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Letters from Adahi: a look at the history of Camp Fire

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webmaster | 07/23/13

By Cassie Niino

Editor’s note: These letters from Camp Adahi, to be run this week, will chronicle the activities of Madera Camp Fire members and their families at the camp, which is in the Sierras.

What is Camp Fire? I cannot count the number of times I have been asked this question. Because the history of Camp Fire is not particularly well known, I thought I would begin this “Letters From Adahi” segment with some of the background of Camp Fire and the reasons we are able to enjoy camp today!

In 1910, Luther and Charlotte Gulick decided that they wanted to begin an organization for girls that supported the values of community service, academic achievement, and cultural diversity. From that decision, the Camp Fire Girls of America was born.

Although the name has evolved over the years, the values and ideals first set forth by the Gulicks have not. Camp Fire still strives to cultivate in youth a desire to care for themselves, others, and the environment.

In 1975, Camp Fire became a coeducational organization by allowing both males and females to be involved.

It has been over 100 years since Camp Fire first began, and there are now 72 councils.

The Madera council was started more than 95 years ago and still thrives to this day. One of the many activities that is unique to our council is Camp Adahi — one week in the summer that every Camp Fire kid looks forward to. Nestled in the Sierra National Forest’s Nelder Grove, Camp Adahi is a week filled with both friends and fun.

Monday was Adahi’s first day with campers; counselors have been arriving as early as Friday to set up camp and prepare for campers to arrive. Multiple emotions run across the camper’s faces; they are simultaneously nervous to leave their parents, but excited for the thrills that lay ahead.

Campers spent most of the day participating in bonding activities to get to know both their counselors and one another.

Campers are divided into six age groups (ranging from entering 4th graders to entering 9th graders) that are named after Native American tribes — Zuni, Navajo, Cherokee, Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache.

These campers will spend the week in their respective tribes — creating memorable friendships while embracing the Camp Fire motto: “Light the fire within.”


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