Camp Fire USA Celebrates 100 Years July 31

Southeast Michigan, Camp Fire USA will mark its 100th anniversary on July 31 by lighting Centennial Campfires in communities across America at precisely 7:30 p,m, in each time zone.

The Southeast Michigan Council was chosen as one of nearly 50 nationally recognized sites to hold an official Camp Fire USA Centennial Campfire.

The Southeast Michigan Council ceremony will be held at Camp Wathana in Holly, Michigian and will begin with the historic "Call of Wohelo," an invitation to join the campfire.

"Wohelo" is Camp Fire's 100-year old watchword formed from the first two letters of Work, Health and Love.

The official Centennial Campfire will be reminiscent of Camp Fire Council fires throughout the years and will include both historical pieces and information about Camp Fire USA today.

"Our ceremonial campfire will be open to everyone - current and past participants, their friends and families and the many community members that have supported the organization through the years," states Paige Peabody, local Camp Fire USA Executive Director.

"We really hope to see Camp Fire alumni at our event. We estimate that over the past 100 years we've served nearly 40 million youth. This is our opportunity to celebrate the promise of continuing a legacy that has left an indelible mark on millions of young people and hundreds of communities."

Founded in 1910 by Dr. Luther and Charlotte Gulick, Camp Fire Girls was the first non-sectarian organization for girls in the United States. Dr. Gulick chose the name "Camp Fire" because campfires were the origin and center of early community life. This focus on the outdoors, nature, and conservation continues to be a centerpiece of Camp Fire activities.

Today Camp Fire USA has evolved into a contemporary non-profit organization serving youth, with a new name to reflect the times, while maintaining its core values.

As early as the 1950s, Camp Fire was calling for greater inclusiveness of all groups within society.

In 1975 boys were encouraged to participate, and today 46 percent of Camp Fire USA youth are boys.

Camp Fire is unique in its inclusiveness serving everyone regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, or sexual orientation.

"We realize the dignity and worth of every individual," states Peabody

"Our programs are focused on changing young people's lives. Through their interaction and involvement with Camp Fire USA, girls and boys build confidence, independence, and develop an awareness of who they are and what they can become."

For more details about Camp Fire USA Southeast Michigan Council's centennial events, local programs or volunteer opportunities, visit their website at www.campfiresem.org or call 800-860-5840.

Published: Thu, Jun 24, 2010

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