As chaos is sweeping the planet right now – from climate disasters to war – it is reassuring to know a number of young people in the UK are coming together this summer at a special camp focused on creating a brighter, fairer and greener future. There is hope after all and the next generation are leading the way!
Woodcraft Folk’s Venturer Camp runs from 5-12 August for ages 13-17 years and it will be hosted at Biblins Youth Campsite which is located in the beautiful Wye Valley. One of five UK residential centres the charity manages, the Biblins 18 acre site hugs the river and is surrounded by ancient woodland; providing the perfect back-to-basics camping experience and the opportunity to embrace nature for over 400 attendees. Adventurous activities such as rock climbing, bushcraft and canoeing will be on offer amongst an exciting diverse programme of events.
This is no ordinary camp, the event has been organised by young people, for young people. Young members of the charity are taking on numerous roles such as co-ordinators, running workshops on topics such as the arts and climate action, organising the week’s food for campers and leading on logistical planning. It’s no mean feat organising a camp for hundreds of people and where many adults would feel overwhelmed, the young people are taking it in their stride whilst learning valuable skills along the way that will serve them well in employment and their personal lives.
The camp has been a long time in the making; Woodcraft Folk’s Venturer Camps are supposed to be held every three years but this is the first one since 2019 having been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The timing of the camp couldn’t be more crucial following years of disruption due to the pandemic which has had a huge impact on young people’s lives. In fact, so concerned is the youth charity with the effects of the pandemic on young people, they have put forward a selection of young members to take part in the E-mpACT project.
Led by the IFM-SEI organisation, the three year project is focusing on addressing youth needs during and post covid-19 pandemic, exploring digitalization, non-formal education and international solidarity. E-mpACT aims to raise awareness in youth work by examining the pandemic’s impact on non-formal education and international solidarity. E-mpACT involves young people/youth partners from 8 countries and 4 continents.
For many young people, the Covid pandemic has taken away valuable social time, impacted studies and had a huge effect on mental wellbeing and this isn’t even factoring in the effects of the current cost of living crisis.
Image: Saeed Framfylkingen
After a tough few years, this long awaited camp is a shining beacon and oasis for those going with a chance to meet up with old friends, make new ones, have fun, let off some steam as well as participate in some much needed youth action, collaboration and problem solving! Most importantly, the camp provides a safe space for young people to just be themselves. An added bonus is due to the site’s limited phone signal and remote location, the camp also forces those attending to have a break from technology and the trials and tribulations of social media.
Venturer Camp Co-ordinator Thomas says:
“After two disrupted years from the COVID-19 Pandemic, opportunities for the young people of today to get out the house and have fun with friends in a field are dwindling. These are the opportunities which can change someone’s life. Going to a workshop about something they never thought they would be interested in can spark a highly successful global career. Young people at Venturer Camp will be able to take part in activities ranging from consent to rock climbing, drawing to ceilidhs, and political ‘talk shows’ to enjoying live music as well as kicking back and relaxing. We’ll be camping at one of Woodcraft Folk’s beautiful campsites in the Wye Valley with limited electricity and no phone signal, the perfect opportunity to disconnect from technology which comes as a welcome break for many after years of online learning & online socialising”.
At the heart of the camp is Woodcraft Folk’s values which centre around co-operation, peace, education for social change and the protection and understanding of the natural world. Woodcraft Folk is a movement for children and young people with strong routes available for volunteering opportunities too. At the charity’s local group nights, events, centres and programme offerings, children will grow in confidence, learn about the world and start to understand how to value our planet and each other.
The charity’s values are truly reflected in how the camp is set up and run and the activities on offer. The camp will be powered by renewable energy, a reflection of the charity’s environmental values. The campers are split into villages made of 100 people from several Woodcraft Folk districts and groups. Together, campers help with activities such as cooking and cleaning and all villages have a coordinator, safeguarding lead and first aid lead all helping to create a cooperative atmosphere.
Each afternoon, everyone comes together in a central area to take part in activities which are free to attend. This will also be the first camp that members part of a new scheme (Camps for All) who aren’t signed up to a local Woodcraft Folk group are able to attend, further increasing the reach of those who want to be a part of the charity but have no local group near them.
This is an exciting time for the UK charity as it celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2025 and just as is central to the ethos of the camp, Woodcraft Folk’s movement is paving the way for a generation that has big ambitions, with the skills to speak up on issues important to them to strive for positive changes toward a better world.
Biblins Youth Campsite is open to families and other youth groups and organisations from March to Oct with a range of accommodation available and activities on offer. Find out more about the centre at https://www.biblins.org.uk/. If you are interested in joining a local Woodcraft Folk group, you can find your nearest at https://woodcraft.org.uk/find-a-group/.