Cub Scouts have many requirements that require them to show off their talents during a campfire program. Planning the coolest campfire program that includes everyone will help advance the young boys from rank to rank.

It’s easy to hold a campfire program that has people talking for weeks. All you have to do is remember the four S‘s. They are Showmanship, Songs, Stunts, and Stories.

Showmanship

Showmanship is the art of attractive presentation. It puts sparkle and life into a gathering. Without showmanship, a campfire can go flat. Here are three things to keep in mind when wanting to demonstrate showmanship within your campfire program:

  1. Campfire location: Location of the campfire is an important part of showmanship. Where possible, an outdoor campfire setting is ideal, but it can be held anywhere large enough to accommodate the group. Just make sure there is ample lighting so that the action up front can be seen.
  2. Opening ceremony: Get a program underway with plenty of pep. A dramatic way of lighting the fire is one way to do this. Use lively songs and cheers. The opening ceremony sets the tone of the program, so make sure it’s good! Below is an example of an opening ceremony:

3. Closing ceremony: The end of a campfire should be quiet and inspirational. Give the most important message of the night as the embers die down. In between the opening and closing, use stunts and songs to add sparkle to the program.

Songs

Different types of songs are appropriate for campfires. You can choose your songs that will best compliment the theme of the program. These could include: Scout songs, quiet songs, inspirational songs, and songs that require audience participation. To really get your audience into the singing spirit make sure that you have the lyrics for your songs ready and available. Not everyone will know the songs that will be sung and will be more likely to participate when they can sing along easily.

The internet is a great resource to finding Scout songs for your campfire program. Here is a list of links provide a great variety of songs:

Stunts 

Campfire stunts are known as the skits, cheers, and run-ons and have one major purpose – fun! But don’t forget that stunts can also train and inspire. Sources: Use Boy Scout literature, campfire books, and most importantly the imaginations of Scouts as resources for ideas of stunts.

Stunts must always be appropriate. Avoid the following gray areas: underwear, inside jokes, water on the audience, toilet paper, use of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco, cross dressing.

Have stunts practiced and approved by a Scout leader before presenting them at the campfire. If something inappropriate makes it on the stage, the master of the ceremonies should stop and dismiss the act tastefully, and use it as a time to teach the boys about appropriateness.

Campfire leaders must be rather strict about discipline at the campfire discipline. There shouldn’t be booing or hissing or jeering.

Use cheers as reward for campfire acts. These will build self-esteem and boost participation. Check out the cheer “Seal of Approval” below:

Stories

Storytelling is an art, that can be learned with practice. There are five categories of campfire stories: 

  • Ghost
  • Humorous
  • Adventure
  • Hero
  • General Interest

A campfire program should build toward a high point or climax. This should be an event that will make the evening a thing to remember. Here is a resource for short stories.

Now that you have the basic foundation for an amazing campfire program remember this; make sure the program has good audio. You don’t want all your Cub Scouts’ hard work to go un-heard. If that means your location is in a smaller setting or you use microphones, just do it!

Don’t fret about planning your campfire program. If you keep in mind the four S‘s and include your Cub Scouts in the planning, you’ll have the coolest program ever. Remember to have fun and help is there for you!

Will you be planning a campfire program that is worth remembering?

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Maloree Anderson
Maloree is a photographer, graphic designer, Ravenclaw, mom of one, friend of Scouting and Marketing Specialist with the Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America.

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