Camp Fire Girls - Ceremonial Gowns

The Camp Fire Girls Ceremonial gown was an integral part of being a Camp Fire Girls. From the first days of Camp Fire Girls the ceremonial dress was a requirement to reach the (then) first rank of Wood Gatherer.

In the 1918 handbook it is noted: The ceremonial gown should be as beautiful as we can make it but there is the danger of confusing true decoration with meaningless ornamentation. This should not be found a common mistake, for Camp Fire Girls are imbued with the very spirit of beauty. If we will keep in mind that our gown is more than a passing fad, more than a girlhood phase of our existence, that it is, in fact, a proud record, writ large with our accomplishments and ideals, imbued with symbols of dear friendship, memory-hallowed, and alive with the promise of hope fulfilled, we will come into a rightful sense of purpose.

The basic design of the ceremonial gown was intentionally kept simple to keep the cost practical.

By 1946 the ceremonial gown was optional. This is the same year the blue felt "bolero" vest was introduced.

Early pattern for Camp Fire Girls ceremonial gown

McCall's pattern for ceremonial gown, 1965

Early example of stringing honor beads

Early Camp Fire Girls also decorated their moccasins

Each ceremonial gown was unique, reflecting what each Camp Fire Girl felt was important to her. The wooden beads are honors she has earned (see Camp Fire Girls - Honors page).

identified as 1966

identified as 1940s era

An unadorned ceremonial gown, commercially made with a Camp Fire Girls label