No camp experience is complete with a few traditions. One of our most cherished are our Friendship Sticks. We close every resident camp season with a final camp fire. During this event, our camp staff will present the current camp director with a Friendship Stick. They read the story behind the tradition and explain why one is presented each year.
Next time you visit Camp Seven Hills or Camp Timbercrest, make sure you check out the dining halls and the Friendship Sticks on display. Now, without further delay, we present the legend behind the tradition:
The Legend of the Friendship Stick
The wood of the friendship stick is alive and solid. It is curved to fit the curve of the earth. This symbolizes the friendship that can grow as do the wonderful trees of the forest.
The green circle at the bottom is for faith—faith in God and faith in one another. It is first because it is the basis of a happy and meaningful life.
The next four circles represent the races of the world. They stand close together indicating that all people are equal. Every person is capable of becoming a loyal friend.
The green of hope is above the races. It is hope for the future. It is hope that people everywhere will try to overcome any differences and human failings. Both faith and hope are green—a combination of hues; both combinations of emotional feelings we cannot adequately describe. The four races bound by faith and hope can produce unity—a working together for the good of all. The four paths lead toward a central goal signifying the attainment of this unity.
The smiling face is the result of friendship based on faith and unity. It is a reminder of the person with whom we promise to be friends. To be greeted by the smiling face of a friend is one of the greatest joys we can experience.
The face is crowned by the Girl Scout colors indicating loyalty.
On the back, green is carefully placed opposite the four races to show that peace and charity can exist among all people.
A Friendship Stick must be carved by its giver. It shows time, thought, and effort.
The Friendship Stick can be presented as a gesture of international goodwill; as a part of an inter-troop activity; as a sign of friendship between girls of one troop; at a campfire, or during an indoor ceremony.
This legend has traveled with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides throughout the world.
Author: Ann Evans, Girl Scout Council of Buffalo and Erie County