Welcome to Camp Fire Alaska!
Hello everyone and Welcome to Camp Fire Alaska!!
I am pleased to welcome our 2020 Rural Team, and I look forward to a fantastic camp season with you!
This blog will serve as our basis for communication leading up to arrival. I will be emailing updates, but please check the blog regularly.
I’m sure many of you have a lot of questions, please use the blog as a resource for all things Camp Fire related. If you have any questions, please first check out our frequently asked questions page (FAQ) located on the FAQ tab at the top of the page. If you still have questions that haven’t been answered please get in touch via the comments section of the FAQ page. We are here for you!
For those of you who are new to Camp Fire, I would like to use this blog post to introduce you to Camp Fire Alaska, and more specifically our Rural Alaska Program.
Camp Fire was founded in 1910 by Luther Gulick, M.D., and his wife, Charlotte Gulick, as the first nonsectarian, interracial national organization for girls in the United States. Shortly after the national agency was formed, Edith Kempthorne started Alaska’s first Camp Fire club in Juneau in 1913 as part of a national movement to extend the Camp Fire model through the “Guardians of the Fire” program. Camp Fire was one of the first youth organizations in Alaska.
In 1959, the first official Camp Fire council began operating as The Chugach Council of Anchorage, serving 350 girls through Camp Fire clubs. Camp Fire started Camp Yalani at King’s Lake Camp in Wasilla in 1960 and offered two one-week sessions each summer for girls.
The Alaska Council Takes Shape
Joan Hurst, the Alaska Council’s first executive director, arrived in 1962. Camp Si-La-Meo, Camp Fire’s day camp program, was the first formal program launched in 1963. (Learn more about Joan Hurst here)
In 1964, following the earthquake, Camp Fire Alaska Council received national support from Camp Fire’s friendship fund. The local volunteers gathered supplies and went to villages that had been impacted by the quake. This was the beginning of the Council’s Rural Alaska Program. The rural program was later expanded to address the issue of high drowning rates in Alaska’s villages by offering water safety and swimming lessons to children. The program promotes healthy life skills and choices such as boating safety instruction, arts and crafts, cooperative games, hikes, camp-outs, teen activities, service projects and community events.
Camp Fire and the Alaska Council Grow
Camp Fire realized there were many benefits to making the organization even more inclusive, and so the organization became officially coeducational in 1975 and was renamed Camp Fire Boys and Girls. As Alaska entered the 1970s and ’80s, and more parents began working full-time outside the home, the problem of unsupervised children in our communities became a critical issue.
Hurst and others had a critical role in making the case for quality child care to the Alaska State legislature, and created the Child Care Assistance Program to assist working families with child care expenses. School Age Child Care became a major program, and today the Council operates 28 municipally licensed before and after school programs in Anchorage and Eagle River.
The Community Centers Program was started in 1978 by a team of Social Work students in the Fairview and Mountain View neighborhoods in Anchorage. The purpose of the program was to provide safe and nurturing after-school alternatives to youth in economically challenged neighborhoods at no cost to families.
Camp Fire Alaska’s Rural Program is entering its 56th year. We continue to educate youth on cold water safety and provide them with opportunities to experience summer camps that would not be available without the service of our staff.
We offer program sessions that range between 2 and 4 weeks, where we tailor each session to meet the needs of the specific community we serve. Camp Fire aims to emphasis the importance of healthy life choices, reduce high-risk behavior, and encourage youth and community engagement.
On behalf of all of us here at Camp Fire, as well as the hundreds of youth whose lives you will touch this summer, thank you for your service and commitment to the youth and the future of Alaska.