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Camp Fire Sunshine: Igniting the spark within Lakeland’s youth

This United Way partner agency has been shaping Lakeland’s youth through engaging programming + community service for more than a century.

A group of teenagers stands outside of the Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine building.

Camp Fire Sunshine has several opportunities for youth to serve their community through civic engagement.

Photo courtesy of @uwcf

When you think of nonprofits that significantly impact the Lakeland community, there are probably several that come to mind. If Camp Fire Sunshine isn’t on that list yet, it’s about to be.

The history

Camp Fire was founded in 1910 by Dr. Luther Gulick and his wife, Charlotte Gulick, as Camp Fire Girls — the nation’s first nonsectarian and multicultural organization for girls. In 1975, Camp Fire became a co-ed organization and now serves roughly the same amount of boys + girls across its local and national chapters.

Camp Fire Sunshine serves as the organization’s Central Florida chapter and has been an active member of the Lakeland community since 1918. Today, it’s a United Way of Central Florida partner agency.

A brown building is shown with a sign out front that says "Camp Fire."

Camp Fire Sunshine’s program building is located on Buckingham Avenue next to Common Ground Park.

Photo by LALtoday

The mission

Camp Fire Sunshine’s mission is to help Lakeland youth discover their “sparks,” through holistic programming. Every one of its offerings — from after-school STEAM clubs to alternative spring break camps focused on community service — is geared towards developing Lakeland students academically, socially, environmentally, and experientially.

Two volunteers in reflective vests stand in a grass parking lot. There is a sign in front of them that says "Camp Fire."

You’ll often find volunteers for Camp Fire at major fundraising events like Pigfest and Flipping for Charities.

Photo courtesy of Camp Fire Sunshine

How to get involved

Youth can get involved with Camp Fire Sunshine by becoming members. The organization is also regularly seeking volunteers and donations to facilitate its programs.

Coming up on Saturday, May 4, it will hold its largest annual fundraising event, the Camp Fire Kentucky Derby Party at the Lone Palm Golf Club. Individual tickets + event sponsorships start at $150.

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