Empower 400 Youth to Make a More Peaceful Tomorrow

by Hidden Villa
Aug 23, 2012

The Summer Camp Experience: Building Community Across Lines of Difference

Hidden Villa is a very special place to me. I've learned so much from the staff community, campers, environment, and feel honored to be a part of the Duveneck Family legacy that is truly lived every day at Hidden Villa. I have been working here for the past three summers and this summer I am the Seasonal Programs Manager.

The other day while walking down the farm and I heard a camp song in the distance. I looked around and saw a group from Day Camp coming up the road. They were adorned with flowers of every color and smiles that were contagious. A young boy stopped and removed a purple flower from a large bouquet he had picked. He handed the flower to me, saying he and his friends were spreading love around camp by giving out appreciation flowers, and he wanted me to know that I was appreciated. These simple, yet heartfelt moments are often the most powerful interactions at camp. Young people begin to see the positive impact they can have on the world. Campers come from diverse socio-economic, racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. Coming from a wide array of perspectives, these moments take on a larger meaning. Hidden Villa nurtures young leaders who are equipped with empathy and the ability to appreciate and recognize the unique contributions of each community member.

Early this summer, a group of Rez Camp and Farm & Wilderness campers joined forces to play an exciting and creative game of Rainbow Tag. Ten groups were created, each with five campers and a counselor to facilitate discussion and decision-making among the team members. The object of the game was for each camper group to find and tag every color of the rainbow while keeping the entire group together. Campers learned to cooperate and achieve as a team, while also having a ton of fun singing songs, running around outside and chasing staff representing all colors of the rainbow.

After the game, we formed a circle on the lawn. We appreciated each other for leadership and communication skills and concluded that we were all winners since we had so much fun running around, singing songs, and collecting colors together. We closed by singing one of Josephine Duveneck's favorite songs, "Peace", as we do most nights at Hidden Villa. From the hills I gather courage, visions of the day to be, strength to lead and faith to follow, all are given unto me. Peace I ask of thee oh River, Peace, Peace, Peace.

Hidden Villa brings people together from different communities and backgrounds. Every summer a unique community of staff members create a camp program that teaches compassion, tolerance, and respect for each other and our world. Hidden Villa is a safe space, a retreat from the day-to-day chaos, where you can be exactly who you want to be, in beautiful natural surroundings, while being supported and cared for. Not only do the campers learn from us, but we learn from the campers and each other. The Duveneck legacy is still very much the heart of Hidden Villa as we all evolve together into the leaders of tomorrow.

I cannot imagine what my life would be like today without Hidden Villa or the amazing community we are so fortunate to be a part of. Thank you so much for making this diverse community possible by supporting our Summer Camp scholarship fund. Building community across lines of difference is critical to creating a world where all people are empowered and invited to participate. Without your support, we would not be able to provide the learning spaces where campers of all backgrounds grow into creative thinkers and empathetic leaders. We are deeply grateful to be supported by a community of such thoughtful and conscientious friends.



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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

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