I am a Camp Fire alumna. I am a WoHeLo Medallion recipient but it took a long time to get there and to be proud of that.
When I was almost six years old, my family moved from 'the wrong side of the tracks' to a new home and school. I promptly joined Camp Fire and immediately met one of my best friends for life (Hi, Tracy!). The creative activities were endless as are my memories of those times. I loved going to Camp Waluhili and learned more than I can even recall there. I learned to track wildlife, to ride and care for horses, to shoot a bow and arrow, to not eat frozen skittles (hello broken teeth!), how singing the same song over and over can become annoying, to not put my elbows on the table, how to mix all flavors of sodas to create 'suicides' and that scorpions are in fact all over Oklahoma.
During middle school, I started to become embarrassed with my involvement in Camp Fire. Those years are rough! It's easier to go back and list what wasn't embarrassing. It was also during this time that we started working on Torch Bearers which are essentially more involved research projects. Going through storage recently, I came across my old Torch Bearers. I had studied Fiber Arts, Science Fiction and Creative Arts to name just a few. While these were interesting, they seemed like more schoolwork outside of school and I wasn't the type of middle-schooler who was much into extra homework. Thankfully, I had some great encouragement from my parents and unbelievable group leader that kept me trucking.
Once in high school, I rarely spoke of my Camp Fire life but I stuck through it. My parents allowed me to quit playing basketball, quit playing clarinet, quit playing piano, quit practically everything just as long as I stayed in Camp Fire. I didn't want to be involved in anything that anybody told me to do really, but I agreed and am glad I did. During my high school years, I complied my WoHeLo. Torch Bearers were nothing compared to this! Four years of book reports, Reflections, research on Volunteerism, Environmental Issues and the Importance of Youth Group Involvement (I was incredibly active in our youth group growing up) and many, many meetings later my WoHeLo was complete.
In May of 1998, the same night as my prom which I attended afterwards, I walked across the stage of Grand Council Fire and accepted my medallion. I was ecstatic to be done with it all but at the same time overwhelmed that this was the end and the beginning. With one best friend, prom date and family in the audience and my other best friend by my side, my parents presented me with my award and that was it.
I did it.
Fourteen years later, I realize the enormity of my accomplishment within Camp Fire. I stuck with something for TWELVE years as a child and am a better person for it. The things I learned, the friends I made, the confidence I found are almost all attributed to the organization and those associated with it. I fought it for years but unlike many, I stuck with it. I'm thankful my mom made me keep that promise and I'm proud of myself still.