Our Philosophy

Hidden Valley puts children at the center of camp life!

Hidden Valley's roots are in the movement of progressive camps and schools that embrace experiential learning, tolerance, inclusion and holistic education. Over the years, we have built on this history with a commitment to distinction and professionalism, and a deep sensitivity to individual needs and group life. Our diverse, non-competitive community nurtures individual growth and independence in a structured yet un-pressured atmosphere.

Hidden Valley is a positive, inclusive camp community.

HVC has no rifles, uniforms, or color war. We attract spirited, creative campers who - for lack of a better term - are "nice kids," good natured, open-minded and willing to make new friends. We work closely with camp counselors to create a community in everything campers do: cabin life, summer outdoor activities, and all the "zany" programs that make resident camp so special.

Administrating a school has shown me that this kind of atmosphere is set and maintained by the people in charge and I know how much the both of you must put your hearts and souls into this work. Your emphasis on personal responsibility and on being decent and caring - and on having fun! -helps make your camp a true model and a home-away-from-home. - HVC Parent

Our Values

Our days together are devoted to the following values:
  • acceptance, regardless of race, gender or background;
  • independence to choose one's daily activities and to be who you really are;
  • responsibility to one's community and peers;
  • creativity in all dimensions of the child's daily experience

Read the article featuring Hidden Valley Camp: "Kids Who Think Outside the Box"

The supportive and creative community that you have fostered at Hidden Valley has had a dramatic impact on our family. Our girls have immensely benefited from their years with you. We place a huge value on this influence. Thank you for imparting your values of community, ecology and humanity to them. - HVC Parent

Why Camp?

For 25 years, parents have told us that their children come home from HVC more independent and confident. Free from the pressures, expectations and routines of school and home - and with the support of professional staff and longtime camp directors - children find new and expanded personal strengths. Read more!

Camps, like good schools and loving families, immunize children against adversity by giving them manageable challenges and the supports they need to learn how to cope effectively and in ways that are adaptive over time. - Michael Ungar, PhD

My child gained an immense amount of confidence and independence. This could not have happened unless the environment had been 'prepared' and structured for the children in such a way that they stretched but that they also succeed. This delicate balance is not so easy to find nowadays. - HVC Parent

Why do we limit the use of electronics at HVC?

Because we value individual expression in a supportive community that allows children to learn and grow, preparing for future group challenges at home, school and beyond.

Our focus on living in nature allows us to replace "virtual engagement" with "vital engagement" (see article nearby, right,) and supports children as they develop a deeper sense of their ability to lead independent, joyful, productive lives.

We also believe our approach nurtures campers' relationships with peers and their capacity for empathy. This intuition is supported by research: Without phones or tablets…campers were able to identify emotions in videotaped scenes significantly better than a control group. What fostered these new empathic responses? They talked to one another… The campers also spoke about their new taste for life away from the online feed. One boy called it "time where you have nothing to do but think quietly and talk to your friends." 
- Sherry Turkle, author of Reclaiming Conversation describing her research at a similar "device-free" summer camp.

A parent says:  I totally support the limits that HVC imposes on electronics.  As I tell my daughters, when they get away from their cell phones, they are more open to meeting all types of people and making new friends, not to mention enjoying the mysteries of nature and the great outdoors.

Finally, we are cognizant of widespread concern in the medical community about the toll that overuse of electronics is taking on children. Read more here.

Of course, staff make positive use of technology in dance classes, in music and video areas, etc. And we remain mindful of this comment from a longtime HVC camp counselor: I went virtually all summer without checking my facebook. I cannot tell you what a relief that was. It's a testament to the fact that I was really 'present' in the moment, with all my energy focused on connecting with my campers and co-workers. - HVC Staff

Take a look at how you can prepare your camper for a break from screen time.

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