The Campfire Ashes
Legend has it that Lord Baden-Powell would always take a small amount of ashes from the campfire and spread these ashes into the next campfire. The main purpose of these ashes is to bring to all Scouts and Scouters the International aspect of the world brotherhood of Scouting.
Ashes taken from a campfire are sprinkled into the flames of the next Campfire. The next morning, when the ashes are cold, they are stirred, And each scout takes some along to mix with his next campfire. If more than one Scout brings ashes to the same campfire, the lists are pooled, with the dates and places of all campfires recorded and passed on.
Our Friendship Ashes
The ashes in this jar represent ashes gathered from campfires from several World Jamborees, National Jamborees, Order of the Arrow Conclave events and international events. They are represented on the list contained below. These ashes were also collected at an event at Lord Baden Powell’s home and an event at the very first Boy Scout’s of America camp, Treasure Island. Treasure Island is also the location of the founding of the Boy Scouts Honor Society, The Order of the Arrow. These ashes have history all the way back to original Boy Scout Camp Campfire at Brownsea Island in 1907. They have traveled all over the country and all over the world. They went dormant in 1989 and were resurrected in 2016 by one of our Scoutmasters meeting with one of our Scout’s parents and starting the tradition again. The complete history and story is linked here for future retrieval by our Scouts and all of our Scout friends with whom we come into fellowship.
Friendship Campfire Ceremony
Campfires are a tradition in Scouting. They are shared by young and old, boys and girls in
nearly every nation on earth. Fire has always been important to human kind. It warms our
bodies, cooks our food and brings joy to our spirit. At the dawn of mankind, fire was
frightening and mysterious. Over time our species learned to control fire, carrying it from place
to place. Later we learned to tame it, create it and master it. And yet, it still can harm or heal.
Fire has always been a part of our survival, our religions, and our recreation. As we come to the close of this scouting evening, I wish to share an important ceremony with you.
Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the Chief Scout of the World, used to collect some of the ashes
from each Scouting event and carry them with him to the next event. He would mix the ashes
of the old fire with the new one. As this tradition has spread, scouts from around the world
have shared campfires and ashes with each other. Lists have been kept of the events where they
have been shared. These lists form a history and a bond between us over the years and across
the miles, no matter our language, culture or uniform.
These ashes represent the Friendship and Scouting Spirit shared by Scouts and Guides at
campfires around the world. May the joining of these remnants of past Scouting experiences
with the leaping flames of new ones symbolize the unbroken chain of fellowship and
dedication to a common purpose that binds the Scouts and Guides of all nations. All who keep
the friendship ashes and wish to share their ashes or event lists are welcome to step forward at
this time. (Those coming forward may add their ashes to the fire at this time, followed by the
ceremony leader’s ashes. For extra spark effect, you may want to add some sugar or flour to
As we add the ashes of the past to the flames tonight, may the sparks that rise remind you of all
the lives that have passed this way before. They shared their fires and blazed the trail that we
follow tonight. (At this point a group of older girls will hum “Linger” in the background
while I read an abbreviated list of the ashes history. I try to pick out interesting events and
places for these highlights.)
The ashes tonight bring with them this history: (Read some of the ashes history highlights.)
Scouts, please carry these ashes further on their journey around the world and share them again
and again. In so doing, remember to thank those who have gone before you and give of
yourself to those who follow you. May the trail you blaze with your life be worthy of such