My time in Camphill Callan
When I first applied for Camphill I really had no idea about Camphill, Anthroposophy or where Callan even really was. I just wanted to surprise myself.
On my last evening before I flew to Ireland my mum said „ At least check out their website. Just to know something! “So, I did. All those faces on the pictures I saw that seemed so unfamiliar to me back then are so familiar to me now. And I am happy to have met those people and get to know them for the 11 months I have spent in this Camphill.
Pretty much from the start I felt like home and was able to make such great friendships learn so much about cooking, baking, crafts (even though I still cannot convince myself to have a talent for that) and myself especially. I have grown so much as a person and started to be more responsible than I ever was. It was especially great to see everyone else grow as much.
What I learned the most from Camphill is that people are all the same.
It is great to be able to take in part in festivals that are just so full of joy and love for one another and not see anyone else as different. People get to participate, and everyone contributes something they are great at and that makes it so special.
What else can I say?
Camphill is just such a bubble and you will probably hear that from a lot of people who have spent a bit of time in a community like that.
I can be completely myself and no one will judge. Or I can be in the worst mood ever and people will instantly notice and care.
A hug on the worst day, the most stupid joke when you are about to cry, the biggest excitement for a finished project from someone can make such a difference.
Maybe that is why people sometimes say „A year abroad has changed me “. You just get to experience different sides of you that you maybe would not have known. You grow so much more confidence.
You manifest something for the real world.
Either way you grow in way.
And no one can take these steps and experiences away from you.
So, I hope for whoever might be reading this and wondering „should I consider a year abroad in Camphill? “.
Just go for it and try it out.
It’s some „good craic “.
„ Sure, look it will be grand! “:)
Lots of Love,
My name is Luka and I am 18 years old. I still live at home but I spend three days in Camphill Callan.
I cook two mornings. My three favorite foods are lasagna, pasta and pizza (in this order) and I try to cook them as often as possible.
One morning I am on the farm and three afternoons I work in the garden.
The other two days I attend courses in the KCAT Art studio.
My passion is music. I love listening to CD's and to sing. Can you believe that I know over one hundred songs by heart?
I like the work in Camphill a lot, especially potting plants on the farm and shoveling cow shit (sorry for that word).
And I love the tea breaks, joking around and laughing with the people here!
Hello, my name is Anna.
The first time I came to Camphill Callan was in July 2016 to visit my older sister Betty who was volunteering here at the time. I was gonna stay for 5 weeks that summer but it ended up being two whole months. What can I say, I fell in love with this place immediately. Every day I learned so much about people, community life, farming and gardening, cooking, relationships AND I learned so much about myself too.
At the end of the summer I had to go back home to the Czech Republic to do my last year of high school.
But I knew I'd be coming back.
And so I did.
I came back in July 2017, this time for a whole year. I remember how emotional I was, getting off the bus in Callan, coming back to my second home.
What a year this has been! I'm writing this in July 2018, a few days before leaving Callan and I'm trying to reflect on my time here. Things weren't always easy but one of the things I learnt here is that it's actually the challenges (and dealing with them) that make you really grow as a person. And I did grow.
I lived and worked with people from all around the world, old and young, with different abilities and disabilities and the most important thing I learnt is that labels are for clothes, not people.
So now, after a year, I'm torn between being excited to go home and feeling like I'm leaving home. (Everyone who spent some time in a Camphill probably know what I mean.) But it's actually kind of nice, knowing that there's this magical place out there, filled with love and great people.
And I know I'll be coming back again...
My own experience living and working in the Camphill Callan community was entirely positive. I joined the community in December, 2016 after realizing that I wasn't connecting with the lifestyle and culture of the University where I was studying. Seeking out alternative ways of being and thinking, and being particularly interested in growing organic vegetables, I left school to live for one year in Callan, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland. I was 20 years old. Little did I know how life-changing the year would actually be! Suffice to say: I learned a lot more than I bargained for.
Contributing to Camphill Callan is something to be proud of. The community is exemplary of what it means to "be the change you wish to see in the world". It strives to create a society in which all community members - regardless of their abilities - are recognized as having valuable roles to play in the well-being of the community as a whole. In practice, this means supporting each other to grow as co-creators.
Under the umbrella of this ethos, any task is able to create a strong sense of pride in oneself and their work. Whether its harvesting potatoes, cooking lunch, or supporting someone to attend an art workshop, all activity either directly or indirectly feeds the impulse to create a tolerant, inclusive, and participatory social environment in which community members are best able to grow. Seen from this perspective, even the seemingly-uninspired task of cleaning a toilet becomes somewhat inspired! (Okay... maybe its not that much more inspired...)
This has turned out to be a crucial lesson I learned by contributing in Camphill Callan. To believe whole-heartedly in the goodness of one's work, and to take pride in it, is the most magical feeling. Living and contributing in this community created that feeling for me. Although there were often challenges along the way, at the end of each day I went to bed knowing that I was doing the right thing - that I was fighting the good fight... and I was loving doing it!
Which leads me to the most important reason why one should feel inclined to reach out to Camphill Callan: the relationships. In this community, you will form some of the strongest relationships you will ever know, with some of the most extraordinary people you will ever meet. What I came to realize throughout my year is that these family-like feelings which spawn from such relationships are what sustain me in life. And these feelings are commonplace in a community like Camphill Callan, where the spirit of love truly does provide the spiritual backbone of community life. This spirit offered me the support I needed to see challenges in a more positive light: as opportunities to grow, and to become closer with my friends and fellow community members. Although the opportunity to contribute to a good cause is an enticing reason to join Camphill Callan, another enticing reason is the opportunities presented there to grow individually. I'm sure almost all Camphillers will agree that they left Camphill as a more wholesome human-being than when they came. (But, of course, many Camphillers have never left!)
In this increasingly intolerant, polluted, and generally unstable world we live in today, it is no wonder that more and more people - and especially young people - are actively seeking out alternative ways of relating to one another and to nature. If it is a physically, mentally, and spiritually nourishing lifestyle you are looking for; if you want to end each day feeling like you did your part in the "good fight"; or if you just want to get the hell out of town and do something different for a while!... then I say from experience: The Camphill Callan community is the place for you.
Exeter, New Hampshire
(I am happy to communicate with anyone who is interested in Camphill Callan and would like to ask any questions. Please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com. Cheers!)
Last summer from May to October I got the chance to help and live in the Camphill Community Callan in Ireland as a Co-Worker. I got the chance to meet some amazing people and gain great experiences for my personality.
I’m from Austria and I’m 24 years old and I studied social work. I already worked with people with disabilities after my studies and so I wanted to learn more in this field. I found the Camphill Communitys on the internet and a friend of my sister joined one Community as a summer-co- worker.
The Camphill Callan is separated in three different houses and I lived in one of them, the Workhouse. At the beginning we were eight people in the house, five Co-workers and three residents. It changed a bit during my stay, but the relation stayed the same. It was quite easy for me to feel welcome at my first days because everybody makes you feel like you are and because of the warm atmosphere from the Community, I could settle in quite quick. Still I got enough time to get to know everybody and also the other house, to get to know the daily routines of everybody and the community life. As it was needed I started to work mainly in the kitchen and the household with cleaning, laundry, etc., but I also sometimes worked in the garden with other members of the community. I loved using all fresh vegetables from the garden and creating meals out of it. I learned a lot about using your one things and saving money of buying unnecessary food and it’s just great that we had this possibility. I mainly helped and worked together with two of the residents in the Workhouse, who I lived together and two other residents from the other houses. My two housemates needed quite a lot support and kind of care and the other two guys need just a little help sometimes. I loved spending time with all of them and I learned so much from them. Caring in this way for people with disabilities was new for me and I’m happy about this new skills. It was also new for me to join a live-sharing community and live together with kind of a big family, but I really enjoyed it. It was great to spend festivals together, go on outings, taking parts in workshops, singing songs and having meals together. In these six months in Ireland I could improve my English and a lot of other skills, I could see the beautiful country, I found some very good friends, I learned a lot for my future and I learned what inclusion really means and how it can work.
My name is Henrik, I’m 21 years old and from Lüneburg in Germany. At the moment I’m a full time residential volunteer in the Camphill Community in Callan.
In August 2013, I actually planned to go to university and study special education. But as it turned out, I didn’t get a spot. So I was thinking about a task, I could do throughout the next year, instead. I had done voluntary work with people with special needs before already, when I learned about Camphill. I had never heard of it, but it sounded like just the right thing for me at that point, since I felt the need to leave my life at home behind and do something on my own, something new and in a different country.
So I just came to this website and applied right away. Already two days later I got a mail, which said, that I was in and that I could start in a bit over a month. There I was, I had the job, I was motivated and I couldn’t wait to get it started. Though I still didn’t know what I was in for. I just trusted and felt it would be the right place for me. And it turned out, to be just that.
In Camphill Callan our work contains tasks on the farm or our garden, same as care work with our people. In the beginning young co-workers are quite a lot involved in the land work, but at the same time start to be worked in, in the care responsibilities for our people. These responsibilities will increase gradually throughout the time in the community. Practical domestic work is also a big part of our life in the house communities. We share the workload of cooking, cleaning and washing in our houses amongst the co-workers.
Though new to me, all these tasks very easily started to make up my daily routines. I felt at home already shortly after I arrived and soon enough could not imagine going by the time I originally planned, leaving all these fantastic people, the work I love and my community which was and is in a process of quite considerable changes behind. I felt my time wasn’t up yet, so I asked to stay on for another year, which I could.
By now I’m in my second year and my work has changed a bit, since my decision to fully concentrate on the care work for my main people, my friends John and Nick. We work together throughout the whole week; we go swimming, for hikes and walks. But also just life our lives together, sometimes with a little support, but otherwise like everybody else.
Furthermore I’m now involved in a few official, administrative tasks for the community such as record keeping and finances.
Though my time hasn’t ended yet, my conclusion for my time here is: that I met great people, who I’m glad, being able to call my friends. I learned about life skills in almost every field, responsibility for myself and others, but first and foremost loving care for the people around me.
But enough of me now, if you like the idea of joining an intentional community and are interested in: working with our people (and feel able to meet their special needs) and organic farming and garden work, Camphill Callan is the right spot for you, with a great team of senior co-workers, young volunteers and employees.
It definitely was for me. And again I’m not too sure if I’m going to leave at the agreed time, so we might see each other soon. I’m looking forward.
I love living here in Callan it has opened my mind a lot. I like meeting people from the town and community and working together. KCAT is a drama and arts centre in Callan and it has a big influence on the town. I am an artist and work in KCAT during the week. We do lots of projects in KCAT working as a team with lots of other people.
There are three houses in the community and some apartments.
The Monday community meetings are very important to me because it’s where I get to voice my ideas and opinions and there is someone there to listen and help me.
There are other Camphill Communities close to us and we meet up and have a great connection with them. We work together to keep the ethos of Camphill alive. We work and live together, life sharing is very important to me.
I have been happily volunteering for three and a half years in Camphill Callan.
I came from France, first for a year, with my partner, and my main missions were: to assist a young man (a year older than me!) in his daily life and join the garden workshop.
And share life! Which was quite difficult for me, especially during the first three months… but I stayed three years, so I actually learned to love it… And I will miss it!
There is always someone around for a chat, for a cup of tea, always someone to meet in the kitchen to nibble some leftovers or grab a slice of bread…
Always someone to complain with, gossip with, laugh with…!
The young man I was helping is in a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy, has epilepsy, no speech and consequently other difficulties… and I must say I had some as well (difficulties) trying to help him through the days, having to deal with our moods, the crowded meals, etc.
But! But I got so much reward out of my efforts! And gained so much self-esteem! And had so much fun! Went for amazing ‘family’outings, concerts, got good trainings, met a lot of international co-workers, learned Korean, Croatian, Brazilian (or at least a few words or each) and English of course, with the thick Irish accent…
My partner joined the very inclusive art school closely related to Camphill Callan (look out www.kcat.ie) and tried all sorts of craft and art skills!
And there’s an amazing town summer festival – festival of participation and inclusion, with workshops, parade, music, parties!
There’s a good number of camphill communities around so you can meet many other people, go places, etc. And as Camphill Callan is residing and included in Callan town you can have a closer dip in rural Ireland with its pubs and so on and so forth…
All the meaningful work on the land, the gifts that persons with special needs make emerge out of your relationships, the highs and the lows, I felt myself alive, alive, oooh! (old dublin’s song!).
So, I can’t recommend enough the experience!
My Name is Soufiane, I am originally from Morocco, I arrived to Camphill Callan in summer 2007 on the aim to stay for one year, but NO that didn’t happen because I am still working in Camphill Callan LOL.
That explains it all; I have enjoyed every bit of this experience, mainly I felt like being at home even I was far from home, everyone was equal in the community which made me more confident about my decision; I was able to make new friends, family, I was respected about my religion, people were showing interest about my culture and more importantly I was learning new things about myself that I have never thought of before, for me the community living is like a mirror that reflects about my unconscious mind.
My time being in Camphill Callan is like a story that I will be proud of to tell it to my children when they grow up; in 2009 I have met my Lovely wife Maya in Callan whom I proposed to her a week after we met, I know it’s crazy but guess what we are very happy, we have a gorgeous girl Zaina and we are expecting another baby soon. With the community support we were able to have an unforgettable wedding at the Castalia Hall, and again that shows the support and the love that you could get in Camphill Callan.
Like is stated before, I have learned a lot about myself; with the involvement in festivals and Camphill celebrations I realised that I have the skills to do things such as craft, music, gardening, cooking etc. and more importantly the social aspect of it. Am not going to deny some days were tough days but when you get up in the morning and you think the fact that you are helping others and others are helping you then is a well worth experience.
Myself and my wife are both now employees in Camphill Callan, we love to go to work and we are proud of what we are doing. We enjoy being around people, meeting new people every so often from all around the world, socialising in different event and keeping up the spirit of Life Sharing.
My name is Martin James Scallan, everybody calls me MJ. I am originally from Wexford but have lived in Camphill for a long time. I have been living in Callan for more than ten years, and in my own flat for most of that time. I have a team of workers who help me to live more independently. I take part in a training in Access - SOS, as part of that I have two paid jobs in the Orchard and Langton’s, Cillin Hill.
I love music and have a good and big music collection and I enjoy going to concerts. I love taking photos and have tonnes of photographs that I put into the pharmacy and make calendars from them. I am good at cooking, and cook in the Granary on Wednesday. I like having people over to visit and people always mess with me about how much garlic I put in. I like baking, lots of things, like bread and cake. I like living in Callan, because I am in the town, I can get the bus into Kilkenny or Clonmel, I can go to the shops, pharmacy, chippers and I love meeting different people around the town. It’s all good actually...
My name is Jan Mahon, I’m 37 years old and I live in Camphill Callan.
I’m originally from Dublin but I moved to Bray when I was 25 because I felt it was time for me to move out from home and start living independently.
In Bray I completed the level 3 FETAC in Art & Design. I also did level 3 FETAC in Maths.
I’ve been to different trips with my family and also with my friends. I’ve also travelled by myself a few times.
Still in Bray, I graduated in the Contemporary Living course in Trinity College. Graduating and having my student card in Trinity College was like a dream coming true. It was very motivating to have a lot of inspiring people around me. Still in Trinity College I achieved a few goals in my Fashion Group course, like going shopping independently.
I moved to Camphill Callan after a few days of a trial and I felt at home when talking to people. I felt it was the perfect and most suitable place for me. Everybody is very welcoming and people put a lot of effort to make you feel happy here.
Sometimes I help cooking, cleaning and I’m always up for a cup of a coffee. I also like linking with different people and make connections around the town. I attend KCAT Art Centre 4 days a week and I study different subjects, such as ceramics, photography, open studio and arts in general.
Camphill Callan is a great place for meeting people and having fun. We love going out for walks, going to the beach (even if it’s cold!) and also chilling out playing Ludo and having a cup of tea.
Here is a good place for having opportunities and feel integrated within the community.
Camphill has been in one side of my mind ever since I heard about the stories from my cousin who had been in the British Camphill. It has been naturally sinking into me and our family. I finally matriculated at university and applied to Camphill. I left for the faraway, foreign land with 18 hours of flight. The flight was full of excitement as well as anxiety.
April 7th, 2015. Arrived. I claimed my luggages and took a breath. It was cold and I was alone.
To be more mature by overcoming the difficulties that I face while handling with the needs of the challenged in the foreign land, not in Korea, and in English, not in Korean, and thereby becoming a broad-minded person - that was the ultimate purpose that I 'came' to Ireland.
To tell the conclusion first, I became closer to that kind of person.
Camphill Callan is a wonderful place. You can frequently experience and witness magical experiences here in Callan.
First, becoming a 'family'
Each one of us, with different nationalities, languages, ages, and races gather together to become 'we' and then 'family' - I must admit that this was miraculous and beautiful.
Times that we came to know about each other's cultures were not just 'multi-cultural' time but rather were a precious time to know about each one of us and to communicate with each other.
Moreover, I came to realize that we have to give some space to each one of us. Everyone has his/her personality and character. We came to understand each other while having time together. Although it was not easy to share our lifes, each one of us developed into 'we' by trying to cooperate. We developed into a more mature 'we' that are considerate about each others' needs and space.
The times that we shared our joy and sorrow were, in very truth, the most obvious proof that we were 'family'.
In my life in Camphill, I faced some tragedies. We cared for each other and kept each others' side during the difficult times. I could stand the hardship thanks to the people in Camphill that worried and considered about me. I had an overwhelming feeling to have a friend to share tears beside me. I could feel the real happiness and gratitude.
I also felt like Camphill Callan was my home, not just a place I was staying in. At some moment - maybe, after I began to think of Camphill as 'home' -, Callan has been my 'home home sweet home'. The fact that I have a place to go back, people that wait for me and welcome me with hospitality made my heart so warm.
So, I could develop into a person that respects all the relations that I had with the people I met in my life in Callan.
Second, finding myself.
The first change is that I got a mind to feel grateful.
Daily life that can be meaninglessly pass by came to me in a special, important and thankful meaning. Having a meal together, greeting each other with a beautiful smile, having a talk about small and simple things and sometimes opening our hearts to each other - all of these were precious to me. I wanted to have a meaningful and regretless experience in the given time, and thus the time I had in Camphill Callan was worthwhile.
I used to be a person that gets disappointed by contrasting myself with other people. However, I turned to be an exactly opposite person from the beginning. Instead of thinking of what I do not have, I found myself having more time thinking about what I have in myself. I found myself having pearly joys in it. Eventually I am now a more bright and positive kind of person. It is not just a thought of mine considering that people in Callan think of me as positive and active kind of person.
It was an amazing and valuable time for me to witness myself changing in a positive way.
Lastly, finding 'what I do the best'.
While in university, I always had questions about what I do well and what I have interest in. Therefore, I have decided to get the answers for the questions through the experience in Camphill. The result? Of course, Great success! I got the answers. What I do well is 'to develop'. I am better today than I was yesterday and I was better in winter than I had been in summer. Therefore, reflecting spring, summer, fall, and winter that I had undergone, I certainly have confidence that I am better now than I was before 'coming' to Ireland. There was 'myself' that kept developing while learning my values.
I still cannot forget the moment that I had farewell, hugging each other with streaming tears, under the drizzling rain. We all know that the eyes and tears had all the meaning, even without a word.
With the precious and unforgettable times, and the people that I can never forget wherever we are and however different lifes we live, I got on the bus and left Callan.
December 26th, 2015. Good-bye. I sent my luggages and took a breath. It was warm and I was together.
It was shinier to be together than to be alone for my precious 264 days.