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RememberSchiff

Michigan Crossroads Council Deficit, Membership, Camp Selling

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2012:  nine Michigan councils consolidated into the Michigan Crossroad Council. The move was sold as a cost saver that will improve scouting by streamlining operations. The land sales quickly followed the consolidation and some local Scouts say it appeared to be a land grab.

In the last five years alone, the Michigan Crossroads Council of Boy Scouts, which oversees scouting in Lower Michigan, has netted more than $5 million by selling five camps covering more than 2,000 acres. That figure could more than double if planned sales go through.

Camp Tapico near Kalkaska, Camp Holaka in Lapeer County, Camp Agawam in Orion Township,  Camp Muscootah in Hillsdale and the Northwoods Scout Reservation near West Branch have been sold since 2014. The Silver Trails Scout Reservation near Port Huron is in the process of being sold. Two other large camps, Paul Bunyan in Rose City and the Lost Lake in Farwell, are up for sale.   8 camps since 2014?

Weak finances are driving the sales. A Free Press review of the council's most recent financial audits shows the state organization sustained operational losses of $5.5 million for 2013-17. That means that on average, council expenses exceeded revenues by about $92,000 a month for five years.

More details at source, including current sale of Silver Trails directly, no realtor, to a local gravel company. The proposed sale has angered local residents and other fans of the property. Almost 5,000 people have signed an online petition to save the property as natural area. Also there are details of Council's financial troubles and membership drop, 68,000 in 2014 to about 61,000 last year.

Source:

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/08/04/boy-scouts-michigan-campgrounds/1868668001/

Related earlier topics:

 

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5 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

In the last five years alone, the Michigan Crossroads Council of Boy Scouts, which oversees scouting in Lower Michigan, has netted more than $5 million by selling five camps covering more than 2,000 acres. That figure could more than double if planned sales go through.

This was predictable.  One only needs to look at the Summit to see where all the money is going.  A hundred local scout camps will be sold off to help pay for it.

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It's all very sad.  I do understand the once they consolidated, they no longer needed to maintain that number of distinct camps. 

Just reminds me that we need to address the membership issue.

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Every time I read about this I want to go kiss some of my council board members.  We were under tremendous pressure to be a part of this, and despite a lot of arm twisting we stayed out of it --- kept our camps and kept our endowment.

 

There was no question that a number of camps had to be sold off.  Several councils in the state were teetering on bankruptcy, and there simply wasn't enough revenue coming in to sustain every camp.  But it sounds like they haven't gotten the revenue/expense balance right yet, and I am always unhappy with the lack of transparency from every council.  If there's a plan in place to balance the books it should be available to anyone to see, keeping it secret and trying to put a positive spin on negative news just makes the truth harder when it's confronted.

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On 8/4/2019 at 12:09 PM, David CO said:

This was predictable.  One only needs to look at the Summit to see where all the money is going.  A hundred local scout camps will be sold off to help pay for it.

Not sure where you're getting that. Absolutely zero funds from the sale of council camps goes to national, much less to Summit in particular.

The funds raised from these sales goes back into the capital improvement fund to help pay for the much needed repairs and upgrades to core council camps.  

Although it's sad to see camps go away, there's absolutely no need for 27, 16, 12 or even 8 camps in-council when we're hovering around 30% occupancy in our camps.  

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22 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

If there's a plan in place to balance the books it should be available to anyone to see, keeping it secret and trying to put a positive spin on negative news just makes the truth harder when it's confronted.

There is a plan and it's open. Your COR is a member of those proceedings and invited to every meeting. The problem is most CORs have no interest in attending, so when decisions are made unit leaders cry "Why wasn't I told or asked?"

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Update 8/8/2019:

Members of the local Boy Scout community asked officials of the statewide organization a lot of questions about the pending sale of the Silver Trails Scout Reservation this week.

....

Over and over, for more than two hours, scouts and their supporters said the community wasn’t properly informed on the process. Some didn’t agree with the council's assessment that Silver Trails wasn’t sustainable long term or with how scouting funds have been appropriated.

...

Chuck Truza, of the MCC’s board of directors, said the MCC wanted to host town halls and round tables to properly explain the deal with Mid-Michigan, in an effort to be transparent. 

The gesture, he said, followed the years-long consolidation of Boy Scout organizations across the state and the closure of other camps. And in that time, he admitted, communication was a problem.

More at source link including second buyer who appeared to conserve property but to no avail.

https://www.thetimesherald.com/story/news/2019/08/08/local-boy-scout-community-silver-trails-sale-going-hurt-scouting/1952882001/

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Update 9/16/19 

Mid-Michigan Materials has closed on its acquisition of a Grant Township Boy Scout camp, according to a statement from the quarry operator. Earlier this year, the Michigan Crossroads Council of the Boy Scouts of America entered into a purchase agreement with Mid-Michigan for the nearly 300 acre camp near Jeddo. The purchase was contingent on positive mineral tests on the property. The purchase was finalized Monday, according to Mid-Michigan. In a statement, vice president Robert Wilson says Mid Michigan Material’s next steps will include discussions with local governments and conservancies. “Our intention is always to preserve the best assets of our community,” said Wilson. An online petition to “Save Silver Trails from becoming a gravel pit” was created earlier this year, with over 5,000 signatures to date. Silver Trails Scout Reservation was established in 1945.

https://www.wphm.net/2019/09/16/silvers-trail-sold-to-gravel-quarry-operator/

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My youth was at Silver Trails Scout Reservation as part of the Blue Water Council.  As staff as the Asst Aquatics Director, we had a canoe pond off the main river.  They had a old tree bent around in a circle called the "#9 tree".  This was the camp symbol for years until it finally fell and the "9" was cut and placed under cover for everyone to see when they arrive.  During the 70s and 80s, Ranger John C. Hardy was the camp ranger.  He was great and made every scout feel at home.  In the 90s, they offered weekend 3D archery shoots and had teepees you could stay in.  As Chickagami Lodge 180 called it home, our OA was flourishing with our section conclave from EC-2A.  Centrally located in Michigan's thumb, it would be a couple hours drive to another camp.  Shame this is endangered. 

The memories from that council are priceless as this was often the only camp scouts would attend in their youth.  I wish we had a Waite Phillips around today that could preserve area camps like he did with Philmont.  Every sale from a Phillips 66 Station has input into protecting Philmont, too bad we couldn't protect more.    

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1 hour ago, Double Eagle said:

 Centrally located in Michigan's thumb, it would be a couple hours drive to another camp.  

I'm not sure how old you are, but D-Bar-A has been around since 1950 and is just 45 miles down the road.  

Silver Trails had some fine programming, but utilization just wasn't there to keep it open. We're hoping most, if not all, of that can be relocated to relocated to D-Bar-A.

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I was at D-A for a couple of campouts.  That was one camp that had great fishing and you could ride horses and enjoy a ranger type program.  Seemed like a long way from Jeddo, Mi, and was another council.  We tended to support our council and the BWC's one camp.  D-A was closer to the bigger cities and the funds flowed there.  Seems you are loyal to D-A as much as I am Silver Trails.     

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5 hours ago, Double Eagle said:

Seems you are loyal to D-A as much as I am Silver Trails.     

Not at all. I prefer Cole Canoe Base.  Only reason we go to D-Bar-A is because Cub families refuse to travel more than 90 minutes.

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It appears from a letter posted on Facebook that MCC is discontinuing use of two other camps, Munhacke and Roto-Kiwan. Presumably for sale. Sad.

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