Hidden Villa

Hidden Villa's mission is to inspire a just and sustainable future through our programs, land and legacy. As part of Hidden Villa's commitment to social justice, we provide over $350,000 on scholarship and partnership support. Guiding Principles We deliver a wide variety of relevant educational experiences that teach respect for the environment and for each other. We encourage program participation from diverse communities. We engage diverse voices of the community in the design, implementation, delivery, and evaluation of programs and services. We build alliances, internally and externally, between people, programs, and diverse communities to optimize resources and deepen our impact. W...
Nov 4, 2013

Summer Camp Beyond the Season

Day Camp Puppet Show
Day Camp Puppet Show

With the change in temperature and the turn of the leaves, we tansition from the end of summer and begin preparations for the next. As with the end of anything impactful and marvelous, we celebrate the summer before closing the door. This summer we served 1,164 campers with 37% of residential campers attending on scholarship.

Our day campers enjoyed puppet shows on Fridays in the house built by our founders, Josephine and Frank Duveneck. Our residential campers learned to care for farm animals while stretching their own sense of self, independence and responsibility.  Bay 2 Sea campers experienced team building, self awareness and environmental stewardship while on a ten day backpacking trip.  One camper reflected their experience of the backpacking trip by stating:

"During Bay 2 Sea, I realized that we count on nature and I learned to respect it. …For once I didn’t care how I looked or smelled and I was able to just be myself. …There is no team bonding better than hiking 55 miles with only each other for company & entertainment. I have never been as happy as the moment that my bare feet touched the sea after nine days of backpacking. We were holding hands, laughing, singing and smiling like we were on top of the world. I will never forget that moment for as long as I live."

It is these stories and life events that make a summer at Hidden Villa unforgettable and give us the motivation and excitement to begin working on creating space for another group of young leaders to inspire and just and sustainable future through our programs, land and legacy.

Residential Camp Animal Chores
Residential Camp Animal Chores

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Aug 29, 2013

From Fields to Families

Fresh cucumbers and basil
Fresh cucumbers and basil

There is nothing quite like getting your hands into the soil and spending a warm summer morning volunteering with our CSA crew. After going over details of the morning’s tasks, myself and fellow volunteers were directed to rows of melons and tomatoes to begin clearing weeds and as we worked, we learned why this tedious task was so important to keeping our crops productive and healthy. Not only did I get to know the land that I was working on, but I also got to know the people that I was working with. As we continued to zig-zag down each row, I was able to learn a little bit more about our volunteers and what motivates them to come out to Hidden Villa. Whether an employee, volunteer, or visitor, many of us share a common interest to connect with the natural world and feel a sense of responsibility to take care of this space for future generations.

That same week, I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Mountain View Community Services Agency, whom we partner with to provide about 25% of our produce to their Food and Nutrition Center, which is then distributed to over 4,800 low-income residents. I was excited to see first-hand how this figure makes an impact on the community. As I was led back to the Food and Nutrition Center’s distribution area, I instantly recognized our bright yellow bins full of cucumber, kale, squash, fennel and fresh basil. While walking through the different food stations, I was told that members loved coming on produce day because they have never tasted vegetables as good as the ones that come from Hidden Villa. In addition to donated produce, the Food and Nutrition Center also makes sure that the shelves are stocked with staple items such as rice, beans, bread and pasta to offer a balanced diet and easy preparation.

I couldn’t wait to throw on an apron and help out in any way that I could. Stationed at the check-out area, I made sure that baskets were full of the number of items each member was allowed to have and offered any assistance if they had questions about the produce. Not a single person passed through the check-out without a smile on their face and as I smiled back, I could not only see the impact that this partnership has in supporting the local community, but I could feel it. Spending time in the field with our CSA crew and volunteering with the CSA of Mountain View’s Food Bank gave me a great sense of appreciation for the amount of work that many folks contribute toward improving the lives of fellow community members.  

"We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest."- Orison Swett Marden

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Aug 12, 2013

The Mystery Behind the Magic

Day Campers!
Day Campers!

We are familiar with the magic of Hidden Villa's Summer Camp programs. The undercurrent of intention and powerful energy guiding these programs reveals this mystery.  

A Residential camper pops a sour grape in her mouth as she pokes her head in the secret grape hut. Inside, her chore group is cooling off while chatting about how the 1965 grape strike and boycott influenced pesticide policies throughout california and the standard of living for farm workers nationally.  

Meanwhile atop Black Mountain, Farm and Wilderness campers are creating common ground.  Through a ceremony of sharing vulnerabilities, the twenty-four teens discover that they are not alone.  "I feel closer to you guys then my friends I've had my whole life," reflects one F&W camper.  "I want to try and build this at home."

In Tipi Camp a similar nurturing community built upon curiosity and respect is being cultivated. A 9 year old camper told his mother about "learning to be an ally, how its better to use an 'I' statement and not a 'you' statement, and the gender roles exercise. Then he summed up in this way: "Its not the other camps I've gone to, you don't just do crafts and learn archery, its like a 'how to live a good life' camp.""

Thank you for giving youth the opportunity to discover membership in a community united around positive change.

Campers head out for backpacking
Campers head out for backpacking
Daily Chores: bottle feeding baby goats
Daily Chores: bottle feeding baby goats

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