evening Programs like Llamapalooza witness campers’ engagement in funky, quasi-competitive athletic pursuits such as completing a quirky relay race or knocking down cones with an ‘elephant trunk,’ and even themed dances typically host a game of basketball for the less dance-inclined 😉 And how could I forget: one of the most popular activities during free time (as well as sometimes when campers are supposed to be going somewhere else…): the backyard tetherball nets! Many a fond memory made there. 

And don’t forget tetherball!

Congrats, you have reached the end of this long and serious reading 🥳 Here’s a big picture takeaway for those who love recaps as well as those inclined to skim through everything beforehand (I write for you, too): come for the essential nurturing HVC spirit and the arts; stay for the lifetime memories, inimitable sense of community and bonding and…sports!

With a healthy dose of sunny cheer,

H. V. Scribe

Fun at the courts!


Horse riding, biking and archery!   

On the field!

Cooling off!





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