Summer Camp

The beautiful setting and open philosophy of Hidden Villa make for an especially memorable experience for children of all ages. The camp is designed to grow with children and adjust to meet their needs, introducing them to new elements of wilderness activities and fostering leadership skills and responsibility, all while emphasizing respect for the environment and for others.

In 1945, Josephine Duveneck started the first multi-racial residential summer camp in the United States here at Hidden Villa. Today, rooted in the Duveneck family legacy of social justice and environmental stewardship, we carry on that legacy by bringing together a diverse group of campers and staff, unplugged from the busyness of everyday life, and giving them the unique opportunity to build a better community through shared experience.

In the midst of song-singing and caring for the farm animals, something profound takes place at camp; Young people learn what it means to live in a community. They develop greater multicultural understanding and appreciation, resolve conflicts peacefully, cultivate independence, and overcome personal challenges. Lifelong, face-to-face friendships begin here and campers take with them a new sense of awe for natural and human beauty.

Registration will open on January 26, 2020.

Day Camp registration opens at 1 pm.

Overnight Camp registration opens at 3 pm. 

 

Camp Philosophy

Our programs promote an eagerness of learning about ourselves and others through a framework built on the respect of differences and our responsibility to make positive impacts on our families, communities, and the world. Life on the farm provides campers with the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of fun activities. Whether six or sixteen, youth explore our wilderness, investigate our garden, and participate in our social justice curriculum. 

These broad topics are addressed in ways that are relevant and age-appropriate to each program:

  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Race & Class
  • Farm & Food
  • LGBTQ+
  • Duveneck Family Legacy

At all ages, we encourage youth to practice the skills of engaging their curiosity, thinking critically, and advocating for themselves and others. For example, staff working with our youngest campers are encouraged to model acceptance and self-expression through clothing choices that challenge gender stereotypes. Meanwhile, our teens in the Farm and Wilderness program may use their hands-on experience with farming to delve into the topic of immigrants’ rights in today’s society while learning about Hidden Villa’s connection to Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers movement.

Health & Safety

Our High Standards

Hidden Villa Summer Camp is accredited by American Camp Association. This is a nationwide accreditation program that focuses on health, safety and risk management practices as well as program quality. It is assurance that our summer camp program is following the best practices of industry-accepted and government recognized standards.

Medications

Many campers come to Hidden Villa with medications that they will take throughout their stay here. Please be sure to fill out your camper’s Health Form (available after registration) completely and accurately.

All medications will be checked in on the first day of camp during our check-in process so they can be administered by a trained staff member. This includes over-the-counter medications and supplements. We can only accept medication in its original container and if it has not expired.

Hidden Villa has a well-stocked health room and can provide most over-the-counter medications as needed. If you have questions or concerns about Hidden Villa’s ability to manage your camper’s health or medication needs, please contact the Summer Camp Office.

Food

Hidden Villa Summer Camp proudly partners with Epicurean Group to provide healthy meals for our residential campers. Epicurean Group is a food-service management company headquartered in Los Altos and dedicated to sustainable dining. An independent, woman- and minority-owned business, Epicurean Group is dedicated to environmentally and socially responsible food service management practices.

Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are always available. If your camper has a food allergy or more specific food needs, please contact the camp office to see if we can accommodate your youth’s needs.

Allergies

If your youth has a life-threatening allergy, please be sure to note it on the Health Form in your Welcome Packet and discuss it with your program head or the camp nurse during camp check-in. If your camper has a food allergy or more specific food needs, please contact the camp office to see if we can accommodate your youth’s needs.

Mandated Reporter

As an organization that works with youth, Hidden Villa Camp staff are Mandated Reporters. This means that Hidden Villa Camp Staff are required, by law, to report any suspicion of child abuse (physical, emotional, or neglect). Every summer, camp staff participate in a two-hour training taught by an official trainer for Santa Clara County, on their legal responsibility as Mandated Reporters, what the various forms of child abuse can look like, and how to respond in the event they have a suspicion of abuse. This is a responsibility we take very seriously and we always act with the best interest of the child in mind.

Bullying

Our goal at Hidden Villa is for every child to have a safe and empowering camp experience. We define safe in physical, emotional, and social terms. Behavior that affects another camper’s experience in a negative way is not acceptable.

Counselors are trained to help campers communicate their needs with one another and build a culture of consent and non-violent communication with their peers and our staff. While staff will intervene if they see behavior that is unsafe, we also want to encourage youth to be active participants in problem-solving and identifying bullying behaviors.

In the event that harmful behaviors cannot be resolved or redirected by our counselors, they will involve a camp supervisor for support, who may then contact guardians to work with families in order to support all our campers. In some cases, a camp supervisor or director may make the decision to send a camper home if intervention does not result in changed behaviors.

You can help your camper be successful at camp by encouraging them to reach out to a staff member if they experience or witness bullying. You can assure them that camp staff are trained to handle such situations in a confidential manner.

Registration & Financial Information

Summer 2019 camp offerings are posted below. Registration opened in late January, and is full for 2019!

Please be aware that campers may only attend one session per summer in order to accommodate as many families as possible throughout our summer season. 

Camp is a wonderful place to make new friends! Hidden Villa Summer Camp brings youth together from different backgrounds to learn and have fun together. In keeping with our mission and to help create an inclusive atmosphere for all, we do not take requests to place a camper in the same group as a buddy. Campers in the same program have opportunities to get together with their friends during mealtimes and some free-choice activities over the course of the camp session, but we do not fulfill requests to place children in groups or cabins with their friends.

Our camps are designed to be developmentally appropriate for each grade group to ensure that youth get the most out of their camp experience. When registering, please use the grade your child is entering in the fall following the camp season.

Refund Policy and Program Change Fees

  • We require a non-refundable, non-transferable $75 deposit per participant.
  • Camp tuition is due in full by May 15th. Camp fees are non-refundable after May 15th. You must notify us before this date if you need to cancel your registration and wish to receive a refund. While Hidden Villa retains the right to keep the entirety of tuition after May 15th in all cases, the following exception may be considered: If a cancellation is made at least 14 days prior to the start of a session and a replacement can be easily found, a partial refund (tuition minus a 25% cancellation
  • fee) may be issued.
  • Returned checks are subject to a $20 returned check fee.
  • Once registered, session or program changes are possible only as space allows. Your original deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.

Financial Aid

We provide varying levels of financial aid to make camp possible for everyone. All applicants are asked to pay the $75 deposit (refundable only if financial aid is unavailable). Financial Aid amounts are based on need and each family must complete a Financial Aid Application. Campership funds are limited; we encourage you to apply when you enroll in camp! We will continue to accept applications as funding allows.

We know the cost of living in the Bay Area can be challenging for many families. If you are struggling to pay for camp and your annual family income is under $150,000, we encourage you to apply for a partial campership.

If you are interested in applying for financial aid, your first step is to register your youth for camp. Once your youth is registered, please fill out our Financial Aid Application.

Meet Our Camp Staff

Brenda Jones, Summer Camp Director

Brenda grew up attending summer camps in her home state of Ohio where she thrived on the safe and supportive community cultivated at camp. She attended the same camp every year starting at age seven, working her way up from seasonal staff to the full-time Manager of Specialty Camp programs. Brenda’s first year at Hidden Villa was in 2017 where she served as the Resident Camp Program Head. Brenda has years of experience working professionally at ACA Accredited Camps as an Experiential Educator and Camp Program Manager. Brenda’s prior camp experience was focused on supportive programs for specialized populations including youth in foster care, youth experiencing homelessness, and youth with chronic illness. She is currently a Visitor for the American Camp Association and is beginning as a volunteer with SMC Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). She is excited to lead Hidden Villa’s summer staff and campers through the magical life-changing experiences that happen at camp.

 

Nick Coonrod, Teen Camps Manager

Nick has spent over twelve years in the environmental education and the interpretive field where he has had the pleasure of designing and building programs that introduce students to the wonder of the natural world throughout California & Latin America. Guiding others to achieve meaningful change in themselves and their communities is his passion. He sees his professional role as a bridge maker that translates people’s desire to create change into a direct, measurable impact. In 2019, Nick is proud to bring his energy and enthusiasm to Hidden Villa.

 

Jesse Taylor, Day Camp Coordinator

Jesse first came to Hidden Villa Summer Camp when he was 4 and has come every summer since. His time at Hidden Villa inspired him to get a degree in Animal Science from Cornell University and this supplied him with a wealth of knowledge that he was able to bring back and share with Hidden Villa youth each summer. In addition to taking classes, Jesse also taught classes on various kinds of wilderness exploration ranging from rock climbing to sea kayaking. Being responsible for the safety of students and campers in the back country drove him to get certified as a Wilderness First Responder so he could be better prepared for any situation that may arise. He spent each summer during college working as part of the Hidden Villa Summer Camp staff, culminating in his position as a Seasonal Director, before joining the year-round staff as a Youth Development Teacher and Day Camp Supervisor. Jesse is continuously drawn to Hidden Villa and of its legacy of making the outdoors an accessible space for people of all backgrounds.

Jordan Bass, Adventure Activities Coordinator

Jordan has always had a passion for food and, from an early age, he experimented with outlandish food combinations like peas and strawberry ice cream. This burgeoning enthusiasm led him to study Nutrition at Ithaca College. In addition, working at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in New York was a formative employment experience and solidified Jordan’s interest in sustainable food production. Additionally, as a senior, he and his mentor designed and taught an introductory nutrition and cooking skills course for non-health majors at Ithaca College. Being a teacher’s assistant in that class affirmed Jordan’s love of teaching about food in all aspects. Three weeks after graduating from college, Jordan came to Hidden Villa as a Farm and Wilderness counselor and Youth Development Intern. Building on his previous experience, Jordan is a valued member of the Hidden Villa community as a Youth Development Teacher and Day Camp Supervisor.

Seasonal Staff

Our camp staff is extraordinarily committed people who reflect the diversity of our camp participants. We intentionally hire staff who can create an inclusive, fun environment that promotes a sense of belonging. Our staff members participate in an intensive, hands-on training that covers topics such as, working with youth in developmentally appropriate ways, encouraging respect for all, ways to address and prevent bullying, and creating an emotionally as well as physically safe environment. Additionally, the majority of camp staff are certified in CPR & First Aid. We love working with youth and take our responsibility seriously.

Join our camp staff

Check back on November 15 to apply to join our camp family. Job listings will be posted here and in our Job Opportunities page.

FAQ

GENERAL INFORMATION:

Is Hidden Villa Summer Camp an Accredited Camp?

Yes! Hidden Villa Summer Camp has been in operation since 1945 and is accredited by the American Camp Association, the organization which sets standards for camps nationwide. This accreditation ensures that we comply with up to 300 health, safety, and program-quality standards.

How are your counselors selected?

Our fantastic summer counselors come from all over the country and around the world. They are hired as a result of an extensive application and interview process, which includes references. Once hired, our counselors are required to be fingerprinted and background-checked by the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the National Sex Offenders Registry. An average of 40% of our counselors return from previous years at Hidden Villa. Counselors must be certified in First Aid and CPR, and they must also attend up to two weeks of orientation at Hidden Villa.

Who are Hidden Villa campers? Is this an inclusive camp?

Hidden Villa campers come from all over the Bay Area and around the world so that your youth has a broad, multicultural experience. In the tradition in which Hidden Villa was founded, we greatly value diversity and the richness that it lends the camp experience. As such, we weave mutual respect and understanding into our camp activities and make every effort to ensure our spaces are inclusive to people of all identities. We support an individual’s right to keep sex-assigned at birth confidential and will make housing placements based on gender identity. Gender-neutral bathrooms are readily available or available by request in all common spaces. If you have concerns about your camper being included at camp, please contact the Camp Office.

Housing at Camp

With the exception of campers in Outdoor Innovators, all other overnight campers will spend some, if not all, of their time at camp sleeping under the stars. Our outdoor sleeping spaces are non-gendered, unless otherwise stated.

What if my child wants to attend camp with a friend?

Camp is a wonderful place to make new friends! Hidden Villa Summer Camp brings youth together from different backgrounds to learn and have fun together! In keeping with our mission and to help create an inclusive atmosphere for all, we do not take requests to place a camper in the same group as a buddy. Campers in the same program have opportunities to get together with their friends during mealtimes, pool-time, and some free-choice activities over the course of the camp session, but we do not fulfill requests to place children in groups or cabins with their friends.

How do I communicate with my child while they are at camp?

Our Summer Camp program encourages growth, independence, and confidence-building. Therefore, we prefer that campers spend their time enjoying nature, making friends, and broadening their horizons, rather than emailing or making phone calls, therefore we do not allow campers to make phone calls home nor will they have internet access. Parents are encouraged to send letters or one-way emails to stay in touch with their campers. Details about communication with your camper will be in your Welcome Packet.

REGISTRATION QUESTIONS:

How do I register?

Registration opens online in late January. Due to the popularity of Hidden Villa camps, we encourage you to enroll when registration opens. Our goal is to offer our programs to as many youth as possible. As a result, campers can only attend one session per summer. If the session you want is full, you will be added to the waitlist for that session at no cost to you.

How does the waitlist work?

Openings can become available at any time from January until the Thursday prior to the beginning of each camp session. When space becomes available in camp, families on the waitlist are contracted by email. You will have 24-72 hours to make the required deposit or tuition payment, depending on how close it is to the start of camp. Although we could contact you at any time, most of our waitlist movement occurs in May and June.

PREPARING FOR CAMP:

What if my child gets homesick?

It’s normal for campers to miss home while they’re away for camp. If you or your camper are concerned with homesickness, there are some key things you can do ahead of time that will help prevent intense homesickness and help your camper enjoy a full camp experience! These include:

  • practicing separation prior to camp for a long weekend
  • experimenting with coping strategies during these separations
  • discussing the importance of staying busy and active while at camp
  • encouraging them to talk to their counselor when they feel homesick

What do I pack for my child?

Each of our programs requires different preparations for camp. For your camper’s suggested packing list (including what NOT to bring!), please refer to your welcome packet. Please note: We are an electronics-free camp! Time at Hidden Villa Summer Camp is an opportunity to unplug, make new friends, and enjoy time in nature. Please leave all electronic devices at home.

    Summer Camp

  • Bay to Sea Backpacking

    Explore the wilderness of the Santa Cruz Mountains on our Bay to Sea backpacking trip. Campers will hike from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Pacific Ocean!
    Price: $1,520.00
    Duration: 2 Weeks
  • Counselors in Training

    A 4-week program for those who have completed our Leaders in Training program. This program begins with two weeks of on-the-job training alongside experienced mentors and then a two week paid internship.
    Price: $850.00
    Duration: 2 Weeks + 2 Week Paid Internship
  • Day Camp

    For ages 4 - 14. In our newly expanded Day Camp programs, youth ages 4 to 14 meet our animals, explore the natural environment, and engage their creativity through age-appropriate activities.
    Price: $475.00
    Duration: 1 Week
  • Farm & Wilderness Camp

    As Farm and Wilderness campers, teens build a strong sense of community and efficacy. Campers explore the outdoors with their peers while hiking, camping, and caring for our animals.
    Price: $1,510.00
    Duration: 2 Weeks
  • Leaders in Training

    This 3-week residential program is for young people who are interested in and ready for the responsibility of caring for children in a camp environment while passing on the Hidden Villa legacy of social and environmental justice.
    Price: $1,310.00
    Duration: 2 weeks + 1 week internship
  • Outdoor Innovators

    This program is specially designed for younger campers coming to sleep away camp for the first time. Youth begin to build their creativity and outdoor skills as they adventure through this 5-day overnight camp experience.
    Price: $620.00
    Duration: 5 Days
  • Rez Camp

    Each day is action-packed with fun farm activities. Campers in Rez Camp will flex their independence in daily choice activities and develop a sense of responsibility by caring for our farm and animals.
    Price: $1,400.00
    Duration: 2 Weeks