Last Effort Chocolate Sales Hope to Keep the Flame Alive at Camp Fire Long Beach

The Local Non-Profit Hopes to Keep Its Facility Running After a Year of Decimated Fundraising

Add this to the list of “Things We’ve Taken for Granted” this year. Those delicious, mouth- watering Camp Fire treats that we can’t help but buy four boxes of outside the grocery store each year. After all, it’s for a good cause, right?


Well, the truth is the average consumer doesn’t know exactly what they’re supporting when they buy a Creamy Smooth Mint Patty, or an Almond Caramel Cluster. They just know they’re delicious.


But this year, the girls, boys, and parent volunteers of Camp Fire Long Beach are getting an all too close look at how important those candy sales are to their beloved organization. It’s their biggest fundraiser of the year by far, a month-long campaign that normally involves an all-out effort by teams selling from 30 different grocery storefronts grossing an average of 20,000 boxes of candy sold a year.



This year the operation has been curtailed to historic low levels. With their girls and boys unable to sell in front of stores this year during COVID, Camp Fire Long Beach will be hosting three Saturday sales this December, outside their location at the corner of Studebaker and Carson.


They will not sell anywhere near the amounts they’ve sold in past years to raise money for their club. However this year, they’re imploring the community to stop by and purchase some delicious treats, with the goal of selling just half of what they did last year.


Why half? Because with their two other fundraisers for the year already completely canceled, they need to sell half. They must. Just to keep their lights on.


Like other non-profits, the unthinkable and dreadful consequences from COVID-19 are coming to fruition for Camp Fire Long Beach, this community’s beloved youth community service club.


Depending on how candy sales this December go, the club will have tough conversations about whether a temporary or permanent closure of Camp Shiwaka is necessary.



What is Camp Shiwaka?


For tens of thousands of locals in our Greater Long Beach community, Camp Shiwaka is a sacred escape to nature from the city. It’s a place where kids go to learn all sorts of skills they would never learn at schools or anywhere else in the city. Skills such as how to build a campfire, and much more.


Most of all, Camp Shiwaka is the essential centerpiece of this club in Long Beach that helps to “raise” children of all ages, genders, interests, races, creeds, and needs.


For many of Camp Fire’s older members (now in high school) they’re working so hard to fundraise this year because the Camp Fire grounds have such special meaning to them.


“Camp Fire has been my second home my whole life. I met some of my closest friends and have some of my best memories here,” says Nina F, who enthusiastically held up a sign luring cars to purchase treats at the first candy sale held in November.


Her friend Brooke agrees. “Camp Fire opened many doors for me. I have grown as a person due to this amazing program. The people who come here are all amazingly talented. They have influenced me greatly.”



The Camp Shiwaka grounds are certainly something to behold. If you and your family have never taken a tour you’d be amazed and inspired to see this sprawling 5-acre property hidden in the middle of our city, featuring forest-inspired landscaping, archery, a zip line, countless physical gaming amenities, and a huge naturally made amphitheater.


Camp Fire’s events, graduation ceremonies, after school programs, summer camps, and more are held at these miraculous grounds. Children and parents alike are awe-inspired and grateful for this regular escape from city that allows Long Beach youth to learn Camp Fire values like “serving community,” “creativity” and ”caring for the environment.”



While they can’t fund raise outside grocery stores this year, in a final attempt to salvage a tough year for the non-profit, Camp Fire is asking the community to come by weekend mornings for the next 4 weeks to stock up on favorite treats and help save the Camp Fire campgrounds.


The schedule to support Camp Fire candy sales is as follows:


Saturdays:

November 28th: 9am - 12pm

December 12th: 9am-12pm

December 19th: 9am-12pm


And one Sunday sale on December 6th: 9-12pm.


Location: 7070 E. Carson St. Long Beach CA 90808


You can also order online from campfirelb.org.



So if you remember how tasty those chocolate treats are that you usually buy from the hardworking earnest kids on your weekly trips to the grocery store, maybe this year make an effort to drive by the sale and support them when they’re most in need.



For the kids working the sales, they want you to know just how important this safe haven for learning, creativity, and essential skills training can be:


“Camp Fire has been such a great experience, learning about nature as well as meeting new friends. It’s like my second family. I have made so many new memories and friends that I know I can carry on throughout my life.” - Jessica A


“Camp Fire has been a great experience for me to learn things over the last ten years. Whether it's life skills or how to build relationships, Camp Fire is a place to have fun and learn along the way.” - Katie C

“Camp Fire has been an incredible place my whole life. As a queer person who is on the spectrum, I can sometimes struggle with social connections, but there has been nothing but love and acceptance. It's not just an organization, it’s a family.” - Aidan R.


“What Camp Fire means to me is a community of people who join together to give service, teach young kids good life skills and create an environment to help us make lifelong friends.” -Emily C

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