Our thoughts are with those in Ukraine, especially children and young people who might be fearful. We wish for a safe and swift resolution to the conflict.
Woodcraft Folk have been working for a world at peace for nearly 100 years. We are dedicated to building a more peaceful world, where all enjoy freedom from war and want. Through our work we explore the causes of conflict and promote positive alternatives to violence.
Last week we had four of our young members from across the UK, coming together with their peers from Europe to attend a workshop in Brussels as part of the international Peace Communicators project. They learnt about peace education and developed the skills, attitudes, values and knowledge to help them build sustainable, just and supportive societies. Together, they will work for a future where conflicts can be settled without the need for violence.
We work to inspire and empower the next generation to stand up for peace. We stand in solidarity not just with those in Ukraine but all those who seek peaceful solutions to conflict. We believe in peace for all.
We have listed below useful links to educational resources and activities on peace for a range of ages.
PEACE RESOURCES & ACTIVITIES
A range of Woodcraft Folk activities exploring peace, conflict resolution and alternatives to violence can be found in our activities catalogue. The IFM Peace Education Handbook is also available from the Activity Packs page. In addition to age-appropriate activities, the handbook contains helpful reflections on the role of youth leaders in facilitating peace education.
Further sources of activities and ideas include our friends at the Peace Pledge Union, the Peace Education Network, National Youth Agency and the Quakers. Considering the impact of war may also lead groups working with young people to explore activities addressing human rights, justice, refugees and internationalism. The National Youth Agency also has an online form where you can post messages of support for youth workers and young people in Ukraine.
Responding to events
Our young members value the space their group provides to discuss big issues and ideas in a supportive environment. Whether you initiate a structured discussion, or conversation develops organically while young people are engaged in activities, it is equally important to be ready for young people to share their thoughts and fears prompted by world events. Woodcraft Folk encourages young people to think critically – questions which support this approach are always useful when facilitating discussions.
Many Woodcraft Folk groups and leaders have used the Focused Conversation model to shape discussions – this approach provides space for young people to offer an emotional response to the topic, but also to end by sharing ideas for action to take as a result.
Even small actions can make a difference, and research shows that this can also have a positive impact on young people’s mental health and reduce feelings of anxiety. The best ideas are those that come from young people themselves, but possible actions include:
In Manchester, Chorlton Elfins have been using these dove templates to write and draw their hopes for peace, and are displaying them in their windows – they are inviting Woodcraft Folk groups around the UK to do the same, and share them on social media using the hashtag #DovesOfTheWorld.