Hidden Villa 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 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.
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.
Summer Camp 2021
We’ll be looking for folks to join our team for the 2021 Summer. If you’re interested in joining our team, click here to receive updates on our seasonal hiring and be the first to know when applications open! If you have any questions about Summer Camp 2021 hiring please email email@example.com.
Learn more about camp!
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 positive change in our families, communities, and world.
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.
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.
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 receive training and support to introduce these topics in ways that are relevant and age-appropriate.
Registration & Financial Information
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.
Please note that campers may only attend one session per summer in order to accommodate as many families as possible throughout our summer season.
How do I register?
Please note registration timing as some of our camps fill up quickly! 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.
Preparing for Registration
We strongly encourage you to login to your account PRIOR to registration to update your family’s information, which will speed your process on registration day. Please take your time and ensure your information is accurate, as our camp staff and health care professionals use it throughout the camp season.
Update Prior to Registration
1) Visit our online camp registration system here.
2) Login using this email and your password from last year (or reset, if needed).
3) On the right side of the page, under Account Members, update all personal information, including address, phone number, school attending, etc. Add anyone in your family who is missing.Create or Update Account
On Registration Day
Once registration opens, you will have an opportunity to register your child(ren). You will then receive a confirmation email letting you know if you are registered for a session or on a waitlist. It is not uncommon to end up on a waitlist even if you are online right as the sessions open, as some of our camps are small and fill extremely quickly. If this is the case, please know that we often see movement on our waitlists throughout the spring and you will be automatically emailed if a space becomes available for your child. As these openings are time-sensitive, we encourage you to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contacts so that you do not miss an opportunity to enroll.
Please note: the camp office phone lines will only be attended from 12pm to 5pm on Registration Day. We will return unanswered calls the following week during normal business hours. If you have questions about camp, please contact us now and we’ll be happy to help 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. Most of our waitlist movement occurs in May and June although we could contact you at any time.
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 is available on a limited basis, by request, for all youth and families with financial need. Applications will be thoughtfully considered on a case by case basis and we will notify you as soon as possible of your scholarship amount. In line with our camp values of inclusion, equity and accessibility, we strongly encourage children/youth who have experienced marginalization or underrepresentation to apply.
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.
During the 2019 summer camp season, thanks to community support, we provided nearly $200,000 in scholarship for campers.
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.
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.
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.
Join our camp staff!
We are now hiring for summer camp positions! Job listings are posted on our Job Opportunities page.
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. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and available for the entire summer (see below for exact dates). Positions available include camp counselors, lifeguards, adventure activity specialists, program coordinators, and more! Interviews will begin at the start of the new year and positions fill up quickly. Please direct any questions about summer camp jobs to our camp hiring team at email@example.com. Join us in inspiring the next generation of change-makers!
Check back soon for details about joining our Team!
Housing at Camp
Outdoor Innovators sleep in 4 unique tent-like structures in the ‘beach’ campsite. These structures are temporary structures that are lined with tarp bottoms. Each camper is provided a camp mattress to cozy up their stay. Campers in this program are separated by gender identity.
Our Residential Community Campers sleep either in our cabin community or outside in our historic Bluff and Vale campsites. The youngest campers in each session are placed inside in our Hostel Cabin Community while the oldest campers get to venture out to experience the wonder of the great outdoors. All campers in this program are provided a bed with a mattress whether indoors or outdoors. The Cabin Community is divided by gender identity while outdoor spaces are gender-neutral. All campers in this program go on an overnight hike, spending the night in Hidden Villa’s wilderness.
Farm & Wilderness Campers live in primitive Hollow Oak campsite, an inclusive and gender-neutral communal space. These campers sleep under the stars on ground tarps for a full wilderness immersion experience. Farm & Wilderness campers also venture out on a three day, two-night backpacking trip during their time at camp.
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.
Health & Safety
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.
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.
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 workshop 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.
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.
A Day In The Life
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.
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.
- Farm Chores
- Rainbow Tag
- No-Fire Campfire
- Trashion Show
- And more…
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.
- For questions about registration or general questions about our camp program please contact Alisa Moore or Amzi Maya Lopez at 650-949-8641.
- For questions about any of our Day Camp Programs please contact Jesse Taylor at 650-949-8642.
- For questions about any of our Teen Programs including LIT/CIT, Bay to Sea , F&W, and Teen Day Camp please contact Jesse Taylor at 650-949-8606.
- For questions requiring director assistance or related to Summer Camp hiring, please contact Brenda Jones at 650-949-8607
*Please note that we receive a high volume of calls during the summer and many of us are often away from our phones spending time in the great outdoors with our campers. If you have an urgent or time-sensitive matter during the summer season please contact our Camp Administration team: Alisa Moore or Amzi Maya Lopez at 650-949-8641.
Day CampFor grades K-9. In our newly expanded Day Camp programs, youth meet our animals, explore the natural environment, and engage their creativity through age-appropriate activities. Extended care is included in your registration.Price: $575.00Duration: 1 Week
Overnight: Bay to Sea BackpackingYouth entering grades 10 - 12 in the Fall will 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: $1,800.00Duration: 2 Weeks
Overnight: Counselors in TrainingA 4-week program for those who have completed our Leaders in Training program and are entering 12th grade in the Fall. This program begins with two weeks of on-the-job training alongside experienced mentors and then a two week paid internship.Price: $900.00Duration: 2 Weeks + 2 Week Paid Internship
Overnight: Farm & Wilderness CampAs Farm and Wilderness campers, youth entering grades 8 - 10 in the Fall will build a strong sense of community and efficacy. Campers explore the outdoors with their peers while hiking, camping, and caring for our animals.Price: $1,575.00Duration: 2 Weeks
Overnight: Leaders in TrainingThis 3-week residential program is for youth entering grades 11 and 12 in the Fall, and 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: $1,325.00Duration: 2 weeks + 1 week internship
Overnight: Outdoor InnovatorsThis program is specially designed for youth entering grades 4 and 5, 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: $750.00Duration: 5 Days
Overnight: Residential Community CampEach day is action-packed with fun farm activities for youth entering grades 5 - 7 in the Fall. Campers in Residential Community Camp will flex their independence in daily choice activities and develop a sense of responsibility by caring for our farm and animals.Price: $1,500.00Duration: 2 Weeks