Spring Seasonal

Welcome to summer!

Here is our spring edition which we hope you enjoy. Spring was certainly a long time coming this year but it was busy with many events and activities. We are hoping for a more relaxed summer season and look forward to bringing you our summer edition in September.

The Royal Letter

Many months ago our loyal royal Leah McGill sent a letter to Prince William and wife Kate congratulating them on the birth of their son George. Finally the response came thanking Leah for her letter.

This is not the first time Leah has written to royalty and received a reply. She has sent letters to the Queen in the past receiving very polite responses from her Ladies in Waiting.

Some years ago when Queen Elizabeth visited the Ontario Legislature, Leah was there and got within a few feet of the sovereign.

In This Issue...
  • The Royal Letter
  • RBC Dominion Securities volunteers
  • Aerial Photo
  • Camphill Dialogue
  • Lester: In Memoriam
  • Spring Fair
  • AUMI: Making music on our iPads
  • Camphill Association of North America
  • Transform and Empower
  • The Community Action Award recognizes Dr. Rick Irvin

RBC Dominion Securities Volunteers

In late May, stockbroker for the Camphill Foundation Canada, RBC Dominion Securities in Barrie, turned out to help in the garden. Their program consists of doing a few hours of volunteer work for us and in addition they give us a generous donation.

Gardening seemed a good volunteer task, and given the time of year, they planted potatoes. Four RBC staff turned out, and in two hours planted as many potatoes as would have taken gardener, Allan Kuhn, fourteen hours to plant himself. He estimates that with a normal crop yield, that will produce a harvest of 5000 lbs of potatoes. Afterwards, we all sat down (see image) and we told them something about the philosophy of Camphill and the meaning of the word biodynamic.

Many thanks to Lesley Stott and her colleagues at RBC Dominion Securities.

Terry Kirk
Camphill Foundation Canada

Aerial Photo

It is always amazing to see something so familiar from a new perspective.

This photo of our community south of Angus in Essa Township was taken last autumn by Keith White—a friend who is very active in local affairs and has helped us many times through his business; Borden Angus Music.

The feature that caught my eye is the spiral form of the road ending at the front door of the Novalis hall (somewhat hidden in the trees). One does not notice such a phenomenon on the ground but it is so revealing from higher up. Another aspect worth mentioning is that the development of the village community we affectionately call "Nottawasaga" follows the spiral in. The hall was the last of the major buildings erected in 1997 and appears at the centre. The spiral is a structure manifest in many places in nature; cow horns, snails, sea shells, and of course the huge cosmic forms of galaxies. Watch what happens next time you pull the drain plug in your kitchen sink.

I wanted to share this in the spirit of wonder of a new way of seeing.

Chuck Kyd

Camphill Dialogue

Board members Barry Marynick and
Mark McAlister at the Dialogue

Diane Kyd on the panel at the Dialogue
Every three years there is an international gathering of board members from Camphill places. This year the event took place in Pennsylvania at Camphill Soltane. Six representatives from our board participated over the four days in panel discussions, small groups and plenums on themes relating to current issues in Camphill around the world under the main theme:
Developing and Growing Community in a Changing World

Daily themes and panels included:

  • Life sharing and Person Centered Supports
  • Fundraising and Sustainability
  • Camphill’s Dialogue with the World Today

There were more than 100 participants from as far north as Norway/Finland and all the way to South Africa; east to Bangalore India and west to Hawaii.

Dialogues have been taking place since 1986 without fail and are important for building an international awareness of Camphill and seeing the many ways it comes to expression throughout the world. Conversely we come to find our common ground where our humanity can shine out in the way each Camphill place creates healthy social environments in accordance with the needs of the individuals within and the wider community without.


Lester: In Memoriam

Thank you Doreen Harte for the photo
It may seem odd to feature a bull in our memorial pages but Lester was no ordinary bull. He has been a long standing member of the Highland herd at the village and is the father of many of the present compliment of cattle.

Lester began life in October 2001 at a place called Gryphon Ridge, and in 2003 traveled all the way to Denver Colorado where he took 1st prize in the category of Championship Senior Bull Calf. He came to Camphill shortly after that great adventure and spent the next 11 years fathering dozens of offspring.

When you looked at the herd it wasn’t difficult to pick out Lester. He stood head and shoulders over all the rest of the cows and ruled over them all with the character of a benevolent dictator.

Because he was allowed to live out his life with his beloved herd, Lester did not go the way of many of his kin and died on the pasture as is befitting his position as the paternal head of his family.

Farmer Dave tells me that the new heir to the throne is Hogarth. He comes from Creemore and is introducing an entire new bloodline to the herd.

Long live Hogarth and thank you Lester for your many years of faithful service.

Spring Fair

Volunteer Dave Pataky at the Barbeque
Vendors Dorothy Swanson and Terry Horowitz show off their wares
Our Spring Fair once again surprised us with the showing of many new faces. There were a lot of the good old regulars too. It’s heartwarming to see how much of a social event our fairs have become.

Aside from the fact that there are many fine crafts available and lots of good food, there are many groups of people just enjoying the scene and having lively conversations.

For some of the friends who come, it is the one place they meet and have the time to “just be”. It’s amazing how relaxed the atmosphere is at the fair despite the fact that there are crowds of people everywhere. It is one of the hallmarks of a strong community life.

We are grateful for all who come out to the fairs and extend a hearty invitation to any of you who have not yet had the pleasure.

Our next fair is in October on Saturday the 4th. See you there!

AUMI: Making music on our iPads

Who would have guessed? The iPads are being used in some very creative ways around Camphill.


Gillian Siddall and Leaf Miller
In April, we had a two day workshop with Leaf Miller from the Deep Listening Institute in Kingston New York, and with Gillian Siddall, the Dean of Social Sciences and the Humanities at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay which involved drums, and all kinds of percussion instruments. But we also learned to use our iPads!

A wonderful app called AUMI (Adaptive Use Musical Instruments) allows the most physically or cognitively challenged person to participate in the musical activities. So we could play any instrument on the iPad through speakers even if some of us could only move our arms, or our heads, or wiggle our noses or move side to side. With any movement a person could manage. He or she was able to add to the musical symphony on the instrument of their choice.

We had such a lot of fun for two days, and when accompanied by frenzied drumming raised the roof off Novalis Hall.

Check out the app online, and see what we can get up to with our iPads!

Thanks to the Harrison McCain Foundation for the iPads and for making this opportunity possible.

Camphill Association of North America

In early April, people from all over North America gathered at Nottawasaga for the Camphill Association meeting.

The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, a story by Goethe was performed beautifully by our companions and coworkers, directed by Sylvie Roberge and Gabriele Schneider. Coworkers, companions, board members and family members, trustees of the association and other visitors gathered for the meetings, the meals, the tours, and the fun. Before the Association meetings, there was a Community retreat in Sophia Creek which was rich in content and nourishing conversation.

Transform and Empower


In mid-April, we finished part five of six one week blocks of the Transform and Empower course led by Julia Wolfson.

Our colleagues from Camphill Soltane, board members and others joined our core group for the course, and this time the theme was around sexuality and relationships.

We look forward to Julia’s return for the last block, and then we will have to consider how we carry on with this fine educational work in our community.

We are committed to an accreditation path with the Council for Quality and Leadership which is very demanding but the rewards are significant for all areas of our community; companions, coworkers and families.

The Community Action Award recognizes Dr. Rick Irvin

Our second Tribute dinner was a great success on many levels.

We celebrated the personal and professional achievements of Dr. Rick Irvin in an artistic and joyful way.

If you were there, you know how lovely the evening was. If you couldn’t join us, check out our website for photos.

Thank you to Dr. Rick for sharing your stories, your colleagues, your friends and family with us so generously.

A special treat came when members from the Bravado Show Choir under the direction of Scott Boyer sang the Beatles classic: All You Need Is Love. Barrie’s Poet Laureate, Dr. Bruce Meyer, penned a beautiful poem for the occasion and there was a trail of speeches overflowing with warmth and humour.

Last year's recipient of the Community Action Award, Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman and local MP Patrick Brown spoke eloquently about Dr. Rick.

We are grateful to the staff and services at Liberty North for all their efforts to make this a most enjoyable evening.

© Camphill Communities Ontario, a member of Camphill Association of North America