ICSA at Camphill Ghent

Camphill Ghent (along with Camphill Copake, Triform, and Hudson) hosted the ICSA (International Communal Studies Association) conference from July 18-21. Ghent hosted a pre-conference gathering
on Wednesday, July 17 for forty Camphillers. Those who attended shared their community’s practice on diversity and inclusion.

We heard from two Rwandan men who founded a community center that provides education, work, and skills training to physically and mentally disabled people. We also heard stories from a community in Colorado that provides living spaces for families seeking refuge from war, violence, and homelessness. Many of the people who came have amazing stories to share and they were all inspiring.

I met with a long-term coworker from Newton Dee (a Camphill community in Aberdeen) who wanted to learn about Ghent’s story because they themselves are starting an elder community. I gave her a tour and answered her questions regarding how to be successful in building a new community for their aging population.

I led hand chimes sessions for two days. The sessions were very well attended, with close to forty people wanting to learn about this musical instrument. I also led the plenary session on diversity and inclusion as practiced in Camphill communities. Ghent was front and center whenever I gave a presentation to more than 150 people who attended the conference.
Then, on Saturday, July 20, Ghent hosted several events: five different workshops with almost 75 people attending; two tours (with about 30 people attending); and hosting lunch for 50 people. It was a big event and all went smoothly thanks to our residents, coworkers, and service volunteers who supported this conference.

Everyone who visited our community was grateful for the experience. They said that our community is full of beauty; our people are nice, friendly and welcoming, and the food was delicious. I couldn’t agree more!

—Onat