Questions Answered by the Experienced!
Do I have a digital camera and sufficient means to share pictures online with Hittygirls and the Hitty's families?
Julie OC--(Camp Piney Woods) Let's face it, pictures are the main reward of your Campers. If you don't have a web site, then consider getting a free site, such as Picturetrail or any of the dozens out on the web. Many of our hostesses are now successfully using blogs. Whatever you choose, make sure you have both the time and the means to fulfill this important part of Camp!
Sue G.--(Camp Golden Oak) I have a great camera, it's inexpensive but has quite a few settings and I'm still learning how to use it. I have shared photos by e-mail and an online album but this year I tried a blog since I had AOL I figured I might just as well use their service and have the ability to share not only with members of Hittygirls but with my family, friends and members of my doll club. The one thing I forgot to do was change the setting on my camera which meant I was taking the best quality photos, great for the Hitty Mom's who might like to print from the CD I promised but not so good for me as I had to make a copy of every photo and reduce the size by 50% before I could upload them to the blog, it took me forever! HINT - make sure your camera is on a good enough setting to print 4 x 6 photos but not so big it takes forever to upload.
TC V.--(Carve a Bitty Pageant) I recommend a "trial run" of photographing and posting pictures of your own dolls having fun before you sign up to run for a camp. If the picture part, which is quite a lot of work, is going to be too much of a commitment, you might want to reconsider. I use a Mac and product called "Webpics" it's simple and fun. http://www.splons.com/m3/webpics/
Julie OC--(Camp Piney Woods) Absolutely! I have two dogs, and my greatest fear is that they might get a Hitty. I keep all of the visiting Hittys in a bin in a high area in my work room when they are not with me.
Sue G.--(Camp Golden Oak) There is no smoking allowed in my house. At this time I do not have a dog, it doesn't mean one won't find it's way into my heart again. I do have a cat who can get quite curious but all she really wants to do is make a bed in the Hitty travel box. I keep all of the original boxes with Hitty's things in a room behind closed doors. Camp Golden Oak and Grammy Poore's B & B are also in a room with a door that stays closed when not in use.
TC V.--(Carve a Bitty Pageant) With Bittys, containment is the key. I use plastic bins and ziplocks. The plastic bin holds all the "attendees" when they are not "in play" and the ziplocks keep each doll with her possessions and acquisitions. It's not a bad idea to put the name and address of the owner on a slip of paper inside the ziplock.
Julie OC--(Camp Piney Woods) --Die. I experienced this just one (Night at the Museum) and it luckily had a swift and happy end. But if I had actually lost someone else's Hitty I would be devastated. First thing-call the owner and explain what has happened. Then, find out what they would prefer to be done. If a Hitty came unstrung, that would be something I could reasonably be expected to repair. If part of her chipped off, that would be better for the Hitty owner to do or have done, at my expense.
Sue G.--(Camp Golden Oak) Oh, gosh that happened to me. One year one of the Raikes girls lost her fingers, I almost died. I was on my hands and knees in the driveway looking for those tiny fingers. I offered to remove Hitty-Sue's arms and replace them only to find out from the owner that she had left her Hitty in a jacket pocket and the Hitty went through the washing machine, which probably made her fingers weak. When Hittys arrive they are given an ID tag which has their owner's name and my name and address in the event one would venture out of the travel tote or stay behind at some exciting place, hopefully an honest person will find her and return her to either me or her owner. All kidding aside, in the end if a Hitty is damaged or lost I would need to have her repaired or replaced at my cost.
TC V.--(Carve a Bitty Pageant) I've never lost or damaged a visiting doll (Thank goodness!) but I did my camp indoors. If I were to lose or damage a visiting doll I would, of course, immediately contact the owner. I would offer to repair the doll (as a carver I have lots of tools and techniques) or replace it and I would probably slip in a "gift dolly" as an extra when the visiting doll went home.
Julie OC--(Camp Piney Woods) Absolutely not. But the visiting Hitty could never be replaced--each is unique. Repair--yes. If I had to replace a Hitty, I would borrow the money from my Mom, and pay her back. Frankly, when a Hitty is sent away to visit another home, it is done with the expectation that excellent care will be used. If a Hitty was lost through no fault of the host (fire, flood, theft of home, etc) i would offer to replace, but would never insist mine would be replaced, as I understood there was a risk just putting her in the mail.
Sue G.--(Camp Golden Oak) Not really but it's a risk I take when I offer adventures to traveling Hittys. Hitty, like us humans are irreplaceable which means that a Hitty owner would suffer a loss, replacing a Hitty or payment to replace a Hitty would be like life insurance, you never want to have it or use it but if it's needed it must be there. I used my government stimulus check to open a Hitty Life Insurance CD that I can cash in if needed. Always send Hittys home with insurance even if the Hitty Mom did not insure her on the trip to you, after all you are responsible for Hitty until she safely reaches home again.
TC V.--(Carve a Bitty Pageant) I think it's natural, when sending off
a Hitty to camp, to consider how well you know the camp presenter. I send
my best dolls to camps of people I know well and personally or through
years of knowing them on Hittygirls. I sometimes carve a special doll
specifically to attend a particular camp, and if I don't know the track
record of the presenter I don't send a Hitty that I would die without.
I recognize that bad things sometimes happen to good dollies. It's a risk
I take when sending one off to camp. Having said that, I don't actually
expect anything bad to happen and when I host dolls I take MUCH better
care of the visiting dolls than I do of my own. I would do whatever it
took to "replace" a damaged Hitty or to repair her to the owner's
satisfaction - even if it meant going into debt to do it. I would also
recommend insurance and delivery confirmation on all dolls sent out. That
way, if a glitch happens in the return of the doll you have some tracking
Julie OC--(Camp Piney Woods) Sure do! And I keep detailed records so even if I was in a coma, someone would be able to figure out who went where.
Sue G.--(Camp Golden Oak) Absolutely. This is a must.
TC V.--(Carve a Bitty Pageant) Yes. I'm fortunate to have a co-conspirator living with my. My DH takes and processes all the pictures and he knows the whole adventure. When the dolls arrive, a picture of each doll is associated with a mailing address so there is photographic documentation of ownership.
What would you consider the worst thing to have ever happened at your Camp, and what advice would you give to others to help avoid it?
Julie OC--(Camp Piney Woods) loosing another person's Hitty. It was only missing for ten minutes, but it was such an awful thing to have happened, I still feel sick over it. My advice: if you are getting help from a second person, neither of you should assume the other person has all the Campers. Check before leaving any location.
Sue G.--(Camp Golden Oak) Oh, this is a good one. One year one of the Raikes girls lost her fingers, I almost died. I offered to remove Hitty-Sue's arms and replace them only to find out from the owner that she had left her Hitty in a jacket pocket and the Hitty went through the washing machine, which probably made her fingers weak. I think the worst thing was the first year I had a lot of Hittys and had them in the Hitty travel trunk with the lid up, the wind caught the lid and blew them off of a rock in Belfast Bay. Oh, gosh those Hittys fell between rocks and I thought for sure they would be damaged, luckily there were no wet or damaged Hittys. No more lidded boxes for me, that's where this year's travel carrier came in handy.
TC V.--(Carve a Bitty Pageant) The worst thing that happened in my rather tame bitty camp was that I got two dolls confused. I may have mis-labelled a picture or two, but the photo-address documentation made sure they all got home to the right places.
What was your greatest or most unexpected expense?
Julie OC--(Camp Piney Woods) souvenir dolls, without a doubt. I thought they could be made by me and there would be a great savings--but I did not factor in the cost in both time, materials, and work.
Sue G.--(Camp Golden Oak) This year's fuel prices made it cost more than expected to travel to all of the different areas. Gas for three trips were supposed to be shared with two other people who wanted to go on the picnics and site see with me but they canceled out due to lack of spending money for shopping relevant again to the rising price of gas. Since I had promised Hittys and their families a great adventure I had to go on the trips anyway.
TC V.--(Carve a Bitty Pageant The TIME! I had no idea how the camp would totally take over my life for the weeks before, during and after the actual camp. It's not something you do part-time.
If you could change one(or two) things you did at Camp,what would it be?
Julie OC--(Camp Piney Woods) After 8 years I am honing it to a science--but this year if I could change one thing, it would be to have a pictorial list of the dolls accompanying me on any out-of-my-house expeditions.
Sue G.--(Camp Golden Oak) I would change two things
Louise W.--(Whispering Willows Fairy Academy)
Laurel P.--(Schoenhut Circus Camp)
Sara C.-(Bitty Pageant)
TC V.--(Carve a Bitty Pageant) I would definitely keep the camp smaller
in number. Too many dolls equals too much chaos. Also, pictures are often
clearer if you have fewer dolls in them. Also, each doll gets more attention
and nobody would get overlooked. It's true that some dolls just naturally
steal the show, but it's important to give each owner a fun experience
seeing her doll in the spotlight.
Julie OC--(Camp Piney Woods) Have fun with your Camp! Yes, there is a tremendous amount of responsibility and a tremendous amount of work--but we wouldn't be doing it if we weren't having a tremendous amount of fun! Don't be afraid to be silly or to have fun with your visitors.
Sue G.--(Camp Golden Oak) Hosting a Hitty Camp can be a rewarding experience for all involved however it comes with its' share of responsibilities and can be time consuming. Many of us consider our Hittys as family and they require as much of our attention and care just like real life visitors. Always remember Hittys are traveling alone to visit people and places unknown to their Hitty families. Just like at real life summer camp Hittys like to do craft projects, read books, go on nature hikes, site see, visit special places in your community, play and learn. Families enjoy learning about your area and hearing from their Hitty through words and pictures via a web page, blog, online album or other means. At my first camp I hosted over 20 campers, including my own campers who I didn't want to leave home. I just felt I couldn't say no to just one more. I have learned if it's your first camp keep it small, try it with five and see how it works out then work up to more at another time, if you feel you can handle that many. Assign only one of your Hittys to act as the hostess / tour guide if you are doing trips outside of the home. Take lots of pictures, communicate and have fun.
TC V.--(Carve a Bitty Pageant) Have a wonderful time, exercise your imagination,
but don't underestimate how much work this will be. It's not so much like
posing one's own dolls as it is like producing a theatrical production.