Motions Passed at Annual Gathering 2003

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  • Strategic Review Motion

This conference welcomes and endorses the new strategic review "The Beat Goes On", covering the period 2003-2008.
Conference urges all Nations, regions and districts to use this document to help develop their own strategies over the next five years.
Conference also recognises that there are rapid changes in opportunities for Woodcraft Folk development. Therefore this conference affirms that motions to conference in the future may amend, delete or insert clauses in "The Beat Goes On" by achieving a simple majority in any vote required.

  • Image Review

This conference:
reaffirms that we are a progressive children's and youth organisation, which aims to deliver its aims and principles to children and youth in the 21st century.
recognises that it is crucial we continually asses how we deliver the message of our organisation and the impact of our image internally and externally.
recognises the deep attachment which most in our movement have towards our name, and its value in symbolising the continuity of our work with children and young people over all the years since 1925.  This conference believes that, due to recent efforts to promote more effectively the work we are undertaking, our name has become somewhat more widely recognised in the outside world.  Many, however, still have not heard of us.
instructs General Council to initiate and facilitate a grass-roots research programme amongst our membership and prospective membership on the impact of our image and name.
envisages this process will be conducted by a team of people from the ordinary membership, General Council and external supporters, taking a number of years with an open ended mandate to report back to Annual Gathering with proposals for further discussions.

  • Conference procedures review

This Annual Conference recognises the democratic aims and principles of the Woodcraft Folk; but notes that conference procedures prevent effective participation by a range of members in the movement.
This Annual Conference instructs General Council to work with Standing Orders Committee to carry out a comprehensive review of conference procedures; and to ensure that suitable motions are brought to Annual Gathering in 2004 to address the findings.
The review should include:
•    Provision of clear guidance to all members about the procedure for proposing motions to the Annual Conference; including the opportunity to discuss potential motions with members of the Standing Orders Committee before submission.
•    Revision of the Annual Conference timetable; with particular attention paid to deadlines for submission of motions, and the possibility of a later deadline for submission of supporting information and materials.

  • Centres Strategy

This Annual Gathering recognises that the Woodcraft Folk’s Centres are enormous assets to the organisation.  They provide opportunities to put into practice the Woodcraft Folk educational values in a residential setting.  We recognise that Centre Management Committees and the Centres Liaison Committee are fundamental to the character of our Centres and we applaud the work that they and the staff do on behalf of the Woodcraft Folk.
This Annual Gathering also recognises that staff and volunteers at Centres can often feel isolated, vulnerable and lacking in the support they deserve from the central organisation.
In order to continue to develop the Centres for the benefit of the Woodcraft Folk, a more collective approach to their management is called for.  This approach should exploit the diversity of the Centres and should foster a culture of mutual support between Centres.
This Annual Gathering therefore instructs General Council to examine how the Centres could work in a much more co-ordinated way towards the objectives identified in section 4.5 of the Strategic Review, which were endorsed by Annual Gathering 2002.  General Council are requested to present their findings to Annual Gathering in 2004.

  • Financial Support for the Regions

This Annual Conference recognises the fundamental constitutional role of the Scottish and Welsh National Councils, and English Regional Councils; and affirms the 16th September 2000 General Council commitment to provide:
“Financial support for the work of each English regional council/Scottish council/Welsh council of £1,500 a year: This to be spent as councils choose: administration costs, meetings costs, local conferences, office expenses etc.”

  • Volunteers

This conference recognises the work that volunteers (who are not members) could carry out in supporting our leadership.  This could include tasks such as:
•    Being on a parents rota
•    Driving a minibus
•    Helping at a camp
•    Being a fundraiser
At the present moment we only recognise members.  We call upon General Council to recognise the many volunteers who support our movement.  We also call upon General Council to put into place appropriate child protection procedures for non-members.

  • Young Membership

This Annual Conference recognises the vital role young members play in our organisation: but notes that for a variety of reasons some young people, under the age of 13, are unable to belong to local Woodcraft groups, and so cannot participate in Woodcraft Folk activities.
This Annual Conference instructs General Council to investigate, and bring a suitable proposal to Conference in 2004, enabling young people under the age of 13 to join the Woodcraft Folk as individual members; thereby empowering them to keep in touch with the organisation and participate in Folk activities.

  • Alternative Structures of Groups

This Annual Gathering notes the following trends within the Woodcraft Folk:
•    Pioneers remain within the Elfin Group in which they started out.  This is due to a number of factors, including the small numbers of children involved in some groups, the difficulty in finding adult leaders to operate two groups for this age range and the financial disincentive of separate registration of two group that are often smaller than 10 children in each.
•    Venturers and District Fellows are joining the Folk as individual members in their own right.
•    District Fellows lose contact with their local Venturer Groups but find it difficult to sustain independent activity, although they may continue to be active within the Folk at a National level.
•    The number of adult members relative to children and young people is growing rapidly.
For these reasons the ‘traditional’ model for group activity of two adult leaders running an Elfin, Pioneer or Venturer group once per week is becoming less common.  However, membership and subsequent entitlement to democratic rights – for adults and groups – is dependent on this model.
This Gathering therefore resolves that a working group be created to examine possible alternative structures.  This Group would solicit opinion throughout the organisation, and issue a report for consideration by General Council by December 2003.  Included in their considerations would be the following:
Two new types of Groups would be created to operate in parallel with the existing structures.  Existing, and new groups would be free to affiliate to the Folk by whichever method was most appropriate to their circumstances.
Searchers:  Open to children between the ages of 6 and 12.  Each group would register for an annual membership fee of £200.  This would include both Group Registration and four individual, adult memberships.  
Explorers:  Open to young people between the ages of 13 and 17.  Individual young people would join as a member in their own right at the current level of £5.  The Group would register with the Woodcraft Folk for £120, which would provide four individual adult memberships in addition to the Group Registration.

  • Associate Membership

This conference notes the changing environment that the Woodcraft Folk now operates within, and the opportunities for partnerships with various organisations.  This represents a departure from our tradition working methods.
This conference instructs General Council to examine this issue and bring forward constitutional amendments to conference 2004 create a new form of membership called Associate membership for organisations that wish to co-operate closely with us whilst retaining their independent status.

  • Support the movement against the War in Iraq

This conference notes the work done with children and young people in our groups in relation to the war with Iraq.  We commend the message of peace and recognise the reality that millions of innocent people would be murdered by blanket bombing of cities.
We applaud group leaders who have related this to group members and brought out the empathy for similar children in another country.
This conference notes the level of support and feeling by the mass of members who have joined together to voice their objection on demonstrations across the country against the killing of these innocent people
This conference welcomes the organisation that General Council has put into these demonstrations and congratulates them on their stance.  This conference instructs General Council to continue to support groups and districts in this educational process.

  • European Social Forum

This conference notes the existence of the European Social Forum and its role in bringing together Non Government Organisations in opposition to the neo liberal economic agenda.
This conference believes that the ESF can play an essential role in building support in challenging capitalism and challenge the militarism that underpins it.
This conference supports the slogan “Another World is Possible”.
This conference calls on General Council to examine how the Woodcraft Folk can get involved in the ESF and to take up this matter with IFM.

  • International Development

This conference notes the new opportunities being opened up through the Woodcraft Folk presence on the internet.  For example the Sust’n’Able website recorded over 2,000 hits from New Zealand.
This conference calls upon General Council to examine ways of linking together these people to facilitate development of new progressive youth movements in those countries, and to offer appropriate assistance.

  • Park Farm Management Committee

This conference notes the work done by Woodcraft Park Farm in partnership with the London Borough of Lambeth in ensuring Lambeth children have
•    access to the countryside
•    a break from their inner city environment
•    a chance to broaden their horizons in a safe environment
•    an outdoor educational programme    
This conference also notes the reaction from a few local residents in the village of Lurgashall, West Sussex and in particular the pre conceived negative views they hold of inner city children.
This conference instructs General Council to support the management committee of Woodcraft Park Farm in this pioneering work.

  • Ethical sourcing of Woodcraft Folk garments

This conference notes the recent establishment by the GMB and Battersea and Wandsworth TUC of a company called Ethical Threads.
This company provides T shirts made by workers in non sweatshop conditions and at present has partnerships with workers in Nicaragua, Bangladesh and disabled workers in the U.K.
This conference calls upon Folk Supply to use where possible this source, or others similarly committed to ethical sourcing of garments.

Fair Trade at events
This Annual Gathering resolves that the Woodcraft Folk makes a commitment to Fair Trade by declaring itself to be a Fair Trade organisation and by actively encouraging the use of Fair Trade  goods by groups, districts, and centres, when catering for events and residentials, and when sourcing clothing and equipment, and calls on groups to promote the principles of Fair Trade through its educational programmes.

  • Recycling at Centres

This gathering resolves that the Woodcraft Folk actively encourages the best practice in recycling at its own Residential Centres and at meetings, camps and other organised events where its influence can have an impact.

  • Affiliate to the Trade Justice Movement

This conference requests that the Woodcraft Folk formally affiliate to the Trade Justice Movement.  This would be in line with its aims on Sustainability and for working in partnerships.  The Woodcraft Folk would benefit from the experience of the most effective lobbying organisations and the TJM would benefit from the vibrancy and enthusiasm of a youth movement with a message.  It would reinforce the local links that many groups and members have made with the TJM and its constituent groups.