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.
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.