17 March 2012

WO-HE-LO

Today marks the 102nd birthday of the Camp Fire Girls organization.  It was founded in Vermont in 1910 by Luther Gulick, M.D., and his wife, Charlotte Gulick, as the first non-sectarian organization for girls in the United States.  WO-HE-LO is the 'watchword' for Blue Birds and Camp Fire Girls. It stands for WOrk-HEalth-LOve

In the '70's they started letting little boys into Camp Fire and it became Camp Fire Kids.  I say PHOOEY on that!  Why not let the little boys have their boy organizations and let the little girls have their girl organizations.  They're going to have plenty of time to spend together when they get older.  I'll move on and not get in too deep on that rant.

My life as a Blue Bird began in the 1960's while attending Paul Revere Elementary school in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  We did all sorts of fun stuff and my favorite was when we would go to state parks and camp out for the weekend.  I do remember one Fall when it was cold and we actually stayed in cabins.  I was shocked and simply didn't understand why our Leader took the electrical unit to my electric blanket away from me.  We dug our own latrines which I thought was really cool until I realized that was what I was going to have to do my business in.  One of my comrades and I decided we needed a "seat" and connected a branch between two trees with rope from our bedrolls so we could sit on it.  Uh, huh, snapped right in two that branch did!

Cooking over the camp fire was the best.  Prior to our trip we made paraffin fire starters with tuna cans, melted wax, and corrugated cardboard.  We learned how to cook almost anything by wrapping it in aluminum foil and throwing it into the campfire.  Our specialty was a Hobo pack with a hamburger patty, potatoes and carrots.

 
I absolutely loved the beads.  You earned beads by completing different tasks in different areas.  Each area was symbolized by a different bead of a certain shape and color and when you earned 10 of one type of bead, you received a large bead of the same.  We had navy blue felt vests that you sewed the beads onto; in any design you could think of.  I'd rather marvel my beads in a big pile as in the picture above.  They were just so pretty!

When I was active these were the beads we strove to earn:
red - round balls for Sports and Games
yellow - angular for Business
green - 4-sided beads for Creative Arts
brown - little logs for Outdoors
orange - cylindrical for Home
sky blue - flat ovals for Science
red, white & blue - triangular for Citizenship

 This badge was tucked among all my treasures that I've hoarded over the years.  It obviously never made it to the vest.  I hope my vest with all the colorful beads on it is tucked somewhere high up on a shelf in a closet at my parents' house.  This particular badge was for attending summer Camp Fire Girl camp in our state.  Each summer they made the badges a different color.

The camp I attended during the summer was Camp Waluhili.  I loved Camp Waluhili and the summer I loved the most was the one I had with “Miss Bunny” as our cabin counselor.  The years I attended are very sketchy; some time during the mid-1960’s.  I would love to see the camp today.  It was beautiful and even as a youngster I remember loving how wooded and lush it was.  It’s located on Fort Gibson Lake in Oklahoma.  Each cabin had a different Indian name.  Everything in Camp Fire Girls had an Indian name; even I did; but I couldn’t tell you what mine was.  Today it would be Runs With Wine.

We canoed a lot and I think that was my favorite activity.  As was my favorite camp song about a girl and a boy in a little canoe.


I actually made a video of me singing the song but trust me, be glad I attached a You Tube version.  I'm just sorry you can't see the hand motions we had with the song.

So, congratulations Camp Fire Girls (or Kids or whatever you go by these days). I leave you with the Campfire Goodnight..




CLOSING SONG: Campfire Goodnight-- by Kathryn Court, copyright by Camp Fire
Now as the sun sinks slowly,
And birds are going to nest,
All of the Camp Fire maidens, too,
Must take their rest.
Then as the fire grows fainter,
And we go into the night,
Good Great Spirit guard us
And guide our steps aright.
Now our camp fire fadeth,
Now the flame burns low.
Now all Camp Fire maidens
to slumber land must go.
May the peace of the lapping water,
the peace of the still starlight,
the peace of the fire lit forest
be with us through the nite;
the peace of our fire-lit faces
be with us through the night.