If I had to choose 5 things from my list that I most likely wouldn't complete in 2012.. this would have been one of them. I am beyond excited to tell you all about my journey to Glenmoore PENNSYLVANIA to live and learn with young adults with special needs at Camphill Soltane! Now, if you don't want to click the link and browse around their website.. I'll give you a little run down of what they do there.
First off, the position I have been offered is through Americorps. I will receive little pay and the position will last for 11 months. I will also receive housing and food during my time there.. so the pay doesn't really matter! BHW is currently working with Habitat for Humanity through Americorps. You can only be a part of Americorps for 2 years so he will be finishing up his first year in August. His second year will be spent with ME(!) at Camphill! He decided that he would come with me on this crazy adventure! At the end of each year with Americorps, we will each receive $5500 to go towards college loans, such a blessing!
Ok, enough about all the surface stuff, let's dig into what we'll be doing in Pennsylvania! Camphill aims to provide young adults with special needs a healthy transition from the teen years into young adulthood. 9 houses with co-workers and students living together on 52 acres of jaw-dropping land complete with gardens, swimming pool, library, and many other nifty things! There are two programs at Soltane; the Learning for Life Program and the Soltane Works Program.
The Learning for Life program is geared towards young adults (ages 18-25) and provides them with a parallel to a college or university experience. The main points of the program include academic (literature, religion, geography, etc.), small group instruction (reading, writing, money management, etc.), life skills (covered partly through home life and also through classes), sports and recreation (jogging, outdoor education, music, etc.) pre-vocational exploration (weaving, bike repair, gardening, etc.) and vocational exploration on or off campus. Co-workers involved in this program will provide support to the students during class, cooking lunch for the house, and running errands, depending on that week's schedule. This program is fast paced, offering small states of many different activities and providing exposure to many different students.
The second program is the Soltane Works program. This program is for adults who have graduated form Soltane's 'college' program and who have decided to make Soltane their home. The focus of this program is to assist residents in finding meaningful work, on or off campus. Vocational opportunities on campus include a cafe' and store, textile enterprise (weaving, sewing, and design of finished pieces), land and estate care (fruit tree orchard, berry bushes, and composting), and community services (recycling and care for public spaces). There are also off campus employers who offer a range of opportunities for the residents. Co-workers involved in this program have a workday fom 9-3:30 and spend most of their time in one work area with a smaller group of students. The pace of the Soltane Works program is much slower than the Learning for Life program.
I haven't decided which program I would like to be involved with. I'm going to wait to talk it over with BHW when he gets back from his weekend trip. There is also the option to be a part of both programs, so that's a possibility! During our 11 months at Camphill Soltane we will have the chance to learn and grow together in a unique environment 'away' from the real world. There are no T.V.'s or radios and computer use is limited. We will get some vacation time for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a spring break (just like in college)! The schedule is intense, working 6 days a week from 7am-9pm with a couple breaks. BHW and I get one day off a week, since we're coming as a couple we thankfully get the same day off! We also get one 'sleep-in' day which starts at 9am vs. 7am. and one early day off that ends at 5pm vs. 9pm.
As I look over all the paperwork and documents about Camphill Soltane I keep getting more and more excited but also more and more nervous. I've never been this far away from home for this amount of time. My little nephew is only 1 and I don't want to become the invisible Aunt who is never around. I've got tons of friends here (or so I think, ha.) and I know literally ONE person in Pennsylvania.. and even he's 3+ hours away. At least I'll have my soon to be hubs by my side. :) We are required to be at Camphill by August 23rd but we may go earlier to explore Philly before we get in over our head with our schedules! Right now, I ask for your support and prayers (if you're into that). We had 24 hours to decide upon this opportunity and we think we've made the right decision. The timing is right and heck, we've only got one short life! So, until the end of August, we'll be spending as much time with friends and family as possible! Here goes nothin'!