Empower 400 Youth to Make a More Peaceful Tomorrow

by Hidden Villa
Sierra Backpacking Program
Sierra Backpacking Program

We wanted to thank you all for your support of our project to Empower 400 Youth to Make a More Peaceful Tomorrow. We've reached our goal and are happy to deactivate this project from Global Giving. If you would like to continue giving through Global Giving, we are amazingly grateful. There are two other Hidden Villa projects that you can support. Luckily, there are so many other wonderful ways that you can stay involved in Hidden Villa and our programs. We'd love to see you on the farm or check out our website, Facebook, or Twitter.

Thanks again for all of the great support!

Art at Hidden Villa Summer Camp
Art at Hidden Villa Summer Camp
Campers Caring for the Animals
Campers Caring for the Animals


Getting Youth out of Their Everyday Lives
Getting Youth out of Their Everyday Lives

Thank you for your support of Hidden Villa programs. You've helped us reach our goal for supporting the empowerment of 400 youth to make a more peaceful tomorrow.

At Hidden Villa it is our goal to get youth out of their everyday life; having new experiences and building community in a learning environment that promotes social justice. Youth come to Hidden Villa and are given a unique farm and wilderness experience that gives them the ability to try new things and learn about themselves in a new way. New and shared experiences are the building blocks from which common ground is built. Youth can come to Hidden Villa from radically different backgrounds and find connection through the agreement that pigs smell or the challenge of hiking a steep trail together.

Following the legacy of our Founders, Frank and Josephine Duveneck, our programs capitalize on the unity shared experience develops; however we also create a community and environment passionate about learning by engaging our youth in intentional conversations on Race and Gender. These conversations often involve an experiential learning component where youth explore a topic through an interactive experience. The activity debrief guides the individual through their own self-reflection and critical analysis of the experience. This promotes the development of empathy and self-awareness.

We hope you will continue to support our other Hidden Villa programs posted here on Global Giving or through our website (www.hiddenvilla.org).

Happy New Year!


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


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


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



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Organization Information

Hidden Villa

Location: Los Altos Hills, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.hiddenvilla.org
Project Leader:
Tenaya Schnare
Development Associate
Los Altos Hills, California United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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