About The Camp Fire Experience
Camp Fire Philosophy: The Five Essential Elements of Camp Fire
Youth take an active role in determining program activities. Youth are recognized for their accomplishments. Youth build confidence in themselves and their decision-making abilities.
- Engages the entire family in fun and outcome-rich activities
The entire family is encouraged to participate. Families share their unique skills and abilities, and assist with organizing and running activities.
- Welcoming and inclusive
Youth find a safe and inclusive place to explore the uniqueness of who they are and develop important life skills.
- Builds youth and adult partnerships
By interacting with a variety of adult role models, youth develop a sense of belonging and appreciation, and a feeling of emotional commitment by adults, both inside and outside the family circle.
- Provides service to others
Youth is provided an awareness of their community and its needs, and an opportunity to participate in the planning and execution of service projects.
Camp Fire was founded in 1910 by Luther Gulick, M.D., and his wife, Charlotte Gulick. They created Camp Fire to guide young people on their journey to self-discovery. The Gulicks felt strongly that young people should have experiences so they could learn to care for themselves, their environment, and the people around them.
Camp Fire has been a leader and innovator from the very beginning. We’re proud to have led the way on some important issues. For example:
- Camp Fire was America’s first nonsectarian and multicultural organization for girls.
- In 1975, Camp Fire became a coeducational organization, bringing boys and girls together, where they learn to play and work alongside each other and appreciate their similarities and differences in positive ways. Today, our programs serve roughly equal numbers of boys and girls who learn together and work together.
- In 1988, Camp Fire formalized its long-standing focus on teen service and leadership. Teens in Action was created to seize the energy and ideas of teens to tackle real issues in their communities. Today, over 100,000 teens participate annually in community service projects that develop their skills and make real differences in their communities.
- In 1997, Camp Fire introduced Absolutely Incredible Kid Day® – a national initiative that has touched millions of youth. Each year, adults write letters to youth, celebrating each child’s unique talents and pledging their encouragement and support. Absolutely Incredible Kid Day takes place annually on the third Thursday of March.
- In 2010, Camp Fire celebrated its 100th birthday. Camp Fire participants across the country lit a campfire at the same time to honor the legacy of our organization. Camp Fire continues to celebrate its birthday on March 17th every year.
- In 2012, Camp Fire became the first national youth development organization in the United States to implement the methodology for thriving developed by the Thrive Foundation for Youth (www.thrivefoundation.org). Currently, Camp Fire is working to implement the Thrive methodology across the entire program.
- In July of 2012, Camp Fire re-branded. The traditional Camp Fire flame became a more contemporary logo, and the official tagline became “Light the fire within”
At Camp Fire, We Value
Each child as unique and valuable to society.
Volunteer participation and recognition.
Acceptance of full responsibility and accountability for our actions.
Open communication that permits healthy disagreement.
Resolving conflicts in mutually respectful ways.
Innovation, creativity and reasoned risk-taking.
Quality training and commitment to personal and professional growth.
Flexibility in adapting to change.
Responsible and creative management of all our resources.
Collaboration with others to meet the needs of youth.
Excellence and continuous improvement in all that we do.
Statement of Philosophy
Camp Fire is a youth development organization committed to building upon over 100 years of rich history and experience in responding to the changing needs of youth. We believe that through informal education programs “kids can be kids,” have fun, learn to set goals, meet challenges, discover themselves, and become responsible, caring citizens. We are dedicated to the philosophy that staff, volunteers, youth, and families are partners in shaping Camp Fire policies and programs, and that the talents of all are essential to our success. Our communications are direct, open, and respectful. We value our unity and differences, recognizing that there is strength in both. Our pledge to all youth will be shown through continually enhanced programs, a stable and broad funding base, and enthusiastic youth, staff, and volunteers who reflect the rich diversity of our communities.
Camp Fire Recognizes Each Individual’s Dignity and Worth
As one of the nation’s leading youth development organizations, Camp Fire takes pride in its long-standing commitment to providing programs and services to all youth and families.
Camp Fire’s Statement of Inclusion
Camp Fire works to realize the dignity and worth of each individual and to eliminate human barriers based on all assumptions which prejudge individuals. Our program standards are designed and implemented to reduce sexual, racial, and cultural stereotypes and to foster positive intercultural relationships. In Camp Fire, everyone is welcome.
Click here to read an interview with Cathy Tisdale, Camp Fire’s National President and CEO, discussing Camp Fire’s long history of inclusiveness. (“It Pays to Be Inclusive,” The New York Times, July 19, 2012).
Young people want to shape the world.
Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are.
In Camp Fire, it begins now.
Light the fire within