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Inside Scoop on Hidden Villa Summer Camp: Q&A with Leadership Staff

Last week I had the chance to sit down and chat with our Summer Camp leadership staff, Nikki Bryant and Jay Davis. It was an opportunity to learn more about them, their connection to summer camp and the ways that they’ve seen Hidden Villa Summer Camp impact our campers.

camp staff(Jay in red on left, Nikki in red on right)

 

What do you think is the most impactful part of Hidden Villa summer camp?

J: We open campers up to new physical and emotional opportunities, while guiding them with positive role models of all different backgrounds. As a director, I look at the logistical side of summer camp, yet my grandest connection to camp came from goodbyes as a counselor. The connection of camper to counselor is strong and impactful. You can have camp anywhere because it’s the people that will make the biggest impact.  

N: Hidden Villa Summer Camp is a youth space that empowers them with choice. Youth today have to go to school, do homework, and engage in all kinds of extracurricular activities. When campers are here they are encouraged to make choices for themselves. Year after year campers return, showing they want to be here and appreciate these spaces that encourage them to use their voice.

Can you tell us about your most memorable experience at Hidden Villa summer camp?

N: The camp magic is something you know on an intellectual level is happening all the time, everywhere. It is in the subtle moments that happen all the time. You see a group of kids that have spent a week together and they don’t want to get in the car at the end of the week. Those kids want to hold on to a feeling that is profound and healthy. Yet, what makes camp so fabulous is that it ends. It couldn’t go on forever or else the magic would die out.

J: I appreciate the amount of reflection sessions that happen here around issues of gender, race, food justice, outdoor living skills, what we can do to protect the land, and familial structures. I’ve found Tipi Camp “Float Nights” especially important. It is a time where the group of 9-10 year olds make some kind of commitment to caring for the Earth. They get to decide their commitment and it is quite powerful to hear their thoughts and watch them experience the night together.

When did you gain interest in working at summer camp?

N: I knew I wanted my job when I was 7. I was sent to camp by my parents and didn’t know that that’s what was happening. I was just getting on a bus. I was very young and accidentally signed up for a 2-week session. It shaped my life.

After that summer I spent the majority of my year waiting for camp. As a young person one of my long-term goals was to become a summer staff member because it would allow me to be at camp all summer long. The first year as staff was a pretty steep learning curve, and yet I’ve been back ever since.

I struggled in school for many different reasons and camp was my opportunity to be me, re-invent who I was. Camp created an environment that opened my world to new perspectives and changed the way I thought. Doing this learning is community is a prime opportunity for growth.

J: It was more about camp finding me. I cared for the children of a family that owned a summer camp. They had to convince me that I would enjoy working at summer camp, but as soon as I was there I knew I would be hooked for life. It was the right kind of growth within a healthy group environment. The best thing about camp was that our individual traits were looked at as strengths. Instead of judging others there was a focus on connecting and moving forward with you.

At Hidden Villa we take the experiential opportunity and direct it towards a purpose -  to inspire a just and sustainable future. We facilitate these growth opportunities for young people to engage with peers of all backgrounds through shared experiences.

 

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We're Looking for 4 Summer Camp Interns

0006 youth dev cropped la                        Join our team this Summer! We're waiting for you!

 

CAMP OFFICE INTERN DESCRIPTION

Apply for this position here!

Job Description: Under the supervision of the Summer Camp Admissions Manager, this 20-30 hour a week, hands-on position will participate in the day-to-day operations of the camp office including general office administration and customer support communication.

 

Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

-       General administrative support: file, organize, process incoming/outgoing mail.

-       Maintain accurate electronic and paper records, including extensive data entry.

-       Provide customer service to parents of campers and potential campers.

-       Support camp check-in and check-out processes.

-       Assist in volunteer management and coordination.

-       Writing blogs, website content, and helping coordinate the monthly e-newsletter: including generating content, designing layout, managing subscribers

 

Qualifications:

-       Our ideal candidate is highly organized, detail-oriented, meets deadlines, juggles multiple tasks, takes initiative, and can manage own workload.

-       Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English; multilingual a plus.

-       Appropriately handles sensitive and confidential information.

-       Eager to learn new skills and participate in office environment.

 

Compensation: This is an unpaid internship that offers a great deal of hands-on experience. Interns will gain and/or improve upon their:

-       Experience supporting a wide range of events and office needs.

-       Written and oral communication skills through customer service experience.

-       Familiarity with the daily responsibilities of a fast-paced office environment.

-       Understanding of a nonprofit organization

-       Ability to work in a mission-driven environment.

-       Data entry and administrative skills.

 

SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS INTERN DESCRIPTION

Apply for this position here!

Job Description: Under the supervision of the Summer Camp Admissions Manager, this 20-30 hour a week, hands-on position will participate in the day-to-day operations of communicating camp activities to parents and organizational supporters.

 

Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

-       Photographing daily camp activities.

-       Uploading appropriate pictures to our online camp communication system.

-       Designing and implementing summer camp online newsletters.

-       Writing articles and providing pictures for our monthly organizational newsletter.

-       Ensuring our photograph/publication waiver policy is upheld.

 

Qualifications:

-       Our ideal candidate is highly organized, detail-oriented, meets deadlines, juggles multiple tasks, takes initiative, and can manage own workload.

-       Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

-       Appropriately handles sensitive and confidential information.

 

Compensation:

This is an unpaid internship that offers a great deal of hands-on experience. Interns will gain and/or improve upon their:

-       Experience meeting the social media needs of our customer base.

-       Written and oral communication skills through hands-on experience.

-       Familiarity with the daily responsibilities of a fast-paced office environment.

-       Understanding of a nonprofit organization

-       Ability to work in a mission-driven environment.

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CSA Newsletter: Week of October 22, 2012

Olive season is coming. Hidden Villa has a 1/2 acre olive grove and many other olive trees lining our road and around the property.  The original trees were planted by missionaries in the 1880's and they were harvested and pressed for oil intermittently by the Duvenecks.  The grove had gone largely untended and overgrown until about ten years ago when we topped the trees in a long term project to reclaim the orchard's productivity.  Thanks to several recent years of diligent pruning the trees are once again producing substantial crops.

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Wrapping Up an Amazing Summer

Written by Jeff (Echo)

As we aproach autumn it is time for summer camp to come to an end. This will be my final blog post for the season and I thought it would be appropriate to focus on our eldest campers here at Hidden Villa, and their journey from camper to counselor in our A.C.T. program. A handfull of A.C.T. campers have completed their training and mentoring program over the course of first three sessions of this summer. During this final session, these A.C.T.s  have become intern counseling staff in the day camp, tipi camp, and rez camp programs. In this role A.C.T.s are full time staff members of the summer camp community.

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Magic Potions, Archery, and Nature Mobiles

Written by Jeff (Echo)

Greetings from summer camp! I apologize for not updating the last few weeks, but I promise that things have been just as busy and joyful as ever here on the farm. This week I had the chance to jump in to Tipi Camp and lead a choice activity. During choice activities campers are presented with a variety activities, all at different energy levels and involving different aspects of Hidden Villa.

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