Empower 400 Youth to Make a More Peaceful Tomorrow

 
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Oct 8, 2014

Summer Camp

The Youth Take on The Elements
The Youth Take on The Elements
It is quiet here at Hidden Villa now that camp is over, the days are shorter and school has begun. This summer was another wonderful summer full of new experience, old friendships and the burning embers of change on the horizon.
 
We started a new program this summer in partnership with The Alpine of the Americas Project. Eleven campers got the opportunity to embark on an 18 day epic backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park. They began their hike from Hetch Hetchy hiking through the destruction of last year's Rim Fire. While they got personal with the destructive power of wildfire, they also got to experience nature's ambition with fields of Lupin. The trail took them through the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne and to Mt. Lyell. As they stood at the base, of the now stagnant glacier, they were able to experience the dwindling resource of San Francisco's water. 
 
These campers finished their hike in Yosemite Valley after summiting Cloud's Rest and volunteering in the park removing invasive plants. When they returned to Hidden Villa after their long, three week journey, all they would say in response to "How was it?" was "AMAZING!" with facial expressions of awe as they reflected on all the memories and sights they had seen. The good bye at the end of the three weeks was long and tear-filled as they were all reluctant to leave and put an end to this life changing experience.
"I deeply appreciate having a place that always feels like home. After 15 years I have made so many memories here that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Hidden Villa has on a few occasions been the light at the end of some very dark tunnels. My friends have become a family and the things that I have learned about others and myself have helped to form the woman I am today. I wish I could accurately put this much love into words, but since I can't, I am grateful to have the opportunity to share this gift of Hidden Villa with new youth, hopefully for many years to come." - Sierra Backpacking Camper
This is the opportunity of Hidden Villa Summer Camp. Beyond the ability to engage campers in conversation and experiences on the farm we now have now taken them into the world and developed a stronger sense of awe for human and natural beauty. Thank you for supporting Hidden Villa in making these opportunities accessible to youth in our community.
Field of Lupin
Field of Lupin

Links:

Jul 19, 2014

Summer Camp Grows Leaders and Change-Makers

Seth leading 2013 ACT participants in chores
Seth leading 2013 ACT participants in chores

Hidden Villa Summer Camp is known to bring diverse campers together to enjoy all kinds of exciting activities on the farm and in our wilderness area. In the midst of song-singing, food-harvesting, or cow-milking, something profound happens between campers. But the experience ripples beyond the campers to the Summer Camp counselors. These young people are introduced to a toolkit of communication skills, curriculum development abilites and leadership opportunities. The way that camp is set-up allows campers to transition into Assistant Counselors in Training (ACT), and then on to serve as counselors. Seth and Keili are great examples of the way that Hidden Villa summer camp is creating leaders of all ages.


Kinder Camp is Hidden Villa's newest offering and engages the youngest generation of earth stewards in hands-on fun with the farm and the natural world. Seth is the perfect fit for guiding leaders of tomorrow as the Program Head for Kinder Camp. He brings 17 years of Hidden Villa summer camp experience as both a camper and counselor and knows how to boogie on down to a good camp song. Seth is also training new camp counselors and shaping the program to hold true to Hidden Villa Summer Camp values: environment, family, diversity, farm & food, and identity. “We believe that sharing these values will help encourage the cultivation of empathy. I’m excited to build the foundation for Kinder Camp and watch the kids come back year after year.”

Keili first came to Hidden Villa summer camp at the age of 8. She is now 22 and the Program Head for Residential Summer Camp. That kind of dedication has earned her the honored "lifer" title here at Hidden Villa.“HV Summer Camp always felt like home to me, and I loved that the counselors created a safe space for us to be ourselves. That is what inspired me to be a counselor and now the Program Head for Residential Camp. It makes me happy to know that my family is creating our own legacy here: I first came here on scholarship and now my parents donate to the scholarship fund to share this place.  Plus, my two younger siblings are in Kinder Camp and Day Camp this summer.”

We're happy to have such great leaders on our summer camp staff team and we appreciate your support in collaborating with us to make it all possible.

Keili facilitating a reflection in the wilderness
Keili facilitating a reflection in the wilderness

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Apr 24, 2014

High School Aged Youth Learn to Farm

Rinsing Carrots for Shareboxes
Rinsing Carrots for Shareboxes

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

This is a proverb perfectly mirrors the experience that high-school aged youth get when they participate in Hidden Villa’s summer camp program, Farm Academy. This 3 or 6 week apprenticeship combines field-based instruction with hands-on experience in sustainable organic farming. Working alongside the Hidden Villa agriculture team participants are exposed to progressive food production practices and philosophies. They learn about irrigation techniques, the science of soil, pest, and disease management, as well as environmental and social issues in agriculture.

“In school we learn biology, physics, chemistry, but not much about agriculture. At Farm Academy we’re learning where our food comes from, which is important because everyone has to eat. You can go to school all your life without knowing where your meat or vegetables come from. We see how much work it takes and understand why there are people that are standing up for farmworker rights.” – 2013 Farm Academy Participant.

Gaining the skills and experience in farming techniques is an important aspect to Farm Academy, but equally important is recognizing the way that food brings us together. Participants harvest and cook for a weekly potluck, bringing together volunteers, staff, and community members. They prepare and harvest for weekly Community Supported Agriculture shareboxes, donations to the Community Services Agency of Mountain View, and for the Los Altos Farmer’s Market. Farm Academy participants see the full cycle of the season from farm, to market and table.

We are excited for our upcoming Farm Academy and feel privileged to be teaching young people to grow food, for themselves and others for a lifetime.

Helping at Farmer
Helping at Farmer's Market with Farm Interns

Links:

Jan 25, 2014

New Summer Camp Programs for Kids and Teens!

Friendship, Respect for Nature, and Fun!
Friendship, Respect for Nature, and Fun!

Summer Camp registration began last week, which means we’re gearing up for our 69th year of Hidden Villa summer camps. Each summer, campers of diverse ethnicities, economic status, religions, and family structures come together to enjoy a wide range of exciting activities, farm life and wilderness exploration. In the midst of song-singing and game-playing, something profound takes place at camp. Young people learn what it means to live in community. They develop greater multicultural understanding and appreciation, resolve conflicts peacefully, cultivate independence, and overcome personal challenges. Lifelong friendships begin here, and campers take with them a new sense of awe for natural beauty.

This year we are excited to offer a wider variety of camp options for young people. Kinder Camp, offered for children ages 4-5, will explore and discover Hidden Villa’s farm and surrounding natural beauty. From the garden to the barn, from the pasture to the kitchen, campers will play and learn in a small group setting. This is a great, hands-on learning opportunity for the young and curious.

Another new offering for summer 2014 is our Sierra Backpacking Trip. During this trip backpackers will join the Alpines of the Americas Project to hike in Yosemite National Park. After spending the first two days at Hidden Villa, the group will spend 15 days exploring San Francisco’s water source; starting at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, hiking into Tuolumne Meadows, and ending in Yosemite Valley! Along the way the group will transform into citizen scientists to recreate historic photos, volunteer with the National Park Service, and return to the farm with memories that last a lifetime.

We are excited to meet our campers this summer, new and old, who will be stewards of our natural environment and help us create a just and sustainable future.

Links:

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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Organization

Hidden Villa

Los Altos Hills, CA, United States
http://www.hiddenvilla.org

Project Leader

Tenaya Schnare

Development Associate
Los Altos Hills, California United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Empower 400 Youth to Make a More Peaceful Tomorrow