'Our Times' - a news platform for young people

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Over the TREE residential meeting in September, a group of 13 to 23 year-olds from the TREE Communications and Steering Groups discussed and voted on the next, youth led, national Woodcraft Campaign. The chosen campaign focuses on “Young People’s Awareness of Politics, War etc” and is going under the working title of “Our Times”.

The mock-up campaign of “Our Times” has four sections, firstly, a termly newspaper that would defy the normal rules of factual publications and have articles in circles to catch the eye and keep the readers interest. Each issue would have a similar lay out and would include a Party Invite, explaining the manifesto of each major party in turn and a Pay Table where the highest paid people in a chosen profession would be shown, possibly in place of a sports section. The paper would be distributed by groups and districts as well as to non-Woodcraft members via train stations and buses in larger cities, a bit like the Metro paper. This would be accompanied by a website that would have a main article each week, written by either a young person with an interest in that issue or by a member of the “Our Turn” team. There would also be a YouTube channel where short videos would explain the news and issues in a way that even young people with no history in politics could understand. Hopefully there would also be a twitter account or Facebook page to reach the largest audience possible.

So how did this campaign theme come about?

The process of choosing a campaign theme takes roughly six months and for this campaign, started back in February of 2012, the TREE Steering Group held a meeting where they reviewed and improved the decision process for a new campaign, the second funded by the TREE Programme. Over February and March, the Steering Group attended the Scottish AG and Development Conference as well as group nights to gather a long list of campaign ideas. Once the preliminary issues had been collected, they were entered into an online poll, launched at AG, to choose a short-list of four. The poll results came close to our target, the average amount of AG attendees, with nearly 200 votes. The short-list of campaigns were:

  • Anti-Cuts
  • MEST-UP
  • Sexuality and Breaking Down LGBT+ Stereotypes
  • Young People’s Awareness of Politics, War, etc - our chosen campaign.

As you can see, snappy names are in short supply...

At the next TREE meeting, in early July, the Comms Group created a mock-up campaign of each of the four issues. These mocks were tested on Venturers, DFs and young Kinsfolk at Midlands Camp in August. There it was suggested combining Mest-Up with Sexuality and Breaking Down LGBT+ Stereotypes to create one stronger campaign. In September, TREE members agreed with this suggestion and decided to make it the fifth campaign option.
A consensus discussion amongst members of the Steering Group and Comms Group followed, to explore all views in favour of and against each topic, and gradually narrow them down to three before a vote was taken. The neutral teller confirmed that Young People’s Awareness won the vote by a majority!

All in all it’s quite an exhaustive process, wouldn’t you say?

As groups you can do any number of activities to support the campaign, from reading the paper and talking about it within your group, to writing articles for the website or paper and filming videos for the YouTube channel. Hopefully every group in the country can contribute in some way big or small. We need your help with it! If you have any questions, or ideas for articles you'd like to submit, please email…campaign@woodcraft.org.uk. Watch www.woodcraft.org.uk/ourtimes for updates on the campaign.

Sophie and Grace, members of the TREE Communications Group