With Camp Fire’s variety of outcome-based programs, youth find a fun and inclusive place with caring adults committed to providing a positive youth development environment. It’s a place where children form lasting relationships, develop a sense of belonging and are actively involved in their own learning.
This environment allows Camp Fire youth to have life-enhancing experiences, and develop assets that are essential to their future. Children and families engage in all-inclusive, coeducational programs that build service and leadership skills and strengthen communities.
WHAT IS CAMP FIRE?
Camp Fire is one of the nation’s leading youth development organizations since its founding in 1910. The organization serves thousands of boys and girls in hundreds of communities across America.
Our mission is “Camp Fire builds caring, confident youth and future leaders.” And last year, Camp Fire logged an amazing 22 million program hours in pursuit of that mission.
HOW MANY BENEFIT?
Camp Fire, through its 75 councils spread from coast to coast, spent 22 million program hours serving thousands of children and youth in 2008. That number is expected to increase.
WHO CAN BE INVOLVED?
Camp Fire is unique because we are not an exclusive club. We have evolved to welcome everyone, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation or other aspect of diversity.
We are inclusive and open to every person in each community we serve. We work to realize the dignity and worth of every individual and to eliminate human barriers based on all assumptions that prejudge individuals. In addition, our program standards are designed and implemented to reduce sex-role, racial and cultural stereotypes and to foster positive intercultural relationships.
WHAT AGE GROUPS DOES CAMP FIRE SERVE?
Camp Fire provides services for children and youth from age six-weeks to 21, with an emphasis on kids between the ages of 5-16 years old.
WHY SHOULD KIDS BE INVOLVED WITH CAMP FIRE?
In Camp Fire, we encourage every child to discover his or her talents and abilities in a safe and secure environment. We think it’s important that kids satisfy their need to belong. Camp Fire allows youth to be part of a group that helps them make friends, interact with adult role models and become concerned citizens in their communities. This is taught through fun, coeducational activities, such as camps, clubs and child care, as well as programs such as A Gift of Giving, which teaches children the value of volunteering and service-learning.
HOW DOES CAMP FIRE DIFFER FROM OTHER YOUTH DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS?
Camp Fire is inclusive, welcoming youth and adults regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation or other aspect of diversity.
One important difference is that Camp Fire is coeducational—we serve both boys and girls in virtually all programs. Parents who like to consolidate activities for their sons and daughters find Camp Fire valuable. On another level, Camp Fire’s relatively small size and autonomous council structure allow for more custom programs for the local communities. If increasing high school drop-out rates is a problem in one community and availability of school-age child care is a problem in another, then Camp Fire councils have the ability to concentrate on those problems, with assistance from the national system.
We also differ in the processes we use to develop children and youth. Camp Fire youth are encouraged to participate in group and individual projects, developing their social interaction skills, as well as their abilities to rely on themselves. We generally work with smaller numbers of children and youth, providing us opportunities to build special, supportive relationships with the girls and boys we serve.
Camp Fire programs are based more upon development of youth as individuals to become self-reliant, caring members of their families, their schools, their communities and their nation, while including sports, games, crafts, and other similar activities. Camp Fire relies on outcome-based coeducational curriculums to reach the children and youth, therefore, providing support and opportunities as they move from dependence to independence to interdependence.
WAS YOUR ORGANIZATION ONCE CALLED “CAMP FIRE GIRLS?”
Yes, Camp Fire was founded in 1910 as an organization for girls and young women. This was the same year the Boy Scouts was founded and few organizations for girls existed. But as society’s values changed, Camp Fire realized there were many benefits to making the organization even more inclusive, rather than exclusive. The organization became officially coeducational in 1975 and was renamed Camp Fire Boys and Girls.
Today, Camp Fire brings boys and girls together through one organization, where they learn to play together, work together and appreciate their similarities and differences in positive ways. They understand that people from either gender can be their teachers, coworkers, supervisors, confidantes, coaches and friends. For families, Camp Fire’s coed programs allow parents to consolidate schedules for both their daughters and their sons. Our current membership is almost equally divided between boys and girls.