Spelthorne Action Project

Young Woodcraft members from Spelthorne introduced their project, saying “there is a lot of negative press in the national news and in the local press about young people, and we wanted to show ... what we could do as a group. We think young people are generally very concerned about their community and it is only the minority of negative actions that get reported more often than the positive actions of young people.”

The Pioneers and Venturers decided to plan their own weekend camp – taking key roles and responsibilities in planning and running it. “We had adults supporting us – to drive the mini bus and help us with the budget, and shopping, but otherwise we wanted to do it all ourselves”, they explained. They appointed Jaydon as Camp Coordinator, and another Venturer, Ryan to help her with the planning. They held lots of planning sessions at group nights so everyone could input their ideas and take ownership. They want to use their experience as a positive story to counter the negative press that young people tend to receive in their area.

At the start of the project, the group discussed what was positive about themselves as young people and each wrote a ‘Positive Personal Statement’. They also attended a community meeting of councillors and youth workers about local services. Two young Woodcraft members spoke about how young people feel ignored, and that they don’t have the services they need. They were well received and left feeling proud of themselves. Better still, as a result of the meeting, they were given space at the local youth club for their group nights. “It means speaking up in the local community really works and it motivated us!” they said.

They held their weekend away in November 2010 and enjoyed cooking the meals themselves, exploring the New Forest and planning how to engage with their local community. They worked together as a seamless team; as one member of the group said afterward, “everyone was so friendly, hardworking, and responsible and cooperated, it was cool”. The group leader, Tanya said of the project “This has given us a real sense of purpose, as leaders we did wonder if we had taken on too much (we might have picked an easier project to help organise), but we are realising how easily it can be expanded, what the young people are getting out of it, and how our programme seems to also have sense and direction with regard to supporting our members to be active in society.”

 

The next steps for the Pioneers and Venturers, agreed at the hostel weekend, are to:

  • Talk to the Elfins (who weren’t there) about the project
  • Ask someone from the local PCSOs to visit the group to discuss young people locally
  • Invite the local press to visit, and get articles in the local paper about the project and other positive stories about young people
  • Help the community by attending a garden planting activity at the local youth club. “It has been trashed recently, so we are going to go along and clear it up and do some planting”.
  • Create a display and presentation to share photos and information about the project at the Christmas Activity Fair
  • Link with other parts of the community and prepare presentations for them too
  • Take on more responsibilities for planning and doing at all future district camps

To read more about how the weekend was planned and run, download the report at the foot of this page, written by Spelthorne Pioneers and Venturers.

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Spelthorne report.pdf636.78 KB