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Welcome to the songbook

Have you ever heard a song at a campfire that you really loved? Did you ever get to hear it again, or was it the only time you've encountered it? Perhaps you tried to track down the singer later, to learn the song from them... but neither of you had the time.

Or maybe you saw a skit that was amazing, and made you laugh... but you couldn't remember the details.

It's hard to learn a song when all you have are the lyrics, or if you can't read music. This site hopes to help by providing everything you need to learn a song, from lyrics, to music, to audio playback, even a performance if I can find one.

The skits collected here are intended to be the more interesting or unique ones, because you can find "Invisible Bench" or "There's a Bear" everywhere.

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So why "Camp Winton Songbook"?

Camp Winton is a summer camp in the El Dorado National Forest on the Bear River Reservoir. It is owned by Scouting BSA (formerly known as the Boy Scouts of America.) I worked there as a summer camp counselor, and if there's one thing Camp Winton is known for, it is performance. Singing not only happens before every meal, but during the entire time food is being served, before campfires and other events, during campfires, and that's not to mention the skits both old and created that populate the two staff campfires and the Scout-run campfire.

Each staff member is expected to memorize and perform a large repertoire of songs, including a few epics that have been added to along the years. And all they have are printouts and copies of the lyrics.

It's not the first place that I've noticed the difficulty of passing along songs when, perhaps, the person that knows the tune has moved on to other things. Sometimes the songs have a note that they are to the tune of one song or another, but unless that song is in common memory, that isn't much help.

a note about the songs

You may come across some of these songs and think, "that's not how I remember it." Welcome to the oral tradition! Songs change as they are passed along, and some songs are performed differently in different regions.

I will tend to privilege the versions that I have learned. If a song has extreme variants that I find out about, I will include notes about that. Otherwise, if it makes you happier to change the words to the ones you remember, go for it!

a note about the skits

Times change. Your favorite skit back when you were a kid might be something you look at now and cringe over. Or, in a few cases, the very joke that made it funny at the time has long since passed out of cultural memory, and so the skit seems pointless now.

The BSA National Camping School has put out a set of guidelines for skits (and songs) that may seem restrictive to those seeing it for the first time—but don't be alarmed! Many excellent skits and songs exist that are perfectly fine under those guidelines, and more are invented every year. Encourage your scouts to be creative! Perhaps one day the skit they invent will be performed all over the place.

Contact

You have a song or skit that I don't have up? I'd love to hear about it.

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