I love spending time with our campers and staff around the campfire. There is something elemental, primal about the experience. Doing so connects us to a practice used by humans for hundreds of thousands of years: seeking shelter and warmth, cooking, sharing stories… and courage… while in community around the campfire.
Campfire & Society
The campfire has provided a great deal over the millennia – warmth, protection from predators, a beacon, a place to cook, and more. So important is the campfire, in fact, that some researchers suggest that the campfire conversations of the past have helped to shape who we have become!
‘Are we going to have a campfire?’ is one of the first questions potential campers ask. The second, of course, is, ‘Will there be s’mores?’ Darn tootin’. In fact, one research has found initial evidence that being around the campfire actually lowers one’s blood pressure.
It’s a so pervasive in human culture, in fact, that the healing properties of sitting around the campfire is a part of Fort Nite. (Grab just about any 12-year-old and they’ll explain.)
Campfire & Camp
At camp, we use the campfire to gather around, to share in community, laughter and a bit of learning. While maybe not necessary, I firmly believe the tradition of Campfire is vital to Weequahic’s culture. Because it’s the only time we celebrate the victories of the past week and think about how we’ll act in the future, all together, it’s an anchor to our week, one that keeps us moored to what’s important.
In order to live, though, you have to leave the light of the campfire and venture out. You have to lift your anchor, turn your back on the campfire, and walk out into the dark, the unknown. Knowing your way back to the warmth and community of the fire will never leave you – you’ll always know how to get back.
But you can’t really learn and live without moving outside the ring of light your fire provides.
Campfires & You
You want to know something great in the midst of all this unknown? There are a lot of campfires out there. Some, you’ll be invited to join. Others, you won’t want to join but it just doesn’t suit you. A few, you’ll want to join but have second thoughts about, wondering if you belong or if you are good enough.
You are. Just saddle up, listen, learn, and give of yourself genuinely.