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Firecrafter Campfire Suggestions

From the 1996 revision of the Firecrafter Candidates Manual.

There's fellowship around the campfire.

Most of the following information has been secured from Scouting Magazine, Boy Scout Handbook, and past grading experience. As a Firecrafter Candidate you will give a campfire at least once during your candidacy. This report has been prepared to help you to plan a successful campfire. Let us now start to discuss some keys to a good campfire.

Physical Arrangements

  • Choose a dry site; keep away from swampy places.
  • Arrange campfire circle with reference to the prevailing winds; nobody likes to eat smoke.
  • Select a level or gently sloping site.
  • Light the fire in a scout-like manner (definitely no gasoline or gunpowder, etc.)
  • Consider fire hazard - overhead and underneath. Have an area of 10' radius around your fire for safety. Have an ample number of fire buckets.
  • Provide comfort and protection against ground chill.
  • Hold the campfire a short distance from the campsite, but prevent from holding it by busy roads or trails.

Type of Fire

Top-Lighter -- most popular. Build up in a log cabin style, but with no tinder at the bottom. Lay tinder on solid split wood about the fifth level. Lay several layers of split wood over the tinder. Hardwood is most favorable. As the hardwood burns to embers, the fire burns downward instead of burning the whole layout form the bottom in a few minutes.

Bottom-Lighter. Lay the familiar log cabin frame and then CRAM the inside with tinder in such a manner that when you light the bottom tinder it will in turn ignite the wood about and so on. You will need varying sizes of tinder for the fire to be a success, starting from pencil lead thickness for the bottom, and increasing upward through the fire to wood the size of a silver dollar and larger.

Ways of Fire Lighting

The lighting of the campfire is an important aspect of all campfires. While it is necessary for you as the candidate to lead the campfire, you should leave this task to a responsible boy or adult from your troop that is proficient at lighting fires. Try to incorporate the fire lighting into a skit or ceremony. While others are lighting the fire, continue with your program. If by chance the fire does not light GO ON WITH YOUR PROGRAM. You should not stop the program to help light the fire. Also be sure to have adequate fire protection. This includes ample fire buckets, a clean fire area, and tools such as shovels and rakes.

Candle-Light -- Place a shielded candle inside of the campfire just before starting. Have a string on the candle so that it can be pulled into the tinder.

Matchboard and Sandpaper -- Pull the sandpapered piece of wood across the piece of wood that is covered with kitchen matches.

Fire by Friction -- Have one boy or adult who is proficient in Fire by Friction to start the fire with their spark and tinder.

The options for lighting the fire are endless, but be sure to have a back up method just in case. DO NOT USE things such as flammable fluids or paper to start your fire.


The quality of the campfire program can make or break the campfire. It should be centered around a THEME. This theme can be anything from "A Day at Ransburg" to "Christmas in July". However, it should not be to general like "Scouting". You need to find different skits, songs, and stories that relate to or involve your theme. A Scoutmaster's Minute is another way of working in the theme. Be sure to have your program written out. You will need a copy of it for yourself, one for your Scoutmaster, and two copies for the grading team, making four total. While it isn't necessary to have the program memorized, don't take it with you when you are in front of the audience. Look at it off to the side to see what is next then go out and introduce the next thing. It is also a good idea to plan an extra song or skit, just in case the program doesn't last the necessary 20 minutes.


The point of leadership is the most important of all of the six grading points. The point of leadership is not just to see how well you can lead a song, it requires you to have control at all times. It is as easy to be a leader from the sidelines as it is from the front. Below are some hints on how to do well.

  1. Come out and introduce yourself, and lead the first song.
  2. Try to include a song that you can teach the audience.
  3. Know all the songs and skits in your program, and if a problem occurs be prepared to lead the activity.
  4. Invite other troops to both come to and do something in your program.
  5. Make sure that all those in your program know what they are to do and that they have all necessary props.
  6. Don't be shy. Use hand motions and enthusiasm when you are in front of the crowd.

Webmaster Note: This information provided courtesy of Matt Baldwin XXX.

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