One of our greatest rewards at Hidden Villa Summer Camp is the pleasure of seeing campers returning year after year and growing through our programs. Each arrival day we see many familiar faces—campers a little taller than the previous year, perhaps, but at home in their surroundings and vibrant with anticipation of another Hidden Villa camp experience. The most remarkable changes are often visible in our older youth, as we witness the transformation from intrepid Tipi Campers and lively Resident Campers into thoughtful and confident young people.
Over our 68 years as a Summer Camp, Hidden Villa has created a progressive learning experience. Along with challenging themselves in an outdoor environment, our Farm & Wilderness Campers are encouraged to look deeply within themselves and outward into the world around them.
The Camp Youth Leadership Training encompasses a Bay to Sea backpacking trip, and two consecutive summers of ACT, our counselor-in-training program, empowering growing campers to be youth leaders at Camp and elsewhere. Many campers return year after year, some even graduating and joining the Hidden Villa staff. Fully half of our spaces for older youth are dedicated to scholarship campers, and it’s inspiring to know the perspectives brought to all of our campers by those scholarship recipients who go on to become a part of our summer staff.
These three leadership programs challenge teenagers to broaden their sense of themselves either by embracing a new outdoor adventures or beginning to lead younger campers. Participants work with mentors and build friendships in a beautiful outdoor setting, “Frank’s Garden” alongside Adobe Creek, while learning leadership skills that will empower them to make positive changes in themselves, their communities and the world.
With a 2012 campwide enrollment of 1183, our largest ever, we were able to provide $165,000 in financial aid, with close to 40% of our residential campers receiving assistance. We were excited to welcome 155 campers into our programs for youth entering 8th-12th grades. We received the following from the parent of a camper embarking upon her sixth summer at Hidden Villa Summer Camp
“I wanted to just say a quick, once again, thanks! You and the Hidden Villa staff clearly have some kind of magic going on up there. I've never seen so many happy TEENAGE faces as I saw today! The girls were beside themselves last night as they talked about camp and how thrilled they were that it was "finally here!" …I am an education researcher and used to be in the classroom teaching, and I have never seen such excited teens as I saw when we drove up today. I also had to laugh today when, at breakfast, the girls started already discussing next summer, and being counselors in training next summer, leading to counselors as they get older! So thank you to everyone for making summer special, and making lifetime memories.”
We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of you who make camp possible for children and youth regardless of their economic circumstances. It is because of your support that we are able to help young people of all backgrounds build the confidence, communication skills and appreciation of natural and human beauty they need to succeed and become the leaders of tomorrow.
If you are inspired by what you read here, we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at (650) 949-9702 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more, share your story and find out how you can connect with Hidden Villa's work and programs. For farm fresh recipes from our Agriculture Crew, inspiring reflections on social and environmental justice from Hidden Villa interns and staff, gorgeous photographs and more, please visit our blog and website. Thank you for your partnership, support and important work to inspire a more just and sustainable future. We look forward to connecting with you soon!
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