I found this article on Troop 1018’s website and I couldn’t write it any better, I have replaced their links with our own, but the story and ceremony stay the same:
The Campfire Ash Ceremony is a tradition that was supposedly started by Baden-Powell to highlight the bond among Scouts worldwide. The basic idea is that ashes from a campfire are collected and sprinkled into the next campfire, thus there’s a common thread that binds the events and the participants. By keeping a running log, a “campfire pedigree” is created that lists lineage of the current ashes.
It’s a fun thing to do at a campfire and really does highlight the worldwide nature of the Scouting movement. That having been said, my research has not shown any evidence that B-P really did come up with the idea, and the pedigree is, of course, something that has to be taken on faith. None of this is notarized, certified, or has received a stamp of approval from the international “ash master”. Bottom line – we do it because it’s fun.
Traditionally, anyone that participated in the campfire can take ashes for their own pedigree and can combine pedigrees if ashes from multiple “lines” are sprinkled into a fire.
CampfirePedigreePack24MarlboroughMA (pdf format)
Here is an example of a campfire ash ceremony:
There exists, in Scouting circles, a legend that Baden-Powell would take ashes from a ceremonial campfire and spread them into the next campfire. This was done to recall memories of past campfires and to highlight to all Scouts and Scouters the bonds that connect us with our fellow Scouts and Scouters around the world.
If anybody else has any ashes that they would like to contribute to this ceremony, I invite them to come forward now and join me.
The ashes I spread into this campfire carry memories of past campfires dating back to ______. They have been carried around the world to over _____ Scouting campfires in ____ countries where Scouting fellowship has been shared.
[Sprinkle ashes into the fire]
In adding these ashes to our campfire tonight, we symbolically send greetings to our brother and sister Scouts around the world. And, as these ashes mingle with tonight’s campfire, we join the memories of our own past campfire experiences and those of Scouts that have come before us with tonight’s program.
CampfirePedigreePack24MarlboroughMA (Comma Seperated Values file to add to in any program)