This past weekend, I was introduced to an amazing campfire tradition that I couldn’t wait to share on the Campfire Blog.
This is a Boy Scouting tradition, but I have included the word camper throughout and invite you to share this tradition on your next camping trip.
Legend has it that Baden Powell (the founder of Scouting) would always take a small amount of ashes from a ceremonial campfire, then sprinkle those ashes into the flames of the next. In the morning, when the ashes were cold, he would stir them, and each camper would be given ashes to pass on the campfire lineage at future camps. A list is maintained of all of the locations the ashes have traveled.
If more than one Scout, or camper, brought past campfire ashes to the same campfire then these lists would be combined.
According to tradition, only those present at the campfires, would carry away ashes. The purpose of this tradition was to share the memories of past campfires, and to encourage Scouts and campers to share the longstanding traditions and the international aspects of the world brotherhood of scouting.
The ashes that I received carry memories of past campfires dating back to 1933 and originated in Wildcat Canyon in Eldora, Iowa. These ashes kindled the spirit of Scouting brotherhood in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States. These ashes come from two World Jamborees, two Pan-American Jamborees, over 36 Wood Badge Courses, both the 50th and 60th Wood Badge Reunions at Gilwell Park, and a campfire lit by Lady Baden-Powell.
The word Campfire or Camp-fire was first recorded around 1665-75
Start Your Own Tradition
To begin this tradition, you can create your own campfire journal by copying “The Tradition” paragraphs above and adding a few paragraphs of your own. Be sure to include the date and location of the first fire in this chain.
On your next camping trip, pack plenty of Ziploc bags along with a copy of your campfire journal for everyone attending your campfire. Introduce the tradition by sharing this during your campfire and collecting the cold ashes, to share with the participants. Give everyone a copy of the journal and encourage them to share on their next camping trip.
I encourage you to share this on your next camping adventure and if there are neighboring campers, it might be nice to invite them to your campsite to share the fellowship and this fire tradition.
My Campfire Journal
Now that I have captured the history of the ashes that I possess, I will use this blog to capture when and where I share these in the future.
I first experienced this tradition on September 22, 2018 at Camp Lowden near Oregon, IL with my Wood Badge patrol pictured here.
October 14 – I shared this tradition with some Scouters from our home Troop during a camping Trip to Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin.
If you enjoyed this post, I encourage you to share this tradition around a campfire or with your friends and family online!
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This is one of my favorite traditions. A bonus is that when you throw the ashes in, the embers spark and fly up in a beautiful way… Like they are alive with the spirit of past campfires.
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