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Ever heard of Woodcraft folk?

(22 Posts)
Maamaa Fri 19-Oct-12 15:16:22

Just been nosing on a thread about the Scouts and someone mentioned this group. I googled them and they look really good and I thought other HEers or hopeful HEers may be interested as I know many seem to use Scouts etc as a socialisation tool. They also seem to have international links and I recall a thread a while ago asking about ways to make international penpals. Just thought I'd spread the word. My first HE thread by the way, does this mean there's no going back!? grin

EauRouge Fri 19-Oct-12 16:57:55

Yes, you are one of us now grin

There is talk of a woodcraft folk group starting up near us and I am interested in taking my DDs. One of the things that puts me off scouts/brownies is the religious aspect as I don't think it would be fair to ask DD1 to make a promise that she didn't fully understand or perhaps didn't mean.

I don't know if Woodcraft folk have any woo beliefs or anything like that, I'd have to look into it more. I'm sure there was a thread a while back saying that they were some sort of communist recruitment programme grin

Another option I am looking into is St John's Ambulance Badgers which sounds fab but I'm not sure if there is a local one.

Maamaa Fri 19-Oct-12 17:26:15

Uh Oh, it's official then! grin . The religious aspect is what the other thread was talking about-it gives me the willies a bit too and I was surprised that it's still part of the Scout movement-at least to the degree where they've supposedly banned a boy for refusing to say the religious part of the oath. I couldn't see any religious (or commie!) stuff on the woodcraft webpage though it may be a tad tree weaving for some! wink

ToffeeWhirl Fri 19-Oct-12 17:47:35

I haven't used Woodcraft Folk, but have spoken to some parents who sent their children to it weekly. I was told that parents have to be more involved than in the Scouts, usually taking it in turns to run the group every week and all going camping together. It is non-religious and pacifist.

GoldenSeptember Fri 19-Oct-12 17:49:25

I looked into the Woodcraft Folk for DD but there weren't any branches near us. They have socialist origins, although like Scouts with religion, I guess how evident that is varies from group to group.

I looked into Badgers for DD but all local groups were full. She's just sort of started SJA Cadets (which Badgers go up to when they're 10 or 11), which is great. Badgers don't have to mention God, but the Cadets have to pledge loyalty to God and Queenie. St John Ambulance was founded by the knights of the order of St John, and it's a quasi-military, christian organisation. It doesn't bother me, tbh; I told DD that she could take it to mean 'my god' and she said she'd pick an Egytian/Roman god/goddess. grin

Just to let you know that if your DC starts Badgers and wants to go up through Cadets, you'll run up against the christian/monarchist issue. wink Great first aid training and wide range of interesting and subsidised activities though!

GoldenSeptember Fri 19-Oct-12 17:51:24

Woodcraft Folk definitely not religious, btw, but there are strong political undertones. There was a thread on MN on scouts vs WF, if you search. That's where I found out about Badgers.

imperialstateknickers Fri 19-Oct-12 17:55:42

Woodcraft Folk was set up as an alternative to the military background of the Scouts and Guides, and tends to only exist in areas where there is a strong socialist tradition. I gather they do much the same things as scouts/guides.

I've never had a problem with dds swearing to do their duty to the Queen and their God, probably a good thing as I suspect Woodcraft Folk nearest branch is probably many many miles away... <deepest blue rural England here>

seeker Fri 19-Oct-12 18:00:42

The religious/monarchist obligation sits very lightly on most scout/guide troops.

In my experience, Scouts/guides are more down to earth and practical than woodcraft, who tend to be a bit precious. Not woo, though, and admirably pacifist. But a bit "Gentle hands, Jocasta, gentle hands" if you see what I mean.

GoldenAutumn Fri 19-Oct-12 18:25:34

grin grin at "Gentle hands, Jocasta, gentle hands"!

Saracen Sat 20-Oct-12 04:30:16

gringrin Agree!

CheerfulYank Sat 20-Oct-12 04:44:57

I've never heard of the WF until the recent threads (am American) but I know exactly what you mean by "gentle hands, Jocasta" and am PMSL over it. grin

Grumpla Sat 20-Oct-12 05:32:52

I am a woodie grin

They do have quite strongly left-leaning origins but they won't have your Toddlers singing the Red Flag, don't panic!

Ethos is very much about cooperation and friendship. International links with lots of other lefty youth groups. Emphasis on outdoor activities, crafts, lots of running around in teams, camping, hiking etc.

I was a downright strange slightly eccentric child and I think I would have struggled in a more strictly organised group. I now look back and realise how accepting and flexible our leaders were. I also think that the structure of WF groups is really empowering to children - they are expected to be involved in decision making. A good early insight into the pitfalls and advantages of collaborative decision-making.

It may also be a consideration for you that WF are completely inclusive wrt faith / beliefs etc. Atheists don't have to fudge it, there are no oaths to the queen etc. the closest we had to a "pledge" was a song at the end: "Link your hands together, a circle we'll make, this bond of our friendship, no power can break, we'll all sing together, in one merry song, should any be weary, we'll help them along, should any be weary, we'll help them along!" Rather sweet really smile

IME there is, however, a pretty wide variation between groups in terms of their lentil-weaveryness. However, be aware that to most children the woo will be like water off a duck's back!

randomfennel Sat 20-Oct-12 09:08:31

I run a woodcraft folk group, and used to help with guides and brownies and went through that movement so I know that system too.

We have a lot of home ed children in our local groups. It definitely has a strong lentil-weaving element, but groups and leaders vary a lot. in our group we're quite organised, systematic, a bit like scouts (but as card-carrying atheists we wouldn't be welcome in scouts or guides). The reason I got so involved is that my dc went and they loved woodcraft folk so much we got sucked in, but not all parents get invovled. Some, like us, trot along to camps, run sessions and become leaders. Other parents dump and run and perhaps help with a session once a year, if they want to.

it is quite weird in some ways as an organisation, it's a bizarre mix of lentil-weaving earth worshippers, lefty socialist political types, and "normal" people who just happened to get involved. Sometimes I sigh for the organised nature of the scouts and guides, it's very "consensual" and puts a lot more emphasis than scouts or guides on the views of the children and putting children and young people in charge at a young age. I think that's partly what my children like so much, they find it very liberating and a place where they can discuss politics and all sorts of things with their peers in a way that tends not to happen with their "normal" school friends. So my children are big fans. Personally I could do without all the crystal waving and homeopathy grin

SirCapitalistScum Sat 20-Oct-12 09:37:27

I'm considering Woodcraft Folk for my four year old DS and have found the discussion above really informative. Does anyone know what age children can join? The national website says Woodchips are for under 6s but doesn't specify a minimum age.

GoldenAutumn Sat 20-Oct-12 09:59:56

I wish we had one locally. sad

Maamaa Sat 20-Oct-12 11:21:47

Love the idea of SirCapitalistScum joining a lefty lentil weaving group! grin Thanks for all the info, glad it's a good mix of people in the groups by the sound of it. My DD is 2 and sadly there isn't a group near us-also rural blue area! But we're moving soon and I think there may be a group there. Not sure my DH will go for the lentil weaving lefty stuff mind! Guess muggins here will have to take one for the team! Seriously though, it sounds good though I do like that idea of DD choosing a roman goddess to say her vow to!

aufaniae Sat 20-Oct-12 11:32:04

I went when I was a child and young teen, Woodcraft Folk is great.
The camps in particular were brilliant.

Sirzy Sat 20-Oct-12 11:39:23

Re St John Ambulance, although we are an organisation based in Christianity there is no religious pressure at all and it is very much all encompassing irrespective of belief or lack of.

GoldenAutumn Sat 20-Oct-12 13:15:40

Sirzy is the pledge to God and Queen obligatory in Cadets? I didn't query it because it doesn't bother me but I'm curious.

GoldenAutumn Sat 20-Oct-12 13:28:23

Sirzy I have a feeling that it was you who told me about Badgers on another thread. I've recently qualified as a CFR (community first responder) for SJA, which I wouldn't have found out about if I hadn't been looking up Badgers. So thanks for that! smile

randomfennel Sat 20-Oct-12 16:30:49

Different areas have different groups, in most areas children start from 6 up (and go to camps from that age if they like), and in some areas there are woodchip groups for under 6s where parents stay. You can't send an under 6 to camp without a parent but in our area they go from babies if their parents are happy to sign up to the organisation. So under 6s definitely need an involved parent, over 6s don't. In some areas groups will mix the ages especially if there aren't many people in the area.

SirCapitalistScum Sat 20-Oct-12 20:46:06

Thanks randomfennel, that's really helpful. I guess I just need to contact the local group and see what their policy is. Hopefully they won't object to my extreme right wing views...

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