These 4 snapshots inspire and guide the sections of Leading for the Future
Isabel found out about the Woodcraft Folk when she was 7 or 8 when a friend’s mum suggested she might like it. She went along and has been part of it ever since. Now a Pioneer, she feels her group is run very cooperatively, that there is no ‘them and us’ feeling between the adults and young people and that it has a great sense of shared ownership. Every time members of the group suggest something they feel they are listened to and if it doesn’t happen it is very clear as to why it would not have worked.
One of the things Isabel thinks makes it easy for her to contribute to sessions is the fact that she has been involved for a while and has seen her input having an impact. People leading sessions also sometimes specifically ask new people if they have any suggestions to make sure they feel they can contribute. If she were to change anything Isabel would reintroduce sessions to gather ideas to be taken away and worked into activities which is something that has worked well in the past. She plans to suggest that this should be introduced and feels sure she will be listened to.
(Interviewed by Jack)
Hal is 14 years old and is part of the Brighton Hill Fort district. He has been in the Woodcraft Folk for about 8 years - the majority of his life. He enjoys being a Venturer because he gets to meet so many different people and it has broadened his views of the world. He’s done things and made friends with people that wouldn’t have been possible without Woodcraft such as going to Norway with his group.
For Hal, what's exciting about being involved in his local group is not only what they do but how they do it. Hal feels that he is able to influence what is going on during his group nights because the leaders facilitate - as opposed to dominate - the group. Last November, his Venturer group organised a camp at Cudham for their local pioneer group with Venturers organising the food, running activities (including a Narnia themed wide game) and being the camp chiefs. The camp was a great success and gave Hal and his friends the opportunity to plan and lead, whilst bridging the age gaps between the two groups.
(Interviewed by Ruth)
Zoë’s Venturer group ran a dance project with their local community to reduce prejudices between police, bus drivers and young people. They did this through writing an application as a group for funding from the council after a leader had told them of the funding and asked what they would like to apply for.
They are quite a large group so they split into smaller groups with each planning a different area of the project. There was a lot of enthusiasm building up to the event and most of their group nights were taken up with preparing for it. This was positive in some senses as it gave group nights a real focus and consistency but it was also slightly overwhelming to people who hadn’t been involved from the start of the project. This openness to involve those not taking part in the first stage of planning is something Zoë would like to improve if doing something like this again.
Running this project had a positive impact on Zoë and other members of the group with four of them now making up the shortlisting panel for Action Projects grants which the programme awards to districts to run their own projects.
(Interviewed by Jack)
Kit remembers that when he first joined Woodcraft Folk he had very little idea what it was really about. But he quickly became hooked when he realised what an open, respectful, friendly place it was. It was fairly unlike anything he had experienced before – a place where everyone was going to be listened to and everyone’s voice is equally important. For Kit, this remains one of the most essential things about Woodcraft Folk.
As a Venturer he had an inspiring leader that really encouraged and supported him to get more involved in the Woodcraft Folk democracy. She took him to his first regional gathering where he remembers doing a workshop on conflict resolution and then getting elected to the regional council. Later on he became involved with district committee, DF committee and eventually general council. For Kit, it all seems like a direct path from those early trips to South West council meetings in Bristol – a really empowering experience; as much because he got to spend a weekend away from his family as anything else!
Kit is certain it is these early experiences that led to him having the confidence and skills to do the work he does now. As a general council member he enjoys developing links with partner organisations like the Centre for Alternative Technology (where he now works) and the YHA. He also gets to do exciting and challenging things like working with young people from across Europe as part of the All Together Against Climate Change campaign with the International Falcon Movement. It is from the small Woodcraft Folk beginnings that Kit has been able to get involved in so many more projects across the UK and internationally in the climate movement.
(Interviewed by Alex)