Mission: To create intentional communities where the values of service, sharing, spiritual nourishment, and a commitment to recognizing each individual's gifts and contributions offer a model for the broader society.
About the Organization: Founded in 1983, the Camphill Association of North America is part of an international movement to create communities that meet the needs of children, youth, and adults with developmental disabilities through a combination of community life, the arts, and work on the land. Led by Dr. Karl Konig, an Austrian who described Camphill's mission as "defending the image of man wherever it is most threatened," the first Camphill community was founded in 1939 in Scotland by a group of refugees from Nazi Germany. Drawing inspiration from the principles of anthroposophy, Camphill communities provide a holistic therapeutic environment in which individuals with disabilities live and work with volunteer staff — known as "coworkers" — as equally valued contributors to the life of the community. Founded in 1966, the Camphill Foundation currently supports more than a hundred communities in fifteen countries.
Current Programs: In North America, there are Camphill communities in California, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, British Columbia, and Ontario, including a Camphill special school for children between the ages of 5 and 18 (in Glenmmore, Pennsylvania), communities for young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 (in New York and Pennsylvania), nine communities for adults, and a community for elders (in Chatham, New York). In these "life-sharing communities," long- and short-term coworkers share living space, work activities, and leisure time with community residents with special needs. While coworkers are responsible for the health and care of the people with whom they live, every member of the community is responsible for the care, beauty, maintenance, and running of his or her home.
Therapeutic programming in Camphill communities includes music, movement, painting, theater, massage, sports, physical therapy, garden work, craft work, academic education, jobs both inside and outside the community, and other opportunities for individual development. Camphill farming communities practice biodynamics — a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, and nutrition based on the work of scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner — and raise cattle, pigs, chickens, sheep, and other animals, as well as tend orchards and vegetable, berry, and herb gardens.
Website: Visitors to the Camphill Association of North America site can learn more about the Camphill Movement and life in individual Camphill communities in the United States and Canada. Those who know an individual with developmental disabilities who might be interested in joining a Camphill community can learn about the admissions process, while individuals interested in volunteering can apply to become a Camphill coworker.
Funding: The Camphill Association of North America is funded by the Camphill Foundation, government grants, and membership fees.