Thank you so much for joining us for the 2023 Summer Camp Season! It was a fun-filled and mission-focused summer. We hope to see you next year! Please check back in the next couple of months for an update on our 2024 Camp season.
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.
Learn more about our age groups, program sessions, and camp activities.
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.
- 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. Explore open positions on our website.
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
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.
- 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 2023 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.
- For questions about registration or general questions about our camp program, please call (650) 949-8607 or email [email protected].
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.