Guiding with Guider Dusk

Creating Campfire Magic

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January 2015 - Winter Wonderland
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December 2014 - The Christmas Story
November 2014 - Feature Campfire - Live a Healthy Life! Food, Nutrition and Exercise.
October 2014 - Feature Campfire - Halloween
June 2014 - Feature Campfire - Pioneers
May 2014 - Feature Campfire - Garden of Life
April 2014 - Feature Campfire - Fairy Tales ... Dreams Really Do Come True!
March 2014 - Feature Campfire - Irish and Everything Green!
February 2014 - Feature - A Thinking Day Celebration - Together We Change the World
January 2014 - Feature Campfire - Sing, Sing A Song!
December 2013 - Feature Campfire - My Favorite Holiday Friends
November 2013 - Feature Campfire - Lest We Forget
October 2013 - Feature Campfire - I'm Thankful
September 2013 - Feature Campfire - Getting to Know You
June 2013 - Feature Campfire - Summer Fun!
May 2013 - Feature Campfire - As We Hike Along
April 2013 - Feature Campfire - Earth Day
March 2013 - Feature Campfire - We Can Make a Difference - Celebrating International Women's Day
February 2013 - Feature Campfire - The Klondike Gold Rush
January 2013 - Three Cheers for 100 Years - Happy Birthday Alberta Girl Guides
December 2012 - Feature Campfire - My Christmas Wish
November 2012 - Feature Campfire - Let There Be Peace On Earth
October 2012 - Feature Campfire - Autumn Is My Favorite Season
September 2012 - Feature Campfire - Make New Friends
SURPRISE! June 2012 Feature Campfire - The Olympics, One World, One Dream
May 2012 - Feature Campfire - Camping Adventures
April 2012 - Feature Campfire - April Showers Bring May Flowers
March 2012 - Feature Campfire - Soar Like An Eagle - Celebrating Native Culture!
February 2012 - Feature Campfire - A Garden of Friendship and Love
January 2012 - Feature Campfire - A Winter Night's Dream!
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fire2.jpg


Did you ever watch a campfire?


When the wood had fallen low?


And the ashes start to whiten


Round the embers’ crimson glow?


With the night sounds all around you


Making silence doubly sweet,


And a full moon high about you


That the spell may be complete?


Tell me, were you ever nearer


To the land of heart’s desire


Than when you sat there a-thinking


With your feet before the fire?


 


- B. Riddoch


 


 


We have all been touched at one time or another by a perfect campfire, the theme appropriate, the choice of songs perfect, the singers enthusiastic – you know the good feelings, mood and memories created will linger with the participants long after the embers have died. Indeed this campfire may be one the participants remember well into their adult years.


 


This is campfire magic and magic doesn’t happen by accident or luck. Such a campfire has been well-planned. With skill, practice, thought and preparation, magical campfires can become the rule rather than the exception.


 


 



 


 


Campfire singing, whether inside or at a make believe campfire or outdoors with the warmth and glow of a real campfire can be an experience of a lifetime. But in order to have a happily anticipated and memorable campfire, this event, like all other items making up a program for a meeting or camp weekend must be planned. This planning involves thoughtful selection of songs and a prepared sequence with organized leadership.


 


To improve the quality and maintain a high level of interest in campfire time, there are a number of general principles, which can be helpful.


 


1.    In a well-organized group, the campfire can be planned and carried out by the participants themselves, with minimal direction from the Leader in Charge. In a newer group, it may be necessary for the Leader in Charge to take a more active part in the organizing and running of a campfire until the group members get the general idea of the campfire as part of their weekly meeting. Encourage the group members themselves to plan and carry out as much of the campfire program as they are capable of doing.


2.    When the entire responsibility for the campfire is in the hands of the group members, be sure that there is one person who is in charge of the overall program “The Campfire Leader.” Then direct all inquiries to them.


3.    Although planning is necessary, try to avoid a “program” atmosphere. Keep the campfire as informal as possible. Try to keep an atmosphere of spontaneity.


4.    Don’t try to include too much in the campfire. If the planned items take longer than anticipated, save some of them for the next campfire. Generally, a skit, short campfire game or other item and a concluding reading or meditation, with songs suitably interspersed, will be enough. With an outdoor campfire, plan you program with extra songs to ensure the campfire lasts as long as the flame.


5.    Keep the campfire short. As a general rule, the campfires held at the close of a regular meeting, should not be shorter than fifteen minutes and no longer than thirty.


6.    Base the campfire program around a central theme. Select songs, poetry, readings or skits to add to the groups’ interest in and knowledge of, the particular theme. Occasionally, however, a campfire will be more enjoyable if there is no special theme, the group being allowed to present any ideas desired.


7.    Maintain interest by variety. Alternate action songs and quieter songs. Make use of quick quizzes, charades and occasional inter-patrol competition, poetry and prose readings as well as humorous songs and stories.


8.    At certain times, it may be suitable to have the complete campfire follow a quieter theme. Then strike a contemplative mood with a religious reading or story which is inspirational or offers food for thought, a reading or concluding spiritual hymn encourage the group to reflect on the more serious aspects.


9.    Don’t be afraid to do something different. The scope of items, which may profitably be included in campfire, is almost limitless.


10. Keep the program moving. Don’t continue one item until everyone is bored. Cut it off when interest is high. Then a similar item will be well received another time.


11. Try to end the campfire on a quiet note. This may be accomplished by the use of a reflective poem, a brief meditation on one of the laws or singing of a quiet song or hymn.


12. In teaching a new song, don’t aim for perfection the first time it is sung. As long as the words and general idea of the tune are learned, wait for a second or third occasion to iron out the details.


Keep a notebook of campfire ideas, which are particularly successful. Make the entry as soon as possible after seeing the item to avoid forgetting the important details.


  


 



How To Start


 


At first, concentrate on well-known favourites. Make sure the group members learn these thoroughly and correctly. Then introduce rounds to enlarge their repertoire and introduce harmony and part-singing. If it is simple, then it can be learned and even given a degree of expression all at one campfire. If it is a more difficult piece, tackle the melody one week, have the group learn the words. Fit the words in at the second go and perhaps add a descant or alto.


 


Each group should have a set of songbooks that can be used by the group and Leaders


in planning their campfires. Another helpful tool is for group to make their own songbook, a collection of favourites new and old, games, skits, stories, fun silly songs, vespers, etc. Keeping a log of what worked and didn’t is a good planning tool as well.


 


DO NOT let the group bury their noses in any book during campfire. Include folk songs and a variety of action songs to help supply the very important element of fun.



 


Avoid Songs in Bad Taste


 


       Those with cheap vulgar words, the ghoulish songs.


       The parodies when the tune is strongly associated with a completely different set of words from those being used.


       Songs where the words contain cheap humour or have an unattractive story.


       Avoid songs with poor poetic content, with sentimental jargon as words.


 


 



 


A Campfire is a dramatic presentation.


 


Physical Arrangements


 


         Compact circle so that all can see, hear and be included


         Comfort important – cold floors – sit-upon rather than chairs; 


      ventilation


         Atmosphere – simulated fires inside; lights out


 


Planning


 


         Use a campfire planning group


         Importance of a written plan and checking it beforehand


 


Carrying out the Plan


 


         The Campfire Leader(s)


         Control of the group – starting and stopping


         Pace


         No interruptions – announcements, eating


 


The Program


 


        Mood and theme


        Opening – traditional fire opening, readings


        Closing – traditional prayer, reading, vesper, taps


        A vesper is praise and thanks to your creator, not just a quiet  song


        Assess the needs of the group and consider: variety, fun, participation, non-musical items, (skits, games, stories, entertainment patrol, etc.)


        Possible ingredients: rounds, part songs, fire songs, fun, action, rhythm, quiet, folk, rousers, etc.


 


Framework – Campfire shape…


 


         Official Opening


         Well Known Songs


         Round & Part Songs


         Fun Songs


         Action Songs


         Games


         Rousing Songs


         Quieter Songs


         Story


         Spiritual Songs


         Vesper & Taps


         Official Closing


 


Remember to “follow the flames"


 


        When the flames are high, action songs, loud cheers, and noisy stunts get everyone involved!


        When the flames bum down, have quiet songs, inspirational stories, and a respectful tone


        Start FAST, reach a PEAK, slow DOWN, and give an inspiring CLOSE


 


Formal Campfire


 


      Camp opening and closing


      Fire candlelight procession to light special event


 


Informal Sing-A-Long


 


       Regular meeting – routine format one or two oldies plus learn new ones


       Special visitors (i.e. mothers, seniors, etc.)


       Special themes or activity (i.e. holidays, puppets, instruments, talent nights, etc.)


       Irregular meetings


       Special speakers


       Just chit-chat


       Special discussion


       Patrol games


       All skits – fun and test work


       Taking campfire out to someone or somewhere


 


Planned By


 


         Campfire Planning Group duty rotation


         Group Leaders


         Appointee


 


Conducted By


 


         Group Leader, after given program to follow


         Campfire Leader


         Volunteer from group


         Several persons


 


Time for Campfire


 


         End of meeting


         Beginning of meeting (i.e. cook-out lunch/supper meeting  


      followed by hike, star gazing, sing while meal is cooking)


         Camping weekend


         Special event


 


The Fire


 


       Choose a special place, away from the campsite, this means the participants will have to ‘go’ to Campfire


       Traditional campfire formation is a circle with the fire in the center as a focal point.


       Leave a gap in the circle downwind for smoke and sparks.


       Never leave a burning fire unattended.


 


Indoor Campfires


 


         Be creative with the focal point. Use your imagination


         ‘Pretend” fire


         Incense


         Coloured logs


         Specially built and lighted fires


         Candles

All things shall perish from under the sky
Music alone shall live, music alone shall live
Music alone shall live
Never to die!