Hidden Villa camps weave social justice, access into summer fun

Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier 
Hidden Villa has offered generations of kids wilderness experiences that nurture a love of the wild as well as an appreciation of campers’ individual intellectual interests and diverse identities.

• Mission: Hidden Villa aims to inspire a just and sustainable future through programs, land and legacy.

• 2017 update: Strong existing interest among female campers in engineering-focused programming led Hidden Villa to shift one of its “teepee camps” to a new women-centered option: Outdoor Innovators. Participants will stay in a geodesic dome, Viking tent, carousel tent and teepee and study hands-on engineering in nature ranging from structure building to how termites construct homes with natural air conditioning.

The overnight camps Hidden Villa offers provide fewer transportation barriers for young scholarship participants from around the region, but Hidden Villa also partners with the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula, which uses its vans to facilitate access to the Los Altos Hills organic farm and nature preserve. In addition to new summer camp programming, Hidden Villa has expanded its year-round after-school options, which welcome children from preschool through high school.

Among high-school-aged students, the social justice leadership program launched last year drew particularly enthusiastic participation.

“I think it really touches on some of the reasons we have the scholarship,” said Camp Director Ke’ili Deal. “They are learning about equity and access and creating opportunities.”

• Why the Holiday Fund is needed: Half of Hidden Villa’s campers rely on camperships to access the inclusive programming that welcomes them to the farm and wilderness. Donors supply more than $235,000 each year to sustain support for children who otherwise would not get to attend camp.


Hidden Villa Summer Camps

Location: 26870 Moody Road, Los Altos Hills

Founded: 1945

Annual budget: $868,000

Staff: 4 year-round staff; 65 seasonal camp employees



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