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Email Chain Re: Rumors of Michigan’s Boy Scout Camp Sales

When I heard an announcement last week at my BSA District’s Roundtable that camps were going to be definitely sold and it was already decided, I immediately flung my hand up and said it wasn’t true.

It went totally contrary to everything I’ve read and conversations I’ve had in person and via email about the future of Michigan’s camps with Great Lakes Council Board Members and participants in the Area Two Study. Of course as part of the consolidation of Michigan’s nine Boy Scouts of America’s Councils in our lower peninsula, they will be looking at camps sometime in the near future. If Michigan’s Scouts want to be sure none will be sold, then they need to make sure they are regularly using and camping in their camps.

I thought it might be educational to also share one of my email correspondences with the sender’s permission with our readers. John Chandler was part of the Area Two Study which made the Cross Roads Recommendation to consolidate into one Coordinating Council that was then approved by all nine BSA Councils in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

________________________________________

From: John Chandler

Sent: Friday, November 11, 2011 11:40 AM

To: Ken Jacobsen;

Subject: RE: New Rumors Publically Blasted Tonight At Ottawa Roundtable

Ken,

You can use my response as you see fit. I think the important thing here is to not get ahead of what is actually happening. Mike Melinn the new Coordinating Council President is just now setting up committees to examine the many things that need to be considered as we move forward. Again, let’s remember that the Crossroads Recommendation was just that a recommendation. There is a group of first class Scouters considering a whole bunch of things as we design this new structure and bring it into existence.

The only thing that we are trying to move backwards is our membership market share. Remember the good old days when we had 15% (1990) of the Total Available Youth (TAY) or 30% of the TAY (1970). Everything else is moving full speed into the 21st Century. Imagine what impact 140,000 Scouts in Michigan would do for our camps, communities and the many the youth experiencing the opportunities presented by Scouting.

Jack Chandler

________________________________________

From: John Chandler

Sent: Friday, November 11, 2011 12:55 AM

To: Ken Jacobsen

Subject: RE: New Rumors Publically Blasted Tonight At Ottawa Roundtable

Well as usual, people have read what they want. It’s disappointing that the properties committee is having these discussions as they have much more important things to be discussing.

Here is a fact. The utilization of the 18 council camps that are a part of the Crossroads Recommendation had an occupancy rate of 24% in 2010 and slightly less in 2011. If they were hotels, they would be shut down.

The Crossroads Recommendation recommended that five of these camps be made “Boy Scout” Camps. 12 should be made Cub Scout Camps. We should have at least one Venturing Camp and 1 Training Camp. In other words – we have NO PLANS to dispose of any properties. Even the above numbers are not firm, they are just recommendations on the basis of how far the Outdoor Program Task Force felt people would be willing to drive to get to a camp. Remember, properties were not a part of the Area Project consideration. In fact we have not even done an assessment of the properties that will be owned by the new Coordinating Council. I was at a meeting tonight where I had a private conversation with the Co-Chairs of the Outdoor Program TF about who and how we might conduct such a survey.

The difficult thing is that every one of these camps came into existence as a Boy Scout Camp. Unfortunately, we cannot sustain them in that capacity at this time. Some of these camps will have to be repurposed to something more appropriate to their facilities. Just as a tough decision was made by the GLC Camping Committee about D-A, additional decisions will be made as we move forward with the new Coordinating Council.

Remember – the whole purpose of the Area Project was to figure out how we can bring Cub and Boy Scouting to more boys. Assuming that we are successful, we will need every camp that we own. Disposing of any camps at this time would be foolish on several levels not the least of which is we wouldn’t recognize a reasonable price.

If you really want to be sure every camp is “saved”, fill them up with Scouts. One of the major things that Scouting is known for is the Outdoor Program. We want to be sure that this continues well into our second century!

Jack Chandler

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