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History and Mission

History and Mission

Camphill Village Kimberton Hills is a vibrant farming and handcrafting community that includes adults with developmental disabilities. Kimberton Hills residents, living and working side by side, create a dynamic and caring community for people of all ages and varied abilities. Located on 432 acres of farm, gardens and woodlands in Chester County, Pennsylvania, Kimberton Hills is also a local center for culture and a model for sound ecological living.

The mission at Kimberton Hills is to create and maintain a land-based community together with adults with special needs.  Inspired by Anthroposophy, members of the community support one another to contribute to the wider society through biodynamic agriculture, handcrafts, and other ecological, social, cultural and educational endeavors.

Founded in 1972, Kimberton Hills is part of the international Camphill Movement. Developed by Karl Koenig, M.D. in 1940, the first Camphill village was started in Scotland. Camphill now includes over 100 independent communities in more than 20 countries on four continents. The communities value service, sharing, spiritual nourishment, and recognition of each individual’s gifts, and offers a model of renewal for the wider society. Camphill communities include children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities, as well as those with societal and personal vulnerabilities.

Dr. Koenig and the Camphill movement were inspired by Anthroposophy, the work of Rudolf Steiner, Ph.D. (1861-1925), an Austrian scientist, philosopher and educator. Anthroposophy is a contemporary path of self-transformation which enables people to be in the world in a fuller way and to contribute to healthy social and ecological endeavors. Anthroposophy embraces a view of the human being which recognizes the spiritual nature and wholeness of individuals, regardless of handicapping conditions.

In the words of one of our founding members, Helen Zipperlen,

Camphill was involved with a wave of remarkable people and organizations responding to the new perceptions of “the handicapped” as human beings – “people first” – people with so-called disabilities.  This army of vulnerable, hitherto largely invisible people raised awareness and questioning of the whole idea of community.  Volumes of wisdom have been written – perhaps here we only need a few words to invoke the huge change of social ideas, the new look at community:

Freedom  •  Interdependent Living  • Equality  • Self-determination  • Dignity of risk  • The Right to Meaningful Work  • Experiences  • Sisterhood • Brotherhood  • Choice  • Friends  • Advocacy  • Life sharing  • Circles of Care  • Self-advocacy

To learn more about Camphill Kimberton’s 40 year history, we invite you to view our Newsletter Archives.