Moving on after a Fantastic CoCamp

The word “CoCamp” has a strange effect on my non-Woodcraft friends. They experience symptoms that include, but are not restricted to, eye rolling, watch checking, sighing  and foot tapping. Strangely, despite the fact that I regularly force my (hilarious) CoCamp anecdotes upon them, they’ve never actually told me to stop. My friend Aimee explained the reason to me recently - according to her, when I talk about CoCamp, I get “the same innocent look of wonder that a small child does when tasting sherbet for the first time.” She said that no one had the heart to tell me to shut up. So now, out of consideration for my friends, I don’t mention CoCamp to them. It’s easier for me to vent my need to talk about it by sitting in a corner, muttering “co-operation… collaboration… consensus…” while rocking back and forth.
 
I love talking about CoCamp because CoCamp was fantastic. There are no two ways about it, CoCamp was an amazing achievement and an amazing project, taken on by wonderfully generous volunteers. My mahogany tan wasn’t the only reason my mum didn’t recognise me when I arrived home. My head was bursting with new ideas: I was a vegetarian, I could make a paper crane in a minute and a half and I looked like I had just tasted sherbet for the first time. Those ten days changed more than this young DF; the size of this year’s Annual Gathering agenda proves how much woodcraftier we've become. And this newspaper itself is a perfect example of developing the ideas generated at CoCamp. 
 
However, there comes a time when the muttering girl in the corner has to stand up and move on. I will never forget CoCamp, it’s become a part of who I am and I still wear my wristband with pride. It’s time to use what we learned at camp to educate. I’m not sure my friends would appreciate the nth (hilarious) story about cross-dressed DFs skipping along a deserted dust track (though they should). Explaining to them the idea of co-operatives - which a lot of them have never heard of - on the other hand? That would get them listening. 
 
So, no matter how heart-wrenching it may seem, we need to stop babbling about CoCamp in a corner. Write the babbles down, put them in a box and go through the box no more than once a month. “But how will we survive without mentioning CoCamp?” I hear you cry. Never fear, because you need to create another box, of CoCamp themes and ideas that combine to form the legacy of CoCamp. Now, this box should be brought out every day and shared.
 
Woodcraft Folk could have such an amazingly exciting time ahead; we need to start looking forward and thinking about how we can progress as individuals and as an organisation. To fully exhaust the box metaphor, we need to add wider Woodcraft Folk themes and ideas to the CoCamp themes and ideas box. The two are utterly intertwined. Through CoCamp, Woodcraft  Folk has changed by focusing even more on co-operation and co-operatives. The time has come to think about what the event meant, its implications, and its impact on those who went. That box should be near us all the time, constantly evolving, changing and becoming something amazing.
 
So rather than look back, I’m going to plan. Plan how I’m going to use CoCamp to define mine and Woodcraft's future. At least it changes things up a bit for Aimee!
 
  • This article was first published in The Courier. To contribute to The Courier write to courier@woodcraft.org.uk