Thank you, Sarah Saunders for saving a child’s life!

Snack Time

Camp Fire Central Oregon would like to recognize Sarah Saunders for successfully administering abdominal thrusts in order to save a child from choking at Juniper Elementary School. Sarah is a Camp Fire Club Leader at Juniper. We are incredibly proud of her efforts, and applaud her for thinking clearly and acting decisively in a time of crisis.

Of course, this scenario is not uncommon. “On average, a child will die every 5 days in the United States from choking on food.” (1) While this is truly a frightening statistic for any parent, there are steps and preventative measures that can be taken to decrease the risk of a choking injury death.

Choking deaths are very preventable, yet many caregivers simply do not know the proper steps to take in order to ensure a child’s safety. It is important to communicate with anyone who is in direct contact with your child in a caregiver role. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and especially siblings who are caring for one another should all be aware of how to prevent choking related injury deaths.

Camp Fire’s Babysitter Training Course is an important tool to help get young people ready for the responsibility of caring for younger children. Even a seasoned babysitter can have misinformation and gaps of knowledge, so we recommend that all young people, even those who have been caring for younger siblings for years now, consider joining us for this course. It is essential for young babysitters to learning about choking preventative measures, basic first aid, and how to react calmly and decisively in a time of crisis – just as Sarah Saunders did.

If you are a parent of a young child, ask your babysitter if they have undergone any training. At the end of our Babysitter Training Course, each young person will receive a certificate of completion. If you already have a babysitter that you and your children adore, yet discover that they have not gone through any training, you may consider offering to sign them up for this course.

Learn more about our Babysitter Training Course now!




1. Science Daily. Choking is a leading cause of injury and death among children.


Great Camp Fire resident camps in the Pacific Northwest

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Looking for a resident camp this summer? Check out these great Camp Fire Camps in the Northwest!

There’s something special about a resident camp experience. Many children find their spark, and cultivate an inner self-reliance and strength when given the opportunity to attend a sleep-away camp. Resident camps are great places to make new friends, learn useful skills, and discover who you are. There are a number of Camp Fire resident camps here in the Pacific Northwest, and they are just calling for your child to experience something new, and light the fire within.

Click on the links below to learn what each camp has to offer:

Mt Hood, OR: Camp

Eugene, OR: Camp

Seattle, WA: Camp

Everett, WA: Camp Killoqua –

Spokane, WA: Camp



A Day in the Life of SummerKids 2016

There’s something special happening this summer: for the first time ever, we will offer a Pick Your Days program for Summerkids, which means that you will be able to tailor your child’s experience to perfectly fit your schedule.

We have nine unique and imaginative themed weeks of SummerKids planned this year.  If you’ve ever been curious about what a day-to-day schedule may looks like at this fun camp, see check out the example week below.

You can CLICK HERE to learn more about SummerKids, or click on your favorite weeks below and register today!


The Joy of Camp: A Conversation with Cece Valceschini

Nestled in the remote outskirts of Bend, Oregon, Tumalo State Park sits on just over 330 acres of High Desert wilderness. It is a local hot spot for camping, hiking, and summer barbecues. It is also the location of Camp Fire Central Oregon’s Tumalo Day Camp, a week-long experience that serves to connect young people to nature, themselves, and new friends in an outdoor learning environment. “It’s just the best thing about summer,” explains Cece Valceschini, Camp Fire Central Oregon’s Program Director, “and it’s literally right here in our own backyard. Kids don’t have to travel very far to get a really meaningful outdoor experience.” In fact, hundreds of young people from across Central Oregon flock to Tumalo Day Camp each year, many of them with parents in tow. “What some people don’t realize is that when you volunteer as a Camp Counselor, your kids can attend camp for free.” Cece enthusiastically points out; “That’s a huge deal to a lot of families who normally couldn’t afford something like this. It evens out the field and makes camp about the kids, not about the money.” Of course, Camp Fire strives to offer financial assistance to as many families as possible each year. Last year, thanks to a generous donation from the Clabough Foundation, $10,000 worth of financial aid was awarded to families so their children could attend Tumalo Day Camp.

Once at camp, the fun truly begins. “Our Counselors In Training really run the show,” Cece admits:

“When camp actually starts, the adults take a back seat. It’s great! We let the kids guide themselves through a lot of their own activities. We make sure they’re safe, and offer guidance when needed, but really, we try to let them learn things on their own, and do a lot of the activities together, without too much adult intervention. Kids just learn better by doing, and it’s so fun to let them try new things. Of course, we do have adults teaching each group certain things. For example, I’ll teach compass and survival skills.”  –Cece Valceschini

Each group at camp has a Counselor In Training (CIT). These are middle-school and high-school students who have gone through multiple training courses, and even camped out overnight to learn all the things that they will be expected to teach the younger kids in their groups. The CIT’s act as mentors. It seems to be a winning formula, and has been a tradition at Tumalo Day Camp for many years.



A CIT leading her group in a performance skit at Tumalo Day Camp.













CIT’s seem to work their way up the ranks year after year. Amber Goemaat, now a student at the University of Oregon, was once a camper, then went on to become a Counselor In Training. She dedicated her summers to Camp Fire and eventually became the CIT Director the year before heading off to college. It was a great thing to put on her application. Amber attributes many of her leadership experiences at Camp Fire with helping her to secure a full ride scholarship to the U of O.

“That’s just the culture of Camp Fire,” says Cece. “It’s more like a community, and kids feel like they belong. The experiences that they have stay with them for a long time. I’ve seen so many kids completely break out of their shells, so many of them come to us just painfully shy, but after a while they really surprise me.” Sometimes this transformation takes a little time. “When I first met Camille years ago, she was so, so shy. She could hardly talk! But after a while, she really opened up. She started becoming more confident, and just last year she was in a leadership role helping us to run the SummerKids program.”

It’s easy to see why Camp Fire has played an active role in the Central Oregon community for over 100 years now.


Get in on the summer fun and CLICK HERE to sign up for Tumalo Day Camp now!

Also, check out SummerKids HERE – It’s better than childcare; it’s a place to grow all summer long.


Everyone gets into Pirate Day!

Cece seen here in a costume during a Pirate themed day at Tumalo Day Camp – even the adults get in on the fun!

Game Blog – Why Summer Learning Matters

Don’t forget to scroll down for links to eight fun games you can play with your child this summer!

Beginning at the age of four, the average child has the ability to learn up to six words per day.1 By third grade, most children can map out a complex dance routine, then repeat it—which makes for a wonderful skill at a talent show. While there are many steps on the ladder of early childhood development, only one thing can be certain: in order for your child to learn something new, they must be exposed to it.

Over the summer, children typically lose two months’ worth of educational knowledge. This phenomenon has been called “Summer Slide” by experts, and while all young people experience it, those who are exposed to educational activities during the summer typically have an advantage when school starts back up in the fall.2

Luckily, there are steps that parents can take to combat Summer Slide and keep their children’s minds active in the warm months to come. Playing a game that supports creative thinking can be a fun way to stimulate your child’s mind. Below is an example of a game that is suitable for ages four and up:

Game: Silly Comic Strip

Minimum number of players needed: Three

Materials needed: One piece of paper and pen/pencil for each person (that’s it!)

How to play: Write one sentence at the very top of your paper (the sillier the better). Pass the paper to the person on your left. You will now have someone else’s paper, with their sentence on it, in front of you. Now draw a picture that represents that sentence. Carefully fold the top of the paper back, hiding the original sentence. Pass the paper to your left again. You will now have a new piece of paper with a picture at the top. Write down one sentence that you believe represents what is happening in that picture. Fold the top of the paper back, hiding the picture. Pass the paper to your left – continue to repeat this process until there is no more room on the page, or you get your original paper back. Unfold the page and get ready to laugh!

TIP: When drawing your picture, make sure to leave enough room below for a sentence description, as well as other pictures down the line.

Fight summer slide! Outdoor learning is a great way to keep young minds active and engaged. Camp Fire Central Oregon offers many opportunities for young people to get outside, learn, stay active, play, and meet new friends. We now offer an exciting new Pick Your Days program for SummerKids. And don’t forget to sign up for a week of outdoor learning at Tumalo Day Camp! Whatever your schedule is this summer, Camp Fire will be there.


Looking for more fun game to play with your child this summer? You’re in luck! Click the links below and let the fun begin:

Balloon Ball


Alpine Caper

Black Magic 

The Game of Shapes


Superheroes & Villains 

Human Knot




1. PBS, Child Development Tracker, Your Three Year Old

2. National Summer Learning Association, Know The Facts,

Time Well Spent – Camp Fire Teen tells about her experience with the YAC

McKenzie Napier tells all about her time spent on Camp Fire’s Youth Advisory Council

By the age of 16, most teens are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in to the world. Camp Fire’s McKenzie Napier is no different. She keeps herself extremely busy between Nordic Skiing competitions by being an active member of her school’s leadership council, speech and debate team, and Camp Fire’s Work Health Love (WoHeLo) program. It’s clear that Napier has a strong head of steam. She’s determined to make a difference in her community, and learn how to be a leader. That’s why she decided to join Camp Fire’s National Youth Advisory Council (YAC).

Soft spoken and extremely bright, Napier has decided to lead by example, proving that young people can participate in more than one extracurricular commitment at a time. Her term with the YAC began in January, and she has been participating in regular phone meetings ever since. “Every few weeks we have a conference call and we go over whatever we’re working on that week,” she explains. Right now, Napier and her group, consisting of other teens from around the nation, are working toward revising Camp Fire’s WoHeLo program, the very program she is now a part of here in Bend. She is one of 12 young people who have been accepted to the YAC this year. The competition was stiff, and not all who applied were selected. The other participants are working on projects that range from planning for Absolutely Incredible Kid Day, to ensuring that Camp Fire councils from around the nation can communicate more efficiently with each other. “That’s basically our job,” Napier points out, “to help advise Camp Fire National on programs.  We make sure they’re still relevant and functioning.”

Of course, they have some help along the way. Each new YAC member is paired up with someone who participated in this program in the past. Napier’s mentor, a senior in High School, lives in Florida. “She’s really nice,” Napier acknowledges. “She checks in to make sure everything is going well.”

When asked if she believes that the YAC has had a positive impact on her life so far, Napier enthusiastically replies; “Oh yeah, definitely because I feel like it’s really difficult for teens to have an influence on things. Being in YAC allows me to be around a lot of other like-minded teens who want to have a positive impact.”


For more information on how you, or someone you know can get involved in Camp Fire, contact us today. Or check out some of these great teen programs:

Teens In Action

Counselor In Training (Summer)


Camp Fire Turns Theory Into Practice – After School Today

Click Here to download the full article from After School Today, Winter 2016


CONTRIBUTED BY CHERYL KRAVITZ, CRK Communications, Silver Spring, Maryland
“With support and guidance from the adults in their lives, youth want to focus on their own personal development. They want to be their best. Through the process of learning, practice, and reflection, they are more likely to thrive,” said Cathy Tisdale, Camp Fire President and CEO.

“At Camp Fire, we believe everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from, has the ability to lead. We cannot wait until adulthood to teach the leadership skills. We need to equip youth with the tools now.”

Camp Fire National Headquarters has announced the results of a three-year concerted effort to bridge research to practice by training its youth development staff and volunteers to guide youth toward a thriving trajectory.

The Thrive Foundation for Youth invested in an initiative to explore an approach called “Step-It-Up2-Thrive.” Camp Fire embraced Thrive{ology}, as it offered a refined lens by which to view its work and established a common language to help communication and understanding amongst youth, staff and beyond.

The endeavor determined if youth thriving indicators could be positively influenced through key actions by trained, caring, perceptive adults. Camp Fire’s research shows a statistically significant positive influence, and increased development  of skills to succeed…(Click Here to download the full article)