....................... OUTDOOR LIFE
Camping and other outdoor activities are a base of our woodcraft programme because they have a magical influence on our souls.Being outdoors among friends and a sequence of numerous experiences form our world of friendship and our characters.
Members of the Woodcraft League of the Czech Republic hold a broad variety of actions varying from weekend and summer camps or hiking and rambling in the Czech mountains to activities for disabled people, environmental work or canoeing, hiking or mountaineering abroad.
Our programme does not promote an escape from civilization. We do not bring up people to be Indians or backwoodsmen. We have been working continuously on people´s characters.
Camping is a skill. Those who know how to spend a night outdoors when it is a storm and heavy rain, those who know that the Earth is not a dump for litters, those who are used to leave a campsite in a better condition than that they had found when coming - those can go camping in tee-pees, mountainmen shelters or tents shaped like ancient people huts. Those can go hiking and rambling to the country without harming it.
When camping we prefer using handmade items, e.g. clothes for daily life or ceremonial costumes, moccasins, wooden spoons and bowls, we sow our teepees, shelters or tents ourselves. We follow old crafts and skills and we make fires using rubbing sticks or flint. In our dwellings we sit around an open fire and we sleep on the ground not separated from the earth by stone or concrete floor. This all helps us to sound up inner strings in our souls and remember the times when people used to be much closer to nature. Of course, we do not avoid using modern camping utensils to keep our health and comfort.
....................... WHOLE-LIFE SELFEDUCATION
Camping and outdoor life is not only relaxation and fun. It is a constant process of requiring knowledge and learning skills. We want to know names of flowers, trees, animals and other living creatures. We want to work out how ancient or native people set fires, made tools and daily use home utensils or to know where to find a good place for night when the weather is bad. Our programme gives anyone an opportunity to learn how to knit socks and give them to someone as a present. It teaches how to dance folk dances, how to run 100 metres in less than 15 seconds or how to enjoy reading a book on philosophy.
All these skills and many more are a content of The Birch Bark Roll of Woodcraft - the book of woodcraft deeds. Originally written by Ernest Thompson Seton and updated by a team of well-experienced woodcrafters is now a huge source of motivation for the programme in our camps and at the meetings. After reaching the skill or knowledge one can acclaim the deed at the ceremonial council and get a ´coup´. These coups are not awards but a challenge to carry on in selfimprovement.
About 1000 members of The Woodcraft League of the Czech Republic are a large family of friends. Most of the members are a part of woodcraft tribes. There are children tribes mostly but also tribes of adults or family circles. Not many members are lone-woodcrafters. There are not two tribes to be the same. Each tribe has its own motivation, tradition and it is unique. People in tribes not only spend time altogether in camps, outings, hikes, ski-trips or regular gatherings. They also help to each other in daily life and support each other in many ways.