About

About

CAMP FIRE HEARTLAND CREATES

powerful youth experiences

WE CREATE SAFE SPACES WHERE YOUNG PEOPLE CAN HAVE FUN AND BE THEMSELVES.

Through playful, inclusive, affordable, and powerful out-of-class experiences Camp Fire connects young people to the outdoors, to others, and to themselves. We provide young people with a space where they feel like they truly belong.

Camp Fire’s programs enable young people to develop essential skills that have long-term benefits and make a positive social impact in the world.

Connection is our core

OUR WHY

Growing up is hard.

OUR MISSION

Camp Fire connects young people to the outdoors, to others, and to themselves.

OUR VISION

We envision a world where all young people thrive and have equitable opportunities for:

  • Self-Discovery
  • Community connection
  • Engagement with Nature

Our Values

WE ARE INCLUSIVE.

We work to create safe and inclusive environments, so everyone feels welcome.

WE GET OUTSIDE.

We learn from and respect our planet. We conserve, protect, and steward our natural resources.

WE PRIORITIZE RELATIONSHIPS.

We develop supportive cross-generational relationships that guide young people to find their spark.

WE HONOR THE POWER OF YOUNG PEOPLE.

We believe one of the best ways to honor the power of young people is to share power with them.

WE ARE LEARNERS.

We help young people (and adults!) invest in the adventure of self-discovery.

WE TAKE ACTION.

We encourage young people to advocate, organize, and work for change in their communities and beyond.

WE ARE RESPONSIVE.

Each council has the autonomy to customize its programming to best support youth, families, and their communities

WE PURSUE IMPACT.

We seek out the newest research, practice every-day innovation, and meticulously measure results—all to help young people thrive in a complex world.

FOUNDED IN 1910

Boundary-breaking history

In 1909, Charlotte Gulick held a small summer camp for her daughters, three of their close friends, and a young woman with disabilities. There was no way she could have known that, from this her camp would grow into a movement that would survive two World Wars and three global pandemics. It would see women and other marginalized people win the right to vote; and help shape artists, activists, rock stars and rocket scientists.

The world was a much different place in those founding years, but so many of the values, goals, and outcomes of Camp Fire remain the same: More than 100 years later, we are still creating space for historically excluded young people; building social and emotional skills; facilitating developmental relationships and community building; and connecting young people to themselves, others, and the outdoors.

Founded in 1910, Camp Fire was the first nonsectarian, multiracial organization for girls but today is an inclusive national youth development nonprofit that serves all young people. By creating safe spaces where young people can have fun and be themselves, its 47 affiliates in 24 states provide affirming, year-round, youth-driven experiences—school day programs, afterschool programs, leadership programs, and camps and outdoor education—that enable youth to develop essential skills that have long-term benefits and make a positive social impact on the world. 

What makes us different

INCLUSIVE SINCE
1910

Founded in 1910, Camp Fire was America’s first multiracial, multicultural, and nonsectarian organization for girls before women even had the right to vote. Coed since 1975. Formally affirming of all sexual orientations since 1993, and today welcoming all young people.

WE FOCUS ON
NOW

Yes, Camp Fire’s programming has life-long benefits, but we aren’t fixated on the future. We support young people on their journey to be their best selves—now.

OUR DIVERSITY OF
PROGRAMMING

Our councils teach social-emotional skills in a wide variety of settings and use different themes and approaches. There is something for every young person (and every spark) at Camp Fire.