Teen Service & leadership


Camp Fire provides youth the opportunity be leaders today through different types of teen leadership programming: 1) Teens in Action, a youth-led and youth-driven program that focuses on advocacy, service-learning or community service; 2) Youth Advisory Councils, designed to ensure youth voice in council and program planning and decision-making; and, 3) Counselor-in-Training programs, focused on supporting youths’ personal and professional development toward a staff role.

Programs include:

Service Challenge—Service Learning Program—Opportunities for Service Learning that Meets School Requirements. Youth participate in Teens in Action Service Learning Program and create and assist with service projects that impact the community. These include programs with children, families, intergenerational activities, environmental projects and service projects created as capstone or projects for students in their senior year of high school.

The WOHELO Award: The word “WoHeLo” was coined as the watchword of Camp Fire by founder Charlotte Gulick and is derived from the first two letters of the words “work,” “health” and “love.”
The WoHeLo Award is the highest achievement in Camp Fire. This prestigious award is specifically for teens in the ninth grade or higher and allows for opportunities for personal development, leadership and advocacy for important issues. Teens in both Teens in Action and Horizon are eligible to earn the WoHeLo Award.

The award is earned by completing an intensive and highly individualized project. Teens will design their own individual project plan based on his or her interests, values and goals. Completing the WoHeLo Award requirements takes hard work, dedication, motivation, creativity, determination and discipline. However, it is also one of the most rewarding Camp Fire experiences youth will ever have.

There are two paths to earning the WoHeLo Award, and each teen selects the way that is best for him or her. The two paths are:

Horizon: This path may be selected by teens who have been in a classic Camp Fire small group for many years and who are familiar with and active in the Horizon program.

Teens in Action: This path may be selected by teens who have only been in Camp Fire for a short time OR who are familiar with and active in Teens in Action.

The two paths are equally exciting and challenging, and both contain three common components. The components are usually completed in the order listed here.

  1. Program Projects Completing the program projects (reflection projects in Horizon, or challenges and quests in Teens in Action) is a part of the WoHeLo Award plan because the projects provide opportunities for teens to explore their potential and to demonstrate that they are caring, self-directed and responsible to themselves and others.
  2. Camp Fire History Lesson
    In this component, teens learn more about the history of Camp Fire, their local council or chapter, Camp Fire’s structure and programs.
  3. Commitment to Action and Advocacy

To earn the WoHeLo Award, teens will also be asked to demonstrate their commitment to action and advocacy through their work with three different issues. One issue must be related to Camp Fire. The other two issues may be about a topic of their choice. Teens will advocate for these three issues by doing the following:

  • Leading,
  • Teaching,
  • Serving and
  • Speaking out.

Prepare Today—Lead Tomorrow is a teen service-learning experience developed through a grant from Learn and Serve America by Camp Fire USA staff from councils across the country. The goals of this initiative are to:

  • Engage teens in intensive community preparedness service-learning experiences.
  • Create opportunities for youth to provide leadership roles in community preparedness efforts.
  • Improve the level of preparedness in families, schools, and communities.

Teen Financial Literacy Training–Engages youth in learning skills that help them plan for their financial future

goLEAD is a youth leadership and service training program offered in collaboration with the Points of Light Foundation’s GenerationON. The program has a middle and high school component and is taught by certified instructors.

  • goLEAD (GenerationON Leadership, Education, and Development), inspires both adults and young people to engage in meaningful service-learning and leadership skill building to effect real community change.
  • Originally developed by the Center for Creative Leadership and recently revised by leaders in the youth development field, this program provides the caliber of leadership training typically available only to corporate executives and government leaders.
  • goLEAD equips youth to become stronger leaders, conscientious communicators, and community-minded citizens through a series of hands-on activities, interactive lectures, and ongoing service project planning. goLEAD incorporates elements of STEM and is in line with many 21st Century competencies.

Counselor in Training Program:

  • Camp Fire’s Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program prepares teens to lead youth in the camp and small group programs. What could be better than sharing and enjoying one’s respect and love of the environment while learning leadership skills that will be useful throughout their life and career? Our CIT program offers teens just this opportunity.
  • Career Development
  • Camp Fire CITs get the most from their experience at camp. They develop valuable career skills, such as:
    • Conflict Resolution
    • Crisis Management
    • Managing to Others’ Strengths
    • Teamwork
    • Project Management
    • Leadership

Teen Driving Safety Program: RoadSkills/RoadsKill

  • A service learning program that teaches youth to be advocates for driving safety throughout the life-cycle.
  • Youth learn about driving safety concepts
  • Youth design safety projects and implement them in their schools and communities.
  • Youth learn to partner with community agencies and learn valuable work skills.

CF66 – The Ultimate Road Trip for One Week or a Weekend

Camp Fire Patuxent Area offers youth the opportunity to travel and provide service through its Camp Fire 66 program. Embarking on a mystery road trip, teams of youth must piece together clues, navigate highways and budget their food and gas allowance while traveling across the region to various service project sites arranged by the program leaders. Youth work with other local organizations like AmeriCorps programs, homeless shelters and state parks to complete projects such as painting homes for senior citizens, planting native vegetation to prevent erosion and participating in river cleanups. Trips are scheduled throughout the year.