|The United States Postal
Service has issued two stamps recognizing Camp
Fire. The first was in 1960 when a stamp cost
four cents and when the official name was still
"Camp Fire Girls." The second showed a
canoe and was issued in 1985 when a stamp cost 22
cents. The 1985 stamp was one of a block of four.
The other three stamps were for Boy Scouts of
America, YMCA youth camping, and Big Brothers/Big
|Camp Fire: for
good times, for lifetimes
Giving service since 1910
Now known as "Camp Fire USA," the
organization began in 1910 as "Camp Fire
organization has been co-ed for a generation and has
youth from pre-kindergarten through age 21.
campfire at the end of a long day, Camp Fire is meant to
be a warm, safe place for good folks to gather.
|Camp Fire Law
Give service, &
Be trustworthy ever, in all that you do.
Hold fast onto health,
And your work glorify,
And you will be happy, in the law of Camp Fire.
CLICK HERE for the music.
Camp Fire youth
are expected to learn the basic tenet:
youth are taught to give service in their families, in
their clubs, in their Councils, in their neighborhoods,
and in their larger communities. Giving service is taught
as something worthy of being done for a whole lifetime,
wherever the person is.
The word is made from the first two letters of
the words WORK, HEALTH, and LOVE. It is used as a
greeting, a farewell, and a wish by those in Camp
is not a secret word. There are no
secret words, secret ceremonies, or secret
handshakes in Camp Fire. There is no
secret society aspect about Camp Fire.
One little girl,
lighting the candles of Wo-He-Lo.
Singing the Camp
Fire youth learn the Camp Fire Law by singing it. The Law
seldom is spoken; it is most often sung.
the melody for the Camp Fire Law, CLICK HERE.
two words are spoken: "Worship God." A
three-note "hum" follows those spoken words.
Then the singing begins.
The music is the old Scottish folk melody "Flow
Gently Sweet Afton." The music was written by
Alexander Hume; the words of "Flow Gently" were
written by Robert Burns in 1786. The Afton is a river in
Scotland, and the song has a man asking the river to flow
gently because the woman he loves is sleeping next to the
Stars: pre-school, ages three to five.
STARflight clubs: K through 2nd grade, with
special programing for kindergarteners."Service To Another Rewards" is a message that
Camp Fire tries to teach all children, and the acronym
for that message is STAR. Young children who join Camp
Fire are beginning a journey of service to others.
Adventure clubs: 3rd through 5th grades.
Discovery clubs: 6th through 8th grades.
Horizon clubs: 9th through 12th grades,
and early college years.
Books with programing for all levels are available for
purchase from Camp Fire's national offices in Kansas
City, MO. Check Camp Fire's official site: www.campfireusa.org
(emblems, not badges) Camp Fire awards emblems for the
completion of longer term projects. Some emblem projects
are open only to children in specific program levels.
Others are open to all youth. Some emblem projects are
created for specific events or times. Most are constant
and always available to be worked on and achieved by
Honor beads, actually. Children below third grade are not
eligible to earn honor beads. Beads are given to
recognize completion of shorter term projects listed on
over 100 pages in Adventure Trails, the book for
youth in Adventure-level clubs. The short term projects
are called action crafts. They are divided into the five
Camp Fire basics:
home & business
sports & science
beads are pictured at the top of this page:
RED: red balls for sports &
games and for science ("Trail to the Future").
YELLOW: angular beads for business &
home ("Trail to Family & Community").
GREEN: 4-sided beads for creativity.
BROWN: little logs for outdoors &
environment ("Trail to the Environment").
beads for citizenship ("Trail to Knowing Me").
In years past, these beads were red, white, and blue.
Two colors of beads
pictured on this page continue to be used in modern times
by the more traditional Camp Fire club leaders:
ORANGE: cylindrical beads for home
("Trail to Family & Community").
SKY BLUE: flat,
oval beads for science ("Trail to the Future").
For major listings
of bead requirements, see these pages:
business and home
science and sports & games.
The highest award a youth may receive. There are two
different ways for a youth to earn the WoHeLo:
FIRST, the traditional way:
After completing a set of four
major, long-term projects (Celebrate Me, Choices
& Decisions, Mapping My Way, and Making
it on My Own), the youth selects two issues related
to his/her neighborhood, community, religious group, or
peers, or to young children, senior citizens, the
environment, or the like. For each of the two issues, the
youth must lead, teach, serve, and speak out.
SECOND, the Teens In Action way:
The youth completes a series of service-learning
projects, helping within his/her community in such
projects as recycling, repairing old houses, teaching
young children. The projects are selected and planned by
each Teens in Action group, with the teens doing
the selecting and planning.
EITHER WAY, upon completion, the work must be documented
and approved by the youth's advisory committee of three
adults. The documentation and committee approval are then
forwarded to Camp Fire National, and National makes the
final determination of the WoHeLo award.
The Camp Fire look
1st, 2nd grades:
White shirt, royal blue pants/skirt, red vest. The photo
in the upper left corner shows the attire of 1990.
4th, 5th grades:
White shirt, royal blue pants/skirt, royal blue vest. There is a long tradition in Camp Fire of youth
making their own vests, and some opt to use blue denim
7th, 8th grades:
BUSINESS: white shirt, blue pants/skirt, Camp Fire tie or
CEREMONIAL: Beginning in 6th grade, Camp Fire youth are
eligible to make and wear ceremonial gowns/tunics that
are worn at ceremonials. Traditionally, gowns/tunics have
been made of cloth resembling deer skin. However, each
Camp Fire youth is encouraged to design a garment
meaningful for the individual child, and a child may look
to any culture for inspiration. A gown/tunic is decorated
with honor beads, earned emblems, and other personal
items the youth chooses. Usually the youth's symbolgram is used on the gown/tunic. The
symbolgram is a symbol created by the youth to represent
school and beyond:
BUSINESS: White shirt, navy blue pants/skirt,
blue blazer, red tie/scarf.
CEREMONIAL: Ceremonial gown/tunic.
mascot is the blue bird because, like Camp Fire kids,
blue birds are red, white, & blue, love to sing, and
enjoy the wide open spaces.
until 1988, Camp Fire had a program level for the younger
children called "Blue Birds." With
reorganization, the program level was renamed, and the
blue bird was kept as the mascot for all of Camp Fire.
stylized blue bird symbol used for many years by Camp
Fire is shown in the picture of the beads in the left
panel. These days, the looks of the Camp Fire Blue Bird
have been updated.
With the hands
in front and together, left palm up, right fingers touch
together in the left palm. Right hand circles three times
upward like smoke from a campfire. Right hand ends
extended upward with fingers together and pointed up,
like the tip of a flame.
Camp Fire Wish
called The Blue Bird Wish)
To have fun.
To learn to make all sorts of things.
To remember to finish what I begin.
To want to keep my temper in.
And to learn of nature and living outdoors.
To have adventures with everyone,
To go to places and learn how it's done.
To make friends.
Many Camp Fire youth
complete special year-long projects in 3rd, 4th, and 5th
grades. Below are the "desires" that are part
of those projects:
Trail Seeker's Desire:
I desire to seek the
that shall become a delight to my heart,
for it will bring me
to the fire of human kindness
lighted by those
who have gone before me
on the Camp Fire trail.
As firewood is brought
from the forest for the warmth and clear light to
I will reach with my Camp Fire friends for the
heights that I know are within us.
I will strive to grow strong like the pine tree;
to be pure in my deepest desire,
to be true to the truth that is in me, and
to follow the law of Camp Fire.
As fuel is brought to
so I promise to bring my strength,
my sensitivity, my heart's desire,
my joy, and my sorrow
to the fire of human kindness;
for I will tend,
as my forebearers have tended
since time began,
that fire that is called
the love of one for another,
the love of all towards God.
Discovery youth (6th, 7th, 8th grades) learn a modernized
version of what formerly was known as the
The modern version is,
I shall strive to
at the fire of adventure and friendship,
remembering that what I possess
grows in value as I share it with others.
Older Camp Fire alumnae
would remember these words:
That light which has
been given to me,
I desire to pass undimmed to others.
There is also the Horizon Desire for high-school
age youth in the Horizon program:
As horizons are ever
I shall not stand still
and look into their purple shadows.
Instead, I shall seek
the higher purposes and new adventures
that lie beyond.
I shall reach ever outward
to the horizon
that is always just beyond my grasp.
Camp Fire has a five-level
progression for outdoor education that is appropriate to
begin at third grade. The levels are Fire Tender, High
Adventure, Trail Maker, Gypsy, and Voyager.
Children begin by working
on Fire Tender requirements; they plan a mile-long hike
with picnic, learn how to tie a square knot, learn basic
pocket knife safety, and cook over a camp fire.
Requirements for the most advanced level (Voyager) are to
plan and carry out an outdoor traveling trip that
includes at least three nights with no motorized
transportation: backpacking, cross-country skiing,
sailing, horseback riding, climbing, biking, etc.
Camp Fire's outdoor
education book is The Outdoor Book: A Guidebook for
Sharing the Experiences of Our World, copyright 1980
by Camp Fire, reprints since. It is available for
purchase through CF's national office.
Camp Fire encourages everyone to do something for
hospitalized veterans on Valentine's Day: Bake cookies.
Make paper valentines. Make bookmarks. Do something to
send a bit of love to hospitalized veterans.
Absolutely Incredible Kid Day
Camp Fire encourages all adults to write letters to
children on the third Thursday of each March to let
children know how special and loved they are. The
audience is every child: son, daughter, grandchild,
niece, nephew, neighbor, children in the community in
shelters and hospitals.
is to honor children, not only those involved in Camp
Fire. Each child, one at a time, needs to hear some
decent, trustworthy adult find a way to say to him or
her, "You are special. You are so special that you
organizational history and the story of the origins of
Camp Fire are complex. The story as presented in the book
Wo-He-Lo: The Camp Fire History, c. 1980 by Camp
Fire, Inc., is accurate as far as it goes. However, the
story is more complex than the official version, and more
people deserve credit than only Dr. Luther Gulick and his
wife Charlotte Vetter Gulick, the "official
founders" of Camp Fire Girls.
while Camp Fire does not carry the family name
"Scouts," Camp Fire definitely is part of the
scouting family in the USA. For a look at the historical
origins of Camp Fire, check another page at this web
Historical Origins of
The following statements are answers to "Frequently
Asked Questions" at Camp Fire's official web site:
- We are committed to coeducation,
providing opportunities for boys, girls, and
families to develop together.
- We are inclusive, welcoming
children, youth, and adults regardless of race,
religion, socioeconomic status, disability,
sexual orientation, or other aspect of diversity.
- People of different ethnic,
religious, and economic backgrounds, as well as
different disabilities and sexual orientations,
are all welcome. In Camp Fire, youll learn
about the real world, and how to interact with
the many types of people in it.
the official Camp Fire site, click below:
Once upon a time, I was a Blue
Bird who grew into an Horizon girl. I was a Camp Fire
Girls youth member for ten years; I was a Camp Fire
leader for another ten years during my "mommy
When I was a Camp Fire Girl, we
were taught to keep Memory Books. We decorated the covers
with meaningful symbols and filled the books with
momentos of our Camp Fire fun and with proof of our
accomplishments. Once a year, to pass rank, all of the
Camp Fire Girls from the town gathered to have our Memory
Books reviewed by Camp Fire leaders from the entire
council. It was a shakedown method of keeping all Camp
Fire clubs at an expected Council-wide level of
performance: "What have you done? What has your club
done? Are your awards legitimate? Are you worthy of
It is in the style of those old
"Memory Books," that this site is presented:
Ma-ha-we's Memory Book
site by Alice Marie Beard