The Camphill School was always so much more than a school. Our community is one in over one hundred worldwide communities, where people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities live, work, and care for each other. We host one of the Camphill Academy campuses, where adults from all over the planet come to learn about Curative Education. We also offer an integrated Waldorf kindergarten, where children can be children and learning happens in nature.
In our path of self-development, we try our best to listen to the needs of the individuals we serve, and for that reason, in 2002, the Transition Program was created. This little oasis was created to support youth to transition into adult life in their own time, in a healing environment, emphasizing social life and community work. Today, we are sharing a little bit about that story, as written by one of its founders Erin Byrne, in 2010.
For many years before the opening of the Transition Program, Beaver Run had been trying to figure out what to do with the students who were still eligible for funding until they were 21, but had already graduated from high school. A group had formed to take on the question, and it was decided that a suitable location should be found close to Beaver Run. A beautiful house called Beaver Hill was found and renovated. Norbert Schultes came from Camphill Ontario to help start the fledging program.
Beaver Hill opened its doors in the fall of 2002 with six students. For the next three years, the Transition Program had a rotating schedule of vocational work crews, outreaches, and usually a road trip in the summer. Norbert ran the program with the help of Claus Rychlak and Tamara Sheen, with many other coworkers coming and going. Michaela Godshall and Rowan (Gregory) Bondi also joined during the first three years.
A big change came in the 4th year when the program expanded by adding two more houses, and the number of students rose to about 12. The houses were located at Beaver Farm, and for the first year, we rented the houses without having the use of the farm as a vocational program. Kristin and Laurence Sheen ran the two houses at the farm. Erin Byrne joined as an employee to take on the teaching and program administration as Norbert needed to return to Camphill Ontario. Claus left to start up a new program in Florida.
After one year as “renters” at Beaver Farm, we were given the opportunity to purchase the property, which we did in December of 2006. This purchase opened up a totally new opportunity for all of us in the program as we could now be a vocational training with a farm emphasis. A decision was made to especially focus on raising biodynamic meat for the whole Beaver Run community. Andreas Schad joined the Transition Program in the fall of 2007 as farm manager and to run Beaver Hill.
In the summer of 2008, Kristin and Laurence Sheen moved to Norway, and Ani and Guy Alma moved over to Beaver Farm after living at Beaver Run for 19 years! Lucky for us, Norbert Schultes also decided to return to the Transition Program in the fall of 2009, to run the Farm House and dreaming up spectacular plans for a big garden and greenhouse.