Memories Packed Full of Meaning and Optimism

Conversations with Camp Fire alumni are always heartwarming. Most involve memories that define them today. Some include tears. All are filled with emotions that confirm Camp Fire experiences have been among the most defining of their lives. And within every conversation is the consistent conviction that Camp Fire today is more relevant than ever before.

Diane Coiro, alumna and board member of Camp Fire River Bend, began her recollections by reminiscing on Camp Fire beads. However, she was quick to clarify her perspective: “Though I will always value my beads, who I am as a person goes far beyond their color and shape.” She continued to explain, “After many years I still have my vest. The beads I earned represent accomplishment, the opportunity I had to forge my own path. My vest ultimately came to signify the well-rounded person I became; they symbolize the goals I was able to accomplish, the meaning behind the effort.”

“When youth are provided the opportunity to make their own decisions, they realize their individual power,” said Diane. “They develop an internal strength and self-confidence. This strength, this confidence, this power, is something only the youth themselves can discover,” Diane continued. “And when they find it—as I did early in my years at Camp Fire—they are then equipped with the skills they need to define their own clear voice.”

Camp Fire today represents this life-defining process that we refer to as “lighting the spark.” Diane’s spark—lit early in her years in Camp Fire—prepared her for a path of leadership, especially in helping others discover their own spark.

“I can’t say no,” chuckled Diane, “Especially when I’m asked to help children.” When questioned as to whether this drive and commitment came from Camp Fire, Diane responded, “Oh, yes, without a doubt.”

Diane’s experience over the years has included serving on nine nonprofit boards of directors; teaching art to children and adults with special needs for 25 years; and raising her own three children to be responsible, successful citizens who reflect their mother’s ethic of social consciousness.

Diane is passionate about continuing the Camp Fire legacy of service. “We need to look at our current generation with an understanding of the circumstances impacting their lives,” she said. Camp Fire has an opportunity to step into the conversation, Diane continued to explain. “Managing relevant techniques for a different generation is essential to reaching this new potential of future leaders,” she clarified.

“Self-assurance, idea-generation, the ability to speak with confidence before others, comfort in forging new friendships, leadership—all are lifelong skills I first learned at Camp Fire,” Diane said emphatically. “And those of us who became the women we are need to work with concentrated purpose to ensure future generations will have the same opportunity to thrive.”

“We have a story to tell, said Diane, “And when we tell it, others understand, especially donors, who help assure the continued success of Camp Fire.” Diane continued by expressing her belief in the necessity of fundraising and the need to commit to year-round programming. “This year the Camp Fire board I served on was able to reach our fundraising goal for improvements to Camp Tannadoonah. Those who gave did so because we helped them understand the value of the work we do. Our messages were clear. We explained what every donated dollar can accomplish. We convinced our donors of how Camp Fire is able to transform the lives of the youth we serve.”

“My memories and reflections are not just about the past, they create a framework for tomorrow,” concluded Diane, “Because one day can change a life. One week at camp can shape a future. Imagine what we can do as an organization when we focus on the influence we have on the futures we hold in our hands.”