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 began in 1923 in the City of San Luis Obispo, and is currently working to bring back our staff after a brief closure due to COVID-19 in 2020. A volunteer governing board supervises all operations of the Council. There are 29 volunteer club leaders, 40 or more summer volunteers, along with parents and additional volunteers helping with fundraisers including candy sale, enchilada sale, fireworks booth, Hollyberry, and more. Programs offered include after-school clubs, family camp, summer day camps, community service, hikes, and youth leadership. Our council serves over 700 children and teens across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.

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.  Camp Fire is working with the city of Sanra Maria to operate the Camp Fire cabin once again in 2021.

Camp Natoma founded in 1941 is a rustic residential summer camp on 360 pristine acres of oak and sycamores in Paso Robles. This property is owned by Camp Fire Central Coast.

Camp Fire Central Coast of California serves Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

Local History:                                                                                                

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 13 girls

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,
                Adventure 3rd-5th,
                Discovery 6th-8th,
                Horizon 9th-12th

2001:    Local councils merged to become Camp Fire USA Central Coast Council

2006:    Office moved to 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

2019:    Office location change from Pismo to Grover Beach

Live outside of the Central Coast area?  Find a Camp Fire council near you: http://campfire.org/councils/directory