Camp Fire Origins: A History Lesson

Written by Chasen Martinsen | 4 Min Read


Camp Fire was intended to “to reveal the beauty, romance, and adventure of all the common things of life” (Gulick, 1910).

  • Camp Fire was the first all-female organization to provide outdoor programming to young women.
  • Camp Fire’s origins are rooted in youth empowerment, environmental education, and community service.
  • This post will reflect on Camp Fire’s 100+ year old legacy and discuss how this rich history has provided a blueprint that has shaped us into who we are today.

Meet the Gulicks

Camp Fire was started by Luther and Charlotte Gulick in 1910 and was initially founded as a women’s organization.

  • In the early 1900s, Luther Gulick, MD, was a nationally known figure in youth development, recreation, and health education.
  • Luther played a prominent role in the founding of YMCA, Boys Scouts, and other leading youth organizations.
  • Charlotte Gulick was a pioneer in outdoor education for women.

Camp Fire’s Blueprint


  • Camp Fire’s “spark mark” is an aerial view of a campfire. The multiple colors of the logs represent the different skills and experiences each individual brings to the organization.


  • Camp Fire’s colors are red and blue with accents of yellow. If the colors are used together, they go in ascending order from lightest to darkest.


  • Camp Fire’s motto is “Give Service.” Learning through service has always been a core component of the Camp Fire experience.


  • Three principles: Work Health Love.
    • Work lays the roots of true service to humanity.
    • Health is fundamental.
    • Love is our highest law.

Locations Nationwide

There are 56 Camp Fire councils across 26 states.

Camp Fire’s Promise

In 2012, Camp Fire introduced their “Promise” to young people, which is as follows:

The Camp Fire Experience

Additional Resources