Programme Planning - New Group Guidance Sheet

We've launched #DreamBigAtHome!

Our new lockdown website has hundreds of activities and games to do at home, weekly challenges to try and a regular programme of live workshops and events online, as well as information on how our groups can operate during the COVID-19 outbreak.


This guidance forms part of the New Group Journey resource.

You can download the information as a word document in the attachment below, or download the whole pack from the new group journey summary page. 

Your programme distinguishes a Woodcraft Folk group from a drop in youth club, and is crucial to your success. It is also the main way of exploring the aims and principles of the Woodcraft Folk with your group. Planning your sessions on a half termly or termly basis will ensure continuity, and writing a well thought out session plan will give you the confidence and structure to be flexible and creative.

Agree venue, day and age group

These are the first factors that will influence programme planning. Make sure your venue has space for running round games as well as more sedentary activities. Other factors to consider include cost, accessibility, proximity to members and good green space, and how approachable building managers are.

Guidance for finding a good venue is available here:

  • Choose a venue

  • Choose an age range and day and time to meet

Develop term 1 programme

Arrange a planning meeting for after your taster sessions and child registration deadline. That way you can begin to tailor activities to the needs and interests of individuals in your group.

We recommend you start by writing up a skills inventory. Play to the strengths and enthusiasms of those in the group - that means young people as well as adult leaders.

Right from the start, make sure your activities promote our aims and principles - don’t lose sight of why you’re running the group, and take time to reflect on whether you are meeting aims of your sessions. You’re not a Woodcraft group if your sessions don’t reflect the values of the organisation set out in the aims, principles and programme.

Your group activities are an opportunity to engage young people in improving their own neighbourhood, in raising awareness of campaigns for social justice locally and globally and having an impact on the world around them. There are lots of case studies to inspire social action on our website:

Co-operative games are a vital part of the Woodcraft Folk. The book and DVD ‘Games, Games, Games’ is available via folk supply:

Woodcraft Folk have badges and working towards them can be a helpful way to structure a term:  

You can order badges, resource booklets and record sheets from Woodcraft Folk’s online shop.

Linking in with annual observance dates such International Women’s Day, Refugee Week or May Day is a great way to get your groups thinking about big ideas.   

The Woodcraft website has lots of downloadable resources that help explore big ideas in ways that are accessible for children and young people. The main portals are here:  

  • Your first planning meeting should reflect the interests of everyone involved, and include planning to our aims and principles and promoting positive behaviour.

  • Plan a social action activity.

  • Organise a day trip or walk beyond the weekly group night to help everyone get to know each other better.

Plan a trip

Camping and hostelling are an important part of the Woodcraft Folk experience. They give young people the chance to experience co-operative life 24/7, and relationships formed during group nights will be strengthened in this environment.

  • Plan a camp or hostel trip. Check out Woodcraft’s outdoor centres or find a nearby campsite.

  • If you’re daunted by the idea of a residential trip, consider linking up with your district or another group.

  • Remember that ALL adults on a residential need to be members, and have their DBS/PVG forms back.

Review impact of term one and plan for term two

Involve young people when reviewing and planning: whenever possible, you should be giving young people the opportunity to participate in the decisions made about their group. This might not be possible before the group has begun, but be sure to build it into your programme, paying special attention to it whilst planning for your second half term’s programme. Some great resources exist to support you in this:

Review your techniques for promoting positive behaviour at every planning meeting - are there any recurring issues? How can you change your approach to improve the situation?

  • Evaluate and reflect on your first term, with input from young people

  • Plan the next term’s activities

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