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Visitor Services is here for YOU!

We’re always striving to make Hidden Villa more welcoming and engaging. Regardless of how often you come or participate in our programs, we want you to feel at home when you visit. As a result, we’ve made some changes and have dedicated staff and volunteer energy towards evaluating and responding to what you want from Hidden Villa. We’re excited to announce three new programs to enhance your Hidden Villa experience… Self-Guided Tours, Pop-Up Programs, and Weekend Ambassadors!

Self-Guided Tours:

2016-10 Easy Hike.pngIn an effort to share more of Hidden Villa with every visitor, we will be making a handful of self-guided tours available on our website and at our welcome kiosk. Our first tour will be the Living History Tour which will walk you through Hidden Villa’s history of stewardship. It begins with the land’s native inhabitants and moves up through the Franciscan Missionaries, stagecoach stop proprietors, the visionary Duveneck Family and Hidden Villa’s transition to a nonprofit organization led by a Board and professional staff.

The Living History Tour will be available to all visitors with a mobile device through our partnership with Easy2Hike. Easy2Hike is an exciting new company working to connect park managers with visitors to empower outdoor adventures. You can use the app with devices running on iOS or Android and then download the Living History Tour for offline use. The app can run without an internet connection and relies on GPS to guide you through the tour. Download the app, try it out, let us know what you think, and stay tuned for new tours being added over the next few years!

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Pop-Up Programs:

PopUp_SolarOven.PNGSince many of you drop by during the weekends with your family and friends without having pre-registered to join our programs, and since there are about 20,000 people just like you, we are now offering pop-up programs every Saturday and Sunday, from September through May! Each pop-up will be FREE and run for two hours between the peak visiting hours of 10 am to 1 pm. We’ll post these pop-ups at least a day in advance on our calendar of events and occasionally on our Facebook page. So far this season, we’ve had pop-ups including a Solar Oven Apple Bake and Sherlock Bones. Drop on by and see what new fun we’ve cooked up each weekend!

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Weekend Ambassadors:

2016-10 Meryl Udang.jpgFor many years you have come to Hidden Villa during the weekends and our staff have been so busy running programs, we haven’t been available to properly welcome you and share the latest Hidden Villa news. That’s why one of the enhancements that we’re most excited about is the formal addition of Weekend Ambassadors.  Weekend Ambassadors are volunteers with a wide range of knowledge about Hidden Villa; some of them are newer to Hidden Villa but are very excited to help out other newcomers; some have 70 years of institutional knowledge and were involved at the same time that Josephine and Frank founded our Summer Camps (in 1945)! They are wonderful people and they are very excited to share their institutional knowledge and love of everything Hidden Villa. Ambassadors will station themselves at our information kiosk during peak visiting hours every Saturday and Sunday. The team of Ambassadors is being led by Meryl Urdang (pictured right) and supported by Visitor Services Intern, Emily Bell. Please come by and say hello whether you visit once a year or every weekend!

…and, we’re actively recruiting and building our team of Weekend Ambassadors. It’s fun, easy, and rewarding. If you are interested in learning more, please contact We'd love to have you join the team!

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Donor Spotlight: Rose Cabral

We recently heard from our supporter, Rose Cabral, that she has included Hidden Villa in her estate plan.  Estate gifts typically go towards building Hidden Villa’s modest endowment and are beginning to have a tangible impact on our ability to create a sustainable future of service.  We asked Rose why she has made this decision and would like to share her response:

Rose Cabral photo

Q:  Why did you decide to do put Hidden Villa in your estate plan? 

A:  Hidden Villa is my home away from home. It makes up a huge part of why I am who I am today. Hidden Villa taught me how to compost, one of my camp counselors introduced me to Tracy Chapman’s music for our float night song, I learned how to make strawberry  rhubarb pie, (still my favorite!) and I was able to challenge myself on a hiking adventure to the Pacific Ocean. Hidden Villa has remained a peaceful oasis in a world full of change. Summer camp allowed me to have time for reflection, to break away from the chaos of life and connect with nature, to find out where milkshakes come from, and to challenge my fears in a safe environment. 

Q:  What's your connection to Hidden Villa? 

A:  My grandmother was the first to travel to Hidden Villa via bicycle when she was a student at UC Berkeley. She stayed at the hostel. Many years later I was able to attend Hidden Villa Summer Camp because I was awarded a scholarship.  I attended Hidden Villa for over a decade, moving through Cabin Girls, Vale, Farm and Wilderness, Bay 2 Sea and the Assistant Counselor Training program. Then, I became a counselor for Day Camp, completing the circle.

Q:  What inspires you about the mission? 

A:  I am inspired by the unique and diverse people I have met at camp, many of whom I still keep in contact with today. Camp was a place to come together, have an open mind and an open heart, and learn how, at the end of the day, we are all humans. Many of the people I met at camp are making a positive impact on the world through diverse careers including entrepreneurs, artists, world travelers, teachers, and parents.

Q:  What do you hope your estate gift will accomplish for Hidden Villa and for the mission? 

A:  I would like Hidden Villa to continue to be open to children who would usually not get the opportunity to attend Hidden Villa Summer Camp; children who come from diverse backgrounds, socioeconomic status, and communities around the world. I hope Hidden Villa continues to be a model of sustainability, showing that we can live a simpler, cleaner life. I hope children can continue to experience the magic of Hidden Villa for many generations to come.  

Thank you, Rose.  We are inspired by your commitment to Hidden Villa and grateful for your thoughtful generosity.

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Leaving a Legacy at Hidden Villa

This month we are excited to spotlight a member of the Hidden Villa community, Dan Quinn, who has generously decided to include us in his planned giving portfolio. Dan and served on the Board of Trustees in the ‘90s and is has been an Environmental Education guide for almost 15 years.

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“I chose to give a portion of my estate to Hidden Villa Summer Camp and other good causes because I want to pass something on. I feel I have a responsibility and an opportunity to do something for others, to make this a better world, to pay forward the many advantages and chances for happiness I have had.

My connection with Hidden Villa began years ago when we sent our daughter to Camp. She returned summer after summer, progressing from camper to counselor trainee to staff to one of the heads of the day camp. Camp changed her life. She became interested in social justice and conservation. She has made a career in education, specifically working with young children. She has founded preschools, for families from a range of social and economic situations and today directs a preschool she founded: Centro Las Olas in San Francisco’s Mission District. It has a broad scholarship policy, parent involvement, and is conducted entirely in Spanish. I am happy and proud of the life she has made. Hidden Villa had an impact in this.

I chose to specify Hidden Villa Summer Camp through my investment because of its deep roots and lasting influence. While serving on the board, I saw the fragility of the long-term financial model for Camp. Central to Camp is the premise that people from all walks of life, all economic conditions, all races and backgrounds are welcome. This requires a large scholarship fund. For my legacy, I want to give to something that will have a lasting impact. Camp scholarships will have this lasting benefit – for all the campers, whether or not they get a scholarship themselves.

Hidden Villa has a special place in my heart for many years. I admire Frank and Josephine Duveneck for their dedication to the benefit of others and the world. Their inspiring gift to found, nurture, and continue Hidden Villa and many of its programs has made a big difference to the Peninsula and the world.  I’ve seen ripples of good continue to spread from Hidden Villa’s influence: the interns who go on to found or contribute to other social-justice and environmental organizations; the campers who return year after year, and whose lives are enriched and changed by their experiences; the Environmental Education participants who remember, years later, the one trip they made in fourth grade.

Josephine Duveneck used to read to summer campers in the living room of the Duveneck House, after lunch. My daughter was one of these campers. Now some of the campers she taught, or the next generation still, are active in keeping the HV tradition. It feels good to keep this living tradition alive.

We want to thank Dan, again for his investment in Hidden Villa, Summer Camp, and our future generations of leaders and Earth stewards. If you’d like more information about Hidden Villa’s planned giving program, please call the Development Office at (650)949-9702 or email

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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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Writing Contest Winners!


Thank you to everyone who participated in this writing contest.  We encourage participants to continue writing, visiting the farm, and sharing your voices with your friends, family, and the community. Keep an eye out for more writing contests in the near future. We had a lot of fun with this and hope you did, too. Happy reading and writing!


The Hidden Villa Oasi

By Mihika B., 8th grade

My mother, sister, and I arrived at Hidden Villa at nine o clock on a Saturday morning, for sheep shearing. It was a sunny day, with a few clouds, so quite chilly in the shade. We came prepared with jackets, backpacks, and snacks, but didn’t expect to stay until twelve o clock. After all, how long can you watch a sheep being sheared?


We followed a sheep signpost, and came upon a little field, with a crowd of onlookers surrounding the fence. As we neared the field, we noticed a small black and white dog, almost completely hidden by the tall grass, chasing the sheep – a sheepdog! There was a lady with a hat and a stick, telling the sheepdog where to herd the sheep. The sheep were stumbling and tripping over each other to obey the Scottish collie’s command! They ran round and round in circles, and then back to the lady, with the sheepdog on their tail. (But they never lost their tails; they always came back wagging behind them!). All of them looked so amiable and eager to please that they could have been pets. Once, when the lady told the sheepdog to herd the sheep into the pen, the sheep were rather overenthusiastic, and broke a side off of the pen as they ran into it. There was a roar of laughter from the audience as the sheep ran out with the side of the pen still clinging to their backs, and didn’t even try to shake it off! Such obedience!

We noticed one particular sheep, which was smaller than the others, but with strong leadership aspirations. It never got cowed down by the bigger, heftier, fluffier, sheep; instead, it always managed to have its head in front of all the others, leading the herd. We called him the snacker, because the first time we noticed him, he was chewing on some grass with such a blissful and contented smile on his face!

Soon, it was time for the sheep to be sheared. We tore ourselves away from the sheep and went over to watch. The first sheep protested vehemently to getting a haircut. It had to be dragged over by the ears, and it baaed and bleated loudly, as if the world was ending and it was going to die, just like my little sister Lavu does before a haircut! After a few minutes it realized it wasn’t going to get hurt, and got used to the feeling. It looked quite comical as they sheared it, hanging almost upside down, with its ears flopping out, and a thick coat of wool hanging off it’s back!

I felt calm and peaceful as I watched the sheep, with the blue sky over my head, and the hills around me. It was as if I was in a different world – the serene world that I had read about and only imagined until then, in the books by James Herriot. This world had come to life for me, here in Hidden Villa, inspiring me to return time and again. But I also realize that this world is fast disappearing. Hidden Villa is like an oasis in the Silicon Valley desert. Outside, life is full of sports, classes, school, homework, driving, rush rush rush rush rush. My visits to Hidden Villa have helped me build a closer connection with nature, reminding me how easy it is for us to forget this world amidst all the construction in Silicon Valley. Do we stand in danger of losing this utopia?

My Moment at Hidden Villa

 By Sudipti D., Grade 2

Hi, I was a future farmer before and I want to share my time with you. I’m going to tell my story from beginning to end. First, we fed the cows which was super cool! then we went inside from back to see more cows. They are the size of monsters and giants from my height. we get to touch the sheep and lambs also, there are two twin lambs which were just born .


Next, we went to the chicken coops and pig barn. the fun part is taking out eggs and putting them in a basket. the sad thing is sometimes the chickens peck their eggs and they break their eggs.

the farmers put sticks so they can rest. We also learned that the chickens lay eggs and make strange noises I never heard before. we also went outside where chickens run freely. I get to touch and hold them for long time. I even saw one of them had an injury so, farmer's had to take him to the feeding and to sleeping area. I felt sad for him. one of the pigs had so many piglets and they are so cute but not that furry. The mom pig was giant and huge looking. Same as the other two pigs. but they did not have piglets with them. Not to mention that there was an limit that pigs could give birth to twenty four piglets. But Rarely a pig can also give birth to just one. the funny part is that there was a pigeon among chickens which thought itself was a chicken !!! . We couldn't touch or feed the ram because the ram was too dangerous & aggressive. Also when the ram was young they cut his tail and that is because when he grow up it might hurt. Also they cut it’s tail and one of the reason is because when the ram goes poop the poop sticks on the rams tail. And that will cause a bad thing to the ram. And we went to goat's to touch and feed, also we fed the lamb's. We put the milk to one of the metal bucket's , Just like farmer's get milk from cow's it's the same thing to goat's. We took the milk & put it into a bottle just like I said in the other paragraph then we fed the lamb's we played with the lamb's. Also I did not mention this but when I was playing with the lamb they jumped & if they do it they were little they might jump on someone when they grow big. Then we came back to the sheep's and spent a little -bit time with them. Not to mention that this was two hour's. THE END. All in all I would like to visit “hidden villa” future farmer's again! One day I teach everybody how to take care of animals.

My Moment at Hidden Villa

By Aditi D., Grade 2







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Hungry for Good Food & Connection

Written by Ali Abbors, Hidden Villa Journeyman

When are tomatoes tastiest? What is rhubarb season? Who grows my cucumbers? We are hungry, and not only for nutritious, affordable, ethically-grown foods. We crave connection to the natural rhythms and hardworking humans that bring these foods to our tables. When grocery store shelves are stocked year-round with fruits and vegetables from around the globe, it’s no surprise that we’ve lost track of the delicious details that reveal themselves when we eat by Mother Nature’s clock.  Eating with the seasons—whether through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, a local farmers’ market, or our own home gardens—provides an intimate connection to nature’s rhythms and a deeper appreciation of the true value of our food.

As organic farmers, the Hidden Villa CSA crew is reminded every day of our connection to, and dependence upon, the cycles of nature. Even though we farmers know to expect them, we’re awed every year by the subtle signs that mark the changing light and the coming of a new season. As winter draws to a close, we celebrate the budding of the plum trees, knowing that the rest of our orchard will soon follow. We rejoice in the first transplanting of zinnias and sunflowers knowing that we will soon be surrounded by their beauty. We delight in the tiny tomato plants emerging in our greenhouse, our imagination drifting to summer fruit fresh from the vine.  

Seasonal eating and flower appreciation is a practice in enjoying the precious uniqueness of food and blooms in their proper place and time. It provides us with the joyful challenge of stretching our palates to accommodate what is growing here and now. It rewards us with an ever-changing menu to hold our interest. In a practical sense, eating with the seasons is also more flavorful because crops are harvested at the peak of ripeness, more affordable because prices are lowest at the height of each crop’s season, more nutritious because crops are more full of nutrients at the peak of freshness, and better for the environment because crops don’t need to travel across oceans or continents to get to your plate. Whether you’re a foodie philosopher or a culinary pragmatist, eating seasonally will repay your efforts with an undeniable richness of flavors and connections.

Hidden Villa’s CSA, which provides members with weekly shares of organic produce and flowers between May and November, makes it easy to explore the joys of seasonal eating. A preview of our diverse monthly offerings is available here. With a variety of plans, pricing, and flower bouquet add-ons, members can choose the option that best fits their family's needs. We even help you learn to enjoy new and unfamiliar vegetables with a collection of tried-and-true recipes! Our online registration system makes it easy to sign up, and donations enable us to offer CSA scholarships to families living on low incomes.

Whether you join our CSA, visit our booth at the Los Altos Farmers’ Market, or grow food in your own garden space, we wish you inspiring culinary experiences that deepen your connections to good food, natural rhythms, and each other.

Happy eating!

Ali Abbors
Journeyman Farmer

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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!



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



-       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.



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.



-       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.



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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What Richness are you Enjoying Today?


Written by: Lanette Anderson, Hidden Villa Horticulturalist


I've been musing on richness lately. Summer on a farm is a good time for that. Even in this year of drought, when our water is lean and we're only able to plant a fraction of our usual crops we still have so very much.

 It's only fairly recently that I've come to think of richness in a broader context. Growing up I always understood it strictly as a measure of monetary wealth. The term brought to mind gold, diamonds, expensive cars, shiny and polished things. I thought of richness as something to strive for, something that required scrimping, saving and luck. Of course that's still one interpretation, but I've found it can be so much more expansive than that. I feel a richness of fruit in the overflowing bowl of sweet peaches on my counter, a richness of color in the bright buckets of flowers from the field, a richness of time in a lazy summer afternoon spent reading and sipping lemonade.

These types of riches deepen and even grow as they're savored and enjoyed. Scrimping or squirreling away won't serve this wealth. In fact there's something about these types of richness that invites sharing. You are rich because you have a little (or a lot) more than you personally need or can use. The big golden bowl of peaches on my counter is too full for me to eat all alone, which is why I feel so wealthy in them and why I baked a peach cobbler for my family.

Likewise, Hidden Villa thrives in large part because of the generosity and sharing of our community members like you. That richness of time and support that you share is magnified as it's enjoyed by all who come here. I see it in the campers who've been here this summer sleeping under the stars and tending to the chickens, in the interns whose lives and career paths are forever changed from their educational experiences here and in all our visitors who value the peace and beauty of this place. The Duveneck's generous gift of preserving this land and sharing it with all of us has sent ripples of richness through countless lives, my own included. I'm so grateful to share our richness with you.
What richness are you enjoying today?


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The Impact of a Second Year Internship at Hidden Villa

The Impact of a Second Year Internship at Hidden Villa

My name is Elena and I am the animal husbandry intern, just starting my second year internship here. Hidden Villa is a special place to learn and discover and I am excited to spend another year here farming and talking with the public who visits us. All these skills and experiences I am gaining here will help prepare me for when I have my own farm. I am learning how a farm is more than a place to cultivate food, but also has the potential to cultivate community.

I work on weekends, which means I am a very visible person to the public and am learning the value of having a strong relationship and dialogue available for the people who visit the farm. Families come up to me and talk to me about the different things they are seeing with the animals and our crop fields. They ask me questions and we are able to have a discussion. Sometimes they are quick questions, such as names or breeds of our animals. Other times those introductory questions lengthen and they start digging deeper into issues of food production and all the things needed and steps taken to make a food system sustainable and available for a broad range of people. I enjoy when this happens because those are the moments I get to see the effect Hidden Villa has on the community.

I appreciate that Hidden Villa does so much; it is not just a farm or an educational center or a summer camp or a nature preserve, but a mixture of all of these.  People usually come for just one of these things, but end up staying for all of them.  If Hidden Villa were just a farm, I would not have gained all the skills I have now and am continuing to work on.  I would not have had such strong mentors who have clear tasks to complete, but who also understand and actively want to teach and pass on what they know. They are able to take the extra time to teach and make sure that the interns get to see the whole process of a project, and explain all the details, even if it is something new that we have never done before, such as building a chicken wagon to house seventy chickens on the back of a trailer bed.  

I am excited and so grateful to stay on a second year. I now understand better how things work and the goals of the organization as a whole. I can see the impact Hidden Villa has on the community and thus I am better able to serve the visitors and interact with them when they come. I look forward to experiencing another year of full seasons and comparing how things differ from the year before. I am more able to think critically about projects and tasks, with one year under my belt. I appreciate living and learning in a safe environment where we are encouraged to try new things and stretch ourselves physically, emotionally, and socially, but where we are supported by each other.


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Youth Leaders in ACTion


“As assistant counselors in training, we are ambassadors of the Hidden Villa legacy who strive to both learn from and teach about our experiences at Hidden Villa, not only to other campers, but to our friends, families and communities."                         
          -Assistant Counselors in Training Mission Statement 2013                         

Three weeks ago I met Hidden Villa’s Assistant Counselors in Training (ACT) participating in the first session of their training course. These young people, the majority of whom have attended Hidden Villa camp for nine or more years, emphasized that, “Hidden Villa is not just a summer place, but a place where people can find themselves.” In the training they are learning, sharing and reflecting on their deeply impactful experiences in hopes of creating the same value for future campers.

As I listen to these mature, young adults speak about their experiences I’m encouraged by their ability to consider the life lessons they’ve learned throughout the years at Hidden Villa. “We’re here to learn to be mentors and through the process we’ll be able to develop our leadership skills.” Leadership, as they explain, entails developing the skills to have a healthy dialogue, learning to be professional, and recognizing how our attitudes affect others. They recognize the importance of having a safe space where they can share, learn, and grow. “Sharing is nourishing. If you have an idea and want to make change, you can inspire others. Then, you’ll start a movement of awesomeness.” They also realize that they are leaders for one another, “If someone is not getting it, we can mentor one another.” What a beautiful understanding of the mutual learning processes at play!

Often, these conversations about both leadership and mentorship are happening at school, but the youth don’t feel they are often able practice these skills in real life situations. “As ACT’s we are getting ready for actual jobs. This is an internship where you get experience supervising kids, animals, being responsible for other individuals.” As they discuss their thoughts, I see their energy and excitement rise. They are a group of teenagers that recognize their role in the local and global community and are eager to go out and make change.

I walk away from the conversation trying to imagine the seven-year olds that these young adults once were. I consider the experiences that have helped them see the importance of facilitating social justice conversations, engaging children in environmental education, and building their professional and personal self-confidence. Soon, as sixteen and seventeen year olds, they will go off and pursue interests and careers as policy makers, educators, or farmers that shape our future. I have no doubts that these young minds are building strong foundations to be empathetic, thoughtful, and inspirational leaders.

Sofía Pablo-Hoshino is a San Francisco native and the newest Development Intern at Hidden Villa. She enjoys knitting, long conversations about life, and cilantro on any and all foods. She also recently harvested her first beet, ever!

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