From Long Island to Hudson Valley, we still remain in New York state. Hudson Valley is also a wine production region but the reason we wanted to stop here wasn’t for visiting wineries at all, even if with more time I would
have loved to stop by and taste the wine from the region. It was something else which attracted us here, Claire and I. Before arriving here at Copake in this lush and green environment, we stopped on the way at The Pfeiffer Center in Spring Valley. And then we made our way to Camphill Village, Copake, at the border with Connecticut and Massachussetts.
As we arrived on a Monday morning at the reception of the Village, it was just the time for us to join a tour organised for a small summer camp nearby the Village. Linda, a villager from Copake, leaded the tour and took us around the Village in what is a beautiful place dedicated to the teaching of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Our visit on a cloudy, warm and humid Monday, will pass the woodwork-shop, the village green, the fountain hall, the weavery, the stain glass workshop, the farm, and all the places of interest in the Village.
“Camphill Village is a unique therapeutic residential farm community in Copake, New York, where dedicated volunteers and people with disabilities share a full life together. Located in rural Columbia County 100 miles north of New York City, the Village comprises 600 acres of wooded hills, gardens and pastures. Villagers(adults with disabilities), co-workers and co-workers with children live together in extended family households and work together in a variety of craft shops and work areas.
Crafts include candle making, stained glass, bookbinding, weaving, and woodworking. Land work includes a biodynamic dairy farm , vegetable, gardens, the Healing Plant Garden and Workshop and Turtle Tree Seed business. The Village also has a medical care centre, culture and arts centre, bakery, café, and gift shop.
Founded in 1961, Camphill Village is the oldest of eight independent Communities in North America. It draws on the 60 year experience of the international Camphill movement – over 100 communities, schools, and centres in 22 countries dedicated to building a full life with and for children,
youth, and young adults with social, emotional, and mental disabilities. The mission of Camphill is to uphold the true image of the human being, particularly where the unfolding of the individual is challenged by developmental disability. The Camphill philosophy was developed by Karl Konig in Scotland in 1940, a Viennese born doctor influenced by the work of Rudolf Steiner.
Over one hundred villagers with moderate to mild developmental disabilities have chosen Camphill Village as their home. They range in age from 24 to 94, over half are over 50. While the community accepts people from any geographical location, the majority come from the metropolitan north-east.
At any given time about 110 long- term resident co-workers and their children live and work in the village. They share responsibility for villager care, home making, workshop training, the farm, administration and finance, community outreach and the cultural, artistic and spiritual life of the community.
Co-workers are volunteers who work out of commitment to the mission of Camphill and do not receive a salary as such. They establish a community
budget to meet basic expenses(food, clothing, vacations, medical insurance, education, and training). They have credentials or training in curative education, social therapy, social sciences, the arts and humanities. Many have extensive experience in agriculture or crafts, and many lived and worked in other camphill centres.
Camphill Village is an important option among many fine services in New York State for adults with developmental disabilities. With its emphasis on family-centred care, the development of individual potential and inclusions, Camphill is a forerunner and model in the disabilities field, where these ideals are now the basis for public policy nationwide.
Camphill Village depends on charitable contributions for 47 percent of its operating needs. Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the
law. Government funding through the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities(OMRDD), historically unpredictable and variable, now meets 53 percent of operating costs. Fiscal responsibility is ensured through careful monitoring of expenses, quarterly budget reports to the Board and an annual audit.”