Sing around the campfire!
Join the Camp Fire Girls.
Join the laughter, join the fun,
It’s a wonderful time for everyone.
It’s a busy day, and when… it’s… done….
What fun to sing around the campfire!
‘Neath the moon above,
Sing “wohelo”, sing “wohelo”,
Work – Health – Love!
I don’t know how many of you were a Camp Fire Girl when you were young, but for people such as I who were not, it always looked like the greatest of fun. It involved ceremonial meetings with rituals, symbolic art, hand signs and the watchword, “Wohelo”, standing for “Work, Health and Love”… attributes which only the Camp Fire Girls could truly understand compared to us outsiders. It blended mystery with productivity in a very appealing way.
The group spanned all the age ranges, with the youthful Blue Birds, the regular Camp Fire Girls, the Junior High Camp Fire Girls and the Horizon Club for senior high school girls. And whatever the age, the girls were busy working on self- and community-enriching projects with the reward of winning cool stuff such as cameras, charms, rings, ponchos, pillows, leather patches, mod posters and, of course, honors badges and pins.
One of those projects was the annual candy drive in which the girls went door-to-door selling their famous mints as well as other types of candy, depending on which year it was. There might be butter mints, assorted chocolates, party wafters (man, those looked delicious!) or peanut clusters.
The candy drive began in 1950, replacing their doughnut drive. They switched from doughnuts to mints because the mints would not go stale. Since then, the candy drive has changed so that the candy is either bought online or sold through the local Camp Fire groups, and the mints can be bought all year round.
One of the charming things about the candy drive was the candy boxes. Each year, the boxes changed, and they typically had a cute design featuring the girls and sometimes a cheerful slogan such as “Buy a box of happiness!” Each drive had its own theme: in 1959, they didn’t hesitate to go for a guilt trip with “She Cares – Do You?” In 1964, they chose the optimistic “Sky’s the Limit”. In 1966, they upped the ante: “One for the table and one for the freezer”. In 1968, they chose a more capitalistic slant: “The girls hope to ‘make a mint of money'”. By 1970, they revisited the 1968 theme, but took it one step further: “Buy one box, buy two, better yet buy a few”.
It seems as though kids grow up faster and faster each year, and the innocence of childhood is an increasingly fleeting thing. Perhaps this is why these old boxes and ephemera have such sentimental value and charm. But whatever the decade, some things still hold true: a girl is like a candy bar – half sweetness… half nuts.
Darlene is the author of "Classic Candy: America's Favorite Sweets, 1950-80" and curator of the Candy Wrapper Museum, which is comprised of her personal collection which she began as a teenager in the 70s. The CWM has been featured in numerous TV shows, magazines, newspapers and blogs, and made its art gallery debut in 2010 at the Scion Space's "Palate" show.
I was a Brownie. We may just have to have a throwdown.
Brownie Smile Song
I’ve got something in my pocket,
That belongs across my face,
I keep it very close at hand,
In a most convenient place.
I’m sure you couldn’t guess it,
If you guessed a long long while.
So I’ll take it out and put it on,
It’s a great big brownie smile.
Cute vs. cute! The ultimate girl fight! ;-D
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I was a Brownie too! All I remember is: “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” Good song for rounds.
Darlene! I was a Camp Girl in Phoenix Arizona in the 50s. I have my book, my vest and my ceremonial gown, decked with beads and felt Indian symbols from the time. I have recently come across a candy poster at a thrift store. I would like to gift it to you for your collection of ephemera at CWM. It says “Support Camp Fire Girls-Buy Fresh and Delicious Candy when the Camp Fire Girl Calls”. It has a leader and 3 girls locking elbows and “stepping out” with 2 “carton-holders” of candy. It is all in red, white, and blue. If you would like it, please contact me and I will take a pix so you can see it. Wohelo! Linda de PS. It is 11 1/4 inch by 14 inches, and has a cardboard fold-out ‘stander’ on the back.
Linda, I will be in touch. Thank you!
This is the BEST POST EVER.
Suzy… I couldn’t agree more. Hee!
Thanks for the memories 🙂 I was a Bluebird then a Campfire Girl back in the late 50s-60’s in Reseda. I loved those beads!
Wow, lots of good memories coming back. I was a Camp Fire Girl from Blue Birds in the mid-60’s all the way through to having my own troop back in the late 70’s. I wound up being a Girl Scout leader for my daughter in the 90’s and I felt like such a traitor!
Thanks for a wonderful trip down memory lane!
So glad you enjoyed it, Cathy!
Thanks for calling attention to Camp Fire’s Candy Sale! Here in Portland, OR my Camp Fire Boys are hard at work selling candy to support what we call “Classic Club” (the original Camp Fire program which started it all). Camp Fire now offers lots of different programs that let kids hone their leadership skills and try new things, but many councils that still offer traditional Club programs continue to fund them through Candy Sale so spread the word- there is no better reason to purchase candy!
Hello Darlene, I was a Blue birl in the late fifthies. Would love to buy some mints the story says they are sold on line? Do you have a web site that that I can get them?
Does anyone know where you can get the Camp fire girl mints that were sold in the 60’s?
I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find anything like them. Thanks Bonnie
I see that the Camp Fire Girls still sell mints, but I don’t know if they’re the same ones. Probably not. 🙁 But you could try contacting the CFG, just to check on what their plans are.