Camp Fire’s inclusion

Our family’s most recent adventure is aiming to start up local Camp Fire club. Similar to Scouts, but boasting an all-inclusive policy, we were excited to begin preparation for a fall 2013 start following a regular school year calendar. We have some friends on board too, and we should have a nice little turn out of families come September.

In my reading (and reading and reading) online about what being a Camp Fire club involves I happened across many things that got me even more excited. Their inclusive policy is outlined as being “open to all community members regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation or any other aspect of diversity.” Their Promise is “young people want to shape the world. Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are. In Camp Fire, it begins now. Light the fire within.”

But then I found the Camp Fire Law…

Worship God–Respect all people, places and things as gifts of love. Share friendship and warmth as gifts to be given to others.

Seek Beauty–Look for the good in all people, places, things and nature.

Give Service–Show you care. Be a helper at home, at school, in your neighborhood, in your community, in your world.

Pursue Knowledge–Try new things. Experiment with a new skill. Learn more about something you already know.

Be Trustworthy–Be honest, truthful and do the things you say you will do. Be worthy of the responsibilities others give you.

Hold on to Health–Exercise, get plenty of sleep, eat healthy foods and keep your body neat and clean. A healthy person feels good.

Glorify Work–Do the best you can with everything you do. Be proud of your work. Finish what you start.

Be Happy–Enjoy life. Be cheerful even if things don’t always go your way. Be positive. Help others to be happy. Have fun.

Queue my eyebrow raising and head cocking to the side. It’s all well and good, but for us personally (and for probably half of our interested families), that there “worship God” was going to be an issue.

Now, I don’t wave my atheist flag often, as there’s never really a need to, but as a secular organization we felt that the first line was out of place. I will also admit we probably jumped to conclusions a little quickly that Camp Fire was some secretly religious group. Art emailed the main address on Camp Fire’s website regarding this apparent conflict between their all-inclusive policy and the first line in their “law.” He just received the following response…

The “Camp Fire Law” is a part of our history and tradition. At no time in the organization’s history has a Camp Fire member been asked to take any oath. The Camp Fire law is a desire or a goal, not an oath. Our guiding principles for programs today are our Core Values.

The Camp Fire Law is not in the current program curriculum but is referred to as an optional historical resource. Camp Fire participants, their families and the councils may choose to not use or to use the law in either the original or most recent revision as a part of understanding our heritage.

Well that’s a relief! We were thinking that with our individual club, and my contact with our state’s council had confirmed as well, that we would just skip the Law and carry on normally. Receiving this response from higher up the chain of command was very reassuring that Camp Fire is going to be a great organization to invest our family’s time and energy.

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