During the summer 2012 I came to the Dingle Camphill Community as a summer co-worker for 3 months. In the beginning I hadn't had a concrete idea of what was waiting for me. Because I'm not from a religious and antroposophical background I was a bit afraid not to fit in the community. But this was not the case at all. Between all the members there was and is a big respect and acceptance !
Speaking of the people there : they are all so great. I met so many good, interesting, funny and kindhearted people and we built some true relations with each other.
For me, it was the first time that I was so far away from home for such a long period of time and it was also the first time « working » with adult special needs. The first days of giving care were a little bit difficult but quickly I realised that the person cannot do it by herself and needs my help. It came more and more natural and in the end we had the greatest fun in the bathroom.
Of course my english got better and better every day because we just spoke english together. Even with the people who knew the same languages as me.(because we met in english, it was so natural to continue in this language ). Mostly I learnt the vocabulary for the household, garden, kitchen and daily life.
As a community we did many things together. For example : cooking, cleaning, working in the different workshops and we even had to run the house (when the houseparents were on holydays).
A very special thing for me was food. I never ate so healthy! Nearly everything that we had on our plate came from the garden, from the farm and from Daisy (milking cow). I was so amazed by that !
A big dificulty was to think of all the little things that I was suposed to remember and in the end I forgot 3/4 of them. But of course you are never alone and the people are offering their help a lot !
There were some situations where I thought I was a bit too young for this expirience and I missed my freedom at some moments. For examle to have just one day off (this means ONE sleep in) was a big change to my student way of life.
But all in all it didn't matter because I had by far the best summer that I ever could imagine to have !
During those 3 month I learnt to always be aware what's happening around me, to think for myself, to cook regulary for 8 or more people, to spin, to knit and a lot more !
I'm so thankfull to all the residents, co-workers and employees for this wonderful time together .
Camphill Dingle June - August 2012
On my last day at Camphill Dingle I was asked to write a blog about my stay there, so that future volunteers would be able to read up a bit on what to expect. But how to prepare you for what lies ahead? Now, all I can do is relate my own story but hopefully you will find it reassuring and helpful for the adventure that is about to commence.
During my journey to Dingle I was extremely anxious about what lay ahead. I had no prior experience and, yes, it was also my first time away from home for longer than three weeks. As soon as I arrived however, these feelings vanished immediately. Eventhough my arrival coincided with the preparations for the annual Open Day, I was welcomed warmly into the community. The first few days I didn't really know what I was supposed to be doing but it didn't matter. The full-time co-workers were extremely caring and gave me time to arrive and get my bearings. However, this did not mean that I was the new girl only allowed to watch. Oh no. As soon as I said that I would like to help wherever I can they gave me small jobs and responsibilities to keep me busy and get to know the people of the community. The Open Day itself was absolutely lovely and well worth a visit if you are around for it. My job was to give children donkey rides, which was immense fun. Walking around in donkey poo and mud all day, trying to pull reluctant donkeys across a field. Fun.
Seriously though, it was amazing. The people in the local community are so nice and supportive, something I had never come across before coming to Camphill. The aftermath of the Open Day felt like the whole community, even the walls of the farm and the vegetables in the garden, breathed a sigh of relief. It had been a huge success and everyone was very proud of what they had achieved. In the following weeks I learnt more about life than I had every learnt at school. Every day I did something new, different and exciting. Whenever I was unsure of what to do and whenever I felt insecure, someone more experienced was by my side to guide me. Very soon I did not need this guidance anymore as they helped me grow in confidence a huge amount. As for the residents of Camphill Dingle? I have never met nicer people before in my entire life! Of course they have bad days as you and I do too but you pretty much instantly fall in love with them and then you just try to make their day better. You can expect Camphill to be full of life changing experiences and you are definitely not the same person when you leave as when you arrived. But that's a good thing. As someone who had just left school and had no idea of what they wanted from life, Camphill gave me the opportunity to explore my strengths as well as my weaknesses and discover things I didn't know about myself. You must surely think that I am painting a pretty picture and leaving out all the bad parts but I can promise you that I am not. Whenever I felt frustrated or sad I had someone to talk to. Of course you will be tired at some point in your stay because one day off a week really isn't much. But even this doesn't affect you too much because you're having such a good time. Now as you are applying to go to Ireland I'm sure you have one burning question: What about the weather? Well, as I was only there during the summer I can only give you a small insight but know this: it does not rain all the time. Granted, July was incredibly wet but there was glorious sunshine in June and August - on some days anyway.
By the time it came for me to leave I really didn't want to. Having thought at the start that three months would be far too long, they ended up going by too quickly. I met some incredible people in Camphill Dingle and am still missing them an enormous amount. I am definitely thinking of returning someday and I hope, that after your stay you will feel the same way.
*Cue cheesy line*: For someone searching for the meaning of life and their purpose within it, Camphill Dingle is the place to go!
I came to Ireland with the intention of improving my English. I wanted to do something else, than studying and sitting in school. I wanted to work with my hands, and be in the nature. I wanted to get an idea of the work with special needs people; and all that I got in Camphill Dingle.
I was mainly working in the kitchen and in the garden, but I also had the chance, to work in the candle workshop. Even though I knew all this tasks already; it was a challenge for me again and again to discover new things and that not only in my working areas. Life was never boring, and sometimes even adventures, when we were climbing up mountains for example. It is so much fun to be able to share these experiences with great people, who can become real friends. Camphill is like a very big family, you always feel welcome in the community and taking part in every activity; when we met other "Camphillers" in the music week for instance, they were not strangers at all.
There is a lot going on in the community, like festivals, open days and birthday parties, but also in the local community, in Dingle there are festivals, with dancing, parades, and not to forget all the different types of music, and the pubs with their famous traditional Irish music.
Sometimes it was not easy, because you are asked a lot and the space for privacy is relatively small. But I learned so much about myself, to have patience with people and not to give out or become angry so fast e.g., rather to calm down and solve the problem later quietly. I learned to take over responsibility and to stand up for myself. And to understand myself and other people better, because especially special needs people can reflect your own problems or emotions very well.
Even when it was raining (it did that quite often) the landscape is so amazing and in combination with these nice people it made me feel like I would be there already for whole my life. I am so lucky and happy that I was able to have such a nice year with you guys!
I was in 2008/2009 a co-worker in Camphill Dingle and it was one of the most beautiful times of my life. One of my main goals was to improve my english but I learnt a lot more... You live and work with people with special needs and other co-workers in different agegroups together. I worked in different workshops such as garden,foodprocessing,weavery,the household and was able to develop a lot more new skills than I expected. I met a lot of great people and was able to make new friends, with special needs or co-workers.The people in the community as well as outsied are all very welcoming and friendly.Camphill Dingle is a small community which makes friendships a lot more intense, for me it always felt like a big and just different family! It wasn't always easy and in the beginning it seems like a lot to have only one day off a week but there I have to say I enjoyed the time so much that I sometimes even was afraid of missing out something special on my day off.... The community is sometimes a bit chaotic and very spontaneous but this makes things possible like having supper on the beach, having wonderful birthdayparties and your always welcome to bring your own ideas in. The great location of the houses( only a few minutes walk away from the beach ) adds of course to the charme of this place. Oh and I shouldn't forget to mention all the pubs in Dingle town with lovely local irish music.I really had a great time and I'd do it anytime again. It was a really good experience for my future. I even went back already a few times for visits, so if you decide for Dingle we might meet each other there some time!? Janna Pfeiffer Co-Worker 2008/09