Camp Fire welcomes new groups, family clubs, and independent members year-round! Below are some steps for getting a new Camp Fire group started to help new leaders or parents get a group up and running, and we are here to help however we can! Our program is flexible and customizable to meet the unique needs of your youth and families. Our staff is at the ready to speak with you about options for forming a new Camp Fire group! Our trainings for getting started are now offered virtually, along with special sessions if you’d like help learning the ropes of virtual platforms for hosting online meetings. Please Contact Us and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.
Key Decisions for Starting a New Camp Fire Group
There are many options for forming Camp Fire groups, many of which utilize multiple families or parent involvement to help share in responsibilities.
Small Group Program
One or two leaders of a small group of youth, plus parent support. We recommend groups of six-ten youth. At least two adults must be present at every meeting. Leaders work to plan meetings and events for their group, involving parents as much as they can.
Cooperatively Led Small Group Program
Three or more leaders work collaboratively to share responsibilities, rotating responsibilities such as planning, leading meetings, and managing various aspects of group needs. Some groups also find that within this cooperative structure, a few groups may emerge that meet separately but draw on shared resources.
Community Family Clubs
Multi-age groups welcoming all youth to attend with a high involvement from parents and siblings. Led by a few key leaders, families work together to plan their meetings and use Camp Fire as a way to build community across ages and families. These groups can be as large as you are able to manage!
Age Range & Gender
Camp Fire curriculum is divided into levels: Little Stars (Pre-K), Starflight (K-2nd), Adventure (3rd-5th), Discovery (6th-8th), and Horizon (9th-12th).Your Camp Fire group can be similarly aged youth or youth that span a few years. You can work simultaneously from multiple curriculum levels, or you can allow youth to be in a level slightly older or younger that their grade.
Everyone is welcome in Camp Fire. Your group can be structured to be single-gender or to include all youth, depending on your preference.
When, Where, & How Often to Meet
Meetings may take place virtually, at your home, a community space such as a school, church, or community center, or at another place meeting our health and safety requirements. Some things to consider include plenty of space for active games, table and floor space for projects, accessible for all youth, and space free from hazards. Your meeting space should also have access to a phone or cell phone coverage and have at least two exits in case of an emergency.
You will also need to consider the length of your meetings and when they will be held. Younger groups often meet for 1 – 1 ½ hours, while older groups may meet from 1 ½ – 2 hours. Meetings may take place weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, or on another schedule. We recommend at least one meeting a month at minimum.
Leaders are required to attend a New Leader Orientation before getting started where you will learn about curriculum and Camp Fire policies. This training should take about 2 hours and is only required once. Additionally, leaders are encouraged to attend the annual fall Leader Kick-Off which covers program updates and special items at the beginning of the year.
Getting Registered & Program Fees
All groups require that youth and leaders are Camp Fire members and pay a registration fee. This fee helps us provide you with staff, training, and resources. You may also request that your group contributes additional dues, either yearly or monthly, to help cover group expenses. You may also elect to participate in our annual Candy Fundraiser to earn Group Treasury Funds for your group needs. If you or one of your families cannot afford the registration fees, financial assistance is available.
When you attend your New Leader Orientation, Camp Fire will help you work through the finer details of starting your group and answer any questions you may have. We will also help you with the fun stuff – planning your first meeting so that you can begin!
- Review the list of items above and prepare any questions you may have for Camp Fire staff.
- Reach out to us with your questions, and when you are ready, schedule a New Leader Orientation with our staff.
- Recruit! Begin finding families to join your group. Camp Fire may be able to help provide you with flyers, brochures, or other materials to reach potential new members.