Scouting in Michigan

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 Michigan Forest Scouts were formed by the State of Michigan in 1911 cresting at 5,000 members and ending in 1916. 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 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 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.

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.

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 serves St. Clair County, Michigan and Sanilac County, Michigan in The council headquarters is located in Port Huron. The Blue Water council's Order of the Arrow lodge is the Chickagami Lodge 180. The largest troop is #216 of Marysville. Blue Water Council is one of the smallest councils in the state. At one time, there were plans of merging this council into the Clinton Valley Council. The Blue Water Council is the only council that just serves the Thumb.


  • Three Rivers (St. Clair County South of Port Huron)
  • Black River Basin (Northern St. Clair & Sanilac County Area)


Silver Trails Scout Reservation is located near Jeddo, Michigan, south of Croswell, and about northwest of Port Huron. The Boy Scout Camp is settled along the banks of the Black River and the Silver Creek. Silver Trails has that can be explored and hiked. There are five all year cabins and three Adirondacks (3 sided structures). Silver Trails has a total of 13 campsites; some are not open all year long, and some are more remote than others. Most of the council's money comes from renting land on the camp property to a gravel mining company. This quarry is running out of stone, and an artificial lake is proposed to be built out of the empty pit.

Chickagami Lodge #180

Chickagami Lodge #180 of the Order of the Arrow has faithfully served the Blue Water Council since 1942. The Lodge has no chapters and hosts bi-annual conclaves at Silver Trails Scout Reservation.

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 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.
  • In 2007, Gabe-Shi-Win-Gi-Ji-Kens recharted as a quality lodge for the 7th year in a row with 349 members.
  • The lodge has built numerous large projects and the council's summer camp including the Chapel project in 2003, the Adirondack Village in 2005, and the upcoming firebowl rebuilding in 2007.
  • The lodge is home to the 2008 national vice chief Ben Stilwill


  • Camp Kiwanis is located 3.5 miles east of Mason, Michigan on M-36 at Diamond Road. The camp contains 85 acres, 55 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 of northern hardwood forest, wetlands and Lake Arrowhead, a 90-acre private lake. 618 of the 840 is used as the main scout camp, the remaining 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.

Clinton Valley Council

The Clinton Valley Council supports Oakland County and Macomb County, Michigan. The vision for Clinton Valley Council is to "accomplish the mission of the Boy Scouts of America by providing exemplary, challenging, innovative programs and activities to the greatest possible number of youth. Achieving this vision requires that we be recognized by our public as the premier youth organization in the communities we serve and by other Councils and the National Council as second to none in our endeavors." Clinton Valley Council

Chippewa Lodge 29

  • Chippewa Lodge, the first lodge in Michigan, was founded in 1938.
  • In 2003, the lodge opened up the Chippy Trail, a ten mile loop that goes through Lost Lake's back forty.
  • One of the most unique characteristics of Chippewa Lodge is that they have not changed their lodge flap except for the addition of the Fleur de Lis.


  • Macomb District
  • Ojibwa District
  • Ottawa District
  • Pontiac-Manito District


  • Lost Lake Scout Reservation is a camp located near Clare in Northern Michigan. It was purchased for $350,000 in 1964. Lost Lake features very popular week long summer camp. Scouts from around the state can attend this camp. The camp has three lakes, the largest is 66-acre Lost Lake. The camp is also the home of Bennett's Lodge, a house with a 128-foot long porch built for Harry Bennett, a Detroit auto executive. The house is constructed of brick and block with concrete siding fashioned with details to make it look like split logs. Bennett, who was an executive at Ford Motor Company during the 1930s and 1940s, was known for his anti-union tactics while working as the head of Ford's Service Department, or Internal Security. Bennett was always paranoid of being killed, due to the fact of his anti-union work with the Fort Motor Company. Bennett had a moat around the lodge full of pointed and sharpened posts, a bridge over the moat loaded with dynamite, and an airplane at the other end of Lost Lake. The lodge was bought by Clinton Valley Council in the 1960's.
  • Camp Agawam is a camp located in northern Oakland County, Michigan. It was purchased in 1918 as Camp Pontiac and renamed in 1938. Camp Agawam features 9 camp sites, 3 lodges and 2 lakes.

Detroit Area Council

Detroit Area Council serves Scouts in southeast Michigan.

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.

Great Sauk Trail Council

The Great Sauk Trail Council 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.


  • Chippewa District
  • Cooper County District
  • Menominee Iron Range District
  • Pere-Marquette District
  • Red Buck District
  • Nourth MenomineeDistrict

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). It headquarters city is Auburn, Michigan. It comprizes 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 and Rose City, as well as many other smaller towns. Order of the Arrow Lodge 89- Mischigonong is associated with this council. It totem is the canoe.

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.


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


  • Paul Bunyan Scout Reservation
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

Owned by the Saginaw Rotary Club, and leased by the Boy Scouts, Camp Rotary offers 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[]

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 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 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 40acre 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, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, Osceola, Otsego and Wexford. 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- Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau Counties

Camp Greilick

Camp Greilick is over 512 acres 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


  • 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" (named by Aaron Cronkrite & Khris Harrington).

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 are 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 five chapters, each correlating to their respective districts in Tall Pine Council. These chapters include Amangi (Norwegen Pine) , Arrowhead (Baden Powell), 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 , which is located off of M-72 between Grayling and Kalkaska, Michigan, comprises over of woodlands. It has the beautiful Grass Lake right in the middle of camp.
  • Camp Holaka offers many camping choices among its 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 Prevailing Winds II is a custom designed 47 foot ketch which sleeps 20 people. Most trips take participants into the Canadian waters of Northern Lake Huron. Other popular destinations include: Mackinac Straits area, Les Cheneaux Islands area, and Northern Lake Michigan.
  • 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 also serves Scouts in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Girl Scouting in Michigan

There were 13 Girl Scout council offices in Michigan.

Efforts are under way to merge and realign councils across Lower Michigan into three new councils since 2006 as a part of across the country effort to reduce the number of councils. Glowing Embers, Huron Valley, Irish Hills, Michigan Capital, Mitten Bay with the addition of Shiawassee County from Fair Winds Council and Branch, St. Joseph, Van Buren Counties from Singing Sands Council will become Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan will be form from Fair Winds, Huron Valley, Macomb County - Otsikita, Metro Detroit, Michigan Waterways Councils with a portion of Monroe coming from Maumee Valley Council. Crooked Tree, Michigan Pine & Dunes and Michigan Trails Councils, and parts of Mitten Bay are merging into Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore Council. Peninsula Waters Council merged with northern Wisconsin councils: Birch Trails Council (Schofield WI), Fox River Area (Appleton WI), Indian Waters (Eau Claire WI), Lac Baie Council (Green Bay WI), and Girl Scouts of Woodland Council (Wisconsin Rapids WI) into Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes, Inc.Post Realignment Councils

Scouting museums in Michigan

See also


External links

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