Camp Fire History

Luther & Charlotte Gulick

Camp Fire was founded as Camp Fire Girls in 1910 by Luther Halsey Gulick, M.D., and his wife, Charlotte. It is the first non-sectarian organization created for girls in the United States. Mrs. Gulick developed the watchword, Wohelo, and parts of this ceremony in the summer of 1910. The watchword was formed from the first two letters of Work, Health, and Love. Five years later, in 1915, Camp Fire North Texas started its 1st group of Camp Fire girls and continues to serve our youth in Wichita Falls.

The Native American culture has long been a source of inspiration for Camp Fire. It stimulates creative expression, respect for nature, and sensitivity to the world around us. Native American symbolism was a natural outgrowth of an appreciation for differences and cultural inclusiveness and the starting point for Camp Fire’s unique symbolism. The founders believed that the use of symbols and designs should have real meaning, express the ideals and personality of the maker, and encourage self-reflection and personal growth. The history and the future of Camp Fire will remain indebted to the Native American culture for its positive influence on the organization and the youth it serves.

While we appreciate and honor our past, as American society and culture have evolved, so has Camp Fire. Today, Camp Fire North Texas brings our children and their families together through one organization, where they learn to play together, work together, and positively appreciate their similarities and differences.

The organization’s mission is “Camp Fire builds caring, confident youth and future leaders.” Camp Fire youth created a promise to go with the mission statement, “Young people want to shape the world; Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice and discover who they are. In Camp Fire, it begins now.”LIGHT THE FIRE WITHIN.” 

Last year alone, Camp Fire councils nationwide logged over 30 million program hours in pursuit of that mission. Our organization offers quality programs for our Afterschool Program and Day Camp Sessions. 

Camp Fire North Texas reflects the mission, core values, and quality of the Camp Fire experience. The youth find a fun and inclusive place with caring adults committed to providing a positive youth development setting. As in the past, Camp Fire is where children form lasting relationships, develop a sense of belonging, and are actively involved in their learning.

As we celebrate Camp Fire’s past, present, and future role in delivering quality program opportunities to youth and their families, we hope to inspire future efforts to advance the mission and chart the course for an even brighter future.