Our Story and Focus
Dr. Luther and Charlotte Gulick founded Camp Fire in 1910 when they realized girls had nowhere to go but into the kitchen. And they wanted more. Girls wanted to discover outdoor skills, connect with society and prepare for meaningful work. The Gulicks founded Camp Fire Girls to encourage girls toward higher levels of purposefulness, commitment and achievement. In 1975, Camp Fire expanded to include boys, welcoming all young people and their families into Camp Fire. From the beginning, Camp Fire’s purpose has aimed to promote service to others, teamwork, and opportunities for a well-rounded life—a vivid, intense life of joy and service.
Camp Fire Central Coast of California had its beginning in 1923 in the City of San Luis Obispo, and currently employs four administrative staff and 20-30 summer camp staff. A volunteer governing board supervises the Executive Director who then oversees all operations of the Council. The Council currently has about 100 volunteers serving as program leaders, committee and board members, with many serving in more than one capacity. Programs offered include after-school clubs, residential summer and day camps serving over 700 children and youth.
The Santa Maria Camp Fire Cabin in Buena Vista Park is designated as Santa Maria’s 17th “Object of Historical Merit” on May 14, 2011 by the city’s Landmark Committee. Built in 1935 with funds provided by the Kiwanis Club and the Santa Maria High School board of education, the cabin was originally located on the high school campus. When space was needed for a new campus building, the cabin was moved to its current location at Buena Vista Park. Designed by Santa Maria’s first architect, Louis Crawford, the cabin has been a unique place for recreation for countless youngsters through the years. The cabin is currently used for Camp Fire’s Teens in Action Program.
Camp Natoma founded in 1941 is a rustic residential summer camp owned and operated by Camp Fire Central Coast. Camp Natoma is located on 360 pristine acres of oak and sycamores in Paso Robles, northwest San Luis Obispo County. Camp Natoma provides week-long sessions of outdoor discovery for campers 1st through 11th grades. Campers sleep outside, under the stars on cots, sparking an intimate connection with nature.
Camp Fire Central Coast of California serves Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
1923: Camp Fire began as individual groups or clubs in
Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo, and Paso Robles
1941: Independent groups incorporated as San Luis
Obispo Council of Camp Fire Girls
1941: Camp Natoma opened at its present location
1960: The first WoHeLo Medallions were received by
1979: Programming becomes co-ed, name changed to
Camp Fire Boys and Girls, Natoma Council
1989: After school club programs are revised:
Starflight K-2nd grades,
2001: Local councils merges to become
Camp Fire USA Central Coast Council
2006: Office moved to current location at
340 Pomeroy in Pismo Beach.
2014: Council’s name is changed to
Camp Fire Central Coast of California
2014: StepItUp to THRIVE methodology is
integrated into the Council
Live outside of the Central Coast area? Find a Camp Fire council near you: http://campfire.org/councils/directory