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Woodcraft Folk reflects on successful international ESC programme

Woodcraft Folk is a charity committed to international solidarity and spanning the world with friendship. One of the charity’s strong principles is that it promotes the importance of an understanding of the wider world; with its international links providing opportunities for Woodcraft Folk’s young members to meet peers from around the world to help them develop a global outlook and form relationships.

Woodcraft Folk is committed to building links, partnerships and friendships on a global level. The charity is an active member of the International Falcon Movement -Socialist Educational International and participates in a wide range of projects, seminars, exchanges and international camps which greatly benefit its young members who make use of the global opportunities.

One of the international programmes Woodcraft Folk participates in is the European Solidarity Corps. The European Solidarity Corps helps young people between 18-30 – through support and funding – take part in projects that benefit communities, either abroad or in their own country. The ESC is funded and managed by the European Commission. 

As part of the ESC programme, Woodcraft Folk have provided two volunteers, Aggie Taylor and Julia Lennon, to work for the International Falcon Movement which the charity a member of. The pair have been based in Brussels and are just over half-way through their 12 month placement. Woodcraft Folk have historically provided volunteers to the organisation.  The volunteering opportunity has given Aggie and Julia the chance to support, experience and learn from another international youth-led organisation whilst also enabling Woodcraft Folk to strengthen their ties with the IFM. 

The IFM-SEI is an impactful organisation which through non-formal education, creates a space for children and young people to develop critical awareness whilst empowering them to challenge the inequalities in our world. They work to educate and campaign for an inclusive and equal society.  

The placement has allowed Aggie and Julia the opportunity to develop new competencies, gain new experiences, contribute to educational and professional development as well as them been given the chance to increase their intercultural awareness. They have also been able to plan their voluntary work around interests and areas they want to develop more. Aggie and Julia have got involved with a variety of IFM projects such as Kids Got Rights and Peace Communicators as well as gaining experience in supporting the running of IFM-SEI.

Julia Lennon, European Solidarity Corps Volunteer commented:

“During my time as an ESC volunteer, I have learned a lot about working for an international organization. I have been working on the communications and outreach of IFM-SEI, which has been very exciting for me. Having just graduated, it is empowering to put my theatrical knowledge to practical use. I am looking forward to being involved with IFM-SEI for the remainder of my position and beyond”.

The skills and experiences they have learned, will support Aggie and Julian with their volunteering journey at Woodcraft Folk and they will be encouraged to share their learnings with other young members.  

Aggie Taylor, European Solidarity Corps Volunteer says:

“I am really enjoying my time as an ESC volunteer in the secretariat in Brussels, it is exciting to be able to experience international projects from a different perspective to a participant or facilitator. I am learning a lot, especially in relation to organisational direction as I have been recently drafting the new strategy and workplan for IFM-SEI 2022-2025 and practicing how to put goals such as child and youth participation, inclusion and diversity, into objectives and key performance indicators. I am looking forward to putting this knowledge into practice with the Woodcraft Folk board of Trustees in our upcoming meetings!”.

Woodcraft Folk not only supplies volunteers to a range of international organisations as part of the ESC programme, it also hosts volunteers from other countries to support with their work. Having ESC volunteers join the Woodcraft Folk team from different organisations helps to bring a new dimension to their work and the experience is beneficial for the organisation as well as their young members and the volunteers. 

The charity has hosted many international placements over the years with three volunteers currently in place:

– Eva Chatrain from France as Communications Volunteer

– Luisa Knust from Germany as Lockerbrook Centre Volunteer

– Sandra Kourtsounioti from Greece as Common Ground 2022 Volunteer

Over the summer, Woodcraft Folk will be welcoming 28 short-term placements to help with the Common Ground which is the next IFM-SEI international camp which the charity is hosting in the UK. The event will bring together thousands of children and young people from across the world for ten days of camping, cooperation, and friendship on 29 July-08 August 2022.

Involvement in the ESC programme comes to an end for Woodcraft Folk in 2022 and the charity hopes in the future that there will be an alternative international programme they and their young members can support and continue to play an active role in.

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