10 Reasons We’re #CampFireStrong

Photo: Camp Fire West Michigan 4C

1. We’re innovative leaders in youth development—that’s our SPARK. We love helping kids be the best they can be, right now. So we make sure we’re on the cutting edge of positive youth development research. When we learn new and better ways to serve kids, we adapt and change. Case in point: Our Thrive{ology} program framework was created in partnership with the Thrive Foundation for Youth, five years ago, on the pillars of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) - well before it was on the mainstream radar. Thrive{ology} gives kids tools to discover their spark, gain self-confidence, and learn life skills to succeed. It’s a part of everything we do, and it works.

2. We’ve got a fascinating history. We’re 107 years young! In 1910, Luther and Charlotte Gulick founded Camp Fire Girls in part to give girls outdoor experiences that were at that time only offered to boys. Their original mission to “guide young people on their journey to self-discovery” is still at the heart of today’s Camp Fire. From our beginning, we have been a leader in diversity and inclusion. Jump to #7 to see how!

3. We’re always evolving—because we’ve got a GROWTH MINDSET! Just like we make sure our programs are always based in the newest youth development research, we’re constantly changing to meet the needs of today’s kids. Some of our big moves? Camp Fire went co-ed in 1975, launched the leadership effort Teens in Action in 1988, and kicked off Absolutely Incredible Kid Day in 1997.

Camp Fire North Central Washington
Camp Fire North Central Washington

4. We’ve got some amazing stories. You’d hope so, right, with 107 years and thousands of alumni? From an eye-opening cruise to the Caribbean, to having a spark called out to discovering a life-changing book...Camp Fire is the turning point in the lives of so many of our (former and current) kids.

5. Speaking of alumni, we’ve got the best ever. Really. From Shirley Temple to senators, Camp Fire alumni are diverse and dynamic world changers who stay in touch through social media and local councils. If you’re a Camp Fire alum, we want to hear from you!

6. We set big GOALS & meet them. This year, we saw 19.5% growth in the number of kids we serve (we’re 153,891 strong!) and are about to launch our new, tested conflict resolution program nationwide in early 2018. What will we do together next year? Can’t wait to find out!

Camp Fire New Jersey
Camp Fire New Jersey

7. We welcome everyone. Multi-racial, multicultural, and non-sectarian from the very beginning, Camp Fire includes every kid or teen, from any kind of family, from any walk of life. We have an official Inclusion Policy (that called out sexual orientation way back in 1993, btw) and are outspoken about our long-time commitment to diversity.

8. We REFLECT, learn, and change. Yep, we’re hitting this theme pretty hard, but we really believe change makes us stronger! Just like we teach Camp Fire kids, we take a lot of time to think about where we’ve been and where we’re going. We weigh everything we do against our Camp Fire Promise: “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.”

9. We create real change in kids’ lives. We don’t just measure tangible results; we pay attention to the intangible-but-significant stuff:. Like 94% of kids say they feel “happy, heard and supported” in Camp Fire. That makes us feel pretty good, too.

Camp Fire Walla Walla
Camp Fire Walla Walla

10. YOU. With you on our team, we’re stronger together and stronger than ever. Thank you for being part of the Camp Fire family! Join in our #CampFireStrong conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Coming up: Camp Fire will be part of the #GivingTuesday movement on 11/28. Never heard about it? It’s a social-media-fueled campaign to support charities at the start of the holiday season. Put it on your calendar and get thinking about how you’ll give back this #GivingTuesday!

*This week we’re hosting our bi-annual National Leadership Conference and Youth Leadership Experience, and the theme is #CampFireStrong. Camp Fire leaders and youth from across the country are coming together to talk about and take action around the future of Camp Fire. This inspired our theme for the month, #CampFireStrong. Join us!