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 wilderness and farm activities, fostering leadership skills and responsibility, and 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. Our summer camp program remains rooted in the Duveneck family legacy of social justice and environmental stewardship, 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.
We achieve this through focusing on the following core themes as the foundation of our curriculum, sharing them in ways that are relevant and age-appropriate to each program:
- Environmental Stewardship
- Race & Class
- Farm & Food
- Duveneck Family Legacy
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.
2022 Summer Camp Update
Registration is now closed.
We have been hard at work putting together all of the moving pieces to have one of our best summers yet! This summer, we look forward to welcoming campers aged 5 and up into our day, teen, and overnight programs.
PLEASE NOTE: All incoming campers must be up to date with vaccinations including COVID-19 (fully vaccinated and boosted if eligible).
Please visit our Health and Safety page to learn more about how we support a safe and fun summer camp experience.
If you know someone who might be a great counselor, lifeguard, trip leader, or role model and leader, send them our way!
Learn more about our age groups, program sessions, and camp activities.
Meet our Camp Staff
Philip James, Summer Camp Director
Philip James, aka SonShine, has been a Youth Development champion working in Summer Camps for the past 15 years. He has served as the Director of Boys Camp programs with the American Youth Foundation at Camp Miniwanca and Program and Community Coordinator and Camp Director with Project Morry/Morry’s Camp. He is passionate about working with youth and youth development professionals towards creating more inclusive and equitable spaces for all people regardless of their race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Philip aims to create a safe space for youth where they can be surrounded by a network of support that helps them to reach their goals, realize their potential, and take that confidence and experience back to various communities.
Noemi Elias, Assistant Camp Director
Noemi “Mimi” Elias was born in Santa Rosa, CA and was raised in various places around the Bay Area and the Chicago suburbs throughout her life. As the second person in her family to graduate high school and the first to graduate college, Mimi made it her life mission to always give back to the community around her. Furthermore, being the only US citizen in her family during a time of political uncertainty resulted in Mimi spending most of her undergraduate career at UC Berkeley focused on upholding basic human rights for immigrant survivors of domestic violence, wage theft, and immigrant detention. Mimi has developed a strong sense of connection to the natural world and honors the Ohlone nation with the utmost respect. She upholds the inherent preciousness of the land that makes it all possible, and believes every little leaf of a tree and grain of sand on a beach are integral to the life of something, no matter how small. In her free time she likes to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, go searching for fields of cows by Point Reyes, sit at the side of a beach until the sun goes down, write, or listen to podcasts.
Jesse Taylor, Youth Development Manager
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 backcountry 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 Manager and Day Camp Supervisor. Jesse is continuously drawn to Hidden Villa and its legacy of making the outdoors an accessible space for people of all backgrounds.
Alisa Moore, Programs Administrator
Alisa comes to Hidden Villa with 20+ years of non-profit program development and management serving children and families through foster care and adoption. Alisa brings her strong commitment to equity, accessibility, and inclusion to her role as camp registrar and is thrilled to work with a passionate and dedicated group of colleagues, striving to make the world a better place for every body. In her free time, Alisa enjoys flower and vegetable gardening, cooking, dancing, writing, and traveling. Alisa is also a parent. Camp changed her adolescent son’s outlook on life in a deeply positive way, so she appreciates the profound impact that camp provides for children’s self-esteem, confidence, and sense of belonging.
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 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.
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. Counselors must be certified in First Aid and CPR, and they must also attend up to two weeks of orientation at Hidden Villa.
Seasonal Camp Staff Expectations
- Our seasonal camp staff plays a huge role in the success of our summer program! All seasonal camp staff will live on-site at Hidden Villa and be expected to uphold and maintain a culture that keeps all members of our community safe and healthy. They will receive training and be experts in Hidden Villa Summer Camp’s health and safety protocol.
- Camp staff will be required to wear masks/face-coverings when on-duty unless they are sufficiently distant from others, alone in an office, eating, sleeping, or swimming.
- Camp staff will be tested multiple times throughout the summer season.
- Our camp staff lives at camp for the entire summer season!
Join our camp staff!
We are looking for fun and creative individuals who are passionate about youth work to deliver a high-quality social and environmental justice camp experience to our Hidden Villa campers. We are hiring for summer camp! Job listings will be posted on our Job Opportunities page. For questions about hiring, email [email protected]
We develop young leaders who are committed to social and environmental justice and are equipped with a sense of awe for natural and human beauty, tools for non-violent, multi-cultural community-building, as well as the confidence to make a positive change in our families, communities, and world.
Our core themes of environmental stewardship, race and class, farm and food, LGBTQ+, and the Duveneck Family legacy serve as the foundation of our curriculum. Staff receives training and support to introduce these topics in ways that are relevant and age-appropriate.
A Day In The Life
Research for a Safe Camp
In the midst of this unprecedented season of summer camp, we have looked to experts in public health and the camping industry to create our best practice plan for Hidden Villa Summer Camp this season. See below for links to the resources we are utilizing as we create our plans for Summer 2022.
- American Camp Association Field Guide
- This guidebook informs everything from sleeping arrangements to activity safety instructions. The American Camp Association knows camp and they worked with experts in public health (Environmental Health & Engineering) to create this resource for camps. At Hidden Villa, we are working to implement all of the best practices from this essential resource.
- American Camp Association COVID-19 Resources for Camps
- The American Camp Association is keeping camps informed and up-to-date with their COVID-19 resources for camps. Beyond the ACA’s Field Guide, this is our camp’s go-to page for camp planning and decision-making tools for the 2021 season.
- Association for Camp Nursing
- The Association for Camp Nursing is our resource for sample forms and the latest medical information for screening, testing, and staff-training materials as we plan for a safe and healthy summer.
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 to 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.
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.
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.
Camp Readiness Survey
Below is a survey intended to help parents determine whether their camper (young or old) is ready for summer camp. The survey was developed by Bob Ditter, a child and family therapist. This information is offered to assist you as the parent, in seeing what your child’s needs are and to find a camp that best fits your child.
Our High Standards
Hidden Villa Summer Camp is accredited by the American Camp Association. This accreditation ensures that we comply with up to 300 health, safety, and program quality standards, undergoing a thorough peer review of our operation — from staff qualifications and training to emergency management.