How is Gwerin organised?
Woodcraft works on a system of local groups. Each Woodcraft group is open to a specific age group:
- Woodchips (under 6)
- Elfins (6-9)
- Pioneers (10 – 12)
- Venturers (13 – 15)
- District Fellows (Usually referred to as DFs) (16 – 20)
Groups are run by volunteers, who are often parents of children in the group. Groups are required to register as Woodcraft groups, and pay a fee of £100 a year which goes into central funds. Local groups usually meet once a week and run activities appropriate to the age group – including games, educational type activities, campaigning, outdoor activities, craft etc.
All adults running groups or attending camps have to be members of the Woodcraft Folk (and pay an annual subscription), and have a Criminal Records Bureau check. Elfins, Venturers and Pioneers do not ‘register’ as such, although they often pay a small fee to go to group nights. Venturers can, if they choose register as a member of Woodcraft nationally. This allows them to stand for committees and act as a delegate to the Woodcraft Folk’s Annual Gathering. DFs must register as adult members. Adults and registered Venturers received Woodcraft World, a quarterly members magazine. DFs also receive “DF News”.
Who runs the groups?Groups are run by volunteers, who are often parents of children in the group. All of our volunteers working with children undergo Criminal Records Bureau checks, and agree to our child protection policy, available from the Member’s Resources section.
Groups often form into Districts – a collection of groups in one area. For example Machynlleth District consists of Machynlleth Eflins, Machynlleth Pioneers, Machynlleth Venturers and Machynlleth DFs. Districts usually have their own bank account, constitution, chair and secretary. Districts usually organise things like annual camps, district activities, fundraising and so on.
On a Wales wide level, Gwerin is run by a body known as “Welsh Council”. Welsh council is an elected group of around 20 volunteers – Gwerin members. Any Gwerin member can stand for election onto council, at the Gwerin Annual Gathering, Gwerin’s annual meeting (including an AGM, training, workshops, fun!). People are usually elected for two year posts, after which they must stand down, although they can stand for election again. DFs and Venturers can and do stand to be on Welsh Council. At Welsh Council’s first meeting after the Gwerin Annual Gathering, the council elects people to roles such as Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.
Woodcraft Folk UK’s Organisation
Woodcraft in the UK as a whole is organised in much the same way as in Wales. There are local groups and districts. Regions in England have various sorts of “area councils” or “regional committees”. Woodcraft Folk Scotland has a “Scottish executive” which is similar to Welsh Council.
Nationally Woodcraft is run by an elected group called “General Council” (formerly known as “National Council”). General Council members are elected at Annual Gathering (not to be confused with Welsh Annual Gathering). General Council members are elected for two years. Wales and Scotland have special reserved seats on council for Welsh and Scottish representatives.
Internationally, Woodcraft is part of “IFM”, the International Falcon Movement. This is a network of youth groups who share Woodcrafts aims and principles.