HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS

 

 

Camp Fire was founded in 1910 by Luther & Charlotte Gulick, as the first non-sectarian organization for girls in the United States.  In 1975, the organization became co-ed, expanding to include boys.

Camp Fire is headquartered in Kansas City, MO.

 

 

1910

First meetings of Camp Fire Girls are held in Vermont.  Dr. Gulick chooses the name Camp Fire because campfires were the origin of the first communities and domestic life.  Once people learned to make and control fire, they could develop and nurture a sense of community.

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1912

Camp Fire Girls of America is incorporated in Washington, D.C. as a national agency.

 

1913

The “Blue Bird” program is officially introduced for younger girls and offers exploration of ideas and creative play built around family and community life.   (In 1989, the “Blue Bird” level becomes the “Starflight” level for both boys and girls.)

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1918

The first local Camp Fire council is formed in Kansas City, MO.  Beginning in 1977, Kansas City will be the national headquarters for Camp Fire.

 

1954

The national headquarters adopts a statement calling for greater inclusiveness of all groups within all segments of the membership.  (Today, Camp Fire prides itself in the level of diversity of its members and its programs. )

 

1960

Camp Fire celebrates its 50th anniversary with the “She Cares . . . Do You?” program.  During the project, Camp Fire plants more than 2 million trees, builds 13,000 bird houses, and completes several other conservation-oriented tasks.  In honor of the anniversary, the US Postal Service issues a commemorative stamp and a major conservation effort is launched.

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1962

A new program level, “Junior Hi,” in which 12- and 13-year-old girls explore new interests as a group and as individuals, is created.  (The program name will later change to “Discovery” with the inclusion of boys.)

The Wohelo Medallion becomes Camp Fire’s highest achievement and honor.  The Medallion is named for Camp Fire’s watchword, “Wohelo,” which stands for “work,” “health” and “love.”  Recipients spend at least 2 years completing at least 200 service hours on projects that foster leadership, teaching, service, and advocacy.  (In 1996, the Wohelo Medallion is renamed the Wohelo Award.  Each year, approximately 100 Camp Fire youth throughout the nation receive the prestigious award.)

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1975

Camp Fire expands its horizons as it becomes a co-ed organization, encouraging boys to participate in all Camp Fire activities.  (Today, boys and girls  are represented equally in Camp Fire with approximately a 50/50 split.)

 

1988

Camp Fire introduces “Teens in Action” as a one-time social issue campaign to energize the older youth program.  Today, Teens in Action, Camp Fire’s service-learning program for teens, serves over 60,000 teens.

 

1995

Camp Fire celebrates its 85th anniversary.  Building on the tradition of the campfire symbol, the 85th birthday theme is “A Tradition of Lighting the Way.”

1997

Camp Fire and the nation celebrate the first-ever Absolutely Incredible Kid Day® — a call to action for all adults to write letters of love and encouragement to youth on the third Thursday in March each year.

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2000

Camp Fire celebrates its 90th anniversary as one of America’s leading youth development agencies and conducts a nationwide search to find the oldest living Camp Fire member.

Camp Fire introduces the “Community Family Club” small-group model, designed to provide parents and other caring community adults the opportunity to interact positively with children and teens.

 

2003

To further its commitment to inclusiveness, Camp Fire begins translating its new curricula for small-group programs into Spanish.  The Spanish-language, 52-week deep curricula for grades K-5 are designed to build social skills and academic competencies within Spanish-speaking communities.

Camp Fire partners with the Annie E. Casey Foundation to recognize outstanding Community Family Club programs that strengthen families, helping build better futures for disadvantaged children and families in the United States.  The Families Count: Family Strengthening Awards are designed to advance the principles of strengthening families and improve the lives of families while supporting Camp Fire’s mission and commitment to offer quality coeducational programs for the entire family in settings that address community needs.

At the national convention in Chicago, Camp Fire debuts the first national curriculum for Teens in Action.

 

2005

Camp Fire celebrates its 95th anniversary and begins planning its centennial anniversary celebration in 2010.

To excite and educate children before they enter kindergarten, Camp Fire USA introduces the “Little Stars” small-group program.  Designed for ages three to five, Little Stars helps build confidence in children as they form lasting relationships, gain a sense of belonging and develop a feeling of emotional commitment by adults.

2010

Camp Fire celebrates its 100th anniversary.  Councils across the country hosted various centennial events, including a “centennial campfire” where councils lit ceremonial campfires at the same time across the country.

2012

After 18-months of nation-wide research and brand revitalization development, Camp Fire removes the USA from its name, becoming “Camp Fire.”  The brand revitalization launches the shift from a mission statement to “Our Promise” as well as a new logo with an aerial view of a campfire, that looks like a spark.  This new “spark mark” further represents our inclusivity, symbolizing that we all come to Camp Fire with different backgrounds and skills.

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