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Whilst campfires are a part of traditional Scouting, they have a somewhat poor reputation amongst many people - Scouters as well as Scouts.

With Beavers and Cubs it's easy to hold a campfire with the traditional Ging Gang Fairs, Animal Stores, Quartermaster's Goolies, etc [awaits complaints!] . However, once Scout age is reached, these songs, and the traditional rounds, tend to put youngsters off.

As a Scout, I hated campfires. Lookng back, all they seemed to be were for stiff Scout Masters to show off their camp blankets, resplendent with badges.

At one of our early Father & Son Camps, I suggested that we hold a campfire. No-one wanted to run it, so muggings did so.

Over the years I've learned that if you don't mind making a fool of yourself, the youngsters think you're great. This, in turn, makes the campfire great.

Other suggestions and rules for a successful campfire are to be found in the Campfire Theory booklet. If you've never run a campfire it is well worth reading.

A successful campfire requires pre-planning. To help you do this is the Campfire Programme Planner sheet.

To help you choose which songs and chants to use, I've included my own Songbook. This contains those songs which I do use and others which I feel would be successful if I could only find tunes to sing them to!! If you can help me in this respect, please e-mail me.

Because I can rarely remember the words to songs, I have printed the songbook out in a5 size and laminated the sheets. I've also punched a hole in one corner so that I can use a Treasury Tag to hold the sheets together. Pre-campfire I rearrange the sheets in the order that I want them for that particular event. And I openly use the crib sheets - and tell the audience so!

I've also included a larger Songbook containing over 200 songs which does include the traditional campfire songs.

Finally, there are a few links to other sites which have many, many more songs & activities:
The MacScouter Site
ScoutXing Site
Flying Pigs Campfire Songbook

In closing this page, I'd like to tell you about how I open a campfire.

I ask another Scouter/Explorer to welcome people & actually light the fire. I then appear from behind the audience with a pan of lettuce leaves. I eat these - or at least put them in my mouth - as I walk to the fire SHOUTING 'Great Green Gobs' [see Songbook]. Naturally lettuce leaves are directed over the audience's heads as I make my way to the front! Certainly an attention grabber and one - which I've found - gets the audince on your side straight away!

Later in the evening, or when there isn't an organised campfire, it is good to sit around your own fire and tell a story or two. Naturally Ghost Stories are a must! or are they? The presence of Cubs & Beavers - or even nervous Scouts & Leaders - probably necessitate a less scary story.

Here are links to my Ghost Stories and Campfire Stories. Please note that it is best to read them beforehand and mentally note what names [places & people] you will change when reading the stories to your audience.

It is also at this time of night that we play Around-The-Fire Games which give the youngsters a calm [!!], happy ending to the day.

So, to recap:
Campfire Theory booklet;
Campfire Programme Planner sheet;
Dave's Songbook - updated 17th August 2007 ;
Ghost Stories
Campfire Stories
Around-The-Fire Games

 

We're here to help - Scoutese in Plain English:
A collection of Beavers is called a Beaver Colony;
A collection of Cubs is called a Cub Pack;
A collection of Scouts is called a Scout Troop;
A collection of Explorers is called an Explorer Unit;
And you really don't want to know what a collection of Network Scouts is called!
Visit the Scoutese page for more translations.

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