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Baloo's Bugle

July 2005 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 11, Issue 12
August 2005 Theme

Theme: Campfire Tales & Traditionsl
Webelos: Naturalist & Forester
  Tiger Cub


Planning a Campfire

Commissioner Dave

Obviously, your big event this month is your Pack Campfire.  How dpackdenactivitieso you plan a campfire?  Where do you get information?  How do I build it and get it to light?

All these are great questions and have been answered many times in the last 100 years. 

Planning Your Campfire

Step #1 – Print a copy of the BSA’s Campfire Planner and find someone who has used it and led a campfire before.  The Campfire Planner is available on line from many, many sites. Just do a Google on “BSA Campfire Planner.”  The form has two sides –

On one side you list all the skits, songs, cheers, stories, gags and other stuff you plan to do

On the other side you put them in the order you plan to do them.  Start fast, build up the pace and enthusiasm as the fire builds, then slow things down as the fire wanes.

Where do you get information?

Baloo’s Bugle is good but should not be your main source

Creative Campfires by Doug Bowen (Thorne Printing Co) is great.  It is the best source I know for a first time (or even experienced) campfire planner.  The material is great and to me it all fits current guidelines.  It is available from many Scouting oriented and commercial Bookstore web sites.  And from fellow Scouters.  I must have at lest five copies since mine keep walking but usually they eventually find their way home.

The Canyon Campfire Companions work well, also.  These were published by a council and are available at Scouting oriented book sites.

Searching at the book store sites for other books will yield legions of material that has been developed over the years.

How do you build it?

BSA and other have published much info on fire types and fire building.  Campfires tend to be traditional log cabin type fires with a tepee on top.  The trick comes in trying to have a special way to light the fire.

I wrote Mike, the USScouts webmaster, for where I could find such info on our site and he sent me back about 6 pages of links.  So I will tell you, search USScouts for info.  Look particularly for Professor Beaver’s Firecrafter items.  There are some special fire lighting methods outlined there.

If you don’t find it with us, check out Training Handouts from various Scout courses and then search the web.

Greater St. Louis Area Council

  • Plan a pack meeting campfire program having the boys invite friends as possible Cub Scout candidates and their families.
  • Hold an evening den meeting to star gaze.
  • Have a marshmallow roast.

What To Do At Your Campfire

Adapted from: “What To Do!” By Harold Van Buren

San Gabriel, Verdugo Hills & Long Beach Area Councils

The importance of the campfire as an institution in a summer camp cannot be overlooked. Every facet of the camping program is a factor in making the campfire the central attraction and the greatest experience of camp. The evening, with the darkness falling overhead and the young campers wearing out, tends to make the gathering around the campfire circle the greatest single event in the camp life. It is the time of day when the boys are physically tired from the day’s activities. Their minds are receptive and susceptible to the calming influence of a story, entertainment and the hypnotic aspects of the fire itself. The perfect campfire tops off a perfect day in camp.

For the adult in charge of the fire, there must be much thought and planning to make the campfire a success. An unplanned campfire makes for poor results. The campfire MUST be planned and in the planning there are many things to take into consideration.

First the length of the campfire must be determined. A one-hour campfire is a common period of time. Anything longer than that and the boys tend to get restless and wander. The campfire should be packed full of brisk, continuous events without any pauses or delays which can cause the boys to squirm and be inattentive. There are as many different types of campfires as there are evenings on which to have them. No two campfires will work out the same, and no campfire will work out exactly as planned. Plan for the unexpected! The adult planning the campfire should have his/her program carefully outlined and written on paper and have at least half a dozen little things that can be substituted. Share the outline with a few key people but don’t share it with the audience in order to keep them focused on what is presently happening and not what is coming up.

The Start

The opening of the campfire is naturally of major importance, since it sets the standard and mood for the rest of the campfire. The opening of the campfire ceremonies should be one of the three following: Informal, Formal, Ceremonial. Informal - Involves merely gathering around the fire at a call and starting right in with a certain program.

Formal – Begins with a roll call or a cabin report by counselors.

Ceremonial – Follows a stated ritual, which has been worked out and planned carefully in which each member has a roll or part to play. The campfire cannot be a standard. There are many different types of stunts, skits, songs, games, contests etc. that can be incorporated into the campfire. Remember that the longer an “act” takes the less time there is for other boys to participate. You want to have full participation among all campers.

Remember to leave enough time for traditional campfire stories. The campfire story is of extreme importance to the campfire. An original story about anything has appeal. Campfires can also be a time when you can plan the next day’s activities. Because the plans for the next day involve the boys, this time in planning will hold their interest.

The Close

The closing of the campfire is even more important than the opening. A quiet, impressive closing is an excellent way in which the boys can prepare for the walk back to camp or the cabins.

For example: The singing of the camp song, the recitation of the closing words and the number of the council fire, the benediction in sign language, the Cub Scout Oath, and then a solemn parade away from the camp fire in single file with tom-toms beating a quiet tread.

Points To Remember

  1. The campfire is the easiest and most logical place for instilling a healthy camp “spirit”. (Pep squad time)
  2. The campfire is the camp’s best place for the adults and youth to teach everything to everyone.
  3. The campfire is the best first source for fellowship.
  4. The campfire should be the place where inspiration of the highest ideals can be conveyed.


Paul Bunyan’s Hiking Boot

Baltimore Area Council

Cut out of plywood (or cardboard).  Use picture to create a template of appropriate size.

Have Scouts paint. Attach slide holder to back. (1” long piece of ¾ inch PVC pipe) Use yarn for the shoe laces. Paul’s Boot is just one idea. Use any other symbol of any American Folklore. Use the imagination of your boys. They can search for the symbols.

Campfire Neckerchief Slide

Baltimore Area Council


Materials: Butter tub lids, twist ties, red or orange felt, small twigs, glue
  • Cut out campfire shape from lid,
  • Cut flame from felt.
  • Cut slits for tie to slip through. (Or Glue on PVC pipe piece)
  • Glue on felt and twigs to make campfire.


Keel Boat Racers

Baltimore Area Council

Celebrate the Keel Boat race down the Ohio between Davy Crockett and Mike Fink with these Ham Can Boats.

  •   Use 3, 5, or 7 pound ham cans (or baked potato aluminum tins).
  •   Tape the cut edges.
  •   The cans can be painted with enamel or acrylics.
  •   Paint cardboard pieces with several coats of enamel to make them water-resistant.
  •   To attach each mast, fill a jar lid with plaster of Paris. Insert the bottom of the mast into the plaster and let set.
  •   Glue the jar lid inside the boat. Use household cement for all gluing.
  •   Make the cabin inside the sampan out of cardboard. A piece 5” X 14” bent to form an arch, makes the roof. Cut pieces of cardboard, with tabs, for the front and back of the cabin.
  •   Cut out a door on the front piece.
  •   Paint both pieces, bend the tabs, glue inside the roof.
  •   For a mast in front of the cabin, use a thin wooden dowel, 14” long. Glue inside the hull.
  •   From plastic-coated shelving paper, cut a sail and glue to the mast. 
  •   Make crew members out of chenille stems (pipe cleaners, to us old timers CD) with wooden beads for the heads.

Twig Name Tag

Baltimore Area Council

  •   Find a small twig about 3” long. Flatten one side of the twig by whittling it with you knife.
  •   Cut a small groove long enough to hold a safety pin in the other side of the twig.
  •   Write your name in ink (Sharpie?) on the flat side of the twig.
  •   Then glue or cement a safety pin to the back
  •   Pin it on your uniform shirt over the right pocket flap

Smokey Bear Tie Slide

Baltimore Area Council

Supplies: Half a walnut shell, half the cap of an acorn shell, two smallest movable eyes, Smallest black pompon, small square of brown paper bag, glue, plaster or putty filler, and a vinyl strip, pop ring, PVC tube, or some other means to make the slide

Fill the walnut shell with plaster and attach whatever you are using for the slide. Cut round circle out of brown paper bag whose diameter is more than the width of the walnut shell. Fold circle in half and glue. With the point of the walnut shell facing down, glue the brown paper bag circle to the top and the acorn half a cap on top of the bag. This makes the hat. Glue eyes in place along with the pompon for the nose. Draw the mouth lines on with a permanent marker. (Smokey Bear is 60 years old this year!  Check out www.smokeybear.com )

And yes, his real name is Smokey Bear.  The word “the” was added when the song was written in 1952 because they needed another syllable (http://www.smokeybear.com/vault/name_main.asp )

Campfire Slide-

Greater St. Louis Area Council


  • 1 ½-inch disk
  • ¾-inch PVC slide ring
  • Thin twigs
  • Red & yellow crepe paper and cellophane
  • Hot glue
  • Scissors


1.     Break twigs into small lengths (no longer than 1¼ inches) About 10 will be enough.

2.     Cut paper/cellophane into small pieces and crumple into ½-inch ball (Have both colors crumpled together)

3.     Using hot glue, mount the paper/cellophane ball onto the center of the disk.

4.     “Build” a teepee fire around the ball of paper/cellophane, as shown in the picture.

Traditional Emergency Neckerchief Slide

Baltimore Area Council

5.     Use hot glue to set the twigs permanently in place.

6.     Mount the slide ring to back of disk using hot glue.

Camp Sit-upon

Greater St. Louis Area Council

Make your own sit-upon to use at camp or at sporting events. Adult supervision recommended on this project.

This is not the traditional sit upon made from newspapers that Girl Scouts have been making for years.  CD


  • 2 pieces of square fabric or 2 large bandannas
  • Iron-on vinyl
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Straight pins
  • Old pillow or stuffing
  • Thin cording
  • Hard surface to use for ironing


1.     Following the instructions on the package, attach the iron-on vinyl to the right (outside, correct) sides of the fabric or large bandanas.

2.     Pin three sides of the two pieces of fabric together. Place the right (correct, outsides) of the fabric together on the inside.

3.     For the handle, cut a piece of the thin cord and tie a knot in each end.

4.     Pin the handle on the inside of the two pieces you just pinned together so that when you turn the fabric, the handle will be on the outside.

5.     Sew the two pieces together leaving space to turn and stuff.  (Sew three sides and part of the fourth)

6.     Turn the fabric right (outside, correct) side out and stuff with newspapers, old pillow stuffing or other soft material.

7.     Sew the rest of sit-upon together.  (Great Salt Lake Council suggests using Velcro for the fourth side.  It is easier and will allow for replacement of the stuffing.)

8.     Take to camp and enjoy!

Birch Bark Canoe

Greater St. Louis Area Council

Make a miniature canoe that really floats. I learned this craft from our guide camp. It is fast and easy and is a great recyclable project. Parental supervision is recommended.


  • Birch bark
  • Glue (Elmer's glue is fine but a glue gun works better and you will not have to hold the ends together while they dry.)
  • Scissors


1.     Cut a strip of bark that is about 3" (8cm) wide and about 5" (13cm) in length. Use the bark off an birch tree that is no longer alive. You can also make a canoe from paper, but it won't be waterproof.

2.     Cut ends to resemble a V. Make the V about 1/2" (1cm) deep.

3.     Fold the bark in half lengthwise.

4.     On each end, overlap the bark remaining after cutting out the V. Overlap them until the top edges are even and you have a canoe shape.

5.     Glue the ends together.

6.     After the glue dries, put the canoe in water and see it float!


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