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Camp Fire USA Eastern Massachusetts Council
About Us >> Alumni & History
Alumni and History

Our History

Camp Fire USA was founded in 1910 as Camp Fire Girls by Luther Gulick, M.D. and Charlotte Gulick, as the first nonsectarian, interracial national organization for girls in the United States. Eastern Massachusetts Council was formed in the Boston area in 1919. Small groups (clubs) of girls and adults were formed to allow girls the opportunity to discover, learn, explore and grow in ways that was revolutionary for the early to mid 1900's.

The original watchword of Camp Fire, WoHeLo, meaning Work, Health and Love, and the original Camp Fire Law ― Seek Beauty, Give Service, Pursue Knowledge, Be Trustworthy, Hold On to Health and Be Happy ― remain part of Camp Fire traditions today.

Along with serving youth in traditional club programs, the council has been running resident camp programs since 1923, with the opening of Camp Kiwanee in Hanson, MA. At the time, Camp Fire USA was Camp Fire Girls, and Kiwanee was filled with Camp Fire members from across eastern Massachusetts and beyond.

In 1967, the Council purchased Camp Nawaka from the National Camp Fire Girls organization, to whom the property had been donated. A swimming camp for boys, Camp Aquatic, had been held on the property in the 1940s and early 1950s, but the property had been untended since.

For ten years, Camp Nawaka served older girls, while Camp Kiwanee served girls up to 13. Over time, however, it became clear that only one resident camp was needed. In 1979, Camp Kiwanee was sold to the town of Hanson, and all resident camp programs were consolidated at Camp Nawaka. After 42 years in 2009, Camp Nawaka's property was sold to another camp owner.

In 1975, Camp Fire Girls made the decision to become a co-ed organization.

In 2010, a partnership with the Recreation Commission of Hanson and Camp Fire USA brought back Camp Kiwanee serving co-ed youth in the day camp setting.

Currently, boys make up almost 50% of our youth population! In 1978 Camp Fire Girls formally changed its' name to Camp Fire USA reflecting this change.

Our 90-year history in Boston makes us one of the most deeply rooted youth- development organizations in this community.


Generations keeping the fire burning.

For those interested in joining the Camp Fire USA's National Alumni Registry, go to http://www.campfireusa.org/alumni.aspx

For those interested in joining the Camp Nawaka Alumni group, or the Camp Kiwanee Alumni, send an email with contact information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Cindy will forward the information onto the Alumni representatives.