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–parenting for the 21st Century!!
Thursday April 24th 2014

Summer Fun with Campfire USA!

There’s been a debate in our home: to Girl Scout or not to Girl Scout.  Our girls want to be a part of something fun, something that will build lasting memories and friendships.  They want to learn new skills, to camp, and to have ‘badges’.

But the Scouts have come under fire for their openly negative attitude towards gay and non-religious families.  Tim Curran knows all about this; in 1981 he was forced from his scout group because he was gay.  It would take 17 years for the courts to rule–really?–and the verdict would be that the Boy Scouts had the right to openly break California’s anti-discrimination law.  (you can read more information on the lawsuit by clicking here)

Now, when we moved from Seattle to Missouri, I didn’t know about the lawsuit.  Girl Scouts seemed a natural eventuality for my children– it was a stable, well-known organization, and it taught valuable social and self-help skills.  But, not all Girl Scouts were made the same.  In the great Northwest, Girl Scouts were essentially a secular organization; their booklet talked about the pledge, specifically “To serve God and my country,” but God was not a part of being a Girl Scout.  No one cared about anything but whether or not you were a kid that wanted to have fun and build friendships.

Well, God is front in Center here in the Girl Scouts of the Midwest.  “We pray at every meal and snack, and we make sure that our girls have spiritual guidance-of some sort.”  Translation: no Atheists, Agnostics, or Freethinkers aloud. What options does that leave for the millions of parents that just want their child to have a wonderful experience, and not be ‘spiritually guided?’

Enter Campfire USA.  The organization states explicitly on it’s website:

As the first nonsectarian, interracial organization for girls in the United States, Camp Fire USA takes pride in its long-standing commitment to providing fun programs and services to all children and families in America. We are inclusive, open to every person in the communities we serve, welcoming children, youth and adults regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation or other aspect of diversity. Camp Fire USA’s programs are designed and implemented to reduce sex-role, racial and cultural stereotypes and to foster positive intercultural relationships.

After having a few Freethinking parents suggest it to me, I plan to enroll my girls in the fall.  This is an organization that should be supported by as many parents as possible.  My children won’t mind if the name Girl Scout is changed to Campfire USA; my children want to have fun and make friends!

Not only has it been around for nearly a century, but Campfire USA is for all children-no matter their religious affiliation. Take a moment and rethink Girl/Boy Scouts of America;  they choose to be openly hostile to gays and lesbians, as well as ANYONE who isn’t a Christian.  This is not in the best interest of our country, our children, or our future.

For more information, please contact the Campfire USA organization at their website by clicking here.

Reader Feedback

10 Responses to “Summer Fun with Campfire USA!”

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  2. Check the Wikipedia article about CampfireUSA. They talk about the first Campfire "Law" being "Worship God." The organization seems to be organized regionally/locally into "Councils" as you can see on the organization web site. Apparently the attention given to the "First Law" varies from Council to Council.

    Not in the same class of organizations, Camp Quest offers secular summer camps for children of nonbelievers. The CQ position is that children should not be classified according to beliefs of their parents. Rather thoughtful skepticism and reason are encouraged, with the freedom to express beliefs in the company of others like themselves.

    A few Camp Quests are beginning to offer family camps and other activities at other times of the year. Perhaps this will become more of a norm in the future.

    In the spirit of disclosure, I am Director of Camp Quest of the Smoky Mountains. I would like to offer regular year-round activities, but for now our campers come from all over the eastern USA so this is impractical.

  3. sorority says:

    Enjoyed the posts..

  4. Andrea says:

    I’m having a problem with Campfire USA, and wanted to do some more research, which brought me to this blog. My husband is agnostic/atheist and I am Christian, however we both feel that youth indoctrination into religion isn’t correct (he can choose what he wants to believe later in life). With this in mind, Boy Scouts are out. So I find Campfire, and things seem good on their site. I’m in Michigan, and there are three councils listed on the homesite. The closest council unfortunately does not serve my area (just everything else around it). I searched for other youth organizations and found a Campfire Council that serves my area. I thought it was odd that it wasn’t linked from the main site. Unfortunately, there is a problem. On the main page of that site they list “Campfire Law” and the very FIRST item is “Worship God.”

    Now, I don’t know if this is a rogue council piggybacking onto the Campfire name, or in fact they do support Judeo-Christian beliefs. I will be contacting the main Campfire people to see what the deal is. It appears that there isn’t anything in my area to just get kids together in a supportive, non-religous environment.

  5. erp says:

    I must point out that the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) are a distinct organization from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) just as Campfire USA is (the BSA back in the 1920′s even tried to force the Girl Scouts to change their name). The GSUSA policies are far more accepting than the BSA (though individual units and areas vary as you’ve found). I hope you have better luck with Campfire.

  6. Joni says:

    I wish this were available in Utah, it sounds like a great camp. I was going to post about Earth Scouts in case any of your readers were interested. There is also no group near us but we can join as a family if we want. Then I found this site http://www.infidels.org/families/parents/links.html
    and under boy scout alternatives they list 5 wonderful organizations available to secular families as well as non-secular families, boys as well as girls. I remember doing girl scouts and the 4H club when I lived in Kansas as a kid and I really enjoyed both of those.

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