What are sparks? Sparks are the passions, skills, and strengths that are discoverable in all of us. They become passions for us, and when allowed and encouraged to explore those passions, we thrive. They’re a source of motivation, and they’re deeper than passive activities like watching TV. Think the arts, sports, science, nature—these are all sources of sparks.

Sparks change over the years. You may have seen a child develop a passion for collecting something or learning about something, only to have that passion disappear and a new one take its place a year later. That’s OK—it’s all part of the process. What’s really important is for kids and teens to have Spark Champions—caring adults who recognize those sparks and encourage them, even as they change. Ideally, every youth should have at least three Spark Champions. Those Champions can be parents, aunts and uncles, teachers, coaches, neighbors, or people of faith. When kids and teens have these Champions in their lives, it’s easier for them to pursue their sparks, discover their passions, and find ways to share them in the community and world.

Across the U.S., youth in Camp Fire programs have told us what their sparks are and why they’re important:

“A spark I have is helping people in need to the best of my ability.”
“A spark I have is playing softball, because I like playing and team and being competitive.”
“A spark I have is a belief of being kind to everyone, because you never know what their situation is somewhere else.”
“My spark is learning about History. I enjoy knowing about the world’s past.”
“One of my sparks is being competitive, because I like to see other teams and have a chance at winning.”
“Drawing is my spark—it brings me to a different place.”
“Going to new places and trying new things really interests me, and I believe it is my spark.”
“Being competitive while having fun is my spark. I play baseball because of my spark. You have to be mentally and physically fit in order to perform well on the field.”

What are your sparks?