Camphill Communities offer a life of celebration, service and community building in which all members may flourish.
Camphill Association of North America (nine communities in the U.S. and three in Canada) are part of the international Camphill movement promoting social renewal through community living with children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities. Camphill's principles and practices are informed by anthroposophy: a worldview first introduced by Rudolf Steiner PhD in the early 20th century that supports the human being to engage in the process of discovering our wholeness and in doing so, acting upon and transforming the world. Dr. Karl Koenig founded Camphill in 1940 in Scotland. Today it includes over 100 communities and initiatives worldwide.
The Camphill approach honors the spiritual integrity of every human being, regardless of ability or handicaps, and recognizes the individual's need and right to lead a full life that includes material, emotional, social and spiritual needs. Camphill strives to provide an environment in which every individual's potential can unfold.
Camphill's fields of activity revolve around providing a service for and with people who, because of a developmental disability or some other circumstance, seek a supportive environment. The Camphill approach to education, support and empowerment for the people it serves is an expression of the principles and practice of curative education (a healing education for children and young people) and social therapy in intentional communities with adults. These methods embody an attitude that encourages coworkers to accompany the person in sustaining active relationship with self, with others, with the environment and the world as a simultaneous process of development.
Most Camphill communities are situated within a natural setting and provide opportunities for agricultural and horticultural work as a contribution to a sustainable world ecology. In each Camphill community, whether a children's village, youth guidance community for young people finding their way into adult life, or communities that provide opportunities for adults, people live together in vibrant supportive household settings. Members of the house community share in the daily life and tasks of the house, and engage in work or school, and find their life’s work on the land or in one of the many craft workshops.
Celebration has a central place in the life of the community: through arts, festivals and honoring special events and milestones in people's lives. Care for the earth with the help of biodynamic agriculture—an approach to sustainable agriculture that harnesses cosmic forces in an attempt to revitalize the soil, plants and animal life—is highly valued and considered an essential component to the well-being of people and the community.
Located near Monterey Bay, Camphill Communities California is a residential care community of about 50 adults, 19 of whom have developmental disabilities. Coworker opportunities are available for both long and short-term commitments (a minimum of 12 months). Located on six acres of land near Santa Cruz, the community is engaged in biodynamic gardening, an active cultural and artistic life, training in Social Therapy, and connecting with the larger network of providers in the field of developmental disability in the Northern California Bay Area.
• Abilities: An inspiring and award winning YouTube video of the residents behind and in front of the camera living, working and learning together with coworkers at Camphill Communities California.
Camphill Village Minnesota is a spiritually striving intentional community of approximately 55 people, including adults with disabilities. The Village is nestled among 500 acres of gently rolling hills, sparkling lakes and waterways in the beautiful Heartland of America, about two hours west of the city of Minneapolis. The life, work, and celebrations of the community are based on the strong belief that every individual, regardless of ability, is an independent spiritual being. Developmental disabilities are treated not as illnesses, but as a part of the fabric of human experience, and they believe that people with these disabilities are worthy of recognition, respect, and honor. The community has a strong agricultural component with farming, gardening, a beef herd, and a very small milk herd. The craft shops include a bakery, weavery, woodworking shop, card shop, an herb shop, and a food processing kitchen. All members of the community are cared for within the context of healthy home environments and an active village life.
• Common Ground (a weekly series that highlights northern and central Minnesota culture on Lakeland Public Television) features Camphill Village volunteers living and working alongside those with disabilities. In this video, you'll learn more about the relationships and hard work that give back to the land and warm the heart.
Camphill Village Copake is a unique therapeutic residential community where dedicated volunteers and people with developmental disabilities share a full life together. Located in rural Columbia County, 100 miles north of New York City, the Village comprises 600 acres of wooded hills, gardens and pastures. Villagers (adults with disabilities), coworkers and coworkers' children live together in extended family households and work together in a variety of craft shops and work areas. Crafts include candle making, stained glass, bookbinding, weaving, and woodworking. Land work includes a biodynamic dairy farm, vegetable gardens, a Healing Plant garden and workshop, and Turtle Tree Seed biodynamic seed workshop. The Village also has a medical care center, culture and arts center, bakery, café and gift shop.
Camphill Hudson is a group of individuals dedicated to creating community with people of all abilities in the city of Hudson. Currently Camphill Hudson operates two life-sharing homes with five adults with developmental disabilities. They also run Solaris, a Camphill Center for the Social Arts in the heart of downtown Hudson, and just two short blocks from the Camphill Hudson homes. In Camphill Hudson they recognize the wholeness at the core of each individual and value every individual’s ability, right and responsibility to make a meaningful contribution to their community. Their goal is to build community with people of all ages, races, abilities, classes and creed. They work with local residents, non-profit organizations, and businesses to support individuals in discovering their unique ability to contribute to their community.
Triform Camphill Community, in Hudson, New York, is a residential community for young adults with developmental disabilities. It includes a dynamic mix of over 100 people spanning many generations, cultures and ranges of ability. Forty young adults with social, mental, physical and emotional disabilities live and work side-by-side with full-time volunteer resident staff and the staff’s families on a 410-acre biodynamic/organic farm in beautiful Columbia County, NY. Triform is a model of care where young men and women with Autism, Down syndrome, and other developmental and neurological disabilities participate in dignified, purposeful work, share in warm, supportive relationships and make meaningful contributions to the well being of everyone in the Triform community. Triform is changing the way we understand and appreciate the capabilities of people with special needs.
Triform is a forerunner and model in the disabilities field, where the ideals of inclusion and the development of individual potential are in the forefront. Triform’s programs promote confidence, self-worth, independence and achievement on many levels. The Triform special needs community offers an enriching social, intellectual and cultural life for its students, and year-round vocational opportunities in organic and biodynamic farm and gardening. Triform is among a select group of farms in the U.S. certified by Demeter, which is regarded as the highest level of organic farming certification in the world.
Camphill Soltane is a life-sharing community of 80 people, including young adults, ages 18-35, with developmental disabilities. At Soltane, they encourage self-advocacy for those with disabilities, help coworkers reach their aspirations through effective and inspiring training, and encourage teamwork in home and work areas. Soltane's mission is to build a bridge to adulthood for young people with disabilities, and their cornerstone is an attempt to actively involve every person in the process of creating community. Soltane is located one hour west of Philadelphia, PA, in a semi-rural setting.
• Watch this video about what it's like to be an AmeriCorps member and international volunteer at the Camphill Soltane community in Pennsylvania »
Camphill Special School’s mission is to create wholeness for children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities through education and therapy in extended family living so that they may be better understood and their disabilities moderated, that they may more fully unfold their potential, and that they more fully and meaningfully participate in life.
Camphill Special School is a Waldorf school accredited by AWSNA and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. The school is also licensed by the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Public Welfare and is a Pennsylvania Approved Private School for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Camphill Special School is the only Camphill community in North America that specifically serves children and the only Waldorf School that exclusively serves children with special needs.
Camphill Special School offers residential and day academic and prevocational programs, as well as therapeutic care, for children in kindergarten through grade twelve. In addition to the school, they offer a Transition Program for young people ages eighteen to twenty-one. Camphill Special School also operates the Camphill School of Curative Education and Social Therapy, which prepares its graduates to work with children and adolescents with developmental disabilities by combining traditional academic coursework with hands-on teaching and community living experience.
Camphill Village Kimberton Hills is a land-based, life-sharing community striving to restore vitality to our ecosystems and to societal structures. Anthroposophy, the spiritual philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, is the wellspring of community life. Adults who have developmental disabilities and volunteers form a supportive community based on shared responsibilities and caring. Volunteers live and work in the village community, serving in family households, craft workshops (bakery, weavery, fiber workshop, pottery workshop), land and building maintenance work, organic gardening and farming. The village fosters a strong cultural life of festivals, music, and art. It is located one hour west of Philadelphia and in the same general area as Camphill Soltane and Camphill Special School.
Located on a beautiful 150-acre farm, Heartbeet is a young and vital lifesharing community that includes adults with disabilities. Volunteers, long term co-workers and their families and people with special needs live and work together in four extended family households, forming a mutually supportive environment that enables each individual to discover and develop their unique abilities and potential. Workshops include organic/biodynamic agriculture operations (farm, vegetable garden, and estate), a weavery, woodworking shop and felting and paper making workshops. The spiritual and cultural life of the community is strongly connected to the seasons and is celebrated through arts, festivals and honoring special events and milestones in people's lives. They are committed to maintaining strong connections with the local community. To this end, they help cook a free lunch each week at a local church, attend an art class in town, participate in Special Olympics, and support some of the residents in jobs at the local co-op and other businesses around town.
Camphill Communities Ontario (CCO) is an intentional community where people with disabilities are supported in their own homes. CCO has two locations where there are opportunities for residential, vocational and day supports:
Camphill Nottawasaga is a rural community with adults made up of several homes and workshops including woodwork, pottery, forestry and an organic vegetable garden. Camphill Sophia Creek is in an urban environment in the downtown core of Barrie, one hour north of Toronto and twenty miles from Nottawasaga.
Camphill Sophia Creek offers activities such as mosaic arts, pottery, painting, cooking, baking, music and eurythmy (an expressive movement art originated by Rudolf Steiner). Local residents with disabilities participate in the workshops. Their work is to care for each other, their homes, their gardens and their land. They share this work, each one according to his wishes and capabilities. The aim is to build a vital community life that offers each person the conditions for healing growth and renewal.
The Ita Wegman Association of British Columbia operates Glenora Farm, a rural, agriculturally based Camphill community for adults with special needs. At present there are five households with companions in care, with plans for more in the future. The community operates a biodynamic farm and vegetable garden and several craft workshops, as well as offering a variety of artistic activities. In their daily life, they strive to uphold the ideals of Camphill, in which each contributes what he or she is able to, and receives in turn what he or she needs, regardless of whether they are companion or coworker.
The Cascadia Society
North Vancouver, British Columbia
Community Focus: Adults
The Cascadia Society is a life-sharing community that includes adults with special needs. Cultural, artistic and therapeutic experiences are provided through residential home care and day activities within the urban setting of Vancouver's North Shore. The Cascadia Society is dedicated to bringing healing to human beings and to the earth. Their primary task is to allow the potential for each person to unfold and be in harmonious relationship with the environment.
|Working in Camphill||
Coworkers come from diverse backgrounds, some come for a short experience or for training in Curative Education or Social Therapy; others make a longer-term commitment. Living and working in Camphill is more than a job, it is an attitude to life, the heart of which is relationship.
Coworkers joining a Camphill community can participate in a variety of experiences that can include:
• Supporting individuals with disabilities in their daily activities at home, classroom, or at work on the farm, gardens, or in one of the various craft workshops, such as weaving, pottery, stained glass, woodworking, textiles, candle-making, bookbinding or the bakery.
• Enjoying nature together on a hike or field trip.
• Cooking wholesome food for the house community and sharing meals together.
• Creating and celebrating seasonal community festivals.
|Perks & Rewards||
Living and working together, building relationships with people of all ages and abilities, as well as limitations, is both challenging and rewarding. Becoming involved in the ongoing process of community building, being part of solving the challenges that arise, provides many opportunities for learning and growth. Coworkers who choose to join a community for the short or longer term do not receive a salary in the usual sense. The focus of the work is on the benefit it can generate for individuals and the environment in both tangible and intangible ways.
Coworkers can expect full room and board, medical insurance (after at least three months of stay), vacation time, and a monthly stipend for personal needs. Long-term coworkers may have access to Waldorf education for their children if the community is located near a Waldorf school.
Every community has a range of ongoing informal education workshops and courses that focus on developing skills and knowledge related to Camphill work, and also on personal enrichment, through the Camphill Academy. Camphill Special School offers a formal Curative Education Program, and Camphill Village Copake offers a formal Social Therapy Training Program; both tuition-free. In addition, an advanced level Graduate Program with a transdisciplinary focus on healing education is offered for coworkers as a collaboration of the Waldorf Program of Antioch University New England and the Camphill Academy.