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Programme Planning using Fist-to-Five


Explain to the Pioneers that they are going to help plan the programme for the group for the coming term. Go around the circle and ask everyone what have been their favourite activities since they joined the group.

Point out to the group that different people have different interests, likes/dislikes etc (this should have been shown by the range of ‘favourite’ activities mentioned.) Discuss how successful the previous programmes have been in providing ‘something for everyone’.

Coming up with ideas

To get ideas from everyone you could do a brainstorm, with someone writing up all the suggested ideas on a flip chart. Alternatively (because some people may not feel happy about articulating their idea in a large group), do one of the following:

1. Give out slips of paper. Ask everyone to write an idea on a slip of paper – people can contribute as many as they like. Collect them in and read them all out.

2. Split the Pioneers into small groups of two or three and ask them to make a list of all their ideas. They can then report their list back to the full group.

You could go through this process, initially, to choose a ‘theme’ for the term. If you have a fairly new group of Pioneers this would be a good opportunity to remind them of Woodcraft Folk’s Aims and Principles. Take all the theme suggestions and hold a ballot to choose one. Then repeat the process to come up with activities which fit in with the chosen theme.

Voting on ideas

Go through all the suggested activities and gauge their popularity by using the following signals from the group (see the “Fist-to-five” activity sheet to print or show the group). Once the leader shares the proposal the group can show their level of support. Each person responds by showing a fist or a number of fingers that corresponds to their opinion.

  • Fist: A no vote – a way to block consensus. “I need to talk more on the proposal and require changes for it to pass.”
  • 1 Finger: “I still need to discuss certain issues and suggest changes that should be made.”
  • 2 Fingers: “I am more comfortable with the proposal but would like to discuss some minor issues.”
  • 3 Fingers: “I’m not in total agreement but feel comfortable to let this decision or proposal pass without further discussion.”
  • 4 Fingers: “I think it’s a good idea / decision and will work for it.”
  • 5 Fingers: “It’s a great idea and I will be one of the leaders in implementing it.”

If anyone holds up fewer than three fingers, they should be given the opportunity to state their objections and the group should address their concerns. Continue the fist-to-five process until consensus is achieved (a minimum of three fingers or higher) or determine they must move on to the next issue.

Make notes of this. Also ask the group to identify any potential problems with each activity – e.g. It will cost too much; we can’t get hold of the right equipment etc. Again, make a note of comments.

The programme ideas can be ‘processed’ in a number of ways:

  • Hand over all the ideas to the leaders and let them sort out a programme;
  • Choose a couple of Pioneers who will meet with the leaders to agree the programme;
  • Elect a programme committee of Pioneers and leaders to put together and run the programme;
  • Discuss with your group which they would prefer and find volunteers or elect Pioneer programmers as appropriate.

Discussion Questions:

  • What activities are you most looking forward to?
  • Which do you think will be the most interesting?
  • Why should we be thinking of Woodcraft Folk’s Aims and Principles when we plan our programme?
  • How do you think the activities we’ve chosen fit in with Woodcraft Folk’s Aims and Principles?

Resources Required

Pens and paper; flip chart paper; a copy of the “Fist-to-five” activity sheet.


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