When you hear the word ‘scout,’ what comes to mind? Perhaps you think merit badges, or maybe Thin Mints? While the Girl and Boy Scouts of America have become a commonplace name across the country, did you know that Camp Fire Girls was another organization created the same year and was in fact far larger than the Girl Guides of America (later called Girl Scouts)?

Formed in 1910 and first brought to Greeley in 1916, Camp Fire Girls was designed with the dual goal to provide enrichment both in the great outdoors and in the home. Every member knew the camp watchword, “WoHeLo,” which stood for work, health, and love, the guiding principles of the organization.

After changing its name to Camp Fire Boys and Girls, and eventually simply Camp Fire, the organization pioneered efforts to embrace diversity and inclusiveness. Though Camp Fire saw a gradual decline in membership over the decades and today no longer operates in Colorado, the spirit of Camp Fire seems ever-present. Ask any former Camp Fire scout to recite camp law and you will proudly hear: “Seek beauty. Give service. Pursue knowledge. Be trustworthy. Hold on to health. Glorify work. Be happy.”

Originally printed in the Greeley Tribune in 2016.
Written by Sarah Saxe, Museums Manager


A group of Camp Fire Girls and their leader in their ceremonial gowns.

No one took Camp Fire Girls’ motto to heart more so than Greeley’s own E. Gertrude Lee, who served as Executive Director of the North Central Colorado Council of Camp Fire Girls for many years. Lee appears in the second row from top, fourth from the left.
COGM: 2004.46.0003

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