Scouting in Michigan

Scouting in Michigan
Michigan Eagle Scouts in 1929, including President Gerald Ford at age 16

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.


Early history (1910-1950)

The YMCA in Michigan was organizing Scout troops based on Scouting for Boys as early as 1909.[1]

The Michigan Forest Scouts were formed by the State of Michigan in 1911 cresting at 5,000 members and ending in 1916.[2] 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".[3]

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.

In 1933, the National Order of the Arrow Lodge Meeting was held at the Owasippe Scout Camps outside Whitehall, Michigan.

In the 1950, the Gerber baby food company donated Camp Gerber (now of the Gerald R. Ford Council) to the Boy Scouts of America.

Recent history (1950-1990)

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.[4] The first one was held at Milford, Michigan in 1956, attended by 5,000 girls.

Scouting in Michigan today

The 2006 National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) was held at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The host lodge 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 largest NOAC. Over 600 people from the state of Michigan were present during the 5 day scorcher that was.

Central Region Area 2

The 10 BSA Councils of Michigan as of 2011

All 10 Michigan Councils Councils, along with a council in Ohio, constitute Area 2 of the Central Region of the Boy Scouts of America. The Area is split into two sections for the Order of the Arrow, Section C-2A and Section C-2B.

Area 2 is the only geographic area where population declined during the 2010 census, with a corresponding loss in youth members. In October 2010, the "Area Project" was launched to develop a "sustainable" origination for the 21st century. [5] The recommended plan includes merging more councils, creating an area wide high adventure camp, and the possible selling of other scouting facilities. There are a number of issues the area project fails to address, and has been a controversial subject for many, since area's are not a legal entity and have less power than individual councils, which are legal entities.

Boy Scouts of America local councils in Michigan

Bay-Lakes Council

The Bay-Lakes Council is headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin, and also serves Scouts in Michigan.

Blue Water Council

The Blue Water Council is headquartered in Port Huron, Michigan, and serves St. Clair County, Michigan and Sanilac County, Michigan in The Thumb of Michigan [1]. The Blue Water council's Order of the Arrow lodge is the Chickagami Lodge 180. Blue Water Council is the smallest council in the nation. At one time, there were plans of merging this council into the Clinton Valley Council. The Council operates Silver Trails Scout Reservation in Jeddo, Michigan.

Chief Okemos Council


Gabe-Shi-Win-Gi-Ji-Kens Lodge 374

  • Gabe-Shi-Win-Gi-Ji-Kens, OA Lodge 374, is based in the Chief Okemos Council of central Michigan. The lodge was chartered in 1948, and had 301 members in 2004. Gabe-Shi-Win-Gi-Ji-Kens means "Camp on the Little Cedar", and the lodge totem is the cedar tree. Gabe-Shi-Win-Gi-Ji-Kens also has annual dues of 8 dollars, 2 dollars lower than Chickagami Lodge 180 which has the lowest lodge dues in the Central Region
  • In 2003 Gabe-Shi-Win-Gi-Ji-Kens won its first National Service Award for the OA Chapel project[2]
  • In 2005 Gabe-Shi-Win-Gi-Ji-Kens won its second National Service Award for the OA Adirondack Village project[3]
  • Gabe-Shi-Win-Gi-Ji-Kens was the host lodge of the 2006 National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) held at Michigan State University and has won the NOAC Spirit Award 3 times, and the Distinguished Service award twice.
  • Gabe-Shi-Win-Gi-Ji-Kens is home to the 2008 national vice chief Ben Stilwill
  • In 2008 Gabe-Shi-Win-Gi-Ji-Kens won its third National Service Award for its Campfire Bowl Bowl project[4]
  • In 2010 Gabe-Shi-Win-Gi-Ji-Kens rechartered for its 10th consecutive year as a Quality Lodge
  • In 2012 Gabe-Shi-Win-Gi-Ji-Kens will host the 2012 National Order of the Arrow Conference at Michigan State University


  • Camp Kiwanis is located 3.5 miles (5.6 km) east of Mason, Michigan on M-36 at Diamond Road. The camp contains 85 acres (340,000 m2), 55 acres (220,000 m2) of which are wooded. Camp Kiwanis is open year-round for camping, hiking, sledding and outdoor fun. Camp facilities can sleep 107 people indoors, or 300 outdoors. Camp Kiwanis was previously owned by the Lansing Kiwanis Club and used as a fresh air camp for tubercular children. It was donated June 8, 1939 to the Chief Okemos Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The camp was also used for several years by the Volunteers of America and the Salvation Army for children and their mothers.
  • Northwoods Scout Reservation is located near West Branch in Ogemaw County, Michigan. The camp consists of 840 acres (3.4 km2) of northern hardwood forest, wetlands and Lake Arrowhead, a 90-acre (360,000 m2) private lake. 618 of the 840 is used as the main scout camp, the remaining 24 acres (0.1 km2) is a family camp; where families can stay when their kids are at camp. Part of Big Williams Lake is also on camp property. Facilities range from rustic campsites on the south side of the lake to the heated log cabin overlooking Lake Arrowhead. Chief Okemos Council purchased Northwoods Scout Reservation in 1962. It was formerly the Kenyon Ranch, with the only structure on the property a horse barn, which is now a garage at the ranger’s house. The roads, campsites, cabins for staff and family camp, Log Cabin, Meijer Lodge, Administration Building, Memorial Building and program structures were added over the years. The camp has two unofficial Mascots; one is a loon, the other is a very large snapping turtle nicknamed Bowser. Once every four years, contingents of Scouts, both all-boys and mixed boys and girls, from over 20 countries all around the world, gather at Northwoods for 8 days of international friendship and fellowship at the Chief Okemos Council’s Michigan International Camporee, the largest council-run multinational Scouting event in North America.

Great Lakes Council

The Great Lakes Council, BSA supports Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties in Southeastern Michigan.

On August 4, 2009, The Great Lakes Council (temporarily called the New Michigan Council until November 10) was formed from the merger of Clinton Valley Council and Detroit Area Council.

Gerald R. Ford Council

Gerald R. Ford Council was formed by the merger of Timber Trails Council and Grand Valley Council in 1975, and was originally known as West Michigan Shores Council until 1995.[5]

Great Sauk Trail Council

The Great Sauk Trail Council [6] serves Livingston County, Washtenaw County, Jackson County, Lenawee County, Hillsdale County, Monroe County, Eastern Calhoun County, and the city of Flat Rock.

Hiawathaland Council

Hiawathaland Council serves Scouts in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Ag-Im Lodge 156

Ag-Im lodge was founded in 1945 when the Hiawathaland Council was founded. Three lodges merged to form Ag-Im, these were: North Woods Circle Lodge #156, Copper Country Council: Ottawa Lodge #198, Iron Range Council: Minnewasca Lodge #250, Red Buck Council. Ag-Im lodge is located at Camp Hiawatha, three of its four yearly events take place at camp these being Spring Conclave, Fall Conclave, and Winter Fun.


  • Chippewa District
  • Copper Country District
  • Pere Marquette District
  • Red Buck District
  • Menominee/Iron Range District

For Red Buck District information go to:


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.

La Salle Council

La Salle Council serves Scouts in Indiana and Michigan.

Lake Huron Area Council

Lake Huron Area Council #265 was created in 1971 with the merger of Saginaw Bay Area Council (headquartered in Saginaw, MI) and Paul Bunyan Council (headquartered in Midland, MI). Its headquarters city is Auburn, Michigan and comprises 19 counties located in Northeastern Michigan. Major cities include: Bay City, Saginaw, Midland, Mt. Pleasant, Clare, Harrison, Gladwin, Standish, Caro, Alpena, Oscoda, Grayling, Houghton Lake, Alma, Ithaca, West Branch and Rose City, as well as many other smaller towns.

Historically the first scout council serving this area was formed in 1917 in Bay City. Soon after other councils were formed in Saginaw (1919) and Midland (1920). In 1927 Bay City and Midland merged into an "area" council named Summer Trails Council. The following year Saginaw formed the Valley Trails Council. Summer Trails initially served communities from Bay City into the Thumb and northward on the east and central parts of the state up to the Straits of Mackinaw. Valley Trails included Saginaw, Gratiot, Isabella, Clare and part of Tuscola counties. In 1951 Midland, Arenac, Roscommon and Gladwin Counties divided off to form Paul Bunyan Council, while the counties north of that joined the Scenic Trails Council out of Traverse City. In 1961 Summer Trails and Valley Trails merged to form Saginaw Bay Area Council.

Mischigonong Lodge 89

  • Mischigonong was formed in 1971 as a result of a merger of 89-Kepayshowink, 469-Tittabawasink and parts of 152-Indian Drum Lodges.
  • Its totem is the canoe.
  • The lodge hosted the 1986 National Order of the Arrow Conference in Mount Pleasant, Michigan at Central Michigan University.


  • Tall Pine District
  • Chippewa District
  • Ojibway District
  • Shoreline District
  • Thumb District
  • Thunderhead District


  • Paul Bunyan Scout Reservation [7]

600 acres (2.4 km2) of wilderness camping bordering the Huron National Forest, with water activities on the AuSable River just north of Rose City on M-33. Features a variety of scouting activities ranging from scoutcraft to waterfront activities. It also provides a C.I.T. program for scouts interested in being Staff. Purchased in 1959 it has served as a summer camp since 1963.

  • Camp Rotary [8]

Owned by the Saginaw Rotary Club, and leased by the Boy Scouts, Camp Rotary offers 1,180 acres (5 km2) of year around camping just north of Clare, MI, on Old US-27. Camp Rotary has heated cabins, a full service dining hall and an outdoor education center that can be used as a classroom for Schools, Civic Groups, or Business. Camp Rotary was purchased in 1924 and has served as a summer camp since 1926.

  • Camp Weidman [9]

Camp Weidman is owned by Lake Huron Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and is intended for District or Council events and Unit (Pack, Troop or Crew) activities of the Boy Scouts of America. Unit activities must be approved by the Unit Committee and meet the requirements of Lake Huron Area Council and Boy Scouts of America.

Camp Weidman is located four miles (6 km) west of Mt. Pleasant just off M-20. From M-20, turn south on Vandecar Road. Go approximately ½ mile to the Chippewa River. The entrance to Camp Weidman is about 80 yards (73 m) south of the bridge on the west (right hand) side hand of the road and is marked by a sign. Camp Weidman is a square 40-acre (160,000 m2) parcel with the Chippewa River winding through it. Deerfield County Park adjoins Camp Weidman on the north and west borders.

Scenic Trails Council

The Scenic Trails Council serves the Northwest Lower Michigan counties of Antrim, Benzie, Charleviox, Cheboygan, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, Osceola, Ostego and Wexford Counties. The Council office is located in Traverse City, MI.


  • Northern Trails District- Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
  • Bay Trails District- Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau Counties
  • River Trails District- Benzie, Missaukee, Manistee, Osceola, and Wexford counties

Camp Greilick

Camp Greilick is over 512 acres (2.07 km2) of beautiful terrain and is situated between Spider, Bass and Rennie Lakes, in the heart of the Grand Traverse region of Northern Michigan, just minutes from Traverse City. The Grand Traverse region is an area unmatched in its diverse landscape, and alive with special events in every season of the year. Enjoy skiing, boating, major sporting events, or the solitude of the lakes and rivers.

Indian Drum Lodge 152

Southwest Michigan Council

is a creation of several mergers culminating 1973. Based in Kalamazoo, this city has hosted a council since 1915 when it was known just as the Kalamazoo Council. The Council Number has always been #270. In 1927 "AREA" was added to the council name. That name stuck for only two years before the council again changed its name to the Kalamazoo Fruitbelt Area Council. This time the name lasted eight years before additional territory and a desire for a shorter name prompted the council to change the name to just the Fruitbelt Area Council in 1937. In 1973 there was a three way merger that formed the current Southwest Michigan Council. Battle Creek MI had their own council dating back to 1915 with a council of the same name. In 1927 "AREA" was added to the Council (always designated Council # 256). In 1956 the folks in Battle Creek changed their name to Nottawa Trails Council which lasted until the 1973 merger. The other component of the 1973 merger came from the small lakefront town of Saint Joseph which had hosted the Southwestern Michigan Council (#258) since 1941. Before that Saint Joseph had hosted the Berrien County Council as far back as 1919. In 1923 the name was changed to the Benton Harbor & Saint Joseph Council and then in 1929 the name was edited to become the Berrien-Cass Area Council. Records show the Council ending in 1941 when its final name of Southwestern Michigan Council (#258) was adopted. The name aptly describes the council which has most of that corner of the state (with La Salle Council in Indiana picking up two of the border counties at the extreme lower tip of the state). Finally, there were several other early councils of note in the town of South Haven, there was briefly an unnumbered council from 1917 to 1918. Similarly in 1923 the town of Sturgis had the Sturgis Council (#279) until 1929 when the name changed to Fort Hill Council, where it lasted another two years before being merged together with the Kalamazoo-Fruit Belt Area Council. The town of Dowagiac had a council (#263) from 1917 to 1927 before merging with the Benton Harbor & Saint Joseph Council.


  • Newo District
  • Nottawa Trails District
  • Pathfinder District
  • Wabano District

Nacha-Mawat Lodge 373

Nacha-Mawat means "three into one." The name was adopted after the merging of the Carcajou, Mandoka, and Wakazoo Lodges. The Lodge has recently adopted a policy that each member will get two lifetime lodge flaps for each honor in the OA. There are also trader flaps which are unrestricted. The Nacha-Mawat totem is the Blue Heron, commonly known as "Jay Jay".

Properties The Southwest Michigan Council has one property located in Texas Township just out side of the Kalamazoo city limits called the Rota-Kiwan Scout Reservation. Rota-Kiwan was erected in 1921, and is the second oldest camp in Michigan. Rota-Kiwan is composed of two camps, Camp Madron, which is the Boy Scout and Webelos Camp, and Camp T. Ben Johnson, which is the Cub Scout Camp. The camp services many scouts and scouters from all over the state and many from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and recently Canada.

Tall Pine Council

The "Tall Pine Council" (#264) is a local council of the Boy Scouts of America which serves counties of Lapeer, Genesee, and Shiawassee in the Flint/Tri-Cities area of Michigan. Over 18,000 youth each year experience the Scouting aims of character development, citizenship, training and personal fitness in Tall Pine Council activities.


Cuwe Lodge 218, Order of The Arrow

Cuwe is Lenape for "pine tree." This Order of the Arrow lodge is divided into four chapters, each correlating to their respective districts in Tall Pine Council. These chapters include Chippewa(North Star), Bidaban (New Horizons), Muscadawin (Blue Heron), and Wassa (Shiawassee). The lodge is a member of Section C2A and holds a spring and fall conclave each year to induct new members.Cuwe Lodge 218, Order of The Arrow


Camp Tapico, BSA
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Location Kalkaska, Michigan
Country United States of America
Founded 1947
Scouting portal
  • Camp Tapico[10], which is located off of M-72 between Grayling and Kalkaska, Michigan, comprises over 1,200 acres (5 km2) of woodlands. It has the beautiful 120-acre (0.5 km2) Grass Lake right in the middle of camp.

Camp Tapico is a Boy Scouts of America camp located on Grass Lake in the North Western region of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. The 1,280-acre (5.2 km2) property is staffed and maintained year round by the Tall Pine Council. The location was initially used for logging operations around the turn of the century until it was converted into a private camp and sold to the Boy Scouts. The first Boy Scouts arrived during the summer of 1947 and the location has grown to accommodate over 2,000 campers on a yearly basis.

Location and geography

Camp Tapico is located in the eastern region of Kalkaska County just north of M-72 between Grayling and Traverse City; the camp's closest town is of the same name, Kalkaska. Directly to the north of the camp is the larger sporting lake of Manistee and to the east is Bear Lake. Camp Grayling, a United States National Guard installation, is also located 20 miles (32 km) to the south east.

Camp Tapico has three bodies of water with the primary being the 120-acre (0.49 km2) Grass Lake. The other two are smaller, developing ponds set away from the general campers. Grass Lake however, features a robust ecosystem and is one of the main attractions to the property. The lake's deepest spot of 75 feet (23 m) allows for large blue walleye (this is an error, the blue walleye is thought to have been extinct since the mid 1960s) and bass while shallow sandbars, make for great fishing.

Programs Offered at Camp

Camp Tapico offers many opportunities to campers. They have a 32-foot (9.8 m) tall climbing tower, a 120-acre (0.49 km2) lake with swimming and boating. Program areas such as Handicraft, Scout Craft, and Ecology Conservation, all offering many merit badges to scouts.

  • Camp Holaka[11] offers many camping choices among its 340 acres (1.4 km2) of rolling woodlands and trails in Lapeer County. It also has many cabins and a couple lodges for indoor camping and many campsites for tent camping. During the summer, Camp Holaka is used primarily for Cub Scout camping with different day camps and weekend events.

  • The Scout Service Center is the headquarters for the Tall Pine Council and the office where the Council Support Staff and Genesee County Executives work. It is also a source of extensive information, supplies and materials for all volunteers. It is located at 507 W. Atherton Road (intersection of Atherton Road and I-475). In addition to selling Scouting books, rank advancement and insignia, the Tall Pine Council Scout Shop located in the Scout Service Center sells all types of Boy Scouts of America equipment, uniforms, and specialty items.

Voyageurs Area Council

Headquartered in Hermantown, Minnesota, Voyageurs Area Council serves Scouts in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan

Girl Scouting in Michigan

Map of Girl Scout Councils in Michigan

There are five Girl Scout councils in Michigan.

Girl Scouts Heart of 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.

Headquarters: Kalamazoo, Michigan


  • Camp Crawford, Milan, MI
  • Camp Deer Trails, Harrison, MI
  • Camp Linden, Linden, MI
  • Camp Merrie Woode, Plainwell, MI
  • Camp O' the Hills, Brooklyn, MI
  • Camp Oak Hills, Harrison, MI
  • Camp Wacousta, Wacousta, MI

Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore

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.

Headquarters: Grand Rapids, Michigan


  • Camp Anna Behrens
  • Camp Little Deer
  • Camp Charlevoix
  • Camp Sakakwea

Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana

See Scouting in Indiana. In Michigan, serves girls in Berrien and Cass counties.

Headquarters: Fort Wayne, Indiana

Girl Scouts of The Northwestern Great Lakes

See Scouting in Wisconsin. In Michigan, serves girls in the Upper Peninsula.

Headquarters: Green Bay, Wisconsin

Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan

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.

Headquarters: Detroit, Michigan

Scouting museums in Michigan

See also


  1. ^ Rowan, Edward L. (2005). James E. West and the History of the Boy Scouts of America. Las Vegas International Scouting Museum. ISBN 0-9746479-1-8. 
  2. ^ The Sons of the Nation: The Popular Appeal of the Boy Scouts of America, 1910-1919
  3. ^ Other Boy Scout Organizations -- THE FOREST SCOUTS
  4. ^ Larson, Keith (2000). "Girl Scout Senior Roundups". Scouts on Stamps Society International. Retrieved 2006-09-08. 
  5. ^

External links

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