10 Reasons Camp Fire Stands Out From the Crowd

Photo: Camp Fire Green Country in Tulsa, OK.

We get a lot of comparisons to other pro-kid nonprofits, and we applaud the hard work our peer organizations do. But today, we want to tell you why Camp Fire is different, and what makes us an innovative leader in youth development:

  1. Camp Fire is about what kids and teens can do right NOW. Lots of youth organizations help prep kids for positive futures. While that is important, and we do it too, Camp Fire focuses on who kids or teens can be today. (It’s even the last line of our Camp Fire Promise: “...it begins now.”) We think there’s no time like the present to discover your spark and the be the best person you can be today.
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  3. Camp Fire embeds Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in everything we do. We call this Thrive{ology}, a research-based toolkit to help kids achieve their full potential. We don’t want kids to just stay in school and develop their talents. We want their whole lives to thrive, including their social skills, physical health, environmental awareness, sense of purpose and more.
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  5. Camp Fire has been doing this a long time. 107 years, to be exact! That makes us one of the oldest youth development nonprofits on the block.
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    Camp Fire Alaska
    Camp Fire Alaska

  7. Camp Fire has been championing girl power since 1910. Camp Fire was the very first youth development organization for girls. Even 10 years before American women could vote, Camp Fire was encouraging girls to believe in themselves. We still do today. But that’s just one piece…
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  9. Camp Fire has been co-ed since 1975, but welcomes ALL youth. Our co-ed cred goes back decades and today we welcome all youth. Today, 58 percent of Camp Fire kids identify as female, 42 percent identify as male, and .1 percent identify as transgender.
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  11. Camp Fire is committed to inclusion and diversity. We were the first multiracial, multicultural, and non-sectarian organization for girls in the country. Diversity and inclusion makes us #CampFireStrong! We formalized our welcome of all sexual orientations in our Inclusion Policy back in 1993. And we continue to make sure every single kid/teen knows they belong at Camp Fire - no restrictions, no limits.
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    Camp Fire Illinois Prairie
    Camp Fire Illinois Prairie

  13. Camp Fire teaches we all are leaders. Most youth development organizations emphasize prepping kids for their future or future leadership positions. That’s great! But Camp Fire also wants to encourage young people who want to lead in different ways, outside of position-based opportunities. Camp Fire helps kids discover how they lead right now (because they are, whether they realize it or not), using their own unique strengths.
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  15. Camp Fire isn’t just camp! We do have excellent outdoor camp programs all around the country. And we have a wide variety of powerful school-year programs, teen service opportunities, day camps, and other unique programs. There’s something for everybody at our nationwide 1,100 program sites.
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    Camp Fire First Texas
    Camp Fire First Texas

  17. Camp Fire wants adults to thrive, too. We practice what we preach to our kids. On all levels of our organization, from volunteers to full-time staff, we work on finding our sparks, having a growth mindset, setting goals, and taking time to reflect. We talk about all those thriving tools with our wider community, too! Whether it’s committing to better conflict resolution or applying a growth mindset to how we talk to kids, we’re always learning. Join the discussion on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn and keep on growing along with us!
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  19. Camp Fire gets holistic results. Remember all the way back to the top of the list when we were talking about how Camp Fire helps whole youth thrive now? That’s what we measure when we track the difference our programs make. We call these “indicators of thriving.” They include things like life skills, social skills, conflict resolution, confidence, empathy, inclusiveness and purpose development. We’ll get into all the geeky numbers in December, but for now, we’ll just say those indicators are going UP!

    Camp Fire New Jersey
    Camp Fire New Jersey

There we have it: 10 ways Camp Fire stands out from other youth development organizations. We hope this list helps you explain to friends why you choose to be #CampFireStrong! (And maybe convince them to be #CampFireStrong, too!) Let us know in the comments below what else you might add.

Remember to put #GivingTuesday on your calendar: November 28. How will you give back this season?