London Camp 2018

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Around 600 London Woodcraft Folk members of all ages took part in a week long camp at the Belchamps Scout Activity centre near Southend in Essex. Set in a nice part of the countryside, with lots of wooded areas and provided plenty of shade during a hot week. 16 districts and a French and a Czech delegation were divided into 8 villages of varying sizes. Villages were in charge of their own food and also provided their own programme alongside the central offerings. Many went for a day out to the sea side or walked to the local swimming pool.

The site has an amazing camp fire circle that easily accommodated all of us on several occasions. Everybody contributed to the opening ceremony and the wide game also centred around the site. To fit in with the theme of ‘The fashioning of a new World’ 40 pieces of a Social Action Machine had to be found and put together (see photograph below).

The activity day was great, every child had the opportunity to take part in 4 activities throughout the day. In good Woodcraft Folk fashion our leaders rose to the challenge and helped to run many of the activities.

A couple of workshops raised issues of working conditions, pollution, wasteful overproduction etc which are amazingly similar when you look at the manufacture of mobile phones and items of clothing.

When the story teller couldn’t make it, Angus, who was in charge of the programme, rustled up a small team to put on a short pantomime for the Elfins in just a few hours. Linda spent a few afternoons training a small choir so that the camp fire singing turned out to be very orderly and harmonic.

Nick provided Bushcraft taster sessions for a large number of participants. The woods also allowed for many to experience sleeping in hammocks for the first time.

Everybody joined in the Fashion parade – either using dressing up clothes which most districts seem to have or sporting masks and hats made at camp. The pledges for a better world were manifold, including being allowed to be oneself, caring for the environment, being in harmony with nature and having peace, both in our small personal worlds as well as across the whole globe.

Camp finished with a Ceilidh, starting outdoors due to the hot weather and finishing indoors so as not to disturb the neighbours later in the evening.

Careful spending, districts applying for grants to contribute to the central programme and a reduced camping fee from the Scouts has meant that London region are not out of pocket and there are more coffers in the bank for  other London events and local development. 

Special thanks go to the camp committee for their planning and hard work during the camp, but also to the leaders in the villages who did all those vital tasks that allow for the children to have such an enjoyable and enriching time.