Film ID:
YFA 2179



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Originally organized in the 1920s, the Woodcraft Folk is an educational movement for young people. Its aim is to develop self-confidence and activity in society through equality, friendship, peace, and co-operation. This documentary focuses on the organization, its history and values, and specifically children from around the world who have gathered at the international camp at Normanby Hall, located near Scunthorpe, South Humberside.

Opening Credit: ‘A Woodcraft Folk Film’

The film opens with a boy in an army uniform, lying on the ground and pointing a canon at the camera. The boy gets attacked by another and they have a mock fight. The narration states the need to learn the lesson of Cain who asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The Morning Circle, symbol of democracy. Title: ‘I'm A Member of a Family’

Dozens of tents are in a clearing in a wood where many children from all over the world have gathered, according to the narrator, for the good of the human race. A band plays ‘The family of Man’ (by Fred 'Karl' Dallas) in front of a large audience of adults and children. There is a banner with ‘Friendship’ written on it, and flags from many nations are flying on display. Underneath the flags, a group of young people stand in a circle taking it in turns to bring greetings from their countries.

A group of boys and girls gather around a young woman playing a guitar to sing a song together. Then some young children look into the camera, and the narrator explains the three age groups of Elfin (6-9), Pioneer (10-13) and Venturer (14-17). The leaders are either parents or ex-Woodcraft Folk. The narrator then explains the history of the group dating back to 1924 as a breakaway from the single-sex Scouts and the Kibbo Kift Movements to a co-educational group. An article by Leslie Paul is shown, Greensward: A Woodcraft Log, from Comradeship and Wheatsheaf, March 1925, as well as an old advertising poster for the Woodcraft fellowship, an article on the Leyton Woodcraft Folk form The Pioneer, February 1927, and several other early publications.

The narration explains the emphasis on building international friendship. Returning to the camp, a group of girls sing “A New Day” on a stage in front of a large audience. In front of the stage, children walk in procession dressed in traditional ethnic costumes. In a sports stadium, the children take part in track races and other athletic events. Parents come and join in with dancing. Food is prepared for the next day’s hike, and children help to serve the food. In the evening, they sit and eat under canvas as it pours down with rain outside. Basil Rawson, President of the WCF, exchanges tokens of friendship with the delegates from abroad.

Outside children gather around a fire, and a girl recites the Woodfolk creed, a proclamation of international peace and friendship. As a group sing songs, Youth and Maiden, a ceremonial fire has lightened slogans of ‘amité’ and ‘friendship.’ Inside the tents, children are asleep as a boy makes a declaration beginning "I declare that I will do my utmost to camp out and keep fit in mind and body" and ending, “that when I am older I may take my place as an intelligent and useful member of mankind.”

The End

Closing Credit: ‘A Woodcraft Folk Film’ ‘13 Ritherdon Road, Upper Tooting, London, SW17 01 672:6031’