“The first time I took a group of 11-13 year-olds to Cherry Hill for an after dark hike, we reached the dog leg in the boardwalk and prepared to turn into the woods. I gathered them into a circle and said “From now until we reach the boardwalk on the other side, you can’t make a sound. I believe there is a great horned owl in these woods, and if we’re absolutely silent, you may hear it, or even see it.”
For the next 15 minutes we hiked in perfect silence. We didn’t hear the owl, but heard a whole forest of amazing sounds we would have missed otherwise. At the end of the silence, one youth breathed “That was so cool.” One parent commented “That was the first time my kid has ever been quiet that long.”
Nature has the power to entrance and transform us – if we let it…”
Jason Allen, Hamilton Spectator, July 8, 2019
We live in a society where we are quickly losing our connection with the natural world. A world where many kids would rather play indoors because ‘that’s where the outlets are.” We don’t think that’s healthy, and we have a plan to address it.
Woodcraft Canada is an environmental and community service organization for young people launching in Hamilton, Ontario this Fall. We are based on the principles of showing love and respect for nature, service to the community, and providing a respectful and inclusive space for all youth. While not directly affiliated, we reflect the values of the Woodcraft organization from the United Kingdom.
We plan to meet weekly during the school year in Kirkendall and share and learn new skills for the outdoors, discuss / plan community issues and events and hear stories from our neighbours. We will also take our love for nature outdoors and explore natural areas from the Bruce Trail to local parks and gardens. There will also be several camping trips for the group held at provincial parks and conservation areas. Woodcraft Canada is committed to learning by playing and exploring safely in the outdoors.
Our plan is to launch with an information session October 1, 2019, followed by registration and the first youth group meeting planned for October 22, 2019. In the first year we will be starting with one group ages 9-13 with 19 spots open for registration.
Registration will kick-off October 1 and spots will be filled on a first-come-basis. But we don’t intend to limit ourselves to that for long. As soon as there is enough interest and available leaders, we plan to expand to other age groups, generally keeping our age ranges to 2-3 years per group.
Here’s where we need your help. Your donations will be used for:
Camping gear such as tents and stoves
Supplies and materials for crafts and other projects
Rent for space to host weekly meetings
Other set up costs
There seems to be plenty of excitement about our project so far, and we expect Woodcraft Canada to grow in Hamilton and we look forward to building a safe, inclusive community for youth to celebrate and explore the outdoors and their community. Your support to launch this initiative for youth will help young people grow into the leaders and doers our society so desperately needs.