From 27th-29th May, more than 150 people from a variety of countries met at Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens to plan Woodcraft Folk’s international camp, Common Ground. The Pre-Camp event was a fantastic opportunity to meet, face to face, lots of the people who are working hard to organise the camp, and to plan how the international camp will work.
During the eventful camping weekend, the participants had the opportunity to experience and have a tour, of the site where Common Ground will take place. On the big flat field, more than 2500 people will camp together in the summer in international solidarity and friendship. Many people met the other delegations with whom they will be camping, and started planning the organisation of their village. Most of those attending Common Ground will be spending ten days with each other where they will be playing games, taking part in workshops, making friends and having fun!
At Pre-Camp, a lot of workshops were organised by the board to make sure everybody understands the logistics of how an international camp works and instructions were given about safety and the Code of Conduct. People also got to input their views into these documents before they were finalised.
The event presented a great opportunity for the centres to test their programme too, such as the Environment and Migration centre who ran an engaging workshop on how to create a pollution catcher.
For the first time at a Woodcraft Folk international camp, a Volunteer Support team is working on the wellbeing of the volunteers. A special place for the volunteers will be available, called the PEB (Positive Energy Bubble), a perfect place to relax, have discussions with other volunteers, or grab something to eat or drink.
The board are working really hard to make the camp as inclusive as possible and this includes people who don’t have English as their first language. The Language Team is focused on making sure everybody feels included and understood.
After a long day of workshops and information sessions, on the Saturday evening the participants at Pre-Camp enjoyed a fantastic dinner together and a Ceilidh, thanks to Greenshoots Ceilidh Orchestra. Afterwards, as an ode to Woodcraft tradition, there was a campfire to warm up where attendees sang traditional Woodcraft songs. It was a lovely moment when international participants also shared songs from their countries.
ESC Volunteer Eva Chatrain says:
“Common Ground will be my first international camp and it is really hard to imagine 2700 people camping together, but being at Pre-camp helped me get a better vision and understanding of what Common Ground will be. Now it’s getting closer and more concrete, I am really excited and looking forward to it! Thanks to everyone who came for a lovely weekend.”
Very soon the Common Ground Team will be sending out an email to every adult booked on to camp. The email will include a more detailed summary of the discussions had and decisions made at recent in person and online sessions. There will also be some guidance on what everyone needs to do in the final couple of months leading up to camp.