DFs - District Fellows
At 16 our members become District Fellows - commonly known in the Woodcraft Folk as DFs.
We meet regularly at someone's house, a pub or even a community hall if the group is large enough, and take part in usual woodcraft activites including games, events, workshops, discussions and general socialising.
In keeping with the Woodcraft Folk's ethos of empowering young people, DFs are pretty autonomous. We run our own groups and get involved in wider issues too. We also have our own website at www.spanthatworld.com.
Exploring the bigger issues
DFs agree on two campaigning themes by voting each year and get involved in national and international campaigns. Our current campaigns are:
- Refugees and asylum seekers, tying in with Woodcraft's campaign Right to Refuge
- Voting reform
Previous campaigns included:
- No nuclear future - against nuclear power and nuclear weapons
- Stop the Traffik - a campaign against people trafficking
A campaigns rep on the national DF Committee raises awareness of the campaigns among DFs and encourages them to participate. Joel White, recent campaigns rep and now chair of DF Committee, says:
"It’s about allowing and encouraging DFs all over the country to participate and shape our political and radical front... It’s also about having a bloody good time: learning things, making friends, feeling empowered and invigorated."
What if there is no local group?
It takes at least five DFs to keep a local group going, but if there aren't five in your area, you can still be a DF.
You can attend national events where you'll meet new friends and, if you've left home to go to college or university, you're welcome to join the DFs in the area you now live. See if there is one by checking the map.
There are at least four national events a year - called 'things' - which are in different regions of the UK. The price is kept low to make it easy to attend, and they're very popular.
There are other camps and weekend trips and the opportunity to work with DFs at music festivals in the summer.
More than just a youth group
Being a DF is great fun, but also offers you the chance to develop your skill and political awareness.
"Being a DF has helped me with so many things - I've been involved with organising events and met a lot of new people I wouldn't necessarily know otherwise," said Kat McKay, a DF in Sheffield. "There are aspects of politics to it, but it's not purely political."