CAMPFIRE the Heart Beat of the Camp by MikeJenny


									                      CAMPFIRE - the Heart Beat of the Camp
The campfire is the heart beat of the camp. The campfire is the catalyst in the Scout program. It
provides the opportunity to store away inspiration, memories, and ideals to last a lifetime. Here is
expressed the Spirit of Scouting. It is to the memories of campfire flames, songs and laughter, and
silent gazing into the dying embers that will remain for many years. It is important therefore that each
campfire be an event.
Such worthwhile results are seldom obtained on the first try. If your troop is not in the habit of having
campfires frequently -- both indoors and out -- then you need to practice and have some programs to
gain the skills and confidence to accomplish more at campfires.
As in all phases of the Scout program, the adult leaders plant some ideas to smooth the way, and to
see that the necessary plans are made to provide opportunities for success. The two major keys to
having a good campfire are planning and good ingredients.
As in planning all troop activities, the troop leaders' council (patrol leaders' council, PLC) is deeply
involved in planning campfires. These leaders are familiar with the talents, likes, and dislikes of the
Scouts in their patrols and troops. They should be responsible for the development of the patrol
skits, songs, stunts. The campfire leaders will probably come from this group.
The informality and spontaneity of the campfire make up its principal charm. Therefore, a brief
outline for the campfire will probably be enough of a plan. You don't have to come up with a fancy
production schedule for a campfire. If the ingredients are properly mixed and well served, then
everybody will enjoy them.
The Scoutmaster need not be involved in the planning of the campfire. The planning should be
turned over to the Senior Patrol Leader or the PLC with an Assistant Scoutmaster or a Junior
Assistant Scoutmaster advising. The Scoutmaster should be aware of what is going on to ensure
that the program stays on a "high plane", involves many Scouts, and basically maintains the ideals
and goals of Scouting.
Another method is to assign the campfire to one patrol. They are responsible for getting the talent
together from the unit and running the program when the campfire is in progress. Another patrol (i.e.,
a service patrol) should be assigned the responsibility to construct the campfire, maintain it during
the program, extinguish it, and clean it up afterwards.
The purpose of the campfire is to: Have FUN. Relax. Provide Fellowship. Provide Inspiration.
Demonstrate Leadership.

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Why Have a Campfire?
Why do we have campfires? An easy answer is, “Because Scouts have always had them.” And
they’ve always had them because they can contribute so much to an outdoor experience.
To be truly successful, a campfire must be more than just random presentations occurring around a
leaping fire. A good campfire program has purpose and direction - a definite idea of where it is
going and what it is trying to accomplish.
And what does a campfire try to accomplish? A Scout will tell you that campfires are “for fun,” and
there’s a lot to be said for that. In addition, campfires can offer entertainment, fellowship, and
education. Young people involved in presenting campfire programs are practicing leadership skills.
The setting of a campfire, the evening darkness that envelops it and the fact that it is part of a larger
outdoor adventure can also make it an ideal time to offer a message of inspiration.
A successful campfire program is built on four S’s:
v Showmanship               v Stunts                     v Songs                     v Stories
That said, there is one element that doesn’t begin with S but is more important than anything else.
That element is planning.

For a campfire program to be effective, it must be planned well in advance. It should involve young
people to the fullest extent possible.
In your participant notebooks are copies of a Campfire Program Planner that lays out one approach
to an effective and varied gathering. It may be just what you need; if not, you can develop your own
campfire planner. The important thing, though, is to put together the program early-decide what will
be presented, who will do it, and how long each piece will take. Presenters should practice their roles
so that they can make the most of the opportunity.

Showmanship is the art of attractive presentation. It puts sparkle and life into a gathering. Without a
touch of showmanship, a campfire program can fall flat.
You don’t need to be trained actors to lead a good campfire or to help Scouting youth serve as
masters of ceremonies. Just be yourself-enthused about the pro-gram and ready to do whatever you
can to make it a success.

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Although skits and stunts can have a wide range of subjects and treatments, they must always be
appropriate. A good test is to hold them up against the Scout Law’s friendly, courteous, and kind.
Any skit or stunt that does not meet that test has no place in a campfire program. Skits and stunts
should never embarrass or demean anyone or any group of people.
Though skits and stunts should be practiced ahead of time and approved by a Scout leader, an
inappropriate presentation may make it onto the stage. If that happens, the master of ceremonies
should step in. Here’s one way to handle the situation.
       “Excuse me for interrupting, but we need to ask you to stop this skit. The material
       you are using is not suitable for our campfire. Participants, please return to your
The master of ceremonies then addresses the audience: “A Scout’s character is most often
influenced by the subtle impact of what he sees and hears. We have a responsibility to help our
Scouts evaluate their choices and determine their overall contribution towards Scouting’s ideals and
values. This skit had the potential of offending people and would not have contributed to building
character or citizenship.
“In Scouting we offer plenty of freedom for our members to express themselves. However, if through
lack of wisdom or understanding, they do something that is not wise, Scouting also offers guidance
to help everyone understand what is appropriate.
“We can all gain from this experience tonight in a positive and constructive manner. And now, on with
the program.”
The master of ceremonies then can lead a song to get everyone back into the mood of the campfire
or can simply introduce the next performance.

Campfire Discipline
This is a good time to talk about campfire discipline in general. Campfire leaders must be rather
tough about it, in a tactful way, right from the start. They should explain at the outset that “We just don’t
do any razzing or booing here.” If it starts, it must be squelched immediately. Likewise, show-offs and
hecklers must be stopped fast, too. When a friendly request for cooperation fails to quiet them, then
give them more attention then they are bidding for by inviting them up front to lead the event they’re
disturbing, or do it better if they can! The different roles campfire leaders play are important, and the
Scouts must see adult leaders having fun and contributing. We do not have a choice in whether we
are setting the example; we only have a choice of the kind of example we set.

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                         CAMPFIRE PROGRAM INGREDIENTS
Opening Ceremony
The opening is perhaps the most important element of the campfire; it sets the mood of the whole
program. Usually, the main thrust of the opening ceremony is centered in the fire lighting. If
impressively staged, it can capture the imagination and attention of the campers. Often the program
opens includes a dramatic way of lighting the fire. That might be done with fire by friction, or flint and
Get a program under way fast and with plenty of pep. Use lively songs and cheers. Perhaps you will
want to include introductions early in the evening and certainly, if you have new campers present, you
will want to recognize them. You might have each of them lay a stick of wood on the fire to symbolize
joining the group.
The opening ceremony sets the tone of the whole program, so it must be good! Whether your
evening is to be serious or silly, make the opening is sharp and incisive. It must arrest and hold the
attention of the audience.

Singing is fun! Songs can create enthusiasm or set a quiet and serious mood. When planning a
campfire use familiar songs, folk songs, fun songs, rounds, action songs, quiet songs. Use the
active songs at the start of the campfire to build the enthusiasm and excitement to a peak. Then, use
quiet songs to tone down towards the end of the campfire.
Relax, have fun, and SMILE.
Have available a variety of songs applicable to the age group. Know them well.
Plan the sequence of songs in advance to prevent slowdowns in the program.
Begin with active, familiar songs.
Match the song to the fire; i.e., bright, large fire - loud songs, low, dying fire - quiet songs.
Keep your sense of humor -- remember that if the spirit of the occasion is right, even flat notes and
off key songs are fun.
If new songs are introduced, then the individuals presenting them should know them very well and be
able to teach the audience to sing them. To teach a song, sing until everyone is familiar with the
melody. Invite those who wish to hum along as you sing. Then teach the words by singing the words
and having the audience sing them back. At the end of each verse or section combine the lines
presented so far and sing them together as a review. Sometimes passing out the words to the
songs may help, but remember that most campfires take place at night and it is "usually" dark at
The main requirement to be a Scouting song leader is enthusiasm and spirit. Singing ability is not
Leading songs is an essential skill for any camp leader. It takes time, practice, and luck.

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Stunts/Skits are short dramatic presentations that often serve as the main theme of a campfire. They
are an excellent method for those who are shy to take part in the campfire. Troops, patrols, staff
(junior or adult) or any other grouping should be encouraged to perform skits.
For most young people, campfire stunts and skits have just one purpose-fun!
But we must not forget that stunts can also train or inspire.
After a while, skits become old. Seeing a skit for the "fourty-umpteemth" time is "BORING". New
skits need to be developed. One excellent source for skits is your Boy's Life magazine. The jokes
and cartoons provide a resource for new material. Another source of material is personal incidents -
- think of amusing or embarrassing incidents that have happened to you or your group and dramatize
it. Parody people, animals, happenings, movies, or old familiar stories. Add twists of your own for
surprise endings.
Sources of Skits/Stunts
There are plenty of ideas for skits and stunts in Scouting and Boys’ Life magazines, in other Boy
Scout literature, and in many books of campfire skills.
While these sources are good, even better are the imaginations of Scouts. Original stunts can be
tailor-made to fit local situations and recent events, and can be extremely entertaining.
All stunts must be rehearsed by the participants and double-checked by a Scout leader.

Run-ons are similar to skits, but are generally shorter and require only one or two people.
Interspersed between songs, skits, and other parts of the campfire, they can be used to fill dead time
and enliven the program. Frequently, they are used as a comical interruption of the program.
Develop run-ons from favorite jokes and cartoons.

In Scouting we are trying to instill self-worth and self-esteem in our youth participants.
Provide recognition for performances with varieties of cheers/applause, den/pack, patrol/troop yells,
brain teasers, gimmicks, and other icebreakers designed to give the audience a chance to
participate. These cheers/applause/yells may be either planned or spontaneous and should be used
to increase enthusiasm and get audience participation in the campfire. Remember that "A Scout is
Kind". No "booing", "cheap shots", etc. are allowed at campfires or anywhere else in Scouting.
Because of that we do not boo, hiss, or jeer campfire performers. More important than recognizing
the quality of the performance is the encouragement to youth getting up in front of an audience and
trying to entertain or inspire us.

Games are an excellent way to involve an audience in campfire activities. They are entertaining to
both the participants and to the observers. Games should be played while the fire is burning bright to
provide lots of light. Good games do not need a lot of explanation, but are easy to understand and
require only a minimum of preparation and equipment. Games may be based on inter patrol
challenges, individual test of Scouting skills, or quiet fun games for the whole troop.

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Provide a time early in the campfire program for recognitions. These are awards of camp honors,
competitions, advancements, or any other special accomplishments. One thing to remember, do not
take this time for the adults to recognize the adults. The campfire is for the Scouts. If they want to
recognize adults, let them. However, do not take their campfire and their memories to pat ourselves
on the backs.

If absolutely necessary, then BRIEF.

Storytelling is an art, but an art that almost anyone can acquire with practice. All you need is a good
imagination, an appreciation of good stories, a little knack for showmanship, and some experience.
As long as the story hangs together, the audience will not be critical of the storyteller’s dramatic
ability, It’s the story they’re interested in, not the storyteller.
Storytelling is a great opportunity to get close to the audience. Stories at a campfire are one of the
favorite parts of the program and have lasting effects. Most Scouts like adventure stories with lots of
action. To tell a story, find one you like and read it until you have the major details in mind. Then
practice telling it, adding minor details as you go. Be dramatic but not beyond the point of sincerity.
Let serious stories point their own moral. Jump right into the story as soon as the audience is
attentive, and don't lose their interest through elaborate introductions or irrelevant detail. Remember
to talk to the most distant member of the audience.
          Rule 1: Do not memorize.                                 Rule 2: Do not memorize.
Base your stories on mysteries, tall tales, adventures, biographies, and true stories of Scout
experiences. One of the richest sources for finding stories is the library and the tales of the early
mountain men, explorers, and pioneers. Arizona has a rich "western" history which serves as a
foundation for many campfire stories.
Do not scare the audience. Crime, war, brutality, cruelty, profanity, obscenity, trash of any kind does
not belong in a story. Bad taste always leaves a bad taste.
When the story is over the campfire should have died way down and the program should almost be
over. Do not shatter the mood by bringing on more raucous songs and side-splitting skits. Wind
down the program to a slick, quick, low-key finish, and say "good-night".

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Types of Stories
The campfire stories that boys ask for fall into five general classifications:
       v Ghost
       v Humorous
       v Adventure
       v Miscellaneous (general interest)
       v Hero (inspirational)
Ghost Stories
This is the most-asked-for type of campfire story, but one that must be handled with care. Never try to
scare an audience too badly with a ghost story. We want young people to feel at home in the woods.
A ghastly story or disturbing descriptions can mar that experience for Scouts.
Adventure Stories
Perhaps the best of all campfire stories are adventure tales that stir the imagination. The adventure
can be true or fictional, or perhaps a “tall tale” somewhere in between. A Scout can describe an
overnight adventure; a leader can relate some event of importance from his past; a storyteller can
retell the tales of explorers, heroes, scoundrels, or other real and imaginary characters.
Humorous Stories
American folklore is filled with fine and funny stories that lend themselves to being told or read
around a campfire. Mark Twain’s books and the stories of 0 Henry, Robert Service, Bret Harte, and
dozens of other American writers provide plenty of material.
Inspirational Stories
A story that inspires young people can be a very effective addition to a campfire program. There is
no reason that an inspirational story cannot also have humorous elements or be an adventure tale.
Look to the magazines published by the Boy Scouts of America for stories, past and present, about
inspiring individuals who have had a Scouting background.
The High-Point Story
A campfire program should build toward a climax, an event that will top off the evening and make it a
thing to remember. The high point of the program need not be elaborate, but it must be good.
Among the possibilities are
v An old-timer telling of adventure in far-off places
v A Scout telling of a jamboree experience, or tales of the Philmont trails
v A storyteller spinning a ghostly yarn
v The Scout leader speaking for a quiet minute
v Someone telling the Baden-Powell Story or the story of another important

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Closing Ceremony
As the glowing campfire embers fade and die, the campfire should be closed on a note of quiet
inspiration, with reference to the value of the ideals of Scouting in our daily lives. The end of a
campfire is usually quiet and inspirational. The most important messages come as the embers of the
fire are dying down. The closing of the campfire marks the official end of the program. Conclude with
a Scoutmaster's minute, a quiet campfire closing, and a Scout benediction. In between the opening
and the closing, there will be plenty of other opportunities for showmanship to add sparkle to the
program-to the songs, stunts, and stories.

Cracker Barrel
During the cracker barrel, participants will be able to
v Mingle with one another and with staff.
v Wind down after an eventful day.
v Enjoy light refreshments.
The cracker barrel has long been a feature of many adult Scouter overnight events. It can bring a
meaningful close to the day, providing everyone with the chance to relax and enjoy good fellowship in
a nonstructured setting.
A cracker barrel should not go on too long. It is important for all participants and staff to be rested so
that they will be fully alert for the next day’s events. Among the traits of leadership are setting good
examples when it comes to taking care of one’s body, and that includes getting enough sleep.

Every de/pack/patrol/troop/district/council/jamboree campfire will have some combination of these
ingredients. Some campfires may have all of them; some may have only a few. Do not make your
campfire too long, run about 45 minutes to an hour maximum. Develop your program around the
ingredients that will accomplish your campfire goals.
Why Campfires?                    Campfire Leadership
v Fun                             v Kinds of campfires -- stunt, songs, story, award, etc.
v Fellowship                      v Places -- scenic, well drained, wind-protected, free of insects
v Entertainment                     and fire hazards, etc.
v Action                          v Planning - walk participants through The Campfire Program
v Adventure                         Planner.
v Inspiration                     v Ingredients -- the "four S's": Songs, Stunts, Stories,
v Education                         Showmanship
v Leadership training             v Appropriateness-- everything positive, nothing negative or off-

If you PLAN, then you plan to succeed. If you do not PLAN, then you plan to fail.

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                           A CAMPFIRE PLAN

OPENING: ___________________________________________________________________

SONG: ______________________________________________________________________

SKIT: _______________________________________________________________________

APPLAUSE __________________________________________________________________

SONG: ______________________________________________________________________

SKIT: _______________________________________________________________________

APPLAUSE: __________________________________________________________________

SONG: ______________________________________________________________________

SKIT: _______________________________________________________________________

APPLAUSE: __________________________________________________________________

SONG: ______________________________________________________________________

SKIT: _______________________________________________________________________

APPLAUSE: __________________________________________________________________

SONG: ______________________________________________________________________

STORY: _____________________________________________________________________

SM MINUTE:__________________________________________________________________

CLOSING: ___________________________________________________________________

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                                 MASTER OF CEREMONIES
The master of ceremonies should be a "good sport", maintain a sense of humor, be enthusiastic,
and provide the leadership for the campfire. His job is to keep it flowing and Scouting. There should
be as few rules as possible. Some of the more important ones are; no booing, no cheap shots on
anything, no flashlights. The program should be built on an opening, cycles of song, skit, cheer, run-
on, story, and closing as a basic format.
It is easier to prepare a set of rules than it is to carry them out and live by them. However, the
following is a set of rules that experienced master of the campfire should know:
•   Secure attention; do not talk until you have the audience's attention. Use the Scout hand signals,
    do not yell.
•   Get the program under way on time and fast. This is the time for fire lighting ceremonies, lively
    songs, and cheers.
•   "Follow the Fire" - loud and lively material as the fire burns brightly, then more quiet items, ending
    with an inspirational note.
•   Have as few rules as possible and enforce them.
•   Have all equipment in readiness; pass out promptly.
•   Avoid all "stage waits"; keep things moving. If someone delays, pass along quickly to the next
    item on the plan.
•   Be sure participants know ahead of time exactly what they are supposed to do.
•   Variety is a virtue. After a quiet story, put on a lively song.
•   Do not permit cheap and vulgar songs, sketches, or stories. It takes courage to nip these in the
    bud, but we should be ready to, in a tactful way, to make an issue of them. We will be respected
    for holding to the ideals of Scouting. Do not permit parodies of religious or patriotic songs.
•   Maintain your leadership. Never let campers interrupt and tell you how to run the show.
•   "A Scout is Kind." Do not allow boos, catcalls, and similar razzing. Explain that we show our
    approval with "How! How!" and our lack of approval with silence. Be quick to give recognition.
•   Be friendly in your introductions of new talent and generous in leading the applause.
•   Close on time. With a good sense of timing, you can hurry or slow up the program as needed.
You, as the master of the campfire, should have (and inspire others to have) good fun, good taste,
good manners, and the Scout ideals translated into action. "Remember, the sparks from your
campfire may live in the eyes and heart of a boy for the rest of his life.

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The small and impromptu campfire enjoyed by any patrol, troop, or similar group calls for no
complicated physical arrangements. A leader with such a group, enjoying an overnight camp, is
likely to take a campfire location as it is found. However, there are a few things to remember, even
under these simple conditions:
•   The campfire place should be dry; keep away from swampy places.
•   Mosquitoes and any other insects can make things very uncomfortable. Plan your location and
    clothing accordingly.
•   Arrange your campfire circle with reference to the prevailing winds; nobody likes to "eat smoke".
•   The ground should be level or slope gently.
•   Be sure to have a good supply of wood in the center of the fire or the inside will burn out quickly
    and the fire will die.
•   Light the fire with a torch made of tinder, not with a match. A torch is more effective.
•   The fire hazard, overhead and underneath, must be considered. Will your fire destroy beautiful
    foliage or perhaps run underground to spring up later as a full-blown forest fire?
•   Seats, such as logs, may be too much to expect for an overnight camp, but comfort and
    protection against ground chill should be considered.
Physical discomfort can spoil it, all for lack of a little planning.
A campfire can be conducted in any group setting large enough to accommodate everyone
comfortably. Where fire building is appropriate, a wood fire can provide atmosphere for the
occasion. But a lantern works too, or a candle. Indoors, it can be a fire in a dining hall fireplace, or an
artificial campfire in a meeting room. Wherever the gathering occurs, there needs to be sufficient
lighting so that the action up front is easy to see.
Use your imagination in dressing up the area and creating atmosphere.

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Campfire Planning And Leadership
Follow the Fire
Campfire Openings
Story Telling
Scoutmaster’s Minute
Campfire Closings
Retiring The Flag

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I.   Purpose                              IV. Planning (con’t)
     A. Have fun                              C. Closing
     B. Relax                                    1. Scoutmaster's minute
     C. Fellowship                               2. Story
     D. Inspiration                              3. Song
     E. Leadership                            D. Other
                                                 1. Campfire and program should go
II. Leadership                                       hand in hand
    A. Who? - Master of Ceremonies                   a. Start low
    B. MC Qualities                                b. Peak (reach high point)
       1. Good sport                               c. Taper off (dies to coals)
       2. Good sense of humor
                                                2. Keep It Simple, Make It Fun
       3. Enthusiastic                             (KISMIF)
III. Rules                                      3. How many cycles? About 5.
     A. Have as few as possible                    For a total of 30 to 45 minutes
     B. A Scout is kind                   V. Things to Remember
        1. No boos                           A. Don’t delay
        2. No cheap shots                    B. Talk loudly
           a. Religion                       C. Don’t allow extras
            b. Race                          D. On deck rule
            c. Ethnic                           (__________) you’re on
        3. Not risqué                           (__________) you’re on deck (next)
     C. No flash lights                      E. Start on time
                                             F. End on time
IV. Planning
                                             G. Be generous with cheers and
    A. Opening                                  applause
       1. Light fire                         H. Don’t ask audience opinion
       2. Introductions
                                          VI. Summary
    B. Cycles
       1. Song                                A. Poor Planning yields Poor Campfire
       2. Skit                                B. Good Planning yields Good Campfire
       3. Cheer
       4. Run-On

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                                                FOLLOW THE FIRE
               Each campfire should run from an opening ceremony to a climax and then to a quiet finish.

Graphically, it would look like this:

                            Peak Excitement

                                                     Slow Down           as Fire Dies

Serious Start                                                                                      Inspiration

At campfires, follow the fire as you lead songs. Begin with lively songs while the flames leap high. As the fire dies
down, sing quiet songs. Close the campfire with songs that have a patriotic or inspirational flavor. Lasting impressions
will be made as boys quietly sing a favorite closing song.

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                                       CAMPFIRE OPENINGS
Following are some ideas for opening your campfire:
• An Indian, accompanied by drum beats, walks up to the fire with a lit torch or candle and lights the
    fire and walks off. Another Indian states:
    From the North, from the South, from the East, from the West, may good luck come to us always.
•   Call upon the Great Spirit to shoot an arrow of flame to light the fire.
    Run a cable/wire from a high place to the fire. Cut an arrow out of wood or heavy cardboard, tie a
    flare to it and slide it or pull it into the fire.
•   Call up on the Spirits to start the fire.
    (Have the fire prepared for remote starting.)
    To our Father, the Great Spirit, that has given us so many blessings.
    To our Mother, the Earth, that has given us rich harvests.
    We ask their blessing for our council fire to begin.
•   Call up on the Spirits' of the Campfire to start the fire.
    (Have the fire prepared for remote starting.)
    Spirit Red, Spirit Red, thy hunger must be fed.
    Spirit Hot, Spirit Hot, forget us not, forget us not.
    As the year grows old, keep us from the cold.
    Spirit White, Spirit White, in the darkness of the night, be our shining light."
•   Call up on the Spirits' of the Winds to start the fire.
    (Have the fire prepared for remote starting.)
    To the North Wind with its cold breath that gives us endurance.
    To the East Wind from the land of the rising sun, sending the morning across the plains and
    To the South Wind and warm sunshine.
    To the West Wind from the land of tall mountains.
    We ask their blessing for our council fire to begin.
•   Produce a container filled with the "ashes" of last year's campfire. Pour the ashes over this
    year's campfire and light the fire stating:
    As the flames point upward, so be our aim.
    As the red logs glow, so be our sympathies.
    As the gray ash fades, so be our errors.
    As the good fire warms the circle, so may our ideals warm the world.
•   Flint and Steel campfire starts:
    v If talent is available, the campfire can be started with a solemn flint and steel (or bow and drill)
    v If talent is not available, the above methods may be modified.
      For example, have two scouts come from each side of the campfire area and meet in the
      center (make sure they each have matches).
      One says: "Hi Flint!” and the other says: "Hi Steel!"
      They shake hands and proceed together to the campfire and light it with matches.

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•   Call up on the Spirits' of the Four Corners to start the fire.

    (Have the fire prepared for remote starting. This can be done in full Indian costume for a greater
    CHIEF:                Welcome to our campfire, my brothers. It is only right that we ask the wise
                          and humble Medicine Man for the blessing of the Great Spirit before we
    MEDICINE MAN:         Wakanda! Great creator of all life! Look down on us tonight. Send us your
                          blessing and help us to serve you better. This our purpose and intent, mark
                          with silence, reverent.
    CHIEF:                To the Spirits of the North, who brings us bitter winds and cold winter snows.
                          To the Spirits of the South, who brings us warm breezes and the buffalo
                          To the Spirits of the East, who send us our sun and the day by which we
                          To the Spirits of the West, who receive our sun at its journeys end and
                          prepares us for night.
                          Let the council fire ALIGHT!
v A candle ceremony can be used to start a campfire. The personnel involved need to be given
  small candles in advance. All the boys and adults gather around the unlit campfire. The campfire
  leader opens as follows:
    All around us is darkness. I light this little candle and it is no longer dark. Although this is a tiny
    light and lights only a small area, we can all see it. This tiny light can grow. It can be multiplied.
     (Several people come forward and light their candles from the campfire leader's candle.).
    Now the light is brighter and we can see more than before. But, this is only the beginning. With
    people willing to share it, the light will grow.
     (The people with lit candles spread out and light more candles.).
    See how fast the light can spread. Just as these candles brighten the night, our light can brighten
    the lives of others. That's what the Scout Promise means when it says, "help other people", even
    the smallest light is very important.
     (Three or four people go to the campfire and light it with their candles as the campfire leader
    Now, as we light our campfire with the same light that has grown from such a tiny flame, watch the
    fire begin to grow and let us remember that each of us can brighten the lives of other people.

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How To Lead Songs                          How To Teach A New Song
1) Show Enthusiasm and                     1) Use well-known songs to warm up group.
   Confidence - Smile! Be Happy            2) Provide copies of the words.
   - this is Fun!                             a) Songbook.
2) Select songs that fit the                  b) Blackboard or poster.
   occasion.                                  c) Printed handouts.
3) Give name of song and where                (If song is simple enough or variation of song which
   found.                                     group already knows, the words can be taught
4) Give the Pitch.                            verbally.)
   (Don't begin too high or too            3) Sing the new song through alone or with group which
   low!)                                      knows the song.
5) Give the Downbeat.                      4) Let group try verse or two - slowly at first - then pick up
6) Use easy-to-follow Motions.                speed.
7) Move around a little.                   5) Musical accompaniment helps (but is not necessary).
8) Use ideas other than straight           6) If group fails to learn song or is having difficulty:
   singing.                                   a) Smile!
   (Boys like noise, competition,             b) Keep your cool!
   novelty, etc.)                             c) Don't blame or insult group!
9) Know when to stop while you                d) Singing is supposed to be fun - don't lose your
   are still ahead.                                temper - keep your humor!
Bottom Line
The only real musical talent required for singing and leading songs in Scouting is Enthusiasm.
If the tune to a song is not known and the boys like the words, encourage them to use their
imagination and to make it up as they go along.
Keep your sense of humor - remember that if the spirit of the occasion is right, even flat notes are fun.
HAVE FUN and that is the bottom line!
We keep on singing, but we can’t get our picture on the cover of the Scouting News.

                                                                                          Page 17 of 26
                                       STORY TELLING
The Art Of The Storyteller (By Aline G. Chan; “The Leader), December
Storytelling is as old as speech. Once upon a time, everyone was a storyteller. To fight boredom
and keep themselves company, these early storytellers chanted as they worked, telling the story of
what they were doing. Then "I" stories became narratives involving other people and the elements,
and storytellers told tales of heroes, myths, and legends. The art of storytelling evolved naturally
because some people preferred telling tales and other preferred listening to them.
As society developed, people wanted to keep a historical account of events. The storyteller
occupied an honored position and his role was very important. Tribes competed to see who could
tell the best stories, which led to exaggerated imaginary tales of elaborate heroic feats. Gradually,
some stories featured animals to satirize tribal events. By using animals, storytellers could make fun
of kings and chieftains without fear of retribution.
The Egyptians were the first to write down their stories. The Romans were good at spreading
stories, as were the gypsies whose nomadic life enabled them to carry tales far and wide. Royalty
hired storytellers or troubadours who told tales of court scandals or heroic accomplishments,
accompanying themselves on musical instruments. The troubadour gradually surrounded himself
with a retinue of tumblers, pages and buffoons who helped him tell the story in an entertaining way.
Troubadours were succeeded by minstrels and mummers who traveled from town to town making
their livelihood by entertaining people with their storytelling performances.
Today, the art of storytelling continues as we tell stories to children to communicate with them,
entertain them, and pass on information. Anyone can read a story but, when a story is told, children
feel a bond between the teller and themselves. In a society where parents lead busy lives and
children are entertained by the impersonal communication media of films and television, storytelling
can be an invaluable part of your program. An experience shared between teller and listener, it helps
children develop the skills of listening and encourages them to visualize the story in their
imaginations - to relax and fantasize safely.
What kinds of stories to Scout-aged boys like? They don't care for instructional stories that
sermonize. They do enjoy stories such as 'Chicken Little' or 'The Little Red Hen' in which animals or
objects have feelings, even when they are "lesson" stories. Children believe in magic. A kiss can
transform the ugly frog into a handsome prince. They also recognize justice and injustice, crime and
punishment. For young boys, it is important for stories to convey magic and fantasy. Like 'The
Wizard of Oz' or 'Aladdin and his Magic Lamp', they can be as far-fetched as the imagination will
take them, but they also need to have a sense of real life and fair play.

                                                                                        Page 18 of 26
Tips For The Storyteller
There are certain steps that storytellers follow. They select a story appropriate to the occasion,
interests, and age of the audience, commit it to memory, prepare the audience by sitting them in a
circle, and begin the tale. Professional storytellers generally memorize seven stories a year and
have a repertoire of about 20 stories handy at all times.
If you are an inexperienced storyteller, look for short stories with repetitive phrases. Choose tales
that you like because Scouts can sense when you aren't keen on what you're telling. You want stories
that build up suspense to a good climax, preferably tales where characters speak for themselves
rather than straight narratives. Length is important - never more than 20 minutes. Leave them
wanting more. Generally, children's magazines are not a good source of stories because the
material is meant to be read by the child, not out loud.
When you've chosen the story, you need to memorize it. It will take a few hours spread over time.
First, read it silently and try to see the story in your mind's eye by visualizing it as a series of pictures.
Then learn it by reading it aloud repeatedly, enjoying the words and the sound of the phrases. Think
about words that may be new or unfamiliar to your audience and incorporate their meanings into the
story so that you won't need to interrupt it during the telling to explain.
Time yourself when you read the story aloud. After you have memorized it, time yourself again. If you
use less time, you are either telling it too fast or skipping parts. If it takes much longer, you are telling
the story too slowly. Tell your story to anyone who will listen. Before going to bed, read it aloud
again. If you can, tape or videotape yourself telling the story.
Once you've memorized the story, you are ready to tell it. These points will help you do it more
effectively. Smile and make eye contact with your listeners. Vary the pitch of your voice and use
facial expressions and hand gestures. Until you are confident and more experienced, it's probably
not wise to use different voices because you may get confused and use the wrong voice for the
wrong character. If the boys are sitting in chairs, stand while you tell the story so that you can
incorporate body language. If they are sitting on the floor, sit down with them so that you are at their
Even storytellers can get stage fright at times. Don't panic if it happens to you. Pause and think.
Cue cards are a good idea when you are new at the game. Keep it slow, simple and sincere and
you will soon overcome your nervousness. A story well told will be well received.
We tell stories to Scouts so that they can experience other people's lives, happiness and misfortunes
and learn kindness and courage. Stories lead children to develop a concern for others so that they
want to help their "family and friends" and "help take care of the world". The storyteller encourages
them to stretch their imaginations and have fun escaping to another world. As Scout leaders and
storytellers, we have a splendid opportunity to share ourselves.

                                                                                              Page 19 of 26
Story Telling
(A Wood Badge Handout compiled by a Trainer)
                        A story should, to please, at least seem true,
                          Be apropos, well told, concise, and new;
                        And whensoe'er it deviates from these rules,
                      The wise will sleep, and leave applause to fools.
Story telling is one of the most important educational tools we have on play-grounds. It is the oldest
art in the world. It is a picture painted in the mind by the human voice. It should stir the emotions;
bring pleasure and a desire to be like the hero or heroine in the story.
There are four main parts to every story:
1) The Introduction, telling Who, When and Where.
2) The body of the story - the series of happenings that form the plot.
3) The climax - the act or choice made by the hero or heroine (Purpose of moral of the story),
4) The conclusion - brings the story to a quick and easy end.

All children look forward to the storytelling period. Proper preparation keeps their interest alive. The
most important point is to get into the spirit of the story - unless you do, don't tell it. In choosing
stories it is a good idea to select a theme for the hour, week, etc. (Honesty, courtesy, loyalty, safety).
Be sure to read the story out loud first because some are better read than told. Don't be afraid to
use high and low tones to impersonate characters.
Be sure of your sequence of events; then practice out loud, in front of a mirror if possible, until you are
used to the sound of your own voice and gestures. These gestures should be very simple - if used at
Be sure your facial expression interprets the mood of the story. Your eyes are most important - use
Atmosphere can make or break a storytelling period. Be sure it is quiet, secluded, and that there will
be no interruptions once the story begins.
Try some of the tricks used by experienced storytellers - a "story hat", which goes on when the story
begins and comes off when it ends, or a mascot such as a teddy bear, doll or hand puppet to tell the
story to or take the part of a character. This is a simple device for taking your mind off the listening
audience if you are a little shy.
And the opening sentence! Don't always say "Once upon a time..." Why not try:
v "Once, in the long, long ago and very far away..."
v "On the very highest mountain in the whole world lived an old man..."
v "Those were the days when mighty beasts roamed the jungle..."

Remember: short stories for little people; longer stories for bigger ones.
If it's funny, laugh with them!

                                                                                             Page 20 of 26
How to tell a story                                       Telling the Story
1) Preparation                                            1) Atmosphere
   a) Choose a story with:                                   a) have a definite place
        i) vivid action                                      b) have sufficient time
        ii) pleasing word sounds                             c) have listeners seated comfortably in
        iii) pleasing word action                                front of you (semi-circle)
        iv) appeal to the imagination                        d) don't allow questions or interruptions
        v) rhythm                                                during the story
        vi) repetition                                       e) look directly at the children as you
        vii) suspense                                            tell the story
   b) Choose a story                                      2) Voice
        i) that you like                                     a) speak simply, quietly and directly
        ii) suitable to the group                            b) use sufficient volume to be heard
        iii) appropriate to the situation                        easily
        iv) with a purpose                                   c) be careful with enunciation
2) Rehearse                                                  d) use low, pleasing tone quality
   read the story two or three times out loud             3) Expression
   think about the author's meaning (interpret his           a) know what you want to say
        style)                                               b) express what you feel
   put personality into the speaking parts                   c) think what you mean
   decide whether the story should be read or told           d) be natural
   tell the story without the book                        4) Timing
   memorize the sequence of events, as a guide               a) pause
   practice your facial expression, actions and              b) change the speed
        gestures                                             c) change the pitch
   try out various ways of reciting the opening              d) vary the emphasis
        sentence                                             e) build up to the climax
3) "Set the Stage"                                        5) Ending the Story
   find a suitable place ("story tree" or "corner")          a) do not detract from the climax
   have a name for yourself (Story Book Lady, Mr.            b) make sure not to suggest another
        Makebelieve, etc.)                                       story.
   use properties (special hat or costume, mascot,           c) do not point up a moral
        etc.)                                                d) end the story quickly
                                                          6) STOP!

Some Further Helpful Hints
1) keep your group small - not more than thirty.        11) use different types of stories:
2) sit or stand close to the group.                         v Myths            v stories of heroes
3) three different types of stories are enough in one       v Legends          v humor
    period.                                                 v nature stories v real-life stories
4) all good stories will stand repeating                    v animal stories v romances
5) use 'chatty' language but don't over-simplify.           v mysteries        v adventure
6) vary the time of your story hour                         v folk tales       v sports tales
7) avoid long descriptions of people and places             v current events v patriotic stories
8) serial or installment stories don't hold interest.       v history          v special holidays
9) don't change the story - discard it!                     v circus tales
10) use poetry occasionally.

                                                                                       Page 21 of 26
                                 SCOUTMASTER’S MINUTE
As the Embers Fade …
Almost as numerous and bright as the summer stars are Scouting’s campfires. In city parks and
mountain valleys, on ocean shores and riverbanks, in desert and forest, the leaping flames light the
faces of young people living the adventure of Scouting. For many, a campfire can be the high point of
an outdoor experience.
Campfires are important not only because of the memories they build, but also because of the
marvelous opportunity they give us for character-building. Where else do we get the chance to say,
naturally and straight from the shoulder, “This is Scouting at its best. This is the trail a Scout should
follow. These are the things that a person ought to be!”
Campfire programs are fun. They can add to any Scout adventure. All those things we’d like to
accomplish in Scouting can be helped by the magic of an evening gathered around a flame. And can
you think of a better place to catch character?
Sparks from your campfires may live in the eyes and hearts of young people for the rest of their lives.

                                                                                            Page 22 of 26
                                   CAMPFIRE CLOSINGS
Following are some ideas for closing your campfire:
Scout Benediction:
And now may the great Master of all Scouts be with us 'till we meet again.
VESPERS (tune: "Tannenbaum"):
    Softly falls the light of day,                           Quietly we now will part,
    While our campfire fades away                            Pledging ever in our heart,
    Silently each Scout should ask:                          To strive to do our best each day,
    Have I done my daily task?                               As we travel down life's way.
    Have I kept my honor bright.                             Happiness we'll try to give
    Can I guiltless sleep tonight?                           Trying a better life to live,
    Have I done and have I dared,                            Till all the world be joined in love,
    Everything to be prepared?
                                                             Living in peace, under skies above.
    Quietly we join as one,                                  As I travel down life's way,
    Thanking God for Scouting fun,                           May I do some good each day,
    May we now go on our way.                                May I ever thankful be,
    Thankful for another day.                                For the blessings given me.
    May we always love and share,                            May I join my fellowman,
    Living in peace beyond compare,                          Doing for others, what I can,
    As Scouts may we find,                                   So a better world we all will see,
    Friendships true with all mankind.                       Living together in harmony.

"TAPS" - The following story concerning "TAPS" is one of interest for a campfire closing:
It was July in Virginia. The scent of the dogwood and the laurel lay heavy on the land while
burgeoning fruit of the peach and the apple marked the full sway of summer. For seven faithful days
the trees, the flowers, the very ground itself had shuddered under the roar of cannon, the bark of
howitzers, and the crackling off a legion of rifles. Now, all was silent.
The sledgehammer blows of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson had mauled the Army of the
Potomac and yet that army was not destroyed. Seven thousand men had fallen in that dreadful week
and the savagery of the conflict was grimly evident in the river of wounded that wound through the
green hills.
Now, a new sound drifted in the soft evening sky. For Colonel Dan Butterfield, a courageous and
able soldier, was also a man of music. To honor his fallen comrades, he had composed a simple
and heart rendering melody. on July Second in the year of Eighteen-Sixty-Two, its strains floated
over the graves that scared the dark Virginia earth.
It has been more than a hundred years since that sound was born, but those notes have never died
away. Every night of every year throughout the world, fighting men of America, from the North and
South, the East and West, close their eyes and sleep to its call, and in each of their hearts there
glows a fierce surge of pride.

Day is done, gone the sun             Fading light, falling                 Fading light, falling night,
From the lake, from the hills,        Trumpet calls, as the sun             And a star gems the sky,
From the sky;                         Sinks in flight                       Gleaming bright,
All is well, safely rest,             Sleep in peace, comrades              From afar, dreaming nigh,
God is nigh.                          God is near.                          Falls the night.

                                                                                         Page 23 of 26
Medicine Man Closings:
Wakanda! Great Creator of all life! We are finished with our work. Look down upon these people
and guide hem safely back to their tepees and add a special blessing on these Scouts who have
worked hard to receive their awards. This our reason and intent, mark with silence, reverent.
(another one)
May the Great Father, who has been with you in the past and will be with you in the future, bring you
great joy.
The following poem could be incorporated into either a closing or an opening depending on how it is
WE, THE PEOPLE (by Jay DeGroat)
We are many, clearly of different clans.                        We offer pollen, when we feasted.
We are one by our same belief.                                  We are shepherds, we clothe
We have beauty behind us.                                       ourselves.
We have beauty before us.                                       We are horsemen, we travel around.
We are the Child of the White-Shell Woman to the East.          We are craftsmen, we create.
We are the Child of the Turquoise Woman to the South.           We are learners, we explore.
We are the Child of the Abalone Woman to the West.              We have industries, we progressed.
We are the Child of the Jet Woman to the North.                 We have schools, we achieved.
We are white-corn, father and son.                              We have hospitals, we are cured.
We are yellow-corn, mother and daughter.                        We have churches, we are saved.
We harvest corn, we feast.                                      We walked the "Long Walk".
                                                                But the "Long Walk" is not over........

The Indian Version Of The Twenty-Third Psalm
The Great Father above is the Shepherd Chief, and I am His and with Him I want not. He throws out
to me a rope, and the name of the rope is love. He draws me and He draws me and He draws me to
where the grass is green and the water is not dangerous, and I eat and lie down satisfied.
Sometimes my heart is very weak and falls down, but He lifts it up again and draws me into a good
road. His name is Wonderful. Sometime, it may be very soon, it may be longer, it may be a long-
long time, He will draw me into a place between the mountains. It is dark there, but I will not be
afraid, for it is there between these mountains that the Shepherd will meet me, and the hunger that I
have felt in my heart all through this life will be satisfied. Sometimes He makes the love rope into a
whip, but afterwards He gives me a staff that I may lean on.
He spreads a table before me with all kinds of food. He puts His hand upon my head, all tired is
gone. My cup He fills until it runs over.
What I tell you is true. I lie not. These roads that are ahead away will stay with me through life and
afterwards I will go to live in the Big Hogan and sit down with the Shepherd Chief forever.

                                                                                         Page 24 of 26
John Wayne on the Scout Law (can be used as an opening or closing):
The Scout Behind The Man               (By John Wayne)
A Scout is:
Trustworthy:    The badge of honesty. Having it lets you look any man straight in the eye. Lacking
                it, he won't look back. Keep it at the top of your list.
Loyal:          The very word is life itself, for without loyalty we have no love of person or country.
Helpful:        Part sharing, part caring. By helping each other, we help ourselves, not to mention
                mankind. Be always full of help - the dying man's last word.
Friendly:       Brotherhood is part of that word. You can take it in a lot of directions - and do - but
                make sure and start with brotherhood.
Courteous:      Allow each person his human dignity, which means a lot more than saying 'Yes,
                m'am' and 'Thank you, sir.' It reflects an attitude that later in life you 'wish you
                honored more...earlier in life.' Save yourself that problem. Do it now.
Kind:           This one word would stop wars and erase hatreds. But it's like your bicycle. It's just
                no good unless you get out and use it.
Obedient:       Start at home, practice it on your family, enlarge it to your friends, share it with
Cheerful:       Anyone can put a happy face when the going's good. The secret is to wear it as a
                mask for your problems. It might surprise you how many others do the same thing.
Thrifty:        Means a lot more than putting pennies away, and it's the opposite of cheap.
                Common sense covers it just about as well as anything.
Brave:          You don't have to fight to be brave. Millions of good, fine, decent folks show more
                bravery than heavyweight champs just by getting out of bed every morning, going to
                do a good day's work, and living the best life they know how against a lot of odds.
                Brave. Keep the word handy every day of your life.
Clean:           Soap and water help a lot on the outside. But it's the inside that counts and don't
                you ever forget it.
Reverent:       Believe in anything you want to believe in, but keep God at the top of it. With Him,
                life can be a beautiful experience. Without Him, you’re just biding time.

                                                                                          Page 25 of 26
                                     RETIRING THE FLAG
The retiring of a distressed flag of the United States of America is a very moving experience that can
be included in at a campfire. First, forget what you have heard about the "proper" way to retire a
worn-out flag. The "law" says very little about the retirement of a flag. United States Code, Title 36:
Patriotic Societies and Observances; Section 176: Respect for flag; subjection (k) states: "The flag,
when it is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a
dignified way, preferably by burning." Everything else should come from our own Scouting traditions,
respect, and common sense.

Flag Burning Ceremony
The flag of the United States of America is an honored symbol of our nation's unity, its hopes, its
achievements, its glory and its high resolve.
When the flag is in such condition, through wear or damage, that it is no longer a fitting emblem for
display, it shall be destroyed in a dignified manner befitting such a symbol. The traditional way is to
cut the flag into pieces and burn it in a modest but blazing fire. As we perform this respected duty, let
us reflect on the design and meaning of our flag.
The Blue field or union is the point of honor, the upper corner of the flag's own right. The symbolism of
the right hand goes far back in antiquity when it was the weapon hand. Raising the right arm free of
any weapon meant peace. It became a salute, a way of giving praise and honor. The union is blue,
representing the night sky with stars forming a new and glorious constellation. There is one star for
each state in our union. It is said the point of honor of our flag was made from the blue cloak
belonging to a captain in the Continental army.
The stripes are symbolic of beams of morning light, rays emanating from the sun. Thirteen red and
white stripes are one for each of the original thirteen colonies. The stripes in our flag were inspired
by the rattlesnake flag flown on the ships of the Continental Fleet and the striped banner of the Sons
of Liberty. Though the pattern has changed, the bars of shining red and gleaming white have
remained. The stripes are alternating, seven red and six white. The red stands for courage and the
blood of those brave men and women who fought and died to establish and preserve our republic.
The white represents the purity and high moral resolve on which our country was founded.
The blue of a captain’s cloak, the white of a soldiers shirt, the red from a flannel petticoat of a
patriot's wife, this was our flag. This is the flag that stands for honor -- yours and mine.
As the fire consumes the worn and tattered material in its purifying flame, let us remember the words
of George Washington when the Star-spangled Banner was first flown by the Continental Army: "We
take the stars from heaven and the red from our mother country. We separate the red with white
stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to
posterity representing liberty." Thus, the Stars and Stripes became what it is; born amid the strife of
battle; it has become the standard around which a free people have fought to preserve the greatest
nation in the world.

                                                                                            Page 26 of 26

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