Tag Archive | "Michigan"

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Two Councils Merge

Posted on 15 March 2012 by ScoutingNewsStaff

Two councils in Michigan and Wisconsin have voted to merge together. The Hiawathaland Council in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Bay-Lakes Council in Wisconsin. There will not be a new council created, instead they will keep the Bay-Lakes Council moniker. In November of 2011, nine councils in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan merged into a single Greater Michigan Council. Merging councils increase the resources available to youth, but may have an unforeseen consequences.

What do you think? Have you been through a council merger or split? Comment below.

Update 3/16/2012: Thanks Dan for the comment below. Visit the BSA Area Project to find more information on how Michigan is innovating a new model on the idea of a Council.

Sources: postcrescent.com  Bay-Lakes Council News

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Great Sauk Trail Council Office Suffers Catastrophic Water Damage

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Great Sauk Trail Council Office Suffers Catastrophic Water Damage

Posted on 08 June 2010 by Dan

The Service and Program Center of the Great Sauk Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America on Huron Parkway in Ann Arbor, endured devastating water damage as over 12 – 24 inches of water accumulated in the office during the serve inclement weather that rocked communities all over Southeastern Michigan. Thirty adult and youth scout volunteers worked diligently throughout the day on Sunday attempting to clean and salvage what little they could. The deepest appreciation goes to Chris Gorski and his team from Washovia in Adrian, MI, the emergency cleaning services and restoration firm which responded immediately and with great generosity. Currently, the damage is estimated to be a near total loss with complete destruction and water inundation of all computers, servers, most paper files, floor covering and walls.

The Great Sauk Trail Council currently serves over 9,000 youth and 4,000 adults in communities across 7 counties in Southeastern Michigan. The Scout Center will be temporarily closed due to the extensive water damage but the dedicated Scout Volunteers and Field Professionals will continue to serve their communities, supporting program and assisting with community clean up. Although office functions may be impaired for sometime, there will be no significant interruptions in program. The Jackson Scout Service Center at Camp Teetonkah will be open with extended hours and GSTC’s three Scout Camps will still be open for service in the interim.

The local scouts desperately need assistance however, to continue to serve the community and return operations to full strength. Contributions to the local Scout clean up effort can be made on the internet at GSTCFlood.Kintera.org. Please call 734-971-7100 ext 215 to donate supplies. Please visit the GSTC website regularly for further updates and a needed materials and supplies list.

Community help and support are appreciated and will ensure Scouting in the Great Sauk Trail Council can return to full strength.

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Eagle Scout Project to Put Smiles on the Faces of Children with Disabilities

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Eagle Scout Project to Put Smiles on the Faces of Children with Disabilities

Posted on 01 March 2010 by admin

Eagle Scout Candidate Forrest Bernhardt, age 14, received the go-ahead from Whitehall City Council on January 12, 2010 to locate a Liberty Swing in Goodrich Park. The Liberty Swing, a world-first Australian innovation, has enabled many Australian children who use wheelchairs to experience the joy of having a swing in a park and it will now provide the same thrill for kids and adults with disabilities in Whitehall and all of West Michigan.

Diane James, Managing Director of Liberty Swing Pty Ltd, said that the Whitehall swing will be the first installation in a public park in Michigan. “Children in wheelchairs in the Western region of Michigan will now have the opportunity to experience the simple pleasure of having a swing”.

“For most children a city’s parks and playgrounds are a favorite place to visit, however children with special needs often cannot participate in the same activities as other children. The Liberty Swing changes that and allows children in wheelchairs to join in the fun and experience the same childhood activities that all children can enjoy”.

About 180 Liberty Swings have already been installed across Australia and New Zealand and it is now considered a standard piece of equipment in Australia for councils planning new accessible playgrounds. The Liberty Swing, featured on the ABC’s New Inventors show, holds most types and sizes of wheelchairs and meets global safety standards for playground equipment, but is unique in that it can be locked to prevent accidents and vandalism and has an internal seat where a wheelchair is not necessary.

Bernhardt now faces the challenge of raising $16,000 to cover the cost of the swing and shipping charges. He is also looking for donations from businesses for pool type fencing that makes this swing safe and donations from local contractors for help with excavation, cement work, rubber surfacing and assembly.

Tax Deductible Donations can be sent to
Easter Seals – Michigan
First Liberty Swing fund
4065 Saladin Drive SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

***IMPORTANT***  Remember to put “Liberty Swing Fund”  in the memo of the check or else the funds will go to Easter Seals and not to the Eagle Scout Project for the Liberty Swing!

Bernhardt’s goal is to have his Eagle Scout Project completed with children swinging by summer!

Source: Press Release

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Detroit Area Council and Clinton Valley Council to Merge

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Detroit Area Council and Clinton Valley Council to Merge

Posted on 07 August 2009 by Dan

Southeast MichiganOn August 4, 2009, Clinton Valley and Detroit Area Council independently approved a proposal to consolidate their Councils. According to the Southeast Michigan Consolidation Study Group, the consolidation will create a robust, new Boy Scout council serving all of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties.

Voting results were as follows:

Clinton Valley Council:
– Proposal 1 (Merge Councils) 188 Yes / 41 No
– Proposal 2 (Change Name) 192 Yes / 32 No
– Proposal 3 (Executive Board) 194 Yes / 35 No

All proposals received the necessary majority of those eligible to vote. All proposals were approved by Clinton Valley Council.

Detroit Area Council:
– Proposal 1 (Merge Councils) 322 Yes / 2 No
– Proposal 2 (Change Name) 316 Yes / 7 No
– Proposal 3 (Executive Board) 317 Yes / 4 No

All proposals received the necessary majority of those eligible to vote. All proposals were approved by Detroit Area Council.

The Way Forward:
– A new Scout Executive will be selected. The Process has already begun, with an announcement expected by mid August.
– Formal Press Release about consolidation and Scout Executive selection planned for mid August.
– A consolidation date will be set for late September / early October. Until then both councils will operate as normal.

Hat Tip: CSP Corner

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Friday Funny: Cub Scout Without His Uniform

Posted on 30 January 2009 by admin

Welcome to Friday Funny! Every Friday, Scouting News will share a Scouting related joke with our readers. Hopefully you find it just as funny as we did!

Today’s Friday Funny comes from the Boy’s Life Joke Archives, and was originally submitted by Ed L. from Deerfield, Michigan.

Ed: What is a Cub Scout without his uniform?

Ned: What?

Ed: A Bare Scout!

Do you have a Scouting related joke? Would you like to see it featured on a future Friday Funny? If so please use the contact us page to send it to us. If you include your Unit and / or website address it will be included with the joke.

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Council Plans to Go Bigger After Dining Hall Collapse

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Council Plans to Go Bigger After Dining Hall Collapse

Posted on 28 December 2008 by Dan

Camp Gerber Dining Hall CollapseGerald R. Ford Council is able to thank the heavy snow in Michigan for making a tough property decision easier. The Council was debating whether or not they should expand the main dining hall at their Boy Scout Camp, Gerber Scout Camp.

On Wednesday morning, the dining hall collapsed under the weight of the heavy snow. No one was in the building when it collapsed. The only portion that is still standing is the kitchen area.

The current dining hall was build in 1997 and could seat 480 people. The new dining hall, which the Council plans to have finished by June will seat approximately 600 people.

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Scouting Program Takes Life Again in Iraq

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Scouting Program Takes Life Again in Iraq

Posted on 05 December 2008 by Dan

This story originally appeared on Task Force Mountain on December 2nd, 2008. The article was written and photo taken by Staff Sergent Michael Sauret.

On Saturday afternoons, a fenced-in patch of land outside Camp Victory becomes a ground for children to play and participate in their community.

Young girl scouts sit around a table to decorate arts and crafts. Some of their eyes barely make it over the tabletop as service members show them how to paint with a brush. The boy scouts hurl dodge balls at one another, while others learn how to build a fire using just twigs.

It looks like all fun and games, but there is much at stake for these young Iraqis.

“You can look around and, if nothing else, you are doing something good here because you are creating a positive impact for Iraqi families and the children,” said Lt. Cmdr. Eric Fretz, who is helping bring the scouting program back to life after almost two decades of neglect in Iraq.

“We can work together and create this great program for these kids, and then they get all kinds of good life skills out of it,” added Fretz, who is from Southgate, Michigan.

The scouting movement was revitalized in 2004 by the Green Zone Council, which was formed by a group of Coalition forces in Baghdad who saw value in having Iraqi children involved with their communities. Fretz learned about the council in March and wanted to help out, but logistically it was impossible for him to participate on a regular basis because Baghdad is a 30-minute convoy ride from Camp Victory, which is where Fretz is stationed.

Though disheartened, Fretz didn’t want to give up.

“It’s kind of a big deal for me. I was a scout from the lowest level of cub scouts since I was a youth, all the way to Eagle Scout. And when you get your Eagle Scout, you basically get what is called the Eagle Charge, which is to give back to scouting for the rest of your life,” he said.

Committed, Fretz and other passionate service members decided to start their own Victory Base Council, which brings Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen together with schoolchildren from areas in southern Baghdad. The group began with just a few dedicated volunteers, plus a few other service members who helped out whenever possible.

“I was like the lens that focused everybody else’s energies, so you know, yeah, the lens is important, but without those thousands beams of light of those other people’s energy to focus, I’ve got nothing,” said Fretz, a signal officer with Multi-National Corps – Iraq.

Now, the council has grown to nearly 200 members with more than 120 volunteers on Victory Base Complex. More than 60 of those members are active on a monthly basis.

“After I went out to scout the first time, I was hooked. I am not sure who gets more out of the scouting activities, me or the kids,” agreed 1st Lt. Stephanie Flowers, Champagne, Illinois, a member of the 11th Signal Brigade, which provides strategic communications services units throughout Multi-National Division – Center.

As much fun as the adults are having with the program, they all understand who the true focus is.

“That’s where we’re going to rebuild Iraq, is with the children. It’s with the children where you’re going to start,” said Sgt. 1st Class Nevin Gordner, a scout master from Hughesville, Pa., and member of the 398th Command Sustainment Support Battalion.

The service members volunteer their time every Saturday to teach up to 80 children valuable scouting lessons and new sport activities. Often the kids will outnumber the adults, but the volunteer service members look forward to that.

“I love working with children, and I have many wonderful memories from the 12 years I was a Girl Scout when I was growing up. I’d like to see these children grow up with wonderful memories and learn new skills,” said Staff Sgt. Lani Yearicks, of Gwinn, Michigan., a member of the 10th Mountain Division Band.

As part of the program the volunteers organize at least one scout craft, a team-building exercise and rotate between sports, including soccer, football, ultimate Frisbee and even archery.

“They don’t really have the same setup as we do in terms of handbooks and whatnot,” Fretz said. “We bring in the American knowledge of scouting and how we do things, and we blend that with the Iraqi ideas … So we create sort of a hybrid program.”

Iraq had a scouting program up until the 1980s, but the World Organization Scouting Movement decertified the program after they realized Saddam Hussein was using it to train children as paramilitary youths.

“Perhaps the term, ‘Hitler Youth’ is too strong, but it was something like that,” Fretz said.

For roughly 20 years following decertification, the scouting movement simply didn’t exist in Iraq. Now, it’s back to the beginning stages of a project; a project that is steadily moving forward. The council members are also working with scouting adults so they may continue the project once Coalition forces withdraw from the country.

“I think my biggest mission for the next eight months is probably to get the Iraqi adults more involved so that they’re actually teaching and running the program,” said Maj. Cheryl Hanke, a scout pack leader from St. Louis, who will replace Fretz when he redeploys soon.

It took several months of multiple meetings and socializing and trust building with Iraqi leaders and schoolteachers before the council began working. Leaders then needed to find a site, which happened to be a junkyard once filled with tires and scrap metal.

When an Iraqi counterpart told Fretz this place would become their scout camp one day, Fretz originally scoffed. Now, he says he’s astounded by everyone’s collaboration to make scouting a possibility.

“If you told me that I had to sacrifice five years off my life in order to preserve what we’ve done here, I would do it in a heartbeat. It’s that important to me,” Fretz said.

To support this scouting program in southern Baghdad, please visit: www.victorybasecouncil.org.

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Hiawathaland Council Cuts Ties with Delta County United Way

Posted on 03 September 2008 by Dan

Another Council has decided to sever ties with a local Chapter of the United Way. Hiawathaland Council announced it has withdrawn from the United Way of Delta County.

Delta County United Way allocated the Council $2,000 this year, a 75% drop from the previous year.

Scout Executive Dewey Jones stated the following in a letter to the United Way of Delta County, “We feel the 75 percent reduction to be inadequate and inappropriate for an agency which was one of the founders of the Delta County United Way.”

When informed of the $2,000 allotment for the upcoming year, the Council was told that the decision to reduce the allocation was the Council’s ability to raise its own money.

“This decision forces us to expend volunteer and staff time in fund-raising at the expense of time devoted to program and membership development. We feel we can best do that unfettered by an association with the United Way that creates an impression of providing meaningful support to agencies, when the allocation is a token amount in reality,” Jones told the United Way of Delta County.

Hiawathaland Council will start a Fall fundraising drive in Delta and Marquette Counties in order to make up the funding shortfall. This will be in addition to the money raised through its fall popcorn sale, the spring Friends of Scouting (FOS) campaign, and corporate donations. Contributions can be made directly to Hiawathaland Council, information can be found on www.upscouting.org.

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