Across the country, Camp Fire provides programs for youth in the out-of-school-time hours through a variety of quality program opportunities. Youth participate in indoor and outdoor age-appropriate small group activities in which they can explore personal interests, learn to make healthy choices, develop social skills, and have fun.
Overall, research has found that being in an out-of-school-time program is related to youth outcomes primarily when the program is high quality. High-quality program participation resulted in consistently better outcomes, compared with being in no program. Specifically, high program quality and high program safety are both positively correlated with three important adolescent outcomes: fewer risk-taking behaviors, higher levels of school performance, and higher levels of social competence.
The research on the importance of quality in out-of-school time programs is consistent with research on child care quality, which finds that the quality of child care affects outcomes more than being in a program. The quality of an out-of-school time program appears to matter a great deal for adolescents, even over the effects of parent characteristics and family situation (education, income, and family structure). Developing caring, warm relationships with others, learning life skills, and participating in decision-making in out-of-school time programs are associated with positive outcomes for adolescents.”
Camp Fire Out-Of-School-Time programs include:
- Club Program: Age-appropriate clubs which connect youth with caring, trained adult volunteers in a small group/troop atmosphere while also connecting families with one another other in their communities. Using outcome-rich curriculum, groups choose from a variety of fun and educational activities and projects. Clubs meet regularly throughout the year, and youth may be involved over many years.
- Our 5 Age-Level Clubs are:
- Little Stars: Pre-School ages 3 and 4
- Starflight: Kindergarten – 2nd Grade
- Adventure: 3rd – 5th Grade
- Discovery: 6th-8th Grade
- Horizon: 9th-12th Grade
- We have clubs in Bowie, Greenbelt, Takoma Park, Bethesda, and others.
- Community Family Club: Family program which meets regularly and is designed to continue over an l year or a number of years. A Community Family Club includes youth and adults of various ages and may have volunteer or paid leaders depending on the setting or needs of the community.
- Before and/or After-School Programs: Programs during the school year and or/summer which meet the needs of youth and their families. Camp Fire partners with school districts, housing authorities and other community organizations to provide educational and recreational programs for youth. This may also include programming for in-service days and school breaks or enrichment activities for other after-school programs.
- Tutoring Programs: Programs which provides out-of-class instruction to address educational trouble spots and strengthen study skills.
- Mentoring: Programs offered to youth with a teen or adult mentor either in a group or individually. The purpose of the program content may be educational, supportive, or consultative.
- Short-Term Courses: Courses provided by trained instructors to teach skills such as healthy living, self-confidence, self-reliance, safety, service-learning and financial education. The courses are generally 4 to 6 hours in length, and may be offered in several sessions. Camp Fire often partners with school districts, libraries and other community organizations to offer these programs to youth and their families.
“WoHeLo” stands for Work, Health, and Love—values that are central to Camp Fire since our founding in 1910. The WoHeLo Award is the highest achievement for youth in Camp Fire. This prestigious award, open to teens in grades 9 through 12, offers opportunities for personal development, leadership, and advocacy on important issues.
The award is earned by completing an intensive and highly individualized project. Teens design their projects based on their interests, values, and goals. Completing the requirements to earn the WoHeLo Award takes hard work, dedication, motivation, creativity, determination, and discipline. The award demonstrates perseverance, the ability to set and achieve meaningful goals, a strong work ethic, commitment to community service, and leadership.
WoHeLo Award recipients tell us it is the most rewarding experience Camp Fire youth will ever have. And, it is an important addition to a job application, college application and interview, and as part of other community activities he or she is interested in.