University of Illinois Extension
University of Illinois Extension
4-H Ceremonies

Candle Lighting Ceremony by A. J. Patch

The ceremony can be conducted with either six or seven readers of parts - if six are used, Parts I and VII are read by the same person. The campers form a large circle holding unlit candles and facing the center

The Spirit of Camp_____________stands in the center of the campers' circle and the readers are stationed in a small circle around the Spirit of Camp ________________, who holds an unlighted candle. The readers have lighted candles and face the campers. The readers are stationed so the parts are read in order clockwise around their circle. As the next to the last sentence in each Part is completed, the reader turns, walk slowly toward the Spirit of Camp ______ ______, appears to attempt to light the Spirit's candle, and reads the last line as the attempt fails. Each reader returns to the proper station and stands facing inward before the reading of the next Part begins.

When the reader of Part VI completes the next to the last sentence of that Part, all readers walk toward the Spirit of Camp ____________ and form a line with the readers of Part V and VI in the center. All the lighted candles are extended simultaneously to light the one held by the Spirit of Camp _______________. All readers then return to their stations and face outward.

When the second sentence of Part VII has been read, the Spirits walk straight forward to the campers' circle and proceed to their left within that circle lighting each candle as they pass. The readers should make sure the segments of the campers' circle are divided nearly equally so there will not be a large gap of darkness when candles in other segments have been lighted.

After all candles in the circle have been lighted, the readers return to their stations and face outward. The pledge then is repeated in unison by the reader of part VII and the six Spirits. Each of their readers should have a copy of the pledge with sentence divisions identically marked so each reader will pause at the same word. Campers in the outer circle repeat each phrase of the pledge after it is read.

The ceremony can be concluded from the circle by sounding taps or by a word from the camp director, or some form of procession led by the Spirits can precede dismissal.

Part I I am the Spirit of Camp __________. I offer you the opportunity of self betterment because only through the improvement of yourself can you be of the greatest service to others. I am the foundation of democracy, which is the principle of people living together, working together, and playing together in such a way that each individual in the group can make the greatest possible contribution for the benefit of all. I am the Spirit of Camp _________ and within me is the light; but, unless those who come here bring the spark to ignite that flame, I shall remain in darkness forever. Who will bring the light to me?
Part II I am the Spirit of the Soil. Since the beginning, I have changed from barren rock to a rich blanket that will protect within its folds every living thing that stirs upon my breast. I will give you food if you will let me live, but I must be tended carefully or I shall depart from you. Upon my breast I support nations that now are only dim pages in old books. If I am destroyed, your homes will fall in ruins and your children will wander upon the face of the earth seeking for me in places where men have not lived before. Beneath my feet in the oil and coal is stored the sunshine of a million years. From those riches I will seek the spark that will bring light to Camp __________. I lack some power that is needed to light the flame.
Part III I am the Spirit of the Water. I may visit you by tapping lightly on your window pane, or I may come as a roaring flood that destroys at it rolls onward. I can not stop in all my life. I travel upward when the sun calls me, sweep across the sky in the clouds, and return again to the earth and journey to the sea. I can not stop, but I will loiter in friendly places. I will pause long enough where the soil has been carefully tended to bring forth upon the earth all the wealth of plant and animal life that you may desire. On my travels, men harness me to wheels that make light that leaps forth at the turn of a switch. I must be able to bring light to Camp _____________. I can create light but I lack the power of transferring it.
Part IV I am the Spirit of Plant Life. I am food, clothing, shelter and beauty. I take the essence of the soil and the nectar of the water and combine them with sunlight and the elements of the With those, I may make the rose that delights you with its color or fragrance, I may make the golden grain which is your bread, or I may make those towering spires that you call trees. I struggle to exist at the foot of the ice sheet and at the edge of the desert's shifting sands, but I prefer to live where fertile soil holds sweet water for me. I built the forest that disappeared in flames that swept across ten thousand hills. Coal and oil are only memorials to home in which I lived a million years ago. I can burn, but I cannot flame to bring illumination to all the places where it is needed.
Part V I am the Spirit of Animal Life. I am younger than the spirits of the soil, or the water, or plant life. I could not live until those spirits had prepared a place for me, and I can not stay alive when anyone of them is gone. I made a pattern within which each of the creatures that holds my spirit must move in the manner that I have appointed. The worm burrows in the earth so air and water may enter to feed the plants, the bird can soar so high against the sun that the eye fails to follow the flight, and the four-footed being all live as I have directed. The greatest and the least of them have a place in the pattern of life; and if any one of them goes into oblivion, some of the others must follow. I live in the sun and beneath the moon and stars. I can walk on sure feet on the darkest night so perhaps I can bring light to Camp _____________. I can not do this task that has defeated the other spirits before me.
Part VI I am the Spirit of Humanity, the Spirit of Yourself. I am the youngest of the spirits and I inherited all the wealth that each of the spirits had created in all the ages before I saw the sunlight. The soil, the water, the plants, and the animals were given into my keeping. The Spirit of the Soil says I have destroyed it in places where nations prospered long ago. The spirit of water complains that I hurry its journey to the sea. I know there are deserts now where forests grew before I came. Across the skies above us once swept those countless legions of pigeons whose last survivor died within Illinois' borders. I can not change the past, but I can control the future. I have the power of reason which no other spirit possesses. I can learn to live in such a way that every other spirit is the better for my presence. I must live in that way or those who follow me will search in vain for the wealth that I destroyed. I will start planning now. I think that all of the spirits together can bring the light to Camp ___________ which not one of them can create. Together, we bring light that will reach to the four corners of the earth.
Part VII

As long as the light of Camp __________ burns, it can be carried to far places by those who appreciate its illumination. I ask the spirits to take the flame to those who wait within the circle. (Light campers' candles.) As the light passes from hand to hand, I will read a pledge that all of us will repeat later if the light you then hold is reflected by your spirit and you desire to share the flame with others. Are you ready to repeat this pledge after me.

I pledge that I will remember that conservation is the intelligent use of the resources of nature and that these resources can be renewed if they are not destroyed. I shall remember that wanton destruction of any natural wealth is proof of selfishness.

I pledge that I will learn more about the spirits of the universe and of their relationships with each other. I shall learn to live with the soil, water, plants and animals in such a way that people who follow me will not be deprived of the things I enjoy. I pledge that I will share with others the light I have received at Camp __________ because I believe that I can give away all or any part of the knowledge which I possess and still keep it all myself.


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