Concerning Barriers and Obstacles at the Camp

We would like that everyone who is interested in the themes might be able to participate in our camp. But we know that this is impossible. Places are not only structured physically but also socially. There are different kinds of barriers – structural obstacles and others that prevent participation. It is no task for single persons to eliminate these barriers but the task of all (in regard of this camp it is mainly task of the preparation team).
Our aim during the preliminary planning was to eliminate as many barriers as possible as freedom from barriers means to us reduction of governess.
We neither want to apologise anything by this text as certain barriers still exist, nor to label the camp as especially barrier-free (as this is not the case). The aim is to record ideas and a part of the reflection process. On the one hand for us, in order to take them into consideration for future events but on the other hand we also want to share it with other groups which want to plan events as proposition to try out certain things, take them into account and realize them.
When we were searching for a suitable location for the camp, finding a wheelchair-accessible one war important to us. An internet site for group accommodations recommended “Burg Lohra” as “suitable for wheelchairs”. Much later it became apparent that this is wrong. We still hoped to reach what we wanted with the help of some ramps. But when we finally visited the castle we came to the realization that it is totally impossible to make this place suitable for wheelchairs. Part of the terrain is bumpy, some stairs are too steep, many doors and toilets are not wide enough to allow wheelchair access and there are no walk-in showers. This is really an unsatisfactory result. But we failed to inspect the localities before signing the contract and assuring that the information concerning wheelchair access is true.
Another focal point was the translation for people who just speak little or no German. Concerning the translation of texts which were published in the run-up of the camp (announcements etc.), we had some helpful people who got in touch with us to do these translations. Thanks for your help! In this way it was possible to publish many texts in several languages. We have not yet been able to translate everything but we still try to complete at least the English translations.
We are still looking for people who would like to do a whispered interpretation during the camp. We hope that all people coming to the camp who require a translation will get it. If you can and want to offer such a whispered interpretation just don’t hesitate to call us.
Another field of discussion was the theme “Easy Language”. It soon became clear how complicate “Easy Language” can be, particularly if it is a matter of rewording very complex themes. We had to recognize that in this respect we are simply overstrained and therefore we refrained from this ambitious requirement.
Again and again there are discussions dealing with academization in feminist circles. We think that differentiated discussions and analyses of themes are really important but at the same time it is just as important to thematise contents in the most comprehensible way (!) for as many people as possible.
To realise this we offer introductory meetings on specific topics. In addition to this there is a glossary where we tried to explain some terms which are frequently used during discussions.
Another obstacle during events can be a lack of childcare. Especially in the context of a feministic camp it was important for us that responsibilities for childcare are not a matter of course (“Woman´s Work”, nuclear family). At least one person feels responsible for childcare. It would be great if some more people would take that responsibility during the camp.

We know that we as organizers partly and unintentionally contribute to the existence of barriers and that our organization is far from being perfect. Some things failed for financial reasons but above all we had to realize that a lot depends on priority-setting and how much time you can and want to spend as a group on a certain point.
We know that in this sense it could have been better but we hope that at least the intentions can be realized at the camp in a good way. We look forward to your suggestions, critique and further support.