A Jewish summer sleep-away camp in Malibu, CA by the name of Camp Hess Kramer holds hundreds of Jewish kids ranging from eight to seventeen for most of the summer. A talent show takes place twice a camp session and all the campers gather around the campfire. The informant describes the role of two men – Texaco and Fireboy – in the campfire. This tradition has sentimental value for informant because she has attended this camp for a long time and enjoys this tradition.
The two men, Texaco and Fireboy, put a show on together to light the campfire. The job of Texaco and Fireboy is to get all the campers rallied. Texaco and Fireboy are both dressed in specific outfits as well. They both have red jackets worn backwards and Texaco has the large letter “T” and Fireboy has the large letter “F” taped onto their jackets. The two guys come and put on a whole show about how to light the fire. They chant a song that goes as thus: “Come on Texaco light my fire. Come on Texaco light fire. Fire, fire, make it go higher. Fire, fire, make it go higher. CHK let my Texaco fire go higher.” After this chant they light the fire and they have the talent show and then everyone sings a song to go to sleep. The tradition of Texaco and Fireboy has existed at this camp since the informant has gone since she was a kid and is an integral part of the weeks spent away from home.
I think the role of Texaco and Fireboy within the sleep-away camp demonstrates the drive for the camp to promote unity within the campers and the camp as a whole. In order for the fire to be lit the entire camp must call for Texaco and Fireboy to join campfire – lack of participation from everyone will result in a chant not loud enough and will result in failure to get them to come. The two characters also serve as entertainment for the campers and play a memorable role for the campers.