Reflections on Blue Skies Camp

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Hi. My name is Rich. I'm from Camden district, and have been involved in Woodcraft for 3 years. I say involved; what I mean is 2 district camps full of games, cooking and campfires, and last year's ten day panoply of party, play and participation with worldwide Folk that was Cocamp.

Until August, that was the sum of my Woodie experience. Then, for a week, I returned to Park Farm, Lurgashall, not with my district, but with a group of people who reminded me what the Folk is about. The Blue Skies camp was a new type of training event for Woodcraft; specifically for the people who would help create the future of the Folk. At 23, I was one of the oldest participants for the initial stage. I met a group of people all under the age this country deems mature enough to vote for members of parliament. All were already more understanding and capable than not just the politicians who deem them incapable of that choice (admittedly not too hard), but also than most people I know.

Unlike District camps I had been to as a Kinsperson - holidays in the countryside with a background of sharing and cooperation - or even the all-consuming Cocamp, where I helped design the opening ceremony and ran the earthen pizza oven, the Blue Skies seminar was so full of programme, the nightly campfires were still brilliant, but far more sedate evenings than my previous experiences, as we were all processing the day's sessions on technique, theory and games that make us better facilitators in this fantastic, fun, but most importantly, free-thinking, peace-loving and self-bettering organisation.

We had a small corps of younger and youngest comrades, with whom we played, crafted and nature-walked - they learning of nature and making, us learning of leading those activities. We had groups and seminars on running a group, of dealing with issues people growing up in the Folk go through, same as those that don't have that chance, of games through which to learn and teach and grow. We had campfire singing with some of the Woodcraft old guard, who knew the old songs, the stories and people behind them, and behind the Woodcraft movement. We not only talked of our politics, and the inalienable right to live, love and learn free from oppression and suffering, but of how to create and shape that brave new world. 

Halfway through the week, we Young Leaders were joined by people who had made the leap, and not only joined the Folk, but had started new Districts. They were there to learn, just as us, with the only difference that they were to learn from us, just as we would learn from them.

On the last night, we had a birthday celebration for one of the participants, now old and "mature" enough to vote. We also had, what was for me a massive change - a Folk name ceremony. I had always felt like Woodcraft was something fun I did in the summer; camping, a week, maybe two a year. My personal politics were entirely agreed with the movement's, but I never felt the Folk as part of who I was. I am returning to university this September, and I go knowing I will have the time, and now, some of the knowledge to truly be involved in the movement, to run groups, to help form and be part of our communal dream. To take part and learn, rather than to be taught.

My Folk name was given to me, as Folk names are, by my co-participants - given through what we had learned of each other, our world and our hopes during the week. We relinquished out old names in the fire and stepped into the fashioning of a new world. We will create a better world in which to live, for the young to have it better than us. Only, the best way to do that, is for the young to do it for themselves. The people I met, the people who named me. My name is Bobcat, and I am Woodcraft, through and through.