We hear from Joan H., lifelong volunteer of Camphills all over the world, about what it has meant to her to devote her life to other people in the pursuit of wellness through music and performance. We want to thank Joan, from the bottom of our hearts, for all she has done and continues to do for us! “I have been in Camphill MK Communities since 1995. My first experience of the Camphill movement was in New York while I was attending the Anthroposophical Youth Seminar in Spring Valley. We took the play of ‘Antigone’ to Kimberton Farm Community in Pennsylvania. I was impressed by the houses we entered which smelled of freshly baked bread, the gardens which grew their food, and the music room. There was a birthday list posted on the refrigerator. It struck me as such a personal thing to have everyone know about a birthday outside just one’s own family. I was totally amazed that people lived in communities like this. I started my eurythmy training with the vague idea that someday I might live in such a place and do therapeutic eurythmy. When I completed my 4-year training in eurythmy, I went to Germany to the Adalbert Stifter Camphill near the Lake of Constance. I was deeply impressed when one of the older first generation Camphillers said, “One thing for certain about Camphill is that it changes.” I then moved around different Camphills, from Coleg Elidyr, the Welsh Camphill to William Morris Camphill. And even when not living in the communities, I always felt connected and ran music workshops in various Camphills. Then on the invitation of Morwenna Bucknall, I came to Milton Keynes, finally finishing my training in curative eurythmy. I have always been most impressed by the seasonal festivities in Camphill. They give an impetus to creativity and working and playing together. My best experiences have been in doing musicals and plays with residents and co-workers – and most recently with employees and staff being involved too”. (As told to Guimin M. and the Newsletter & Tech Lab Workshops Group)
We chat with super-star DJ and resident of 13 years, Alison F, about life at Camphill MK and about her pursuits in helping others to enjoy music in a social setting. CMKC: What’s your most memorable experience in the community? AF: I remember living in Appleyard with Vicky and Karen in my first year because I was not well, they really looked after me. They are my heroes. CMKC: How important do you think women are to this community? AF: Women have done a lot of good jobs. CMKC: Do you think women’s influence has changed over time in the community? AF: Women are excellent planners and good organisers. CMKC: What’s your expectation of yourself and the community for the future? AF: I am a master DJ at Groovy Gecko. I would like to help more wheelchair users and blind people to join the club and have more fun in the future. CMKC: Who in your opinion is a hero of Camphill? AF: Vicky, Tammy, Csilla and Alison S. CMKC: What is your favourite thing to do outside the community? AF: I love spending time with my dad’s side of the family, going to weddings, helping to look after the little ones and spending time with friends.
Our resident Chloe A has been with our community for over 18 years, so she knows what makes our community tick! For our Women of Camphill project, we discussed women as excellent communicators, which is an essential skill in any community. CMKC: What’s your name and what’s your role in the community? C: My name is Chloe, and I am a resident. CMKC: How long you have been in the community? C: I came to Camphill in 2000, I lived in Oberlin first, then I moved to MP house, before finally moving to Appleyard. CMKC: What’s your most memorable experience in the community? C: When I had a two weeks’ trial in the beginning at Oberlin, I enjoyed the lovely company of Linda and Andrew, who were the house parents at that time, and the company of the residents too. CMKC: How important do you think women are to this community? C: Very important as women bring so many different experiences with them when they join Camphill, just like men. Most women enjoy talking to others that makes them excellent communicators. CMKC: Do you think women’s influence has changed over time in the community? C: No, women have always been a very important part of the community. CMKC: What’s your expectation of yourself and the community for the future? C: To carry on enjoying life in Camphill. I would like to see the workshop where we use up-cycled cardboard to make craft items up and running in the future. CMKC: Who in your opinion is a hero of Camphill? C: Lidia M, for her creativity and many impressive skills that she has. CMKC: What is your favourite thing to do outside of the community? C: I love to explore nature and walking.
As part of our celebration of women in our community, we spoke to Joan H about what it means to be a ‘Camphiller’, what role women play in our community and what the future might hold. CH: What’s your name and what’s your role in the community? JH: I’m a Senior Co-worker, and my role involves general cultural input through music, eurythmy, festivals and garden beautifying. CH: How long you have been involved with the community? JH: I became involved in September 1995. CH: What’s your most memorable experience in the community? JH: Facilitating plays/musicals with residents, co-workers and staff. CH: How important do you think women are to this community? JH: Very important! Women have most frequently carried the houses as coordinators and are probably more likely to have conversations which connect people. CH: Do you think women’s influence has changed over time in the community? JH: Yes and no. Historically the male chief founder here had the strongest influence on decisions and directions taken. Now there are many females in the office titled roles but there is still a male CEO (however he seems quite well balanced in his male/femaleness!) and a largely male Trustees group. CH: What’s your expectation of yourself and the community for the future? JH: I expect to continue to bring a supportive presence and energy to building community – in these days of challenges to maintain that and at the same time meeting all the requirements to give good care provision. I hope the community will continue to strengthen in new ways – taking a broader definition – as it has already done to include staff and management – and defining the chief ideals which can help do that. CH: Who in your opinion is a hero of Camphill? JH: Maria Simon. She ventured away from her home country, stayed here and supported her children to have more opportunities, has consistently taken on responsibilities as a co-worker and house coordinator and has continued to improve her baking skills to a master’s level. She is deeply committed spiritually although not vaunting religiosity. She is very supportive of the community events and also very sociable in general – keeping up contact with former co-workers and residents. She is always dependable, thoughtful, hard-working and generous. CH: What is your favourite thing to do outside the community? JH: Reading and facilitating small singing groups.