Section 8: Campfires

Each candidate is required to plan, prepare, and conduct a campfire program.  It is the candidates’ responsibility to find the Vice-chief and schedule a campfire time.  Each campfire should be allotted at least one hour for presentation and grading.  Campfires are often scheduled two or three in a row to accommodate several candidates in the same troop.  The Vice-chief should tell the candidates that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are the best times to have their first campfire, leaving Thursday or Friday as an opportunity for a redo. Circumstances may allow for campfires to be done outside of the normal evening time frame. Units with several candidates have done after lunch fires.  In some Cub Camps staff have job responsibilities that require them to do a fire outside of the normal time.

Each campfire should be assigned three graders, but often there are not enough graders and only two are assigned.  One of the graders is designated as the head grader.  The head grader must be a staff member and must have graded several fires before.  Ransburg or Krietenstein campers who are Firecrafters may grade campfires, but they may not be head grader, and it is highly recommended that they not grade someone from their own troop.  No adult Firecrafter should grade a campfire, unless not enough youth are available and it is approved by the Fire Executive Committee. Adults may sit in on the grading and comment.  Any Firecrafter may sit in on a grading.

The Vice-chief should find graders for the day’s campfires at breakfast and lunch of that day.  A Firecrafter should always be asked to grade before they are put on the grading assignment sheet.  However it is the right of the Camp Director to determine grading campfires a duty of a staff member if not enough graders are willing to volunteer. The sheet should always be posted around camp before dinner starts.

The Vice-chief should be in possession of all grading folders (which include grading procedures and grading sheets) and candles.  Grading folders and candles are passed out to grading teams before they will grade.  The candles and the folders (including results) are to be given back to the Vice-chief the same night as the grading.

Campfire Grading Procedures

As a member of a Fire, it is your responsibility to put fourth your best effort at being the Model Firecrafter.

These procedures are designed to guide the graders through the grading process.

  1. Check the posted Fire Grading Assignments Sheet to find out when, where, and who, and with whom you will grade.
  2. The head grader is responsible to bring the grading folder, candles, a lighter or matches, writing utensils, and a flashlight.
  3. Graders are to arrive at the campfire at least 5-10 minutes before scheduled starting time.
  4. Upon your arrival introduce yourself, inspect the fire lay, look for a cleared area 10 feet in diameter around the fire, look for fire buckets, and look for a sturdy fire. (don't touch fire without permission)
  5. If you detect any non-natural element of the fire, the candidate does not pass their campfire and they must do it again another night.
  6. Use a stopwatch to time from the beginning to the end of the fire.
  7. Once the fire is over have the candidate get the audience to leave the fire area.  Sit the candidate down by thier fire, out of hearing range, and have them think about if they did their best.
  8. Invite the Unit Leader to conference with the graders.  You can ask the Unit Leader to leave before the grading begins.
  9. Begin the grading by discussing each point but do not vote yet.
  10. After discussion, each grader is to individually fill out their grading sheet.
  11. After each grader has filled out their grading sheet, tally the votes from the sheets. If there are 3 graders, majority rules. If there are 2 graders, the head grader makes final decision. Candidate must pass five out of six points to pass the fire.
  12. Invite the Unit Leader to come back over.  Tell the Unit Leader the results of the fire and give explanation if requested.
  13. Have the Unit Leader leave unless he or she refuses to leave.  Their presence is not needed during this part of grading and is sometimes distracting; however, in some cases the Unit Leader’s presence is a comfort to the candidate.  The head grader should use discretion.
  14. Begin candidate debriefing: Invite the candidate to have a seat before the graders. Explain that the three candles represent Friendship, Leadership, and Service. If the candidate did not pass: immediately tell them that they did not pass.  Do not wait until the end to tell them they did not pass, and NEVER tell a candidate that they failed!!!  Be encouraging as you go over how to improve each point.  Encourage them to do another fire.  Give them the final grading sheet so they may remember what to improve on. If the candidate passes: Ask them if they did their best.  Then ask them if they would do another fire if they did not pass this one.  Immediately after those questions, tell them that they passed.  Do not wait until the end to tell them.  Then go over each point and sign and wax their card.  Burn the grading sheets in a ceremonial manner.
  15. All grading decisions are Final.  The Unit Leader DOES NOT have the power to over-ride the grader’s decision.  If a problem arises, do not argue.  Take the problem immediately to the Fire Chief and the Consul.

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