|The Woodcraft Folk is UK wide children’s
and young person’s charity with groups in England, Scotland,
Wales and the North of Ireland. It seeks to develop self confidence
and activity in society, with the aim of building a world based
on equality, friendship, peace and co-operation.
principles are peace, co-operation, equality, democracy and
environmentalism. The full statement of these principles is
given greater detail in our national aims and principles document:
EDUCATIONAL AIMS AND PRINCIPLES
1 The Woodcraft Folk is an educational movement
for children and young people, designed to develop self confidence
and activity in society, with the aim of building a world
based on equality, friendship, peace and co-operation.
2 Education for Social Change: We seek to
develop in our members a critical awareness of the world.
We will work to develop the knowledge, attitudes, values and
skills necessary for them to act to secure their equal participation
in the democratic process that will enable them to bring about
the changes that they feel are necessary to create a more
equal and caring world. As an educational movement, we believe
that equal opportunities should extend to all aspects of activity
and participation in the Woodcraft Folk. We will combat oppression
or discrimination in our movement, whether on grounds of age,
class, gender, race, sexual orientation, for reasons of disability,
contact with mental health services, or a previous criminal
conviction that does not create risk to children or young
people. We will educate our members so that they may take
these issues into the wider community.
3 A Co-operative and Sharing Attitude to Life:
We believe that to further our aims it is vital to approach
our educational work through the principles of cooperation.
To achieve this we will provide a programme which ensures
that our members practice cooperation through all the activities
in which they participate.
4 International Understanding: Our motto
is ‘Span the world with friendship’. We will therefore
encourage and develop international understanding and friendship
through our educational work and by our exchanges between
children and young people of different lands. We will promote
a greater understanding of the world amongst our members so
that they are aware of the inequalities which exist in it.
5 The Rights of the Child: In our work with
children and young people, we respect and defend their individual
rights, and encourage them to participate responsibly and
democratically, in all aspects of Woodcraft Folk activity.
6 Religion: The Woodcraft Folk welcomes all
children, young people and adults, who wish to become members
of the movement, and it asserts the right of all its members
to practice the faith of their choice providing it does not
contravene the aims and principles of the movement.
7 One World: The Woodcraft folk will encourage
an understanding of the need to work towards a world where
we provide for the needs of everyone on the planet now and
in the future without destroying the physical environment.
We aim to educate our members about issues of environmental
and social sustainability and how this relates to their own
lifestyles and other people’s actions.
8 A world at Peace: Because of our international
outlook and concern that all shall enjoy the right to freedom
from the immorality of war and want, the Woodcraft Folk is
dedicated to the cause of peace. Accordingly we associate
with the movement for world disarmament and for the transfer
of those resources directed to the destruction of life into
channels which will be used for the fulfilment of humanity’s
9 Affirmation: The task of the Woodcraft
Folk is the cultivation of a world outlook. Because the Woodcraft
Folk is concerned with educational activities, it is accordingly
precluded from being involved in activities and policy making
of political parties. The Woodcraft Folk expects its members
to abide by its constitution and to participate actively in
a movement that is dedicated to all people for all time.
The Woodcraft Folk currently has about 450 groups across
the UK, but the largest concentration is in England. In the
South East we have groups in Kent, East and West Sussex, Hamphire,
Surrey and Berkshire.
Our groups are normally divided by age:
- Woodchips Pre school to 5 year olds.
- Elfins 6 years to 9 year olds.
- Pioneers 10 years to 12 year olds
- Venturers 13 years to 15 year olds
- DFs 16 years to 21 year olds
Our groups are co-educational and have always been so since
the founding of the movement in 1925. Groups normally meet
once a week in term time, often in community halls or schools
for one and a half to two hours. These meetings vary a great
deal in content, but will normally include such activities
as: singing, co-operative games, debates, art, craft, social
education, cooking etc.
The use of the “council circle” is important
in the Woodcraft Folk. The circle is symbolic of our unity
and our equality. The circle also gives the young people a
voice in their group and helps them develop their ability
to talk in front of their peers in a more formal setting.
At each group night all members say the “Envoi”-
a piece of poetry attributed to William Morris.
This shall be for a bond between us,
That we are of one blood, you and I.
That we have cried peace to all,
And claimed kinship with every living thing.
That we hate war, and sloth and greed,
And love fellowship.
And that we shall go singing
Into the fashioning of a New World.
The Envoi embraces our belief in the common bond that encompasses
all humanity and all other living things on the planet and
a commitment to try to make the world a better place for all
its citizens- human or otherwise.
A typical woodcraft evening might look like this:
Arrival 6.15: This can be quite chaotic.
You will need someone to take subs and a register, it's
helpful if this can be the same person every week so that
the children know who to give their money to. You may also
need a couple of people to arrange the room ready for the
activities. Alternatively termly subs by cheque if possible
can ease the chaos! Some groups say the Envoi here, others
do it as part of leavetake.
Games 6.20: Aim for a mixture of active
and quieter games. The “Games, games, games.”
book available form Folk supply has plenty of ideas in it.
Try to offer a few suggestions and let the children choose.
Running games can be one of the most daunting parts of a
groups night to organise, everything tends to look like
chaos. We usually have one leader running the games and
watching the mood of the group with one or two others watching
out for and dealing with individual children or incidents
helps take the pressure off. Also try to get everyone playing,
even the adults.
Circle 6.55: This is a time for everyone
to have a quick rest before carrying on with the activities
and a drink is often served. It's also the time when we
share news, each person in the circle telling us something
that happened recently. We then explain the second part
of the evening.
Activity 7.05: Often for younger children
this is a craft activity however it does not have to be.
It can be anything from drama, to singing to writing protest
letters. Some groups like to have a theme lasting a number
of weeks and plan their activities around this.
Leavetake 7.45: Once everyone has help
with the clearing up there is a final circle where any massages
are passed out. After this the group either says the envoi
or sings link you hands together.
An important partner for the Woodcraft Folk is the co-operative
movement. The ideals of that movement are shared by us. The
Woodcraft Folk believes implicitly in the central importance
of co-operation to the future of humanity and the human race’s
survival. The co-operative movement financially supports the
Woodcraft Folk and the Woodcraft Folk chooses Co-operative
shops and banks as its service provider of choice.