Creating A Kinsfolk Network

Saturday, 30 October 2010

This is the first in what will be a series of articles, hopefully one every other week, where different people will present their ideas as to how Kinsfolk could work. If you would like to contribute an article to this please send it to me on I have another couple that have all ready been sent to me and I can make sure they come out in a fair way. I have titled this series ‘How a Kinsfolk Network Could Work’ as I feel it has enough ambiguity to cover a wide range of ideas but if your idea falls outside that then that is of course fine.

How Old Are They?

First of all I will talk about age, when I think of Kinsfolk I think of any Woodcraft Folk member over the age of 21. I don’t think that an upper age limit is particularly useful, except in one case I will mention later, as it just prolongs the ambiguity. I think that DFs are very important to establishing a Kinsfolk Network as they provide an already joined up network of people used to holding and attending regular events, as such they not only add useful experience in their own right but help keep events viable until enough older Kinsfolk are engaged in and used to the idea of Kinsfolk events.

But Why Do We Need a Kinsfolk Network

Many people who have been keenly involved in the Woodcraft Folk lose touch after they finish DFs and only return when they have children of Woodcraft Folk age. This is often a period of their lives where they will be uncertain as to where their life is going and where they may not be particularly fixed to a geographical location and both because of this and perhaps a lack of confidence in leading a group, which they may not have done before, they loose touch. That is not to say that a Kinsfolk Network is only for those people, it should be for anyone, of the right age, who wants to attend and can serve many purposes such as sharing ideas and stories of experiences with Woodcraft. But I believe its main benefit is providing the continuity for members of Woodcraft over 21 that group nights and events provide for both leaders and those under 21. It might also be a good way to recruit new people to the Woodcraft Folk who are too old to become members of a group and don’t necessarily have the time or connection to Woodcraft Folk to become group leaders.

But How Would it Start?

I think initially it would start out small with regular events every 6 months or so that are very easy to organise and have a programme that provides an opportunity just to talk about different ideas and to get people used to their being Kinsfolk events. One model for this is the walking events organised over the past year and a half which while having small attendances have had much greater expressions of interest and have worked fairly well as events. Another is National Trust conservation weekend where they give free use of a camping barn like building in exchange for conservation work around it. It could also be added on the beginning or end of occasional DF events to create a smoother transition, this is the only place where an upper age limit seems possibly useful in not changing the feel of DF events. Tying into and being involved in other existing events such as IFM seminars and Co-camp are also important although they do not create an awareness of, and an existence of, Kinsfolk events in the UK.

But What Would it Do After That?

How it moves on from there is slightly less clear as it stems from the discussion and the passions of the people involved but I can see a lot of different things it could do. It could run training in a variety of things at its events, including group leader training for those who would like to feel more confident to do that. It could have formal skill or story sharing events or it could simply provide an opportunity for our volunteers to socialise with Woodcraft members outside their local area. There could also be regional and local Kinsfolk events as demand increased.

But What About Things that Aren’t Events?

Here is somewhere the website could be a really positive tool as there could be linking of people wanting to help at the odd group night to groups nearby that needed a bit of help and linking of trainers to those in need of training and simply providing a place to discuss ideas as I hope this series of articles will do.


Please feel free to discuss and dissect these ideas with comments below and if you want to send me an article for the series that would be greatly appreciated.


Jack Brown