Preparing for a Formal Scouting Group Campfire

Preparation

Scheduling (several Months before)

This should be put on the Group Agenda for the year as soon as possible in the year, even possibly the previous year.

Organization and Contributors (1 month before)

Determine who will:

  • Be the Campfire Chief
  • Do cheers (who and which ones to avoid duplication)
  • Sing songs (who and which ones to avoid duplication)
  • Do skits (who and which ones to avoid duplication)
  • Tell stories (who and which ones to avoid duplication)
  • Be the photographer
  • Purchase and bring refreshments (juice & cookies – remember allergies!)
  • Reimburse the person who purchased refreshments
  • Send out invitations to parents (they can sit around outside the campfire circle)
  • Serve refreshments (juice & cookies)
  • Be Hosts and Hostesses to guide people as they arrive
  • Be responsible for bringing the electric campfire and extension cord (identify outlet ahead of time)
  • Set-up the gym including electric campfire (tape down extension cord using masking tape, not duct tape!)
  • Be responsible for lighting the campfire during the event
  • Be responsible for post-event clean-up
  • Be expected to be part of the welcome message at the beginning (contact leaders and group commissioner)
  • Contact special guest
  • Contact the custodian to turn down the gym lights (talk with the custodian ahead of time)
  • Determine where photos will be taken (section and/or individual)
  • Send a copy of the schedule and coordinate with section leaders/group commissioner

Traditional campfire songs can be found in the Chapter 11 of the Cub Leaders Handbook.

Communications to Parents (2-3 weeks before)

Send a letter or email to parents inviting them to the event. Be sure to include:

  • When: (Date, Start and End Time)
  • Where: (Location)
  • Who: Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Leaders, Parents, Siblings, Group Committee
  • Why: Celebrate Scouting or, if in February, Scouting Week and Baden Powell’s Birthday and the 100th Anniversary of Scouting
  • Cost: Regular dues will be collected to cover the cost of refreshments for this event.
  • Dress: Full Uniform

Communications to Section Leaders (3 weeks before)

Activity sections must arrive prepared with their songs/skits/story (see below) and 2 cheers

Campfire Etiquette (1-2 weeks before)

Before the campfire, leaders should discuss good campfire etiquette with the youth including:

  • Keep flashlights turned off after entering the campfire circle (or don’t bring them at all)
  • Leave knives outside of the Campfire circle – not even in your pocket!
  • Enter the campfire circle silently.
  • Sit in a circle around the fire. Running around and horseplay are not permitted.
  • Do not poke, touch or go near the campfire.
  • Be courteous to others; do not talk during their song or skit.
  • Cheer all contributors for doing their best.

It is highly recommended to conduct a practice campfire during your regular meeting prior to the group campfire so that youth will know what is expected of them.

The Campfire Plan

  1. 6:15 Scouts and all leaders arrive and begin organization and preparation.
  2. 6:30 general arrival – Don’t forget to ensure those uniforms look sharp!
  3. 6:40 Sections enter the gym circling the camp file to form a circle.
  4. Campfire lit by a Scout
  5. Campfire Opening – Campfire Chief
  6. Campfire Ash Ceremony – One youth from Colony A, Colony B, Pack, Troop, Company.
  7. Song: All – Campfire Burning (see lyrics)
  8. Welcome – Group Commissioner and Contact Leaders – Over 100 years of Scouting
  9. Song: Colony A –
    Cheer by _________________
  10. Skit: Pack –
    Cheer by _________________
  11. Song: Colony B –
    Cheer by _________________
  12. Song: Lead by Leaders – Ging Gang Goolie
    Cheer by _________________
  13. Song: All – “Na Na Na”
    Cheer by _________________
  14. Skit: Troop –
    Cheer by _________________
  15. Song: Colony C –
    Cheer by _________________
  16. Song: All – Taps OR Vespers, everyone holding hands (see lyrics)
  17. Campfire Closing – Campfire Chief
  18. Social & Mug-Up (juice and cookies served by Scouts)
  19. Individual and group photo sessions for those who are interested.

Campfire Opening

The campfire chief steps forward, raises his/her arms and offer these words:

From the North,
From the South,
From the East,
And from the West,
May good luck come to you, Brothers and Sisters in Scouting
I now declare that this campfire is open.

Campfire Ashes

One youth from each section steps forward. As each youth says their line, they walk over to the campfire and drop their ashes (could use sand) on the fire. Please make sure they speak loud and clear.

Beaver from Colony A: We carry the memories of our friendships with us in the form of these ashes.

Beaver from Colony B: They contain the spirit of campfires past with Scouts and Guides from other times and other lands.

Cub: The joining of these ashes with the leaping flames of this new fire, symbolize the continuity of Scouting’s ideals and the camaraderie between fellow Scouters.

Scout: You now have the opportunity, with this fire's ashes, to maintain the lineage for those yet to join us. Here soon there will be ashes that once were trees.

Venturer: As trees; they gave us delight in Spring, Shade in Summer, The colours, of their falling leaves in Autumn, The beauty of their bare branches in Winter, As ashes; they give us memories forever, May our lives, like theirs, be lives of service.

Campfire Burning (lyrics)

Campfire's burning, campfire's burning Draw nearer, draw nearer In the glowing, in the glowing Come sing and be merry.

Welcome Message (read out loud)

The campfire chief steps forward and offers these words:

Over 100 years ago, Lord Baden Powell had a vision. Based on the premise that young people liked adventure, he developed a program called Scouting for Boys. His goal was to develop young people to be leaders, with high moral standards and conciseness of others. Using the outdoors as his training ground, he showed them how to be self-sufficient, aware of their environment, and the advantage of working as a team.

A century later, this model is used in 155 countries around the world to instil his principles.

But what is scouting to our youth of today?  I am sure if you asked them, they would say camping, hiking, and canoeing, we should always keep in mind that Scouting for the youth is just that. Getting to enjoy the beauties of nature and having fun with their friends.

This year…

Beaver Leader: Our Beavers are (list a few of their most exiting activities)

Cub Leader: Our Cubs are (list a few of their most exiting activities)

Scout Leader: Our Scouts are (list a few of their most exiting activities)

Venturer Leader: Our Venturers are (list a few of their most exiting activities)

* Say it like you are trying to convince youth to stay in scouting next year!

Ging Gang Goolie (lyrics)

Ging Gang Goolie is a gibberish round type scouting song, written by Baden-Powell during the 1st World Scout Jamboree. Because it isn't in any particular language, everyone could sing it.

Organize your group in two parts for the chorus; While one half sings “Oompa, Oompa, Oompa,” the other will sing the chorus. Then the two parts change sides.

Ging gang gooli, gooli, gooli, gooli, watcha. Ging gang goo, Ging gang goo.
Ging gang gooli, gooli, gooli, gooli, watcha. Ging gang goo, Ging gang goo.
Heyla, heyla, sheyla, Heyla sheyla, heyla ho. Heyla, heyla, sheyla, Heyla sheyla, heyla ho.

At the end, everyone sings “Shalli-walli, Shalli-walli, Shalli-walli, Shalli-walli.”

Na Na Na Song (lyrics and gestures)

Actions:

  1. Slap legs with both hands
  2. Clap with both hand
  3. Open each hand to neighbour on right and left
  4. Clap with both hand
  5. … and back to #1 above. Repeat until the end of the song.

Chorus:

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na , Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na
Na Na Na Na Na Na Na , Na Na Na Na Na Na,
Na Na Na !

Say hello to the person beside you, say hello to the person next door
Say hello to the person beside you, say hello and say,
Say hello!
One! Two! Three! Four!

(Chorus)

Shake the hand of the person beside you, shake the hand of the person next door
Shake the hand of the person beside you, shake their hand and say,
Say hello!
One! Two! Three! Four!

(Chorus)

Pat the head of the person beside you, pat the head of the person next door
Pat the head of the person beside you, pat their head and say,
Say hello!
One! Two! Three! Four!

(Chorus)

Rub the belly of the person beside you, rub the belly of the person next door
Rub the belly of the person beside you, rub their belly and say,
Say hello!
One! Two! Three! Four!

(Chorus)

Beep the nose of the person beside you, beep the nose of the person next door
Beep the nose of the person beside you, beep their nose and say,
Say hello!
One! Two! Three! Four!

(Chorus)

One! Two! Three! Four!

(Chorus again but faster)

Campfire Closing

There are two options. Taps or Vespers. Before signing begins, let everyone know that they should sing the 1st verse and then hum the 2nd and 3rd verses.

Taps

(Everyone raises hands slowly during first part)

Day is done,
Gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;

(Everyone lowers hands slowly during the rest)

All is well,
Safely rest,
God is nigh.

Vespers

(Sing to tune of: "Oh Christmas Tree" -- See http://wiki.scouts.ca/en/Scout_Vespers)

Softly falls the light of day,
While our campfire fades away,
Silently each Scout should ask;
Have I done my daily task?
For my country done my best?
Prayed to God before I rest?
Helped a friend along the way?
Have I done my best today?

2nd Verse: While everyone is humming, the Campfire Chief will say:

When a leader or a child joins scouting, he or she takes a few oaths, including a Promise, a Law and a Motto. The Scout promise goes like this…

A Scout is:
Helpful and trustworthy,
Kind and cheerful,
Considerate and clean,
Wise in the use of all resources.

3rd Verse: As they begin to leave the campfire circle in an orderly fashion, the Campfire Chief says:

We came as strangers.
We part as brothers and sisters.
May the spirit of scouting be with you always.
I now declare this campfire closed.
Please join us for refreshments outside the gym.

Everyone continues to leave the campfire circle following each other in silence or softly humming the final song of the evening over and over again until they are out of the gym.


Comments

Preparing for a Formal Scouting Group Campfire — 4 Comments

  1. I love your site. Thank you for your input. It makes my job as Cubmaster easier. I am in the middle of planning an outdoor pack meeting/campfire program, and could find nothing on campfire etiquette, until I found your site, Thanks for the help. Colleen

    • Glad to hear you found it useful Colleen. Good luck with your campfire.

      Yours in Scouting,

      Michael Milete

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