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Sebago-Wohelo camp fire girls online

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Later, trunks arrived, and the girls unpacked
the necessary articles to be kept in wooden
boxes under their beds. Bundles, which had
been sent in advance by express, were opened
to make the beds, which each girl did accord-
ing to her taste, some with regulation sheets
and pillow cases, while others found gray
blanket sheets quite as comfortable.

As they worked, busy and happy, the sun-
set time came softly down, and the bustle of
camp died away with the wind. When the
bugle sounded a whisper went abroad that
supper would not be served in the bungalow,
as dinner had been, but at Hiiteni's fireplace,
where a huge boulder rises for a background,
and around it is a little natural orchestra cir-
cle enclosed by rocks and trees, opening up in
full view from the doorway of Hiiteni's tent.
Here were piled long pine branches for the


m m m a h ® gssfs^sss in

fire, while from the great rock across the path,
big tin cups of milk, sandwiches and peaches,
were given out, with great pieces of the deli-
cious cake that was to become a most welcome
feature of all the camp suppers.


Cups and spoons laid aside, all drew close
in the gathering darkness, with the strange,
new stillness all about them, the wind astir in
the trees, and the red flame of the first camp
fire, now smouldering, now leaping high to
reveal their faces to one another. The new
family began to dream dreams in the firelight.

But the dreams were not all the same.
Each was colored by the home-life that had
been left behind, and by the thoughts and pur-
poses in her heart that had led its owner to
camp. One had come because her health was
frail from overstudy; another because she was
strong, and loved the water-sports; another
because she loved the quiet of the woods ; one
had the soul of an artist, and longed to excell
in the craft-work, while others came just seek-
ing new experiences. Girls with dispositions
as varied as their tastes, differing in ages from
Wa-zi and Fuzzie, the dear little "Blue


Birds," up to the college girls, some of whom
were numbered as councilors. All had an-
swered the Call of the Camp, and stepped
lightheartedly into experiences that were per-
haps to change the whole current of their

There were introductions that evening.
Timanous stood high on the rock above the
fire, and, calling the councilors one by one,
made them stand up in their places while he
told "what he knew about them/' and a great
deal besides which his ready humor suggested.
Woh-do-ke-ca, the camp artist, was forced to
prove that she had other accomplishments by
making her famous "rabbit face," and Em-
bers, the poet, was introduced as an ever-pres-
ent help to one who wanted to get into mis-
chief. Alaska created a little stir of excite-
ment because she had come from so far away,
and she was given a special welcome when her
magic touch upon the piano became known.
Helpful the Great, who, as his name indi-
cates, was one of the most valuable of the
councilors, smiled his droll, half-embarrassed
smile when it was published that he was a fid-
dler of no small gifts, and Helpful the Little


m m u n b @ ss?B£332 in

was introduced as one having power, sounding
the bugle that rules the camp with its melody,
full of meaning, if not always of beauty.


Later, as the fire burned low and all grew
closer in the mysterious shadows, Ce-ki-ca-ti
led in some of the old-time camp songs, in
which those who had been in camp before
joined with hearty good will, while those to
whom it was all new listened with something
of sadness, but hummed the tunes, resolving to
learn the words as soon as possible. And the
songs, with the smouldering firelight and the
lengthening shadows, whispered to those who
understood of a time when the camp had been
one at heart, and gave promise of happy days
before them, when this should again be true,
and the spirits of all gathered in this new cir-
cle should be blended into a complete union
of comradeship and love.

All the while the fire had been teaching
its own lessons, telling its own stories, and
performing real introductions of heart to

Those who have sat about a camp fire to-
gether can never quite forget the mystic bond


SBftEg^fcS §1GQ§I

that is there created between them. For the
new house the house-warming, for the new
home the hanging of the crane, and for the
new camp the first burning of the camp-fire.






A SCAMPER of tiny feet across the floor,
^* a crackle and crunch of sharp little teeth,
then scamper, scamper again across the floor
and away among the rocks!


These were the sounds that woke "The
Chipmunks" on that first morning in camp.
"Hush! Don't scare him!" whispered Kee-
wee, the councilor, sitting up in bed with a
peanut in her hand. "Maybe he'll come

And presently he came, a dear little bright-
eyed, friendly chipmunk, making swift starts,
stopping to listen, then darting up bravely
with a flash of his bright brown tail to seize
the coveted booty from Kee-wee's fingers —
then to a safe distance on the rock outside of
the tent, where he shelled the nut and stuffed
it away in his already baggy cheeks as fast as

It was a joyful visit from the tiny native
of the woods, welcoming the girls to a life al-
most as free as his own. They were still
watching, with eyes almost as bright as those
of the chipmunk, when the bugle blew for ris-
ing, and the quiet tents about them were all
alive with a buzz of voices. It was time for
the morning dip, and if the youngest girl, who
had never been in camp before, felt a trifle
timid about the cool plunge, she was soon
laughed into going with the others for the lux-
urious morning bath of the woods and lake.


Scurrying out with toothbrushes and soap in
hand "The Chipmunks" met sleepy figures
in bathing suits, flocking down the path to the
dock from the other tents. There was just a
moment of shivering and waiting for each
other to jump, but soon the water was all
a-splash with girls, and a few moments later
they were hurrying up the path, glowing with
warmth and energy, every thought of sleepi-
ness left far behind.

"Oh, I'm so happy! I'm so happy!" cried
Wa-zi, a "Blue Bird," clapping her hands as
she ran, voicing the feeling of all in her child-
ish ecstacy.


After breakfast in the bungalow all went
to the craft house, where every morning they
met to sing. The girls sat Turk-fashion on
the floor facing Hiiteni and Alaska, who had
taken her place at the piano. Two carefully
selected hymns were sung, then everyone stood
and repeated the Lord's prayer, after which
they sang more hymns and camp songs to
their hearts' content. It was difficult to stop
singing. Often Hiiteni allowed the singing
hour to encroach upon craft-work time. Only
those who have experienced the peace and


aspirations that come after such a meeting
can understand what starting the day in this
way means. Singing together brings a con-
sciousness of unity, and makes a bond of
priceless value.

On that first day Ce-ki-ca-ti sat up in front
with a flag in her hand, and a wise grin, which
reminded everyone that it was the Fourth of
July, and suggested that something was go-
ing to happen. Hiiteni announced the plan of
celebration for the evening, in which each tent
was to present an original drama representing
Freedom, the freedom of thought and action
for which women as well as men are striving.

Then the girls were invited to choose songs
they wished to sing. Various patriotic songs
vied with the old camp favorites, "The Lone
Fish Ball," "The little Tin Soldier," and
many others. Ce-ki-ca-ti, with a mysterious
air, resisted all calls for "Old Glory" till the
very end, when she called for it herself, ask-
ing to have the last stanza sung as a march
while the girls were leaving the craft-house.

It was a game of "Follow my Leader,"
and out of the door they went, hands on each
others' shoulders, proclaiming gaily to the
world :


m m m n b © sa^^ggs eo

"We come, we come, we come,
To the roll of the rattling drum!"

and wound, in as even a line as they could, up
over the rocky path to the tennis court, then
round and round, faster and faster, breaking
into a run and ending at last in a grand salute
to the flag that hung at the end of the court.


The rest of the morning passed quickly
enough in an introduction to the tents and
their dwellers, from far and high "Heavenly
Rest" and "The Heavenly Twins" (two tents
on one platform) to "Kingfishers" and "Whip-
poor-wills'' down to the house in the trees
where the "Blue Birds" live.

Before one could realize the time had come
for the swimming hour, and a crowd of happy
girls dashed down to the dock to wait for the
welcome call, "All in!" from Ti-ya-ta, who
was in command.

An unusually large number of the girls
could swim this year, and there was a clamor
at once for chances to take the hundred-yard
test, for each girl knew that without this she
could not enter a canoe.

There are few rules in camp, but those


M S3ffittg3£ft U E3 ES o

governing the going into the water and the
coming out of it are inflexible, and to them in-
stant and unquestioned obedience is required.
Not even councilors are allowed in canoes un-
til they have taken the swimming test. This
is not only a safeguard against accidents, but
it acts as an incentive for girls to bend every
energy to learn to swim. All girls want to go
in canoes, so naturally, if for no other reason,
they learn to swim as soon as possible.

He-ta-ya and one of the twins had asked
first to take the test, and one after the other
they started out, close beside the row-boat,
which moved slowly across the clear water to
the beach, until it made the distance at last,
and a cheer went up from the dock.

"Oh, Wohelo! Oh, Wohelo!
We raise a song to you,
For we'll ever be true
To the white and the blue,
Oh, He-ta-ya, we sing to you!"

There was a different cheer for the twin, for
Wohelo maids love variety.

"You don't know what a wonderful feel-
ing it gives you," said one of the girls after


she had taken the swimming test. "You feel
so free and so unafraid, as if you had gotten
the lake in your power!" Both cheers were
repeated formally at dinner, which is the offi-
cial time for cheers of every sort.


Dinner that second day was served beside
Hiiteni's fireplace. There was a great kettle
of pilau, which is a mixture of rice, chicken,
and tomatoes, and was served, with other good
things, on paper plates. How little it really
requires to make a happy meal! Not every
banquet is eaten with half the zest of this out-
door dinner.

After dinner came rest hour, during which
the girls understood that they were expected
to be quiet in their tents, though reading and
writing letters were allowed, and some other
things happened occasionally that were not in
the schedule. At three o'clock the bugle
sounded again, and the girls assembled for the
Saturday afternoon trip to the village, which
ended in a gathering at the ice-cream store and
the happy hour of mail from home.

While the others were feasting on ice-
cream, Alaska had been seen triumphantly


waving a large piece of tinfoil, which she had
captured by hook or by crook. Mysteries were
in the air all the afternoon, "The Chipmunks"
were studying a typewritten thing that looked
like a song, and others of the girls spent fever-
ish moments with their heads together, plot-
ting the evening's performance. When they
reached camp again the wise ones made a
quick dash for the properties trunk in the
bungalow loft.


The stage was the tennis court, with a fire
in the big fireplace on the farther side, and
Japanese lanterns to add to the festivity.
Alaska's tinfoil was explained when her girls
appeared with silver crowns on their heads,
and vivid costumes of red and blue to suit the
new song of patriotism which they sang. They
stood high on the rock above the fire with the
dark trees behind them, a daring bit of stag-
ing that thrilled the audience below. All of
the other scenes were given on the tennis court,
within the circle of the listeners, who changed
places from time to time, leaving the audience
to take their own parts on the magic stage
with its mysterious shadows and shifting lights.


m s^^sas u m g m

The small white goat which Helpful the
Little had brought with him from the city was
a prominent actor in several of the scenes, as
he had become a great favorite in camp.

The themes ranged all the way from Votes
for Women to affairs in Mexico. But through
them all, from "The Chipmunks' " dear little
song to "The Heavenly Twins' " melodrama,
in which the good knight "Sanitas" rescued a
Camp Fire Girl from the power of candy, so-
das, ginger ale and the nightmare of patent
medicines, to the last act by "Top o' the
Rocks" and "Fawassa," in which "Work,"
"Health," and "Love" gave the freedom of
camp to the Girl, wound a thread of thought
of the freedom that comes from health and
right living, which makes one strong to do and

"Candy," personified, or represented by
an empty box, made numerous appearances
on the stage. Possibly this was to be explained
by the candy incident on the train, and a talk
that had been given in councilors' meeting the
next day. At all events the slavery to candy
gradually became a thing unknown in camp,
without the announcement of any laws or pen-


§IIG01§1 S3ft£?» m

After the girls from the different tents had
all covered themselves with glory there came
a call to the craft-house for music. The Jap-
anese lanterns went, too, transforming the
rustic porch, a fit setting for the strains of the
"Song of the Evening Star," which floated
out to the listening figures on the veranda
floor and away over the dark water. Then, to
crown the beauty of the night, a great raft
appeared and slowly burst into a blaze, a
blaze that floated and floated, fairy-like
against the darkness, till the watchers drifted
with it, far, far out on a raft of dreams, to
lands that never were.



The Blue Bird's Nest


CUNDAYS at camp were quiet days, with
leisure for visiting, reading, writing home
letters, taking pleasant walks, or paddling
about on the lake in happy groups.

But no two days in camp were alike, and
this first Sunday was set apart from all oth-
ers by a rare talk from Timanous at the morn-
ing service. It w r as a trifle difficult for one
who had known Timanous only as comrade
and leader in the gaiety of camp to imagine
him in the character of preacher, but his au-
dience was not less attentive for that reason.
The girls were glad to sit for an hour at a
time, and scarcely thought of being tired or
cramped when Timanous talked.

His theme this morning was an invitation
to all to seek the key to these new sensations
that were coming to them each day, the great
inner joy which lies behind every little touch
with Nature, — the sound of the waves in the
stillness when one wakens in the night, the


m sBfi^sss n fa n m m

clinging touch of the water when they gave
themselves to its clasp, the sun in the spray,
the feeling of the earth on bare, wet feet, and
the glow that follows the morning dip when
the air is chill and bracing. "The key to it
all," Timanous said, "the nameless something
that thrills to deepest depths, is the love of
God at work through his world of nature."
And he read a number of beautiful poems,
closing with St. Francis's noble "Canticle of
the Sun," which made the heartstrings vibrate
to this note of loving reverence.

Timanous returned that afternoon to the
big city, where the work of the great Camp
Fire Girls' organization needed him. But he
had set the imaginations of those in camp to
work with an enthusiasm that promised much
for their understanding of the first law of the
Camp Fire, "Seek Beauty," and they were
ready for the fuller explanation which Mon-
day brought of the plan for the summer's
work and play, and how it was to be related
to the poetry of life as well as to the prac-
tical work of womanhood by the Camp Fire
flame of Work, Health and Love.

Between the morning service and the craft-
hour, which began at nine-thirty and ended at


m m m o h ® ^; v E °s m

eleven-thirty, there was usually about a half-
hour's time for putting tents in order against
the coming of the tent inspector, who proved
to be Ta-ku, a capable young college girl
whose popularity could not be hurt even by
this unwelcome position. But formalities had
not yet begun on this first Monday, and the
morning service was followed by a short talk
on the craft-work of camp.


Woh-do-ke-ca showed paddles decorated
with the girls' own symbols, carved wooden
spoons, dainty balsam pillows, and some
painted wooden boxes — these last promising
to be the fad of the season. Ce-ki-ca-ti held out
glowing prospects of silver bracelets, rings,
and other jewelry to be taken home in the fall,
while work in pottery, weaving, and dyeing
were discussed, and vied with one another in
kindling anticipations of delightful mornings.
A filmy scarf of chiffon bordered with a wood-
block pattern in salmon pink and gray, de-
signed from a fungus and the silver bark of
the birch on which it was found, suggested
possibilities for the interpretation of woodsy
things in forms fitted for use as well as beauty.


m !i grists HG000

Quite naturally after this came Hiiteni's
talk about the symbolism which is so much a
part of Camp Fire life, as it has been a part
of the lives of all primitive women who have
woven lovely things from Nature's materials
with Nature's own beauty to guide them.
"Every Camp Fire girl," explained Hiiteni,
"is expected to choose a symbol of her own,
to express in artistic form that which in her
heart she most wishes to be. This symbol she
is to use in all of her craft work, just as the
Indian woman wove her symbol into her bas-
kets, and so made them a poetic expression of
her life." The form of the symbol, the girls
learned, can be changed to suit the different
materials in which it is used.

Then, very simply, came the story of how
this symbolism had grown up in the camps of
other years, and how the girls had been helped
in their plan of life by choosing for themselves
names as well as symbols for use in the Coun-
cil Fire, and as an expression of the ideals that
were to rule their lives. Slowly, in all its
charm, was shown the plan of the Camp Fire
Girls' organization, with its honor beads
awarded for achievements in the seven crafts,
Home - Craft, Health - Craft, Camp - Craft,


Hand-Craft, Nature-Lore, Business, and Pa-
triotism; and its rank of progress, Wood-Gath-
erer, Fire-Maker, and last and noblest, Torch-
Bearer, the rank of those who are ready to
pass on to others the light which they have

The girls ran gaily out of the craft-house
singing a little song Embers had taught them,
which now had a new meaning:

"Every Camp Eire maiden has a symbol
all her own!
Every thought and feeling by some
symbol can be shown ! "

But under the gaiety of it they were think-
ing hard, for the haunting symbol-search had
laid hold upon them. The whole summer
opened before them, with fascinating oppor-
tunities for winning honors, especially in
health-craft and hand-craft.


Perhaps the most pressing problem of all,
for the time being, was that of their ceremonial
costumes, without which they could not become
Wood Gatherers or even enter the charmed
circle of the Council Fire.


® m m n m ® isa^sa^ss m

Over in the bungalow, as the afternoon
wore on, Mna-ka fitted the girls for costumes,
postponing her lessons in weaving till this im-
portant task should be finished. There were
yards and yards of khaki, and a generous pile
of brown leather skins to make fringe for the
gowns, but as several of the girls had not even
tried to use a sewing machine before, it was
no slight task to transform the materials into
simple, but well-made, gowns. Mna-ka cut
them all, but each girl made her own, as no one
wanted to miss the hand-craft honor for doing
so. Ni-ma-ha, who had never tried to do any
sewing, surprised herself and the rest by stitch-
ing straighter seams than many an older girl.

The most difficult lesson for all to learn
was to gather up their materials when they
had finished work. As the cloth was all alike,
it was not quite safe to leave one's material in
the bungalow and expect to find it in the same
place next day. The exasperating stuff would
disappear! This was not conducive to poetic
feeling, but was not the least of the lessons
of Camp Fire for all that. Nearly all of the
things which happened at camp had a way of
teaching valuable lessons without seeming to

do so.



Meanwhile those who were not busy with
their costumes were besieging Woh-do-ke-ca
and Embers in the craft-house for help in the
choice of names and symbols to express the
things they wished. Sun-o-wa, after careful
thought, had decided that her desires were for
music, friends and happiness, which were sym-
bolized for her by the sunlight on the water,
sunshine being happiness, the sparkles friends,
and the water music. But she could find no
name which would combine these thoughts;
she was in despair until the suggestion came
of combining parts of the words "Sun on
water" to make the name "Sunowa." One of
the twins chose as her symbol an eagle mount-
ing toward the sun, the idea being to seek per-
fection in all she undertook, and she was strug-
gling to make an artistic design that should
combine this symbol with the Indian sign for

Not every girl knew at once what she
wished to express by her symbol, but as the
afternoon shadows grew longer several went
about happily telling their friends that they
had succeeded in the search. "I've found my
symbol," one gleefully proclaimed, "It's the


humming-bird, and it means finding the good
in everybody. The Indian name of it is To-
he-ha, and that's my name!" Thoughtful
Su-ni was just as happy in her quieter way
when she had found a symbol for her name,
which means "Doing more than is asked," a
true and beautiful expression of her character.


While the girls were busy, the supper com-
mittee, which happened that night to be from
one of "The Heavenly" tents, had planned a
little surprise. The bugle sounded from the
dock, and when the girls came they were as-
signed to canoes and sent out on the lake, to
land, they knew not where. Indeed, they did
not land at all, but ate in their canoes, with
sandwiches, milk, and cake served from the
launch. Under the surprise and restfulness of
it the day's excitement died away, leaving
quieted spirits for the first Council Fire of the

It was held on the tennis court, the "old
girls" in costume forming the circle, the "new
girls" sitting on the edge of the woods, drink-
ing in the beauty of the scene with rapt atten-
tion. Many of them now saw for the first time


the bringing of fire from wood by the rubbing
sticks, as it was done in early days by the In-
dians. Ti-ya-ta made the fire, while from the
circle rose softly, like a breath of the woods,
an old Indian melody — the Fire Song.

"Keep rolling, keep rolling,
Keep rolling, keep rolling!"

swelling with the triumphant note:

"Smoke arises! smoke arises!
And the smoke, sweetly scented! "

as a little white wreath curled slowly from the
wood-dust under Ti-ya-ta's hand. All the
circle shared with her effort, the anxious wait-
ing, the sweet victory, the preciousness of the
gift that in modern times has come to us so
easily that we do not realize the part it plays
in our lives.

As the spark was caught by the tinder,
fanned to a flame, and touched to the waiting
wood in the great fireplace, the girls of the
circle rose to sing "Burn, Fire, Burn," with in-
terpreting motions, while those in the woods
listened and shared the poetry of this primal
experience — the making of the fire, around




which woman's home and woman's happiness
have centered since the great gift of it was
first given to the world.

The ceremonial was continued with a roll-
call of those who had been in camp the year
before. Following this two Counts were read,

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Online LibraryEthel RogersSebago-Wohelo camp fire girls → online text (page 2 of 9)