A SCOUTING TRADITION
Did you ever watch the campfire
..When the wood has fallen low,
And the ashes start to whiten
..Round the embers' crimson glow?
Tell me, were you ever nearer
..To the land of heart's desire
Than when you sat there thinking
..With your face turned toward the fire?
"Throughout the ages men have gathered in groups
about their campfires and gazed dreamily into the swirling
orange center of the flame. Fire for untold generations has
meant a home, a social center, an altar, a weapon, a
protection against cold-even the essence of life itself.
Perhaps that is why our campfires today cast a nostalgic
spell, taking us back through vast, dim ages to those bleak
little fires surrounded by the skin-clad and half-naked
figures of our ancestors.
"Especially as a social gathering place and council
ring man has enjoyed his fire. At the close of the evening
meal, warm, relaxed and well-fed, the ancient man enjoyed
tall tales of the hunt, songs, dances, trials of strength,
magic of the medicine man, legends of ancient days, awarding
of honors, chants to the gods, and beating of the tribal
"Today, as we gather around our own Scout campfires,
we span the years between their age and ours; we enjoy songs,
tall stories, dances, feats of magic, contests, dramatics,
awarding of honors, and the beating of the ceremonial drum.
"An now . . . the ceremonial drum is beating . . .
beating assembly to our own Campfire. . . .
"Come, let us answer!"
From: G. S. Ripley, Fun Around the Campfire, BSA:
New York (1952)
Campfires are great friendship, fellowship, and Scout spirit
builders. Rare is the Scout that hasn't felt some special moment
as he sat round the fire with his friends entranced in some
special thought, thrilled with recognition, amused at a skit,
awestruck by a ceremony, or happy to be joined in the bonds of
friendship. Because campfires can and do help build character,
the are a great Scouting tool for use at a Troop campout, a
camporee or even a Jamboree. To help you along, this World Wide
Web page will provide you with the basics to help ensure that
your Scouts can also enjoy the magic that is a campfire.
In my youth, many leaders relied on G. S. Ripley, Fun
Around the Campfire, BSA: New York (1952) as the bible on how
to do campfires. This helpful pamphlet (106 pages) is no longer
in print and its copyright most likely has expired by now. In
developing this Web page I will be using some of the organization
and selected exerpts from this pamphlet along with information
gained from other Scouting publications and a wealth of
experienced gained as a Camp Program Director in two different
Councils. Where material has been borrowed, an appropriate
citation will identify the source. It is not the intention of the
author to knowingly trespass upon the rights of authors,
composers, and publishers. Consequently, any material identified
as having been originated by the Boy Scouts of America may only
be used by registered Scouts and Scouters to further the aims of
All opinions expressed on this Web Page are strictly those of
the author and not necessarily those of either the Project Team
or the Boy Scouts of America.
PROPOSED OUTLINE - HELP NEEDED
The remainder of this Web Page is under construction. When it
is complete you will find helpful hints and ideas arranged in the
The section on additional resources will provide information
on where to look for songs, skits, stunts, games, contests,
Scouter minutes, stories and more. In addition you will find
hyper-text jump points to related material found in U. S.
Scouting Web Pages.
If you would be interested in contributing a section or building the entire page, please let us know by sending an e-mail to the Webmaster.