During Wood Village children are building a hut village from pallets, within a week. It takes place in the week before the construction workers’ holiday. The construction companies are cleaning up then and are thus able to provide materials for the Wood Village. Recruiting is done by posters and Facebook. Shacks are placed at the site for the First Aid and volunteers, the site is prepared and materials are deposited. The Wood Village starts on Monday. The children may form their own group to build the hut with. On Wednesday, around 10 a.m., the mayor of Rijssen arrives at the Wood Village. He chooses the most beautiful hut, taking into account the number of children that worked on the hut and their ages. The children who built the winning hut, may ride with the fire brigade when it comes to put out the Wood Village fire. On Wednesday evening the parents can come to have a look at the huts, with a lottery, and they can buy refreshments to reduce the costs for the Wood Village. On Thursday evening, from 8 p.m., a good evenings’ programme is presented. The children sleep, with their building group, in their own hut. When the children have been collected on Friday morning, the cleaning up begins. All plastic and other material that cannot be burnt, are removed. That same night the Wood Village is burnt down. Beforehand the fire brigade is consulted and they turn out at the moment the Wood Village is lit. A week later, on Saturday, the volunteers check the site and remove the last objects, so that the whole site is left cleared.
Volunteers of the foundation (approximately 45 persons) accompany the whole event from beginning to end.
The mayor comes over on Wednesday and the Municipality takes care of licences and subsidies. Children who participate (450 to 600 persons). They spend the whole week constructing their hut.
30 companies from the neighbourhood that deliver materials and sponsors providing prizes for the lottery, lunches for the volunteers and financial income through advertising on website and banners.
And schools for the social traineeships and foundations for asylum seekers for reasons of integration (six persons).
It was in 1977 that an organisation started organising several activities for children who could not go on a summer holiday; the Wood Village was one of them and the only one that remained. Since the beginning of the summer games it has attracted at least 300 children as participants. In 2003 the working group summer holiday games was changed into Stichting Houtdorp Rijssen (Rijssen Wood Village Foundation). The Wood Village has not known any big changes. However, the facilities for the volunteers and the children have been improved. Initially there were no toilet units and children relieved themselves in the adjoining cornfield. The construction companies in Rijssen have always provided enough wood and materials. More and better materials are being sponsored, like shacks, scaffolding material and fences. Impregnated or painted wood is not accepted by the Wood Village anymore, because it may not be burnt. The wood used consists mainly of pallets with once in a while boards and other pieces of wood in between. Over the years social traineeships have been added to the Wood Village and asylum seekers act as volunteers as part of their integration and to learn the language. In the past, the Wood Village consisted merely of building and burning down. Later on other activities were added to keep amusing the children when they almost finished their hut. The parents’ evening has been added so that the parents could see the hut, but also to make it possible to refuse the parents for the rest of the time, thus making it easier to oversee the children. From the start up to today, the Wood Village has always been burnt down at the end of the week. An emergency plan for the Wood Village has to be drawn up every year as well. Over the past years this has been extended from one page to a small book, in order to meet all the requirements.
ContactStichting Houtdorp Rijssen