An organization for children similar to the Girl Scouts. In my day it was for girls; it is now unisex and some of the structure has changed. When it was a girl's organization, the younger members were called Bluebirds. It was a very big deal, when I was in grade school, to wear one's Bluebird or Camp Fire uniform to school.

Instead of merit badges, Camp Fire Girls earned colored wooden beads for doing various tasks. The ceremonies and ranks were heavily influenced by Native American culture, or a pseudo variation of it. One gathered at Council Fires, chose an "Indian" name, and wore (when one had earned enough beads) a sort of squaw-like gown with a leather collar from which the beads were strung.

The Camp Fire Girls sold chocolate-covered mint patties for their fundraiser, and usually hit the streets earlier in the spring than the Girl Scouts with their cookies.

Like the Scouts, Camp Fire runs summer camps where one learns crafts, sings camp songs, and builds, surprise, campfires.

The Camp Fire Girls were founded in 1910 by Luther and Charlotte Gulick. Boys were first admitted in 1975 and now make up about 45% of membership. Camp Fire was popular in the '50s and '60s, but nationwide (US) membership now stands at about 650,000.

The Camp Fire catch word is Wohelo, which means WOrk HEalth LOve. These three concepts guide much of what goes in the programs.

The "Bluebird" program, which sparked much of the organization's popularity, was adapted and reorganized as Camp Fire and society changed. Currently, the groups are organized into 4 levels: Starflight (grades K-2), Adventure (grades 3-5), Discovery (grades 6-8), and Horizon (grades 9-12). Starflight and Adventure kids wear red or blue vests, onto which patches and beads can be sewn. Discovery and Horizon wear the pseudo Native American tunics/gowns. The highest achievement in Camp Fire is to get the Wohelo Medallion. It takes 2-3 years of work to earn. Very few people receive the Wohelo Medallion, both because of the amount of work it takes, and the fact that most people lose interest in the program long before they are eligible.

In addition to the traditional groups, Camp Fire also runs summer camps around the country, and administers a number of social programs for "at-risk" kids.

The Camp Fire Law (circa 1988, when I was in Camp Fire):

Worship God
Seek Beauty
Give Service
Persue Knowlege
Be Trustworthy
Hold Onto Health
Glorify Work
Be Happy

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