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Campfire Program Planner


The Troop 212 Campfire Program Planning page is a guide to planning a successful campfire program. In addition, it provides Skits, Riddles and Mysteries that can be used during the planning process.
The campfire program should have a definite, planned structure. It should happen similarly to how a fire burns - starting small, building to a bright excitement, and then tapering off to glowing embers. Moreover, the best campfires are well planned, yet look spontaneous. They are planned and rehearsed in advance of the campfire program.
There are typically three parts to a typical campfire. They are:
Part 1: Opening - The opening includes parading to the formal circle, introductions, the fire lighting, and a short, upbeat opening verse that sets the mood and guidelines for the fire and welcomes people to the magic of the experience
Part 2: Campfire Program -The Campfire Program is the main portion containing skits songs, stories, stuns or games
Part 3: Closing - The closing of the campfire is even more important than the opening. A solemn, quiet, impressive closing is an excellent preparation for a quiet, orderly end of the program

Planning a Successful Event Campfire

Planning Process

Ideally the patrol responsible for the Campfire Program (the Program Patrol) and Master of Ceremonies for the campfire program are assigned at the monthly PLC meeting along with the already established monthly educational themes. The Master of Ceremonies and Program Patrol works with all Patrol Leaders in the troop to create a successful campfire.
  1. The Program Patrol responsible for a specific month's campfire fills out planning form
  2. All Patrol Leaders or assigned patrol member determine (in advance) what skit, riddle, and mystery the Patrol will perform and report to the Program Patrol.
    1. The Patrol Leader or assigned patrol member is responsible for scheduling and practicing skit prior to the campfire program
  3. The Program Patrol turns the Campfire Planner into the Senior Patrol Leader for approval the week prior to the campout. 
The Program Patrol and Master of Ceremonies should follow several common-sense rules:
  • Complete the Campfire Planner
  • Preview new or unfamiliar skits
  • Reserve the right to edit or veto Patrol skits, within reason of course.
    • No inappropriate language or ethnic humor is allowed.
  • Be respectful and affirming of everyone.
  • Remind participants to bring whatever props they need.
  • Remind everyone to speak loudly, so all can hear.

Guidelines for Planning

Some general guidelines for planning the campfire program are:

  • Keep the program short
    • 40 to 50 minutes being about right for Scouts and Venturers
  • Skits are usually never longer than 3 to 5 minutes and are ideally somewhere around 90 seconds.
  • Get skits in place quickly; otherwise all the momentum gained in the evening is disrupted.
  • Avoid ad-hoc or unplanned skits from Patrols, because they usually aren't funny, are too long and don't make any sense, not to mention the Scouts forget what they're supposed to say and do
  • Rehearse the skit beforehand. It will increase the Scouts confidence and can help to avoid whispering, fumbling, amnesia, arguing about who says what, and all sorts of problems.
  • Campfire Material must pass the “Appropriateness Test”
    • Consistent with Scout Law
      • friendly, courteous, kind
      • Song, Stunts, Skits, and Cheers should not embarrass or demean any person or group.
      • Gray areas to stay away from:
        • Underwear
        • Inside jokes
        • Cross-gender impersonation
        • Use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs
        • Use of Water (e.g. throwing a bucket of water)
        • Watch out for using or modifying skits that touch on sensitive topics
        • Skits that are based on Ethnic or handicapped targets are not acceptable 

Campfire Etiquette

The Campfire Master of Ceremonies makes sure Scouts follow proper campfire etiquette including the following:
  • Prohibit flashlights from the circle.
  • No Clapping or Booing - that's why we have 'cheers'
  • No Talking - unless you're involved in an activity, talking spoils the mood and detracts 
from whatever is going on.
    • Have a no-talking rule.
  • The campfire circle is sacred and always quiet before and after the fire.
  • If wood needs to be added to the fire during the campfire, only the "Keeper of the Flame" 
may do it.
  • No booing.
  • Crowd control is easier if you insist on silence as the group enters the campfire ring. Make sure there is sufficient light so they can find their seats.
  • Discipline is important. Squelch any horseplay immediately. Encourage enthusiasm, but maintain control.
  • Get everyone involved in songs or stunts.
  • Recognition should be a part of every campfire program. Have a number of cheers 
planned; be prepared to explain and show them, then let the group cheer each group of 
  • Inspiration contributes to showmanship and is essential to a successful campfire.
  • Quiet as the embers die. Ask everyone to leave the campfire circle quietly. 

Campfire Discipline

The Master of Ceremonies is the leader of the campfire program and needs to maintain control. Below are some guidelines:
  • Be tough but tactful when someone may be interrupting the campfire
  • Address problems immediately - Scouts can get out of hand easily & quickly
  • When friendly requests fail:
    • Follow patrol method
    • Ask Patrol Leader for assistance, if that fails
    • Ask Assistant Senior Patrol Leader or Senior Patrol Leader for assistance, 
if that fails
    • Ask Assistant Scoutmaster or Scoutmaster for assistance 

The Campfire Planning Worksheets

The Campfire Program Planner

How to use the campfire program planner sheet on the next page: Be sure that every feature of this campfire program upholds Scouting's highest traditions.
  1. In a campfire planning meeting, fill in the top of the "Campfire Program" sheet 
  2. On the "Campfire Program Planner" (below), list all units and individuals who will participate in the program 
  3. From each, get and write down the name, description, and type of song, stunt or story they have planned. 
  4. The master-of-the-campfire organizes songs, stunts, and stories in a good sequence, considering timing, variety, smoothness, and showmanship. 
  5. M.C. makes out the campfire program sheet 
  6. Copies of the program are given to all participants.
The Campfire Program Planner form is available online from the BSA at

Campfire Openings

The following section contains some possible Campfire Openings that can be used in the program.

Campfire Openings – 1

Brother Scouts, in the light of the campfire,

Let us come together with thankful hearts;

And let our ideals be ever before us like a blazing torch
Lighting a warm and steady path,

The light not dimming
And the peace not slackening.

The campfire is open.

Campfire Openings – 2

The fire is lit, come lift your voice;

Let song and skit fill the hours;

The fire is lit, so let's rejoice,

Our hearts are full, the night is ours.

Cold nights weighs down the forest bough,
Strange shapes go flitting through the gloom;
But see... a spark, a flame and now
The Wilderness is home.

Campfire Openings – 3

Behold the fire my comrades,

May its flames purify your hearts,

Let no unfriendly thoughts be harbored,

Let no harsh words be spoken

Keep the spirit of the campfire in your hearts forever,
Peace be to all men.

Campfire Openings – 4

Logs burn, flames rise,

Hearts glow, troubles die,

Each for all and all for each,

Happiness within our reach,

Joined together by the good,

Of world-wide Scoutings brotherhood.

Flames leaping - fire bright,

We be brothers here tonight.

Scent of smoke in the evening,

Smell of rain in the night,

The trees, the grass, the flowers,

The campfires are our delight.

Brother Scouts, the campfire is open.

From the North,

From the South,

From the East,

From the West,

May good Scouting come to you always.

Campfire Openings – 5

The fire is lit, come lift your voice;
Let song and skit beguile the hours;
The fire is lit, so let's rejoice,

Our hearts are full, the night is ours.
Come, come, light up the fire,
Come, come, join in the ring,
Here find dreams to inspire,

Stories to tell, songs to sing.

May the smoke of this fire carry your thoughts heavenward,
And make your hearts strong for Scouting.

Campfire Openings – 6

As our campfire smoke curls upward,

May all that is evil go along with it,

And may some kind evening breeze waft it away,
Never to be seen again,

And may peace and deep contentment be our lot.
As our campfire grows and grows,

Let the smoke from its flames rise to

Carry our troubles and bad thoughts away,

Never to be seen again.

Thank you Great Spirit in heaven,

For this fire and the friendship we will share tonight.

Campfire Openings – 7

Behold the campfire, my young wolves,
May its flames clean our hearts.

Let no unfriendly thoughts remain,

Let no hurting words be spoken.
Keep the spirit of this campfire in your heart,
For, together, its flame makes us stronger.

Campfire Openings – 8

From the North

From the South

From the East and the West,

Let all the spirits of peace come and join us.