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Woodcraft Folk members head to Finland for anti-racism project

In July, five of Woodcraft Folk young members attended two seminars in Finland, lasting over a week with organisation IFM SEI. One of the seminars was titled ‘Choosing Anti-racism’ and was the first meeting of a three phase program attended by Mickey Lowe, Bean Dolly and Sadie Lamont. The other was the final stage of the ‘Journey of Youth Leadership’ programme, its closing conference attended by Eliza Dolly and Alex McCahon. The projects included twelve global organisations, and were funded by the European Union.

The ‘Journey of Youth Yeadership’ seminar looked at the previous stages of the project- highlighting their aims and successes. IFM SEI have been focussing on youth leadership for over 100 years, and the participants looked at the examples of this and created ideas to how they can keep this important idea prevalent within our partner organisations. A presentation, which included a youth aimed video and Powerpoint presentation, was shared with the other groups that attended the camp which highlighted the specific outcomes that the project had produced.

The participants were also able to run their own seminars with the young people attending the camp, showing off the skill sets that they have learnt during the seminar. Eliza and Alex ran a session on democracy, using the activity of the ‘Mock debate’ which can be found in the toolkit produced from the project. This seminar was incredibly successful, attended by over 30 young people.

Woodcraft Folk young member Eliza (21) says:

“I have had the privilege of being able to attend many stages of this project, meaning Finland was very exciting for me. The topic is something I think is not only important for Woodcraft Folk, but for the world in general. Being able to highlight our previous hard work, and to see our toolkit activities in action made me feel an immense amount of pride for my involvement in the work, and for being involved in such a youth lead and motivational organisation.”

Available on the IFM SEI website is an overview of this project, as well as the toolkit and a short documentary.

Woodcraft Folk young member  Alex (19) says:

“I had an interesting time , learning about how we can promote youth leadership within woodcraft. Furthermore the location of the project was stunning and in a truly unique region of the world.” 

Phase one of the “Choosing anti-racism” project, held in Finland, was an introduction to the topic and the project. It began to explore academic terms to describe the system of racism and participants began to think about how to deconstruct the topic. The Woodcraft Folk young members worked with and formed friendships with participants from across the world. They did a lot of group discussion so were able to share experiences and international perspectives with the group. The resources they created were used to inform the next phases of the project. This phase of the project laid the groundwork for the future phases and started to get the participants to think about how their organisation and them as individuals could be actively anti-racist.

Woodcraft Folk participant Sadie (18) says:

“Choosing to attend the Anti-racism project held in Finland was an incredibly valuable experience for me. Meeting and bonding with the other young people from around the world was so amazing and unique. Anti racism was something I was already incredibly passionate about so to see other young people eager to affect change in our respective organisations/communities was empowering.”

On top of the two seminars, the young people were able to enjoy the intensely beautiful Finnish countryside. They all camped, sharing a space and creating important friendships with other IFM SEI organisations- such an NKK, Rote Falken and other woodcraft delegations. In their free time, they took part in a hike through the Finnish wilderness, took part in a football tournament and performed multiple songs in the closing ceremony. 

Woodcraft Folk participant Mickey Lowe (19) says:

“The finland trip was a once in a life time experience, I’m so grateful I was able to have this opportunity. I’ve made some life long memories, friends and skills because of the incredible seminar”

Woodcraft Folk participant Bean (16) says:

“I was extremely excited to participate in an event like this, and my expectations weren’t just met, but exceeded. It was a great introduction and I’m very happy with my decision to go as I learnt a lot about the topics, but also about the friends I made along the way.”

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