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We're always trying to find ways to make our relationship with nature and the environment more harmonious, whether we achieve this through looking after our wares to give them a longer life or watching our carbon footprints.
So, when Bristol District Woodcraft Folk asked us for funding to help young people to develop an understanding of nature, the environment, and the world around them, there was no way we could refuse! We caught up with the group to see how their project is going so far.
Little comes close to sleeping out in the open for the first time
Bristol District Woodcraft Folk is an organisation that strives to provide an informal and safe environment for young people to develop their ideas, share experiences, explore opportunities, and make lifelong friends. They've been doing since about 1925 by providing a space for young people, children, and adults to learn about the world and about nature together; running various activities and creating a platform for individuals to get together and simply discuss issues, ideas, and opinions.
Bushcraft has always been an important part of the experience offered by the Woodcraft folk, and its something they're keen to share with younger generations to bring them closer to nature. Volunteers and young leaders play a huge role in this, as Anne Draper explains:
"Several of our 15 and 16 year old members are likely to become our young leaders of the future. We would like to train our volunteer and young leaders to deliver Bushcraft sessions safely, so that all our groups have access to Bushcraft activities."
Volunteers learned bivvied out in hammocks and learned bushcraft skills and how to manage groups out and about in Escot Park, near Exeter
To help their members to understand how to live close to nature, the Woodcraft Folk held a camp for eleven of their volunteers in Escot Park near Exeter where they learned to use hammocks and tarps to set up shelters, knot tying, fire lighting skills and campfire cooking. For some members of the group, this was their first experience of this style of camping; and campfire conversation focused on how volunteers could manage groups of children in such a setting and pass this knowledge on to their groups.
Some impressive tarp set ups
Learning the art of creating a fire with nothing but wood
Practicing their knot-tying skills
By the end of the weekend camp, volunteers felt confident in their practical bushcraft skills, as well as their ability to teach these skills to the next generation of woodcraft folk, as Anna explains:
"Our organisation and the children that attend our groups will benefit as our leaders have gained the confidence and skills they need to complement their enthusiasm for running bushcraft activities. It was great to see our young leaders working together and helping each other during the weekend; they have improved their skills and grown in confidence."
The volunteers also really enjoyed the chance to get outside and brush up on their bushcraft skills, and isn't that what it's all about?
“Thank you for a brilliant weekend! I feel inspired and ready to do something bushcrafty with our group soon! I'm really chuffed to have learned 3 knots and to have spent a really comfortable night in a hammock! “ (Jen, a new volunteer).
A jolly good time was had by all, hooray!
The Bristol District Woodcraft Folk group relies heavily on independent donations to be able to run their sessions. Visit the Woodcraft Folk website or Facebook page to find out more about their activities, how they work, and how you can get involved.
The Alpkit Foundation supports projects that enable people to overcome the obstacles preventing them from Going Nice Places and Doing Good Things.
Share your thoughts about this article.
Looks like a cool weekend.
I'm active in Woodcraft Folk, and it's great to see the link up between 2 organisations, one all about empowering young people on a national basis, and another providing the resources to do it in a sustainable way.
Any chance of correcting the typo on the leading photo, by the way? It's Woodcraft Folk, not Woodland... Yes, the name is kinda quaint, but it's been going about 100 years now. And hey, the Brownies is a bit odd when you think about it...
Are those the DD tarps, or some other kind, please? Great to see the different designs. How many tarps did you put up?
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