Gathering for the traditional campfire can be a highlight of camp! Be sure to bring your Campfire Blanket. Each group gathered for a formal campfire should be prepared to deliver a Song, Skit or a Cheer. A simple informal campfire can provide a great bonding opportunity.
A formal campfire differs from an informal campfire in that it has one or two people acting as the MC and inviting groups up to preform. While a formal campfire can be done with any size of group they are best done with groups over 50.
During a formal campfire each group will be asked to present a song, skit, and/or cheer depending on the number of groups attending.
This is the general structure of a formal campfire. Adaptions should be made to ensure it is a fun experience for all involved.
Preparation and planning
- A campfire chief should be selected beforehand to act as the MC for the fire.
- Each group, section or six should prepare a song, skit and cheer. Depending on the number of people attending they may not get to present all three.
- The fire is laid ahead of time. Once the fire is lit no additional wood should be added until after the formal campfire. With practice you will be able to have just embers when you are ready for the fire to end.
- The campfire chief should find out from each group what song, skit and cheer they have prepared. They can then build the program for presenting.
- Start with mild songs then build up to exciting action songs ending the evening with slower songs again.
- Plan to be flexible as a group may suddenly change their selection.
- Keep it short. 20-30 minutes is plenty of time to sit still.
- If conditions make it difficult to light the fire it may be lit before the start of the campfire.
- All fire goers gather outside the fire pit and then file in. A simple song may be sung while entering.
- Once everyone is seated the campfire chief will welcome everyone.
- The fire is lit. If using a magic start you may tell a story to go with it.
- Review the rule for the formal fire.
- Rotate thew a song, a skit, and a cheer.
- Invite anyone with campfire ashes to come share their memories with this fire.
- Enjoy some more songs, skits and cheers. You may choose to tell a story as well.
- At the end of the campfire everyone will file out again. They may sing a song while leaving.
- After the formal campfire is closed people may be invited back for an informal campfire.
When to have a formal campfire?
While there are no hard and fast rules about when to select a formal or informal campfire here are some items to consider.
- Only the campfire chief or their designate may add stuff to the fire.
- Keep flashlights turned off unless they are part of your presentation. (Reading a story)
- No flash photography
- Don't talk while others are presenting
- Everyone must participate in group songs and cheers.
- We show appreciation for a great song or skit with a CHEER rather than applause
- Make it fun
History of Campfire Ashes
At the end of each campfire BP would take ashes with him. He would then add the ashes to his next fire. The ashes represented the good memories from the campfire and he was sharing them with everyone at the next fire. [Citation needed]
Any campfire used for cooking, warmth, or general entertainment is an informal campfire. With an informal campfire there is no set structure and fire goers are free to come and go as they please.
See also: Formal Campfires
A campfire blanket is simply an old blanket worn around a campfire to keep warm. Over the years Scouts have used campfire blankets as a place to keep badges that do not belong on their current uniform. These could be badges from events attend or badges traded with other Scouts at Jamborees and other events. For many, the campfire blanket has become a way to show one's personal history in the Scouting Movement.
Campfire Blankets are a lot of fun for youth and adult members to create and show off. They are highly individual and can be as simple as a poncho or a more elaborate hooded cloak. They type of blanket used is often discussed, with many recommending wool because it is more traditional and because it is more fire resistant. However, synthetic fleece is inexpensive, light weight, and easy to sew on.
See the Campfire Songs Index for all the songs on the Wiki, categorised as Campfire Songs.
Additional songs are on an external Scout Campfire Songbook.
Campfire skits are a great way for youth to use their imagination and participate in a group. Campfire skits can come from many sources.
Please add skits in separate pages and link them here. Be sure to add so others can find them.
Cheers are a Grrreat part of a formal campfire. There is typically a rotation of songs, skits, and cheers (or "yells") performed by each group attending the campfire. Please add cheers in separate pages and link them here. Be sure to add to your new cheer pages so they can be easily found by others.