So You Want to Host a Hitty Camp?

Tips, Facts, Ideas, and things you just might not think about!

Garnered from veteran Camp Directors Julie Old Crow and Sue Glidden

Hosting a Hitty Event can be a rewarding experience for all involved.
However it comes with its share of responsibilities,
and can be very time consuming. Many of us consider
our Hittys our family and they require much of our attention
and care just like real life visitors. We must always remember Hittys
are traveling alone to visit people and places
unknown to their Hitty families. Before hosting any type
of Hitty event or camp you must first ask yourself a few questions.

Camp Questions Answered by the Experienced!

Inexpensive Souvenir Ideas that are FUN!

Tips for a Smooth Camp Experience

 

 

Before hosting any type of Hitty event or camp
you must first ask yourself a few questions.
Read the answers from experienced Camp directors.

 

Julie Old Crow
Camp Piney Woods Camp Director

I run a summer camp for Hittys. We generally stick to one place, and may or may not have day trips.
My tips will revolve around Camps that take place in one general area.

Why do I want to host a group of Hittys?
If the first thing you think of is all the $$ you could make, think again. I have had eight Summer Camps for Hitty and not a single one of them went out of the red.

What do I want to do with the Hittys?
You don't need to plan your event right down to the last second, but do have a general idea of what you will do. You will also want to decide on a theme. A theme can center around an idea (pirates, fairies, etc), a particular holiday/season (winter, Halloween, etc) or a trip (to visit the Real Hitty, Cranberry Island, etc).

What amount of time do I have to devote to all aspects of this activity?
Realistically, if you are planning a Camp, you should allow six months to take care of all the details before the Hittys even arrive. This includes things such as--souvenirs, crafts, props, are you offering a souvenir companion, planning Hitty activities, etc.Let's take these things one at a time.

While our theme in Camp Piney Woods varies from year to year, our premise is the same: Hitty ia attending a summer camp session. This means I can use may of the same props year after year--fishing poles, camp fires, life jackets, and so forth. I am constantly alert to anything special I might get at a garage sale or a craft store to implement the Camp experience. But with each theme you need special props--decide your theme early, and stick with it.

Let's say your theme is Pirate Week, You have a general idea of the things you want to do with the Hittys, such as find a treasure map, dig for treasure, sail on a pirate ship, etc. Make a list of the things you would like to see in your photographs. Some things you can make--a pirate map, an eye patch, etc. Some things you will want to keep an eye out for--a chest for the treasures, a palm tree, perhaps even a ship.

From the theme flows every activity and every prop. It also can direct the sort of souvenir you decide to send home with your Campers. And here is a really, really good thing to keep in mind--if you have ten Campers, you might assume you will only need ten of every souvenir. But what about a souvenir set yourself, or one for your Mom, whose Hitty comes for free? Or extras to distribute to that last minute Camper. A good rule of them for souvenirs is to list everyone who may be attending for free (family members) and the absolute number of Hittys who will be paying to attend. Ten is a good number. Five can be better for a beginner!

Will you be offering a souvenir companion? This is not usual, but does occur in some Camps. Either budget in the time to make each companion, or budget in the money to purchase from another artist. No matter how you figure this, it is going to put a significant dent in your budget.

Will the Hittys be 'doing' anything while with you? In 'real-life' camp, campers make crafts. Will you be offering this? If so, get a really good idea of what the cost, both in time and money, is going to be before you do this. And remember--keep it simple. Here at Camp Piney Woods we've done macaroni necklaces, painted shells, made raffia dolls, and other small crafts. But even something as simple as a macaroni necklace means buying the macaroni (including the time to find the smallest!) and the elastic, and then the time to make all of the necklaces. You aren't making just one that takes you seven minutes, remember.

Each storyline you select will take time to set up, time to photograph, and even more time to crop pictures, place them on a web page, blog, or photo album, and add the captions. You should realistically assume you will need a day for each activity/photo session. Some will go faster than others, and some will have unexpected calamities--it rains, there isn't enough light, your camera bugs out, etc. Plan in enough time to allow for both these activities and your regular life. (Especially if you have a pesky job to take time from your dolly fun!)

Will your Camp revolve around a trip?
If you have a particular event in mind, then your plans will, by their nature, be different. You will have to factor in travel time, picture-taking during the trip, and enjoying yourself at the same time. Then, throw in uploading photos, etc., once you have returned. When you are taking someone's Hitty far away from your home to a public place, you will need to be extra vigilant (need I remind you of the Night at the Museum?) communication with the Hitty families before, during and after event can be tricky if you are staying away for a few days,


How much will this activity cost?
Include items such as souvenirs, post cards, museum fees, boat fares, etc. The Hittys may get into museum for free, but you can't.


Will the Camp fee pay for the costs and if not can I afford any overages?
Wow--now we finally get to the nitty-gritty of Camps. How much should one charge? My fees are based on the time I expect to put into each and every activity I plan for the Hittys. I also figure in costs for purchased souvenirs, materials for making souvenirs, and whether or not I will have a souvenir companion. I also try to give a fairly realistic fee for postage. You will need to have return postage paid for in excess of the Camp fee, and this should also reflect insurance for the returning Hittys.

If your Camp goes over your fee budget, can you afford to take the loss? This is a serious consideration.

 

Julie Old Crow's Camp/Event Advice:

  • Pictures, pictures, pictures! When taking pictures, take way more than you think you will need. This way, once you are home and getting them ready to upload, you won't discover that the fantastic picture that looked great on your digital camera screen is actually too blurry to use.

  • Keep all of the campers stuff--clothes, etc--in the original mailing box.

  • Notify everyone when their Camper arrives.

  • If you have your Hittys in uniform, it is essential you add an identifying name tag.

  • Photograph all swaps (if you have them) and make sure to label the bag they are in. If the swaps are loose, bag them in a ziplock bag and label. All swaps can be easily accessed if you place them into a small bin with a lid.

  • Limit the number of swaps. I like five. I did ten once--and what a nightmare trying to make sure no one got one of their own swaps back!

  • When sorting the swaps, I find it easiest to place my printed info page with picture down and sort right onto it.

  • Visiting Hittys should be treated like blown glass. Handle them with care. Do not allow others to handle them, unless they are part of the Camp experience. Keep them in a padded environment when not in play. I use a plastic bin with a lid. Each doll is protected from scratches, etc, by my vast collection of Hitty quilts.

  • Make the souvenirs something you would want to get.

  • Postcards from the campers are fun--either real or virtual, it's all fun!

  • BEFORE you send out announcements, make sure you have all of the following info:

  1. Your name and theme.
  2. The number of Hittys you would like to host. (and don't add extras at the last minute because you feel sorry for someone whose Hitty 'missed out'! It just causes you more work and less fun.)
  3. Some of the planned activities. No need to list every single thing you will do, let there be some surprises.
  4. The cost--and make sure to include postage and insurance.
  5. Doing swaps? Make sure to let the swapper know the exact number, and if it should be themed to your event.
  6. Will your campers need to bring anything? I always say no, because it adds an extra burden on you, come picture taking!
  7. Have a firm date--and suggest optimal mailing dates for arrivals.
  8. Will you take early arrivals?


 

 

 

Sue G.
Camp Golden Oak Camp Director

I run the Hitty Vacation in Maine held at Camp Golden Oak and Grammy Poore's Bed & Breakfast.

 

Why do I want to host a group of Hittys?
I love to go on summer picnics, my husband does not. Since Hitty's book is dedicated to the State of Maine and I live here I have access to visiting Great Cranberry Island, and Portland, the setting of the story. I thought it would be fun to have Hittys visit, go on picnics with me and see the places that inspired Rachel Field plus see some of my favorite parts of the state. I also thought this would be a good way to see Hittys made by various artists. Making money was not a consideration.


What do I want to do with the Hittys? Places to see, people to meet.
Travel the state, site see, shop, make things, take pictures, etc.


What amount of time do I have to devote to all aspects of this activity?

After work, days, evenings and weekends within the camp dates. This is devoted to Hitty and only Hitty time. One long day trip can take an entire evening until midnight to upload and post photos. Family events and job responsibilities can get in the way, so advance planning is a must. I begin planning a Hitty camp about four months in advance. Although I keep on the look out for supplies, props, etc. every time I go shopping or to a yard sale.


How much will this activity cost?
(Include items such as craft projects, souvenirs, post cards, museum fees, boat fares, etc). The Hitty Vacation in Maine is always the same, site seeing, crafts, etc. A travel budget to help defray cost of gas, tolls, boat fare, craft supplies, etc. are always a consideration and planned about four months in advance.


Will the event fee pay for the cost and if not can I afford any overages?

Usually I have done well to cover my costs and include a souvenir or two for my own Hitty but, this year due to circumstances beyond my control I ran in the red but not by much. In the past overages would never have been a concern, this year was different and I'm glad I wasn't over budget by too much. It is a consideration though if you are on a limited income, retired or out of work.


Sue's Camp/Event Advice:

After answering the questions if you feel you can adequately host a Hitty event create your event invitation. The event invitation should include:

1. Name of event
2. How many Hittys can attend
3. Cost of event example: $30.00 event fee plus $12.00 postal fare (always include postal funds to cover postage rate, a minimum of $200.00 insurance and delivery confirmation).
4. List some of the activities planned
5. List if your event will include souvenirs
6. List what participants need to bring or not bring
7. Event timeline - Date of event, date when Hittys should arrive by, date you will take Hittys to PO for return trip home.
8. Offer to host a SWAP night for those who want to participate.
9. Disclaimer that this is a private event and Hittygirls and the moderators are not responsible for any unsatisfactory situations or concerns that arise from this event

When you have your flyer finished send it by e-mail to Julie or one of the other moderators for approval to post on Hittygirls.com this does not make any of the Hittygirls moderators responsible for your event; it is a courtesy to run your flyer by the moderators first to be sure your event covers the basics and does not conflict with any pending Hitygirls activities.

Now the fun begins, invite Hittys.


When each Hitty arrives:

• Open her box and make note of what she brought with her, take a picture if that will help you remember. Keep all of her belongings in her original mailing box.

• Send an e-mail note with her picture to her Hitty Mom and the other participants that she has safely arrived at her travel destination. Hitty Mom's love to see pictures of Hittys attending the event with their Hitty so be sure to include her name and state she is from.

• Immediately make sure she is wearing an ID tag. Tags can easily be made from cardstock and thread, tied around Hitty's neck and tucked inside her undergarments. Tags should include Hitty name, owner's name, address, city and state she is from (this will help you remember who she is and where she is from and also help your friend or family member return Hitty if you are unable to do so yourself.) On the reverse side put your name, mailing address and phone # in the event she is left behind somewhere hopefully someone will contact you by phone or mail Hitty to either you or her owner.

• Taking Hittys on trips and photographing takes utmost care and even then accidents still can happen. If any Hitty is injured or lost on her trip notify her Hitty Mom immediately.

• Hittys love souvenirs, make sure she collects stuff to take home. Post cards, maps, shells, items of interest from your area or state.

• Pictures, take lots of pictures and post by e-mail, blog or online album to family members. Share with Hittygirls by a link to your blog or online album.

• SWAPS - special whatacamacallits affectionately placed somewhere are no longer a Girl Scout tradition, they are also a Hitty tradition. Each participant can be invited to bring items to swap with other participants. SWAPS are always considered an optional part of an event, only those who bring SWAPS will return home with SWAPS. The number of swaps can equal the number of participants or you can have each Hitty bring a certain number of SWAPS and she will return home with different SWAPS equal to that number.

• Care should be taken to ensure that each Hitty and her belongings are kept clean and safe from harm and that all items are returned home with Hitty.


If you would like to see a sample event flyer Sue Glidden will gladly share hers with you contact her privately at Hittyforme@aol.com

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