Being Part of Woodcraft Folk

You're in one of the main sections of Woodcraft Folk's New Group Journey training module. The most important points to remember are listed first, and following that is a fuller explanation of what you need to do in this area. There are many different ways of doing things in Woodcraft Folk, so we've included only the essential guidance in this module, leaving you to develop your own methods to suit your group.

Links to individual resources are in bold green, and you should read each of these for a full understanding of good practice. Links to other pages of the website are in non-bold green.

Use the Ask for Help link to request help on a particular topic, or request a Twin group with whom you can share ideas and joint activities.

This module works alongside a checklist, timeline and guidance sheets for you to print out and work through. Download the being part of the folk guidance sheet


 

Introduction

Woodcraft Folk is a UK-wide community of people from all ages, backgrounds and skills. We're united by our shared values of equality, co-operation, inclusivity and friendship - and usually by a love of camping too. Whilst as a grassroots organisation with a relatively small national executive, groups are able to put our aims and principles into practice in whatever way is most engaging for their young members and their local community. There is a vibrant national democracy and many ongoing conversations that you and your group are very much encouraged to participate in.

Key things to remember

  • All Woodcraft Folk groups work slightly differently, but we share strong values that help us work together positively
  • Try to help your group join in with events around Woodcraft Folk such as international camps, Annual Gathering and any training run at a District, regional or national level - these are great opportunities to support each other and feel part of the movement!
  • Woodcraft Folk is a democracy, and there are several committees making important decisions on our development which members of all ages are encouraged to stand for including General Council, Outdoor Centre Management Committees and the national comittees of Scotland and Gwerin Y Coed.
  • We support children and young people to participate at all levels, including planning activities, running events, taking action in society and representing themselves and their peers on Venturer Committee, DF Committee and mixed age group committees.


History

Woodcraft Folk was started in 1925 by a young man called Leslie Paul. We've always been youth-led, and we've always appreciated the support of the co-operative movement. Many Districts have been around for decades and are celebrating 20th, 30th or even older anniversaries. An overview of our history is on the website and you can get a feel for how activities and interests have changed (as well as how they've remained constant) on the popular heritage website.


Structure

Woodcraft Folk is a registered charity with a branch structure. Your group may be part of a District, which is the local branch of Woodcraft Folk, or if you're a lone group, then your group forms the branch. Beyond the District, there is a region, usually with a Regional Committee which focusses on training and events such as summer camps. Any member can stand for their District or Regional Committee and these groups will welcome interest from new volunteers so if you feel you have time to offer, do contact them. 

At UK level, Woodcraft Folk has an elected board responsible for our strategic direction and legal and financial wellbeing. It's called General Council, and any member can stand for election to it at our AGM, Annual Gathering. Information and updates on General Council are on the website. 

Woodcraft Folk in Wales is called Gwerin Y Coed and has its own website. Gwerin has a small national office and an elected committee whom you can contact.

Woodcraft Folk Scotland also has a small staff team and an elected committee, with more information about their activities on the main website.


Registering your group

You will need at least two members signed up before you can register a new group – but we recommend having four or more adults. You should complete a new group registration form. There are no group fees for the first six months. 


 

Democracy

As a democratic movement, the participation of our members is really important. Woodcraft Folk members regularly take action beyond their District, co-operating with others to run campaigns and projects that bring to life our motto of education for social change. Many of these activities are proposed and endorsed at Annual Gathering, our AGM which takes place under canvas over a weekend. Each group and District is entitled to attend, and be represented by a voting delegate. Young people's participation at Annual Gathering is especially encouraged, and there are activities available to help groups of Elfins, Pioneers and Venturers discuss national issues and send a delegate of their own age to represent them at Annual Gathering.


Events

As well as Annual Gathering, Woodcraft Folk members come together every year for camps, both local and national, and for Development Conference. Development Conference is usually a weekend of sessions where volunteers can share skills, get training and discuss important issues. It's also a lovely chance to get to know other Districts and catch up with friends from elsewhere in the movement.

Keep an eye on the website calendar for upcoming events. And please note, to make sure you receive information about events and are eligible to participate fully, you should keep your membership and DBS up to date.


What to expect from membership

As a member of Woodcraft Folk, and especially if you're the named Contact for your group, you'll receive communications - mostly by email - from national Woodcraft Folk, and be invited to join discussions on many topics. 

There are many resources and types of support available to groups, some created by staff and some led by volunteers. Our new volunteers page is a great place to start discovering the resources on offer, but don't forget to browse and search the main resources page too. 

Woodcraft Folk members are entitled to discounts from certain other organisations including the Youth Hostel Association. To find out more, contact Folk Office.

As a member of Woodcraft Folk, you'll receive the monthly e-newsletter, containing news, latest resources and upcoming events. You'll also receive The Courier, our co-operative newspaper published termly by an editorial team of younger members. Your group's contributions to these are welcome; the best place for recent news is the website and the best place for more in depth features and discussions is The Courier.

If you aren't already a member, read the Joining page to find out more. 


Woodcraft Folk Outdoor Centres and campsites

We run several beautiful campsites and outdoor centres, all of which would love to hear from you if your group is looking for somewhere to get outdoors, explore the environment and learn new skills. Each centre and campsite is supervised by a management committee, mostly comprised of volunteers, and regular working weekends involve volunteers in maintaining buildings and grounds.


Folk Supply

Finally, don't miss out on the delights of Folk Supply, our shop full of Woodcraft Folk clothes, badges and equipment. Woodie hoodies and other branded clothing are very popular with members of all ages, and your group may want to pursue badgework activities as a way of developing each child or young person's skills and confidence. You can buy Folk Supply items online or from Folk Office and you may also spot a Folk Supply stall at national events like Annual Gathering - so do remind your group to bring a bit of pocket money if they'd like the latest t-shirt...


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