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Scouting in Michigan has a long history, from the 1910s to the present day, serving thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live.
The YMCA in Michigan was organizing Scout troops based on Scouting for Boys as early as 1909.
The Michigan Forest Scouts were formed by the State of Michigan in 1911. This group was formed in response to a number of late 19th Century and early 20th Century forest fire and were effectively "auxiliary fire wardens".
In 1914, St. Stanislaus Boy Scout Troop No. 1 obtained its charter as the first organized troop in Bay City Michigan and the first admitted to the Bay City Council(chartered in 1917). Scout activities had been going on for several years prior to this. Father Ladislaus P. Krakowski, pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka, and his assistant Father Frank Kozak encouraged the official link, per the St. Stanislaus Kostka Church Centennial 1874-1974 book of 1974.
The Forest Scouts crested at 5,000 members and ended in 1916.
In 1929, a group of 8 eagle scouts including Gerald R. Ford participate in the first Mackinac Island Honor Guard.
In the 1950, the Gerber baby food company donated Camp Gerber (now of the Gerald R. Ford Council) to the Boy Scouts of America.
The Bass Lake lone troop Scout camp was part of the Owasippe Scout Reservation operated by the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The Bass Lake camp was a single camp on a small (approximately 600 feet (180 m) wide) lake in the Owasippe reservation. A single troop would take over the entire camp, usually for a two-week period, preparing all their own food and overseeing all aspects of the camp life. Active in the 1950s and 1960s, Bass Lake camp is no longer in use.
International Girl Scouts of the USA gatherings named Senior Roundups were held every three years from 1956 until 1965. The first one was held at Milford, Michigan in 1956, attended by 5,000 girls.
As the scouting program grew across the state, local councils began to be consolidated into larger councils to manage the increased number of scouts and units. By the end of the 20th century, Michigan was home to 14 Boy Scout councils and 14 Girl Scout Councils.
The 1986 National Order of the Arrow Conference was held at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.
The 2006 and 2012 National Order of the Arrow conferences (NOACs) were held at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The host lodge in 2006 was Gabe-shi-win-gi-ji-kens Lodge #374. 8,003 Arrowmen from around the country came by plane, train, and bus to participate in the Order's 2006 NOAC; Over 600 people from the state of Michigan were present during the 5 day event.
At the beginning of the decade, there were 14 Boy Scout Councils and 14 Girl Scout Councils in Michigan. In 2008, many Girl Scout Councils were merged in the state, resulting in the 5 present day Girl Scouts councils. In 2012, the Boy Scouts of America consolidated many of its councils across the state into the Michigan Crossroads Council.
The Mackinac Island Governor's Honor Guard (Mackinac Island Honor Scouts) program is one of the few elite programs of its kind. Starting in 1929, a select group of eight Eagle Scouts from across the state, including young Gerald Ford, to serve as honor guards in Fort Mackinac. In 1934, as a Civilian Conservation Corps project, Scout Barracks were built just outside the fort walls. The service camp has been known by many names. Originally, it was named to honor the Governor of Michigan at the time. It was also known as the Mackinac Island Eagle Scout Honor Guard until it was opened up to scouts of all ranks. In 1974, the program was expanded to include Girl Scouts. Similar programs are the Utah National Parks Council Honor Guard and Greater Niagara Frontier Council Honor Guard.
The program is popular, selective, and a long-standing tradition. Scouts raise and lower twenty-six flags on the island, serve as guides, and complete volunteer service projects during their stay. Duties on the island include raising and lowering flags each day, serving downtown and in Fort Mackinac as guides, and doing a variety of service projects to better Mackinac Island State Park.
A unique tie that Scouting has with Mackinac Island can be seen overlooking the Mackinac Island harbor. The Mackinac Island Statue of Liberty replica was dedicated in 1950 by the Boy Scouts of America. The statue is one of 200 donated by the BSA in 1950 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Scouting. The program was called Strengthen the Arm of Liberty and the Mackinac statue is the only one located in Michigan. Due to the unique role that Boy Scouts play on Mackinac Island during the summer, the statue is a lasting testament to the island’s scouting heritage. The statue was restored by the Mackinac Island American Legion in 2013 and will be rededicated in 2014 with the help of Mackinac Island Governors Honor Guard girl-scour troop out of Royal Oak Michigan.
Between Memorial Day and Labor day, the island is the summer home to 13 scout troops. Of the six Girl Scout troops, one is from Michigan Shore to Shore Council, two from Heart of Michigan Council, and three from Southeastern Michigan Council. Of the seven Boy Scout troops, Bay-Lakes Council, President Gerald R. Ford Field Service Council, Southern Shores Field Service Council, and Great Lakes Field Service Council all provide one troop, while Water and Woods Field Service Council is home to three honor troops..
Due to a population decline in the 2000s, with a corresponding loss in youth members, the Boy Scouts of America decided that Michigan's councils should consolidate to help save costs and raise membership. In October 2010, the Area 2 Project was launched to develop a sustainable origination for the 21st Century. In 2012 the Area 2 project committee presented a "Crossroads Recommendation" to the Central Region. As a result of the recommendation, nine councils were merged into the Michigan Crossroads Council, which was then divided into four field service councils.
The Bay-Lakes Council is headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin, and also serves Scouts in Michigan. It is merged with Hiawathaland Council, retaining the Bay-Lakes name.
Camp Hiawatha was opened in 1967 on property formally known as Wolfe's Lodge. There were several small cabins and a larger lodge on the "family side" and little else. The "camp side" was nothing but trees, brush and ferns as tall at the campers. The first campers that summer faced a real challenge. No electricity, telephones, running water and very little shelter.
Today Camp Hiawatha is 800 acres (3.2 km2) and encircles Bunting Lake, a 60-acre (240,000 m2) lake in the middle of Hiawathaland National Forest in the heart of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The closest towns are Chatham and Munising, Michigan. But the only noises that campers hear are the resident loons, whispering pines and the laughter of Boy Scouts.
Camp Hiawatha is now under the administration of Bay-Lakes Council, becoming Bay-Lakes' third Boy Scout resident camp, joining Bear Paw Scout Camp and Gardner Dam Camps, and fifth overall resident camp, joining Cub Scout World Camp Rokilio and Twin Lakes Webelos Resident Camp.
La Salle Council serves Scouts in Indiana and Michigan.
Headquartered in Hermantown, Minnesota, Voyageurs Area Council serves Scouts in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan
There are five Girl Scout councils in Michigan.
Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan serves 30,000 girls in central Michigan.
It was formed on October 1, 2008 by the merger of Glowing Embers Girl Scout Council, Girl Scouts of The Huron Valley Council, Girl Scouts - Irish Hills Council, and Girl Scouts of Michigan Capital Council.
Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore serves just under 20,000 girls in northwestern Michigan (not including the Upper Peninsula).
It was formed by the merger of Girl Scouts of Michigan Pine and Dunes Council, Girl Scouts of Michigan Trails, Girl Scouts of Crooked Tree, and Girl Scouts of Mitten Bay.
See Scouting in Indiana. In Michigan, serves girls in Berrien and Cass counties.
See Scouting in Wisconsin. In Michigan, serves girls in the Upper Peninsula.
Camps and properties http://www.gsnwgl.org/properties/camps.html
It was formed by a merger on January 1, 2009 of Girl Scouts Fair Winds Council, Girl Scouts of Macomb County - Otsikita Council, Girl Scouts of Metro Detroit, and Girl Scouts - Michigan Waterways Council.
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