Building a Better Texas 3

Camp Fire helps raise the boys and girls that become the leaders of tomorrow — and they need your support.

The outdoors are a special place for children. Unburdened by the distractions of screens and toys, imaginations bloom, games take shape, and self-sufficiency gets encouraged alongside curiosity, physical activity, and respect for the environment. Many of us have fond memories of Camp Fire. For some an after-school program, for others a precursor to other clubs, we gathered to learn about nature and crafts, raised money for charity, and wore our patch-bedecked vests with pride.

Camp Fire has done an immeasurable amount of good for the children and communities of Fort Worth. Established in 1914, Camp Fire First Texas has created generations of confident and empathetic leaders who share their gifts throughout North Texas.

If your memories contain recollections of Blue Birds, Camp Fire Girls, and bake-sale fundraisers, you may feel shocked to learn how much Camp Fire has grown. One of the largest organizations of its kind, Camp Fire’s programs serve girls and boys alike, and cover everything from school prep to outdoor skills.

“Within the services we offer, the key social impact areas come down to work, health, and love,” says Randi Mitchell, board member of Camp Fire First Texas. “Within that, Camp Fire focuses on service learning, volunteerism, the health of the whole child, and fosters a love of the outdoors.”

Camp Fire’s slogan, “light the fire within”, sums up well the benefits that children gain from participation. An exploration into service, as well as connection within the community, can inspire children to an understanding of how they can serve the world around them. Children with knowledge of their intrinsic value approach life with greater confidence, and feel prepared to take on challenges from the school-room to the campsite.

“People who participated in the program years ago may not see all that Camp Fire does now,” says Randi. “The most notable difference is how programs get delivered. While it used to be mainly club and home-based, it now occurs in early childhood programs.”

Camp Fire extends its reach to teens through the Step Up program, which helps at-risk high school students graduate and lay the groundwork for a promising future. Camp Fire also provides development training for teachers, and maintains the outdoor connection through overnight campouts and summer day camps.

If you can appreciate what Camp Fire does for our community, or know firsthand a child who looks forward to her after-school Camp Fire activities, you can support the organization through a pair of upcoming events. The Bingo, Brew and View occurs on October 3rd at the Collective Brewing Project at 112 St. Louis Avenue.

This social event serves as a preview and warm-up for Camp Fire’s 32nd annual An Artists’ Christmas on November 12th. Attendees at the Bingo, Brew and View can view digital representations of the artwork available at the gala auction, play games, bingo, and compete for door prizes to benefit Camp Fire. Tickets are available for $25, which covers unlimited beverages and the cost of all games.

The gala, An Artists’ Christmas, stands as one of Fort Worth’s premier annual events. Held once again at the Fort Worth Zoo, the gala presents 80 pieces of original art available for live and silent auction. Additionally, live auction packages include opportunities to win lavish trips and other one-of-a-kind experiences. As the premier art auction in North Texas, An Artists’ Christmas serves to not only celebrate the work of regional artists, but also their solidarity with Camp Fire’s mission and goals. Since 1984, the event has raised nearly $4 million to support Camp Fire, its programs, and the youth of North Texas.

“This is our premier fundraising event, and attendees can expect a beautifully planned evening,” says Randi. “There will be a cocktail reception and seated dinner, live music and dancing, and because it’s at the zoo, we can expect some special surprise guests.”

The funds raised at these events are critical to Camp Fire’s continued operation. As far as community impacts, it’s hard to overstate the value of what Camp Fire does. Whether it’s providing children with a fun, safe, and inclusive space to learn and grow, or showing them how to form lasting connections between themselves and the world, Camp Fire has long shaped the dynamic leaders that Fort Worth needs. Last year alone, Camp Fire served 25,000 people. To support its efforts, visit CampFireFW.org and plan attendance at one of its events.