View from the Chair

Friends, what a year we’ve had and what a year ahead! 
 
It gives me great pleasure to introduce this beautiful and fascinating new resource; The Courier, Woodcraft Folk’s new co-operative newspaper. The last Woodcraft Folk newspaper was closed down  under the optimistic hope that the, then blossoming, internet would be able to cheaply plug that gap in our communications. We rushed online to forums, egroups and facebook for the digital revolution but over time the limitations of online communication became increasingly apparent.The internet lends itself to the immediate. Like lightning, thoughts can be disseminated, shared knocked back, ridiculed or forwarded. This fast pace has huge advantages but it also carries heavy pitfalls. In the world of email it is easy to bash out a rushed reply without careful consideration of the issue; gut reactions are amplified as we find it far too tempting to hammer our frustration away on the keyboard, reach for the infamous “reply all” button or forward on to the friend you know will be most enraged. 
 
In all this speed we’ve lost something: The craft of constructing an argument, the care in thoughtfully understanding someone else’s point of view, the respect for ideas and discussion even if we’ve already made up our minds. To communicate well it's important to take your time and that is what The Courier will do. Taking its name from the paper that delighted us every day at CoCamp, The Courier is an evolution in our communication that will become a wonderful landmark three times in the Woodcraft Folk year.
 
And it’s not just communication that has developed since CoCamp. The mysterious and intriguing Project Koodoo has evolved into a project to support and develop our districts’ ability to own and use small campsites and activity centres. From the example of districts like Stanley it’s clear that owning a physical base can be a huge boost to a district’s confidence and sustainability. We are a movement with camping at its core and since the launch of Koodoo we’ve been approached by friends as diverse as local councils, the co-operative group and YHA about how they can support Woodcraft Folk groups through donations of land property and space of our own. 
 
Indeed, CoCamp could not possibly have put us in a more exhilarating position to begin the International Year of Co-operatives. A year of action and celebration around the principles that we have campaigned on for over 85 years! It’s an exciting time to be in Woodcraft Folk. We’re growing in members, in groups and in confidence. MPs name drop us on prime time TV, our relationship with the wider co-operative movement goes from strength to strength with long standing connections to our trade union comrades finding new life.
 
Huge thanks needs to go to our tireless General Council and staff team who are working in the context of a difficult economic climate and government cuts to do brilliant work in really tough circumstances. But above all, thanks needs to go to you for your continuing support for our movement through the thick and the thin. We need to keep 
co-operating hard to grow our groups and develop our leaders but there is no doubt we are in for a fantastic year. 
 
Speed the Adventure!
  • This article was originally published in The Courier. To contribute to The Courier write to courier@woodcraft.org.uk
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