What do leaves dipped in wax, seed germination, and eurythmy have in common?
I learned about it and did it at Camphill Copake!
Camphill Copake is an Intentional Community in upstate New York that serves adults with special needs. They are called Villagers, as this village is their home! Camphill runs with the help of short and long-term volunteers, heads of houses, and some local outside support. Everyone lives, works, eats, and celebrates together. There are many festivals and internal actives that keeps everyone busy. There are about 250 people living in the village in over 20 houses. While this is a lot of people, Camphill has over 600- acers of farmland, woods, and residual area, so there is room to spread out.
One of my favorite actives to do has been dipping fall leaves in bees wax. My house and I dipped over 50 leaves to decorate our space for fall. And we only had one burned finger! Here there is a mission to live in balance with seasonal change. That means seasonal activities like this are a must. And, with this community being over 50 years old, there are a lot of beautiful old maple trees to get red and yellow leaves from. These are the same trees that this winter, the Estate Workshop will harvest maple syrup from!
This is a working community, so everyone has one or two work placements they are a part of. My morning work is in the Coffee Shop. The Coffee Shop is a hot spot during tea time, as many people come in to get sweet treats, look in the gift shop or library, and stay warm as the days get colder. With the new restrictions for Covid-19, the Coffee Shop is only open to people living in the village. Some of the Villagers here are not able to wear masks so the Coffee Shop is a way for them to safely come to a coffee shop.
My afternoon workshop is in Turtle Tree Seed. Turtle Tree Seed sells and produces open-pollinated, Demeter certified Biodynamic, organic vegetable, flower and herb seeds. This workshop has grown over the years and now has hundreds of strains of seeds that would not exist without the seed shop. One of the Villagers I work with can name almost every time of tomato seed we have! And there are more strands than I can count. Most of the work I do here is to catalogue and harvest seeds from plants grown in the Vegetable Garden or Healing Plant Garden. We sow the seeds in the ground and watch them grow over the year to be harvested months later. This is also where I have learned and even process seeds for germination. While I don’t think I will ever need to know about seed germination in the future, it is an interesting thing to understand. Find out more about this workshop here: https://turtletreeseed.org/
Finally, eurythmy. What is eurythmy? For some it is a physical movement therapy. For others it is a performative movement. For me, it is a fun movement that I have enjoyed participating in before we eat dinner. Eurythmy is actually considered a Steiner movement art that follows anthroposophic philosophy. Most houses do a version of spoken eurythmy. This is when important words, like “Halleluiah”, are broken up into sounds that have corresponding movements. Some households in Camphill perform a different word ever week before sitting down to eat dinner. For everyone it is a good way to do premeal movement to the best of their own ability.
While there are many different mission statements Camphill believes in and supports, the one that has stuck out to me the most is “shared living at Camphill Village brings a new future into focus; a future that is about recognizing the potential of everyone and the benefits of a life lived with care and concern for others.” All of the activities and workshops I have described above are done with people of all abilities. We work in groups and teams to help run this community. We find things that people are both able to do, but also accel at doing. Everyone participates and cares for each other is every way one could think is possible.
To find out more, or even to come and volunteer, check out their website at: