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.