The most intense six months of my life
by Pina Skupin
I always knew that I wanted to take a gap year after school to contribute to something bigger and to give something back to people after receiving my education. I signed up with an organisation in Germany, which supported me with the application. Once everything was settled and I had finished all the preparation, I couldn’t wait to start this adventure.
Arriving with the bus in Grangemockler, I was already amazed by the small village and the beautiful landscape which was something completely new for me since I grew up in a big city. When I arrived in Camphill with a staff member who had picked me up from the bus station, I was welcomed very warmly by the residents of the house that I would be living and working in. I could feel the unique atmosphere right from the first evening with a prepared name sign on my bedroom door, blessing the meal together before we had our supper and working together as a team when we cleaned up afterwards. All of this made my first evening in Camphill very special and eventful. Due to the life-sharing, it felt like I found a new home within only a couple of days.
During my first weeks, I learned a lot about the people I was living and working with but also about myself and my own habits. Since there are many other volunteers that experienced similar situations and with whom I shared many thoughts, many close friendships developed very quickly. This feeling contributes to the unique and informal atmosphere in Camphill where we see each other as people with different strength and therefore we all contribute to our community in different ways. While one person likes to be on the farm, someone else enjoys helping out in the house and a third person prefers to cut the grass. We all participate and help the community by doing what we can and enjoy doing.
As a volunteer, I helped out in the house by cleaning and cooking but there are also many day service activities in which you can participate and learn new things every time. In Camphill, I realised how valuable it is to learn new things together and to help each other and that we all have a gift for something and that we like to share this with the people around us. We created our own moments and memories every day but also during community events (Christmas, Candlemas, St. Michael’s etc.) which made the time so intense.
Every day brings something new when you live in Camphill and most of the times the moments are very happy and pleasant. Nevertheless, there were also moments and days where I was challenged. However, with the staff members and other volunteers around me, I always had a person to turn to and to address my concern and talk about the situations.
All of this makes the experience in Camphill so unique. You manage situations better every day, you learn together and develop new ideas together and you build relationships with the people that you live and work with.