There are three parts to a great campfire experience; singing, eating and story telling. If you plan ahead for these three things, you will be much more assured of an awesome campfire experience.
Camp Fire Singing
We have already talked quite a bit about how to have a successful camp fire singalong. You can read more about this part of the camp fire in my other articles:
- Introduction to Singing Camp Songs
- Choosing the Best Camping Songs
- Getting the Most Out of Your Campfire Singing, and
- How to Choose The Best Camping Songs
Don’t be fooled by the similarity in the some of the above titles. Although some of the articles have similar titles, the content is different.
Camp Fire Food
The most popular campfire food is the tube steak. You’ve never heard of it? It is more commonly known as the hot dog; the wiener, frank or sausage. It’s got to be the easiest food to cook on a campout. All you need is a stick to put it on. It’s best if you can find a willow, or other thin but strong stick. It’s best if it’s green; that way it won’t catch fire so easily. Carve the tip so you can slide the hot dog on. Cook it over the fire. Some like it still pink and others like it darker. I know some people who like it black!
Now all you need is some buns and condiments. You can get by with just ketchup and mustard, but I also like mayo and relish. You can also include chili, cheese, jalapenos and onions. A drink and some chips are a good addition. You can get by without plates if need be. If you serve potato salad, cole slaw, pork and beans or something similar, then you’ll need plates.
A tradition for most American camp fires is s’mores. S’mores is basically a sandwich of a cooked marshmallow, with a piece of chocolate served between to graham crackers. Cook the marshmallow on a roasting stick. when it’s gooey and hot, put it on a graham cracker. On top of that, put a piece of chocolate, then put another graham cracker on top of that.
There are lots of comfort foods besides s’mores that you can use. Chips, M&M’s, nuts, candy or chex mix are easy to do. In cooler weather, hot cider or hot chocolate fit the bill. Remember, though, that drinking beverages this close to bedtime will probably cause a need to use the bathroom during the night. It’s not the same as home; you have to get out of a sleeping bag and find your way to the outhouse or latrine. It’s just something to be aware of.
Camp Fire Stories
Stories is the third part of a good campfire. As I was growing up, every time my dad’s family got together, my uncles would tell all kinds of stories about when they were kids. It was very entertaining. Of course, some of the stories were the same ones each year, but there were always a few new ones we had never heard before. One of my uncles is almost 90 years old, and he still has new stories to tell.
Family stories can be great, but you don’t always camp with family. Even if you do, you might want some other stories to tell. There are tons of campfire story books. I like stories by Patrick McMannus. He is an author specializing in outdoor, hunting, fishing and camping stories. They are usually pretty funny.
Ghost stories and scary stories are good for campfires. Most young people like scary stories. If you have really young children, you need to be careful; you don’t want them so scared, they can’t go to sleep.
Another avenue to take is stories from history. If the area you are going has some historical background, you could research and find stories about the area. My older brother is a history buff and is good at telling stories. One of my favorites is the story of John Colter. He travelled with Lewis and Clark and is credited as the first white man to visit Yellowstone National Park.
You might also recruit a good story teller, if you know of one. A friend of mine is very talented at making up funny stories. He has told stories around camp fires for me a few times.
What kind of atmosphere do you want around your campfire? You may want to end with an inspirational thought or story, especially if it is a church camp. You can find stories at the library, on the internet and books that you own. If your minister, priest or church leader is going to be there, you might ask them to speak at the end. It can add a nice touch.
Sometimes, a good campfire experience will just happen on it’s own without any planning. But most of the time, if you want a certain attitude, feeling or spirit to be a part of your campfire, you have to plan for it.
Good luck with your campfire, and may all your songs be happy ones!