Resident Spotlight: Brian Rée

A wonderful thing about Camphill Ghent is the way our community is made up of people from a variety of backgrounds. There are people that have lived in other Camphill communities, and some that had never heard of Camphill prior to moving here. Resident, Brian Rée, is one of the former, having lived in Camphill communities all over the world including England, Germany, Northern Ireland, and the United States.

It all started in 1968, when Brian, like a lot of young people, was trying to figure out what life path to take after college. Hearing about a volunteer opportunity at Botton Village in North Yorkshire, England he and his father traveled there to learn more. Brian recalls being impressed by the beauty, closeness, and caring environment he found upon his arrival at Botton stating it was “fantastically marvelous.” Initially, Brian worked a variety of jobs within the community, but then his newfound interest in Anthroposophy led him to the work he would do for the remainder of his years as a co-worker— managing a community bookstore.

As Brian tells the story, it began with a small selection of Anthroposophical books in the community gift shop. That small selection then expanded to take over more and more space in the gift shop, until eventually, it took over the entire space! Years later, when Brian and his wife Anna moved to Camphill Village Copake, Brian would pick-up where he left on in Botton, by managing the community bookstore.

It has now been over fifty years since Brian first set foot in a Camphill community. His institutional knowledge of the movement and the way he has seen the growth and change of communities over time is immensely valuable to a community like Camphill Ghent, that is still laying down roots. When asked how our community differs from others, Brian points out that in other Camphills, the community is created through everyday tasks of sustaining the community, whereas here, with no community jobs to focus on, residents build community through outreach to all. Brian is quick to also point out a similarity he feels is key to the movement—that the ethos of Camphill Ghent is very strong. And like other communities, it is “a good home and a good place to be.” —Written by Janet Andrade