Short update this week!
After having so much trouble with OpenCV for C++, I started exploring a few other options. I started by looking at OpenCV for Processing. Unfortunately, after installing the OpenCV libraries, I was unable to run any of the sample code. Many other frustrated Windows users had experienced the same problem I had, and I found no solutions.
The Processing website had several other libraries for blob detection and other vision-related processes. I installed a few of these examples and was able to use the code. These examples were much more light-weight than OpenCV and would most likely be sufficient for my purposes.
Now, I’m in the process of reworking blob detection examples to detect hands.