Camphill Communities in North America

Camphill Communities of North AmericaCamphill is an international movement of intentional communities designed to meet the needs of children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities through a combination of community life, the arts and work on the land. There are over 100 Camphill communities worldwide, 10 in North America: CA, NY, PA, MN, Ontario and British Columbia.

In a time where many are experiencing a crisis of spirit and search for meaning, Camphill offers a life of celebration, service, and community building in which all participants flourish. Camphill, founded in Scotland in 1939 by humanitarian physician, Dr Karl Koenig, is based on anthroposhophy. The Camphill approach honors the spiritual integrity of every human being, regardless of ability or circumstances, and recognizes the individual’s need and right to lead a full life that includes material, emotional, social and spiritual needs.

Most Camphill communities are in rural settings, which provides opportunities for agricultural work supporting a sustainable world ecology. In each Camphill community - whether a children’s village, a community for young people finding their way into adult life, or communities that provide opportunities for adults - people live together in house communities. Members of the house community share in the daily life and tasks of the house, and engage in work at school, on the land, in one of the craft workshops or providing some other service.

The experience offered in Camphill is varied and can include: supporting individuals with disabilities in the home, at work on the farm, garden or in one of the various craft workshops, such as weaving, pottery, stained glass, woodworking, candle-making, bookbinding or bakery; cooking food for your household with a small group of people; enjoying evening activities with others; and creating and celebrating community seasonal festivals together. Celebration and care for the earth is highly valued and has a central place in the life of the community.

Volunteers, called co-workers, come from around the globe. Some people come for a short-term experience (generally, one year); while others make it a long-term way of life. Living and working together - sharing life - with people of all ages and abilities as well as those who have limitations, is both challenging and rewarding. Becoming involved in the ongoing process of community-building and meeting and helping to solve the challenges that arise, provide ample opportunity for learning and growth. Coworkers do not receive a salary in the usual sense. Each person works to benefit the others in the community and in turn their living needs are supported. This includes full room and board, medical insurance, vacation time and a modest stipend for personal needs.