Woodcraft Folk

Frequently Asked Questions

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Who are the Woodcraft Folk?

We're 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, peace, social justice and co-operation. We operate in England, Scotland and Wales.

Why are you called Woodcraft Folk?

No, we don't spend all our time doing woodwork. The name 'woodcraft' was used by the influential writer and naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton at the turn of the twentieth century. Woodcraft in this context meant the skill of living in the open air, close to nature.

What do you do?

Most of our groups meet weekly, enjoying a varied programme including co-operative games, drama, craft work, singing and dancing, as well as following an educational programme based on our aims and principles. Hiking, youth hostelling and camping are also undertaken at weekends or during summer holidays.

What age can children join?

Woodcraft Folk groups are divided by ages with Six to nine year olds known as 'Elfins', Ten to twelve year olds are 'Pioneers' and Thirteen to fifteen year olds are 'Venturers' Our older teenagers and young adults organise their own activities, and are known as District Fellows... or more usually just as DFs. In some areas there are also groups for the under sixes known as woodchips

How many groups do you have? We have currently have about 500 groups meeting around the country, around 70 of these groups are in the Southwest.

How do I find a group? You can contact our head office at info.woodcraft.org.uk or telephone (+44) (0)20 8672 6031. If you are looking for groups in the Southwest area you can also email webmaster@southwestwoodcraft.org.uk

What are co-operative games?

The way we play games within Woodcraft remains one of the things that sets us apart from other children's organisations. Firstly we focus on games that allow all players to participate fully. There are a number of ways we try to achieve this. In some games the players role changes when they are caught rather than forcing them to sit out. Sometimes the rules allow people to be set free and rejoin the game. We actively avoid playing games that leave people sitting on the sides if they are caught. Secondly we often pick games where people can play most effectively when they co-operate.

These ideas are best shown by describing a game that fits both of the above criteria very well. There is a circle marked on the floor and all players bar one start inside the circle. The players outside the circle roll the ball along the floor and any player within the circle who is hit below the knee joins the other players outside the circle. Play continues until all the players are outside the circle. Clearly no-one has to sit out while playing this game and as the number of the people in the circle reduces the players on the outside find it much more difficult to hit people below the knee. The most effective way to do it to rapidly roll the ball to other players on the outside to confuse the players in the middle.

Do you have a uniform?

We do not have a uniform, nobody is required to wear what we call our folk costume. Folk costume consists of a green top with a Woodcraft Folk logo, many members also choose to decorate their shirts. There are also a number of T shirts and tops which have been produced for various events any many people prefer these to the more traditional green shirts.