Tradition Highlight: Camphill Minnesota Birthday Interviews
Birthday interviews spread the Camphill joy and give a peek into life in the village
There’s nothing quite like a Camphill birthday. Across all of the communities, birthdays are huge celebrations, and just about everyone counts down the days until the next party.
“Everyone loves to celebrate their own birthday, but they also really love to celebrate other people’s” says Lindsey Flicker, a Camphill Village Minnesota alum who now works in community outreach. “People talk about their birthday for months in advance and look forward to being a year older, having a party, and eating cake. There’s always someone around ready to make a cake, and people love the opportunity to go shopping for someone and get them treats.”
Nicolo Betoni, a coworker alum, fondly recalls the birthday he spent at Camphill Village Minnesota, sharing that “you feel so overjoyed. Everyone celebrates you. All fifty people are saying ‘it’s your day today, let me celebrate you, let me write you all these cards.’ I’ve never felt like that.”
Because Camphill birthdays are filled with so much joy, Lindsey was looking for a way to share the celebration with people outside the village. She began conducting short “birthday interviews,” asking people questions about their life, what they’re looking forward to, and what they do in the community. Lindsey began sharing these interviews, paired with fun photos, on Camphill Village Minnesota’s Facebook page.
Several years later, the tradition is still running strong, and receiving a phone call from Lindsey has become a staple of celebration preparations at Camphill Village Minnesota. “Folks definitely expect a phone call from me as their special day approaches,” she says. “They’ll answer and say “oh, you’re calling about the birthday interview!”
Beyond extending the joy of Camphill into the broader community, Lindsey explains, the birthday interviews “also serve as a way to give people a voice about their life in Camphill.” The posts are always met with well-wishes and greetings in the comments, which Lindsey loves to share with people back in the village. “They get so excited, even at comments from people they don’t even know. It’s just really sweet.”
Take a peek into some of the birthday interviews below:
How did you celebrate your birthday? I made a plan for it, I wrote it and I typed it up. I had a couple of video greetings from my family on my tablet. Then the people from the village came over to Brome. For lunch we had spaghetti and meatballs that Brandon and I made. I made the meat balls and Brandon made the spaghetti and carrot salad. I got a birthday balloon from my favorite sister of mine, Anne. After lunch some people came for gift opening. Oh and we had cake! Peanut butter Oreo cookie cake. After that we had gift opening. Today at lunch I spoke to everybody and I thanked them for coming to my birthday. And I feel so good.
What do you look forward to in the next year? “My kid brother Sean asked me, “How I feel about 50?” he said “Are you planning on retiring?” and I was thinking of that plan for me and my wife in the future, in Florida. We can work it out and manage ourselves maybe invite somebody.
What are your hobbies right now? Typewriter. I’m writing stories and childhood stories from way back. Also typing a letter. I’m using Brandon’s but I’m gonna get one.
Does 50 feel different than 49? I feel great and I feel kinda old and wiser.
Is there anything you want the world to know about you? I feel great! That was my dream. That I would feel great after 50.
What did you do to celebrate? I got a massage and Christine and Monte sang to me and gave me hugs. It was my free day and Olivia took me out for my first glass of wine!
Does it feel any different to be 21? It does. I can do more things! I felt like I was breaking the law with my little paper license.
What are you looking forward to in the next year? Spending time with my friends and family!
What do you wish people knew about your life at Camphill? Working and living with people who have disabilities will bring so much joy and fulfillment to your life.
What are you doing for your big day? We are gonna have a party in the house and the people from the village meal are going to sing to me and the other people in this house will sing to me as well. And I will also be opening presents. And I’m going to celebrate and have fun!
What kind of cake are you going to have? A Raspberry cheesecake!
What are work places are you enjoying this season? I got into the village meal! I chop some things for them to cook in the pans. And that will be our lunch in the village meal. And I’m going to be in the pizza meal and also the library run.
What are you doing for your birthday? I’m having a birthday party with all my friends here. We will have Dairy Queen cake and open presents I think that some people gave me.
Is there anything you’re looking forward to this year? Have a wonderful year!
Are there any workplaces you’re excited about? Herbs (shop) with Laura making tea bags for teas. We are making echinacea.
What do you want the world to know about you? I have a wonderful life at Camphill. I like living in Prairie Wind and meeting new people.
What are you doing for your birthday? All I know is there will be cheesecake! And that’s all that matters 🙂
Can you tell us a little about the work you’ve done in the last year? This past year has been exciting on the farm! I’ve really enjoyed the changing seasons, being outside and having such a variety of activities to fill my days. In the spring/summer you could find me tending to our cows and their new calves, gardening, plowing/seeding/baling in the hay fields or bothering the mechanics at Modern Farm with endless repair questions. This winter I’ve been leading the crews in daily farm work as well as spending a lot of time in the forest thinning with the chainsaw. There’s so much to learn and much fun to be had!
What are you looking forward in this next year? I’m looking forward to continuing my education in farming and building on my relationships within and outside of the community.
What do you wish people knew about your life in Camphill? This lifestyle is simple but rich. There is so much warmth, connection and freedom in community life and there is something here for everyone! We also have the best food.
Do you have a birthday wish? I would wish for more wishes!
Will there be cake for your birthday? What kind? I want a marble cake with strawberry frosting, and of course Emma’s ice cream cake.
Do you have a birthday wish? Yes, I wish to know myself better everyday.
What is your favorite workplace? Depends the day, sometimes is Village Meal, sometimes its Arts. I honestly like everything that I do because every place is different.
What do you look forward to in the next year of your life? I look forward to seeing my family! I really miss them!
What is your favorite thing about winter? That I’m in the herb shop with Laura and I get to wear my new clothes!
What do you look forward to this year? Let’s see…what do I look forward to this year? Um… I look forward to seeing a play!
What did you do for your special day? I had a cake at rest hour! I had a lemon one with whipped cream on top of it. It was so good. Today I worked in the weavery and started a new rug… a birthday one. Its grey and and kinda yellow…but mostly grey. This morning people sang to me at the village meal! Everybody did. The whole village!
What do you look forward to this year? That’s hard to say. I’m looking forward to… do more walks. Depending on what the weather is.
Do you have a birthday joke? Why did Santa Claus ride the snowmobile last night? Why?? Because the crickets sit in the fridge in the meatball sandwich!
Diego and Lia
How were you celebrated on your birthday? With coffee and banana bread in the bed, biking around the village with my daughter, mowing the grass of the backyard of Aurora in the morning , helping Tomi building the fence of the orchard in the afternoon and finally with a date at the sunset with my wife
Do you have any big plans for this next year? Anything you’re looking forward to? Yes, my big plan is to stay another year in Camphill MN, living this one like the last one. Having a good opportunity to thank all the people in Camphill for all they have shared with me and my family. So grateful to realize that I am in the correct place and that I have never been happier in my entire life.
How has your time in the village been so far? Gorgeous. Trying to learn to live my life with the love that the people have here.
What has been your favorite part of this last year? To close and open my eyes with the view of the forest of Camphill.
How will you be celebrating your birthday? I think we are gonna have a birthday cake. All my friends will sing happy birthday to me. And I think we are going to have Chinese food.
What do you look forward to in the next year? I’d love to weave placemats in the Weavery.
What is your favorite thing to do in the community right now? My best thing I like to do at Camphill is I like to help Efrain to put the bread into bags in the Bakery.
Do you have a birthday wish? My birthday wish is to make some pot holders with Dede.
What are your birthday plans? We are gonna have a picnic and I’m gonna get a big cake blueberry cheesecake. I think I will be going home to have another birthday celebration.
What do you look forward to the most in the next year? I look forward to going to work and be with my friends. I’m in the weavery. I like it because I get to work on the tote bags.
Do you have a birthday wish? My birthday wish would be spending time with my friends. And do lots of traveling.
Anything else you want the world to know about you? I’d like to share my love to lots of people here and I’m happy.
What are you doing for your birthday? I’m going to have cheese cake. Yes. Presents. Birthday card. I will go home.
What do you look forward to in this new year? 34 years. I am looking forward. Green beans in the garden.
Where do you like to work? My favorite work is weavery. Make rugs! Red. Green and blue.
Do you have a favorite song right now? Yes. Music.
Do you have a birthday wish? Yes. Birthday cake candles. Go make a wish!
Is there anything you want the world to know about you? I like my room. I like art!
What are did you for your special day? I had a cake. I had some birthday gifts. And I hung out with my friends. I have plans for tonight too. I’m going out to dinner with Grace and Mary G.
Do you have a birthday wish? To clean.
What do you mean?? I like to clean. I love it!
What are you looking forward to in your next year of life? Meeting new people!
Where? At Camphill. The new people that come.
What do you want the world to know about you? That I’m a nice person.
What are you doing to celebrate your birthday? Some people are coming over to my house. We are going to have carrot cake. Debbie is going to make spaghetti. We will go out for dinner and bowling with my house.
What is your favorite workplace this winter? Weavery and Harvest Kitchen cooking with Brandon.
What are you looking forward to this year? Oh boy! I’m going home the 21st through 30th. A long vacation for Christmas.
Do you have a birthday wish? I want to meet new coworkers!
Do you have birthday plans? I’m going to go to a local farmer’s and food gathering and I hope to have a meal with my family.
Do you have birthday tradition? Getting showered in valentines. I have mixed feelings about having my birthday on Valentines Day.
Are you looking forward to anything in this next year of life? Lots of grazing cattle and vacation.
What do you wish the world knew about Camphill Village? That we have good food here. It’s an evolving movement.
What do you look forward to in the next year of life? In the next 6 months I plan to work at CVM and learn how we take care of cows during the winter. I am also super lucky because I get to go to the Biodynamic Conference and visit my girlfriend in Hungary, where she is studying this winter. And when it comes to the second half of my next year, I have no idea what I will do.
What are you doing to celebrate your birthday? I’m having a birthday party on Sunday. We are gonna have cake and presents and sit outside. Hopefully it doesn’t snow. We might play games and karaoke and things like that.
Do you have a birthday wish? Long story short, I went to nationals for swimming. My wish is that I can go again to nationals swimming.
What have you been doing to stay busy? I started swimming 4 days a week with Tomi and Mihyang. I have to get up really early but it’s really nice.
What are you looking forward to in the next year? I’m looking forward to going on adventures. My new house leaders are very adventurous! We are always out doing something.
What is your favorite part of living at Camphill? My favorite part is mostly the people. You see the same people but with their personalities, I don’t know how to explain it but they bring different personalities so it’s fun to hang out with them.
What will you do for your special day? Well we are having a birthday party here. We are having cake and just like hang out. Mom and dad are bring a Vikings dairy queen cake. What else…there will be pop and presents and stuff like that. I have league bowling so we are going to go bowling so that’s gonna be pretty cool.
Do you have a birthday wish? Oh geeze! Well I sometime want to go to Disney World some time. I don’t know when yet but I want to some time. I really need to save my money up. I would like to go to Florida and see Mickey Mouse and the dog. And Donald Duck.
Of all the places you are working this winter, what is your favorite job? I work at town right now. I work at Getty Street and call bingo. I work three jobs right now. It’s really nice for me. I love it. Library and Getty Street. I love it.
What do you wish people knew about your life? Well, right now I am pretty happy here. I like my friends a lot and people here are really nice. I am happy, pretty happy, you know? I can’t believe I’m this age already! 45 wow. Christmas and winter and my birthday… it’s my favorite time of year. And the trees, the frost on the trees, I like that. It’s like, oh my goodness! you know? So beautiful!
How did you celebrate your birthday? I just celebrated my 57th birthday on Saturday. I blew out the candles. I had a vanilla icing cake with a caramel, chocolate and Oreo cookies with fudge in it. I got a hooded sweatshirt and Vikings winter hat and cap.
What are you looking forward to in the next year of life? I think I might work in the garden next year after Easter.
Has anything exciting happened for you in the last year? I had a double cheeseburger, french fries and dipped it in ketchup.
Did you move to a different house? I moved out of Aurora and into Oakwood. I like my new room upstairs. I like my mirror and sink too. New bathrooms and all that.
Is there anything you want the world to know about you? I sweep the hallway every Sunday morning. I noticed Nicolo was making blueberry pancakes with walnuts and the smoke alarm went off. Hannah turned it off. He burnt the blueberry walnut pancakes
Did you get one that wasn’t burnt? Yeah I had one that wasn’t burnt.
How are you being celebrated? In so many ways! Some coworkers had a little party for me the other day where we played games and it was so much fun! And I also have been getting so much love from the villagers all week leading up to today! Today is my day off so I’m just relaxing and talking to some friends and family later over the phone.
What has been the best part or memory of this last year? One of my favorite memories was the first day arriving here at Camphill. There was (and still is) so much going on in the world, so I felt like the majority of 2020 I was in a constant mentality of pushing forward, and when I arrived here and got a tour of the beautiful land I just remember this feeling of beginning to exhale finally after months of holding my breath.
What do you look forward to in the next year? I really look forward to attending med school next year!! I’m still deciding where I want to go but I’m just so excited to start that next chapter in my life wherever I may end up!
What is your birthday wish? I wish this upcoming year we all can place more value on self love and individuality, and celebrate unconditionally the uniqueness of each person we talk to on this spinning rock sphere we call home.
What will you do for your birthday? I will be at work. I have heard rumors about a cake on the weekend.
Why do you think birthdays are so special in the village? Birthdays are special in CVM because there is so much love!
What are you looking forward to in the next year of life? I’m looking forward to a better garden than I had last year, and spending time with friends and family.
In your years in the village, what has changed and what has stayed the same? When we started in 1980 there was one small house and a trailer home. And a lot of dreams! With all the people that have come and gone, the dreams changed, and we have this wonderful community because of all of those people.
What is your favorite part about working in the village? My favorite part of working in the village is being a part of that huge family, and of course, there’s the added bonus of getting to see Alice (daughter who is a coworker in the village) on a regular basis!
Do you have any birthday traditions or celebrations planned? My dad’s birthday is the 13th and I have a twin sister, so I am going to go home on Saturday and go canoeing on the St. Croix.
Will there be cake? I think there is more likely to be pie than cake. I am quite fond of sour cherry pie with my great grandmother’s crust recipe.
What drew you to community? This time around I missed community. I missed the familiarity, the shared meals, the joking around. It is something that can’t be bought. I missed real stories from real people. I missed bonding over anything other than YouTube videos or the latest Netflix show. And I am happy to say I am really enjoying sharing meals, listening to and telling stories, and laughing a lot.