Story of Fire




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A very interesting and educational camp program may easily be built about the history and development of fire itself, by very little preparation.

First, have every camper bring his piece of fuel to the evening fire.

Seat the group in the usual hollow circle.

Let the fire be built by friction or flint and steel or a contest between two campers or group of campers to see who can light a fire first by these primitive methods.

Dispense with the usual song fest and instead learn the various time-honored chants that have been or are even now used.

In nearly every good summer camp, the evening camp fire, whether it be indoors in a great stone fire-place or outside in the appointed Council Ring, is now lighted with some sort of a suitable ceremony.

The Camp Fire Girls have a very beautiful fire-lighting ceremony, description of which is quoted from their manual.

"The wood and kindling are brought to the hearth by the Wood Gatherers and the Fire Makers arrange the Wood for lighting; when all are seated around the place of the fire, a Torch Bearer or the Guardian lights the fire.

The fire-lighting ceremony is completed by the group repeating the 'Ode to Fire' in unison or by singing 'Burn, Fire, Burn,' or some other appropriate song."

Ode to Fire


Long years ago when our fathers fought with great animals, you were the protection

When they needed food, you changed the flesh of beasts into savory meat for them.

During all the ages your mysterious flame has been a symbol to them for Spirit.

So tonight, we light oar fire in remembrance of the Great Spirit who gave you to us."

The Fire Spirit

In other camps, still a different ceremony is used effectively, based upon H. M. Burr's famous camp fire story, "The Fire Spirit."  Four Torch Bearers each carrying a lighted torch (or candle) approach the fire pile and dance about the fire chanting as they go:

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!

In the Darkness of the night
Be our shining light,
Spirit white, Spirit white.


After a little practice of this sort, let some leader or older boy who is prepared for the occasion tell "The Story of Fire."

Then follow with a talk on building, use and care of camp fires in the open, closing with a definite instruction for every camper pertaining to matches and fire in general.   Such suggestions will be found in any good book of woodcraft or camping.

Such a program will have much practical camp value and will break the usual routine.

If you still have time, have each boy or numerous boys tell of the most interesting fire he ever saw.

A Tuneful Chant

Yet other camps vary the above, by having the entire camp fire circle chant together to the tune of "In the Evening by the Moonlight," the following chant:

We are sitting round the camp fire
And it's evening once again,
And we're thinking of the days gone by
And of the hours spent then,
How we're longing for the home folks,
But we're mighty glad we're here,
In the evening, round the camp fire
At old ........................

Campfire Helps






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
5 Camp Fires ] Bibliography ] Firelight ] Council Fire ] Week Program ] Heart of the Camp ] Ceremony from India ] Invocation ] Mowgli Story ] Oath Ceremony ] Pantomime ] Pointers ] Evening Pow Wows ] Accounted For! ] Scout Law ] [ Story of Fire ] Good Story Telling ] Timber Wolf Ceremonies ] Traditions ] Scout Yells ] What To Do? ] The Gray Areas ] Philmont Song Book ] Campfire Skits & Stunts ] Scout War Songs ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.