Does it feel like everything is changing…all the time? We’re right there with you. Thanks to Omicron, 2022 is already full of shifts, surprises and recalculations. In seasons of turmoil, it’s easy to get disoriented and distracted. But as an organization that serves young people, we want to be able to stay centered, not spun out. 

That’s where knowing our why comes in. No matter what happens, if we come back to our why, we can figure out what to do next. Why does Camp Fire exist? It’s pretty simple: 

 

Our why: Growing up is hard. 

 

It always has been. But it especially is now. Unstable school schedules. Exhausted parents. Separation from friends and family. Missed milestones. Growing up during a global pandemic is rough. And any challenges kids and teens might have faced before—poverty, homelessness, language barriers, racism, lack of access to resources and opportunities—are that much harder with Covid in the mix. We want something better for young people. 

What do we want? A world where all young people thrive and have equitable opportunities for self-discovery, community connection, and engagement with nature. That’s our vision. Our mission is how we get there. 

 

Our Mission: Camp Fire connects young people to the outdoors, to others, and to themselves.

 

Our mission is the way we get from where we are now to where we want to be. When we hit obstacles or unexpected twists, this simple statement reminds us what to do to stay on track. What do we do? We connect young people to the outdoors, to others and themselves. 

Our mission guides how we measure our impact. Are we consistently carrying out our mission? In our most recent People & Impact Report (2020-2021), we tracked our on-mission progress toward our vision. Overall, we served 68,546 young people and their families. Here’s how we helped make growing up a little less hard in the past year: 

 

We connected young people to the outdoors.

 

26,957 youth participated in environmental and camp programs in 2021. Because of COVID, that number was only 2,814 in 2020. We were happy to welcome so many kids and teens back to outdoor programs safely in 2021!

    • 60 day camp sites served 9,737 youth
    • 19 resident camp sites served 7,916 youth
    • 25 environmental education programs served 9,026 (including virtual environmental-themed programs and take-home environmental activities)
    • 2 other outdoor programs served an additional 280 youth

And we prioritized expanding access to outdoor programs: 

    • After getting feedback on what would make accessible cabins comfortable, Camp Namnu (Camp Fire Columbia) is building 8 new ones out of recycled lumber.
    • Camp Fire Wilani purchased an all-terrain wheelchair for its Outdoor School program. 
    • Camp CANOE serves young people on the autism spectrum at Camp Dakani (Camp Fire Heart of Oklahoma)
    • Vámonos Outside and Camp Fire Central Oregon’s Jugamos Afuera provides nature-based programming tailored to the Latinx community. 
    • Tanadoona (Camp Fire Minnesota) built a new, wheelchair-accessible dining hall. 

 

We connected young people to others.

 

 

“I feel like whatever background you come from, whatever your past is, it’s ok to come here because you have a community that’s a lot of different people.” — Camp Fire Day Camp Participant