Groups and activities

Learning through play

Cambridge Woodcraft Folk do lots of different things at group nights and outside of them.

One of the major Woodcraft Folk activities is going on camping and residential trips and the district organises several camps every year as well as attending national and international camps and sending delegations abroad. We also go on residential trips to Woodcraft Folk or other centres throughout the year.

We meet new friends, attend group nights, play games, make crafts and go on walks throughout the year, help with conservation projects in and around Cambridge and help with the work of other charities

Groups

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Woodchips (under 6)
Woodchips are the youngest Woodcraft members. Their activities are similar to those of other toddler groups (plus some camping!) but unlike most of those groups, Woodchips is run cooperatively by parents. We try to choose activities that help our youngest members begin to absorb some of the ethos of the Woodcraft Folk – equality, cooperation, peace and friendship.
Elfins (6-9 yrs)
What do 6 – 9 year olds like doing? Making a lot of noise, being physically active, laughing and having fun – well, that’s the style of Elfin group nights.

A typical Elfin evening consists of some quieter times – when we listen to each others news, or get involved in craft activities or sing songs together, and some more lively ones.

Through the experience of working co-operatively and problem solving together the young people learn how this can work for them in practice – parachute games don’t work terribly well if just one person is holding on to the parachute! Common activities for Elfin groups include cooking, drama, going swimming, singing and a wide variety of games.

Recent activities at one Elfin group have included making a patchwork quilt out of paper, taking each other blindfolded round an obstacle course and an always popular trip to a local swimming pool.

Parents are expected to help at meetings on a rota basis, this normally works out at once or twice a term.

Badger Elfins Ridgefield badger.elfins@cambridge-woodcraft.org.uk

Acorn Elfins St Matthews acorn@cambridge-woodcraft.org.uk

Chipmunk Elfins Histon chipmunks@cambridge-woodcraft.org.uk

Evergreen Elfins Storey’s Field Centre evergreen.elfins@cambridge-woodcraft.org.uk

Pioneers (10-12 yrs)
Pioneers still require what are fundamentally children’s activities, but as they are no longer young children they enjoy (and need) being stretched a bit more. A typical Pioneer evening is similar to an Elfin evening, but somewhat noisier and wilder. We do crafts – trying to have a go at harder or more grandiose things – games and outdoor activities, as well as semi-social events and some political and social discussions. Typically an evening will start off with a planned activity or craft and finish off with a game or two.

Pioneers have access to a wide choice of outdoor activities, including night walks and orienteering, nature conservancy work, visits to outdoor activities centres, overnight bivouacs and Pioneer expeditions and camps. The expeditions and camps (at local campsites, Youth Hostels and Woodcraft centres such as Cudham and Lockerbrook) are particularly popular and play a significant part in converting Pioneers from just a bunch of friends to a group that works together.

A favourite part of the Cambridge Pioneer program is the annual Eastern Region Pioneer camp where the Pioneers are responsible not only for cooking their own food, but also for planning the menu and doing all of the food buying from a fixed budget. Pioneers are usually present in large (and vocal) numbers at District camps and other activities.

Parents are expected to help at meetings on a rota basis; this normally works out at once or twice a term.

Penguin Pioneers St Matthews penguin.ps@cambridge-woodcraft.org.uk

Histon Pioneers Histon histon.ps@cambridge-woodcraft.org.uk

Eddington Pioneers Storeysfield Centre lauren@woodcraft.org.uk

Venturers (13-15 yrs)
There is only one Venturer group in Cambridge.

We take young people who have grown through the Pioneer groups and also have several members who are new to Woodcraft Folk. We are a big, noisy group and our members are an exciting mix. The Venturers have a hand in organising their weekly programme of activities. Favourites include speakers from other organisations, craft work, co-operative games and cooking. Most parents are on a rota to help out with group nights.

We participate in District camps and trips and occasionally have trips and overnight stays just for Venturers. We have also made up delegations to visit other countries.

Venturers St Matthews venturers@cambridge-woodcraft.org.uk

District Fellows (16-21 yrs)
Our older teenagers and young adults organise their own activities and are known as District Fellows.

DFs arrange and benefit from regular opportunities each year to meet up with other DFs from across the country. This happens at the DF only camp that they organise and run every summer, and at other planned gatherings. An annual general meeting is held by, and for, DFs to plan the next year’s events. The DFs also play a crucial role in organising a large camp for Venturers from across the country which takes place every 3 years.

DFs dfs@cambridge-woodcraft.org.uk

DFs have their own national website http://www.spanthatworld.com/

Activities

Cambridge Woodies do lots of different things at group nights and outside of them.

One of the major woodcraft activities is camping and the district organises several camps every year as well as attending national and international camps and sending delegations abroad, we also go on residential trips to woodcraft or other centres.

We go on walks throughout the year, help with conservation projects in and around Cambridge and help with the work of other charities.

Group nights

Most groups meet one evening a week during term time for a couple of hours and take part in age appropriate activities including games (with an emphasis on co-operation), craft activities, singing, cooking, speakers from other organisations, night walks and orienteering, conservation work… – anything really.

The younger groups tend to have an organising meeting for parents before term starts who think of a rough outline and then at the first meeting the children decide what they want to do for the rest of the term, and the older groups tend to decide completely for themselves.

Most groups have a few continuous leaders and then parents help out on a rota.

Camps and Residentials

Cambridge district organises several camps every year usually including:
Spring camp, the last weekend of May; for all ages, sometimes with groups from other towns.
Elfin camp, a weekend in early summer.
Pioneer camp, a different weekend in early summer.
Summer camp for all ages, a week in summer, sometimes rather than our own summer camp we attend an Anglia camp with other eastern region districts or a national camp, with woodies from all over the UK.

We usually organise a couple of weekends at woodcraft owned centres, such as Lockerbrook in Derbyshire and Darsham Station in Suffolk (which we are helping to renovate) as well as others. These are either family events or for specific age ranges.

We also usually attend national camps such as Venturer camp, held every 3 years and DFs go to DF camp held every year – these are normally earlier than our district summer camp.

Community

We also take part in and organise lots of other activities in and around Cambridge. We go on our own walks throughout the year as well as organising parachute games and helping the co-op with refreshments at the annual Oxfam Sponsored Walk.

For several years we have helped with conservation work at the nearby Beechwoods as well as the odd session at other local nature reserves.

In the past groups have helped with the work of and raised funds for charities, recently including Water Aid. We also occasionally have Ceilidhs and parties. Venturers have a fun time each year preparing entertainment for the elfin party.

Occasionally we organise large public events such as in July 2001 when we held a peace picnic on Jesus Green.

Expeditions and outdoor activities

CONTENT PENDING

Regional and National

CONTENT PENDING

International

We often form delegations to visit similar organisations in other countries and have them come to stay at our summer camps through the International Falcon Movement – an umbrella organisation for progressive youth groups worldwide – of which the Woodcraft Folk is a member.

In the summer of 2006 The Woodcraft Folk hosted Global Village, an international youth festival in Kent, on behalf of the IFM, which brought together around 4500 adults and young people from all over the world to explore themes based around the 8 UN millennium development goals. Cambridge District raised funds to bring 10 Peruvian children to the camp and we also had a large group from Norway. Click here for photos and reports.

In recent years we’ve hosted groups from and visited Hungary and Norway.

In the summer of 2009 14 of us went to Peru to visit the Peruvians who had been our guests in 2006. click here for a report.

For more information get in touch