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Camp Fire Girls

Now known as Camp Fire USA, the nationwide youth organization began on March 17, 1910 as Camp Fire Girls. The organization has been co-ed for a generation and has youth from pre-kindergarten thru age 21. Like a campfire at the end of a long day, Camp Fire is meant to be a warm, safe place for good folks to gather.

The motto is "Give Service." The watchword is "WoHeLo," a word created from the first two letters of the words "work, health, love." The traditional symbol is two crossed logs and a three-tipped flame; the current symbol has been modernized and stylized, but the flame remains. The colors are red, white, and blue. The mascot is a bluebird, a bird that is red, white, and blue, sings beautifully, and loves wide-open spaces. The program levels are STARflight, Adventure, Discovery, and Horizon. STAR is an acronym for "Service To Another Rewards." Youth are able to earn "honor beads" and award emblems. There are five kinds of honor beads: round red beads for sports & games and science; three-sided flag-blue beads for citizenship; brown, ridged cylinder beads for outdoor craft; four-sided green beads for creative arts; angulared yellow egg-shaped beads for business and home.

The highest youth award is the "WoHeLo." A youth may apply for the award after completing (1) four major, specified, long-term projects, AND (2) two self-selected projects dealing with problems related to young children, senior citizens, the environment, or the like. For each of the two problems, the youth's project must involve leading, teaching, serving, and speaking out.

Beginning in 6th grade (about 12-years-old), Camp Fire youth are eligible to make and wear ceremonial gowns/tunics that are worn at Camp Fire ceremonials. The gowns/tunics are made of cloth resembling deer skin. A gown/tunic is decorated with honor beads, earned emblems, and other personal items the youth chooses. Usually the youth's symbolgram is used on the gown/tunic. The symbolgram is a symbol created by the youth to represent him/herself.

The Camp Fire Law is below:
Worship God.
Seek beauty.
Give service.
Pursue knowledge.
Be trustworthy ever, in all that you do.
Hold fast onto health.
Glorify your work.
Be happy.

The organizational history and the story of the origins of Camp Fire are complex, but the short version would be that Camp Fire Girls was founded in 1910 by some of the same people who founded Boy Scouts of America. Dr. Luther H. Gulick and his wife Charlotte Vetter Gulick are credited as "official founders" of Camp Fire Girls.

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