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Camphill Reflection

abradycole's picture

When people asked me what my 360 was about, I said something along the lines of, “It’s called Identity Matters. It’s about the intersectionality of identities. Over fall break we’re going to an intentional community for people with developmental disabilities and we’re going to tell their stories through writing and visual art.” People had a lot of questions, the majority of which I couldn’t answer.

Since actually becoming part of the 360, and seeing Camphill firsthand, I now know the reality of the brief description I was giving. It’s far more than anything I could have imagined. As it states on their website, Camphill Village is a dynamic farming, gardening, and handcrafting intentional community that includes adults with developmental disabilities. It’s not a place where people are put away and kept from interacting with the rest of the world. The very purpose of this community is to create spaces for intersection, interaction, and negotiation. I could never have known without seeing it myself how beautifully everyone at Camphill works together. It seems so out of the ordinary at first to hear that everybody serves together to create a cooperative living and working environment where everyone is taken care of. I now see how wrong I was to think that Camphill served only the people with developmental disabilities. It serves everyone living there as well as the surrounding communities.

From the moment we stepped out of the vans, I could feel the good energy of that place. We were immediately greeted by one of the Camphill villagers, and welcomed with a delicious and hearty meal. I didn’t expect to have such an intensely positive experience. I wanted to stay there. It felt almost too good to be true. I can’t wait to go back and get some real experience in their community. I think Camphill sets an example of how to create and maintain a strong community of caring and hardworking people. What else could you want in the people you spend your time with?

I’ve always been fascinated with intentional communities and communes. Having grown up in a city, I’ve always longed to be part of a community like Camphill. After getting back to campus on Friday, I couldn’t stop talking about how excited I am to go back. In addition to the important work we’re going to be doing around the ethics of portraiture and the intersections of identity, this trip and the work we’re doing with Riva seem like they’re going to be perfect vehicles for us to think about how we want to live and structure our lives within our communities.

I don’t think I’ve said this enough… I am so excited about Camphill!!!