"A Suggested Plan For The Future Of Owasippe"
>>> OUR GOAL... To Eliminate The Financial Burden Of Owasippe From The Chicago
*** CURRENT STATE OF THE RESERVATION...
1. What Is Owasippe?
- An Outdoor Education Center with the potential for full service conference facilities
- A treasure trove of nature with an estimated 1,000 species of flora and wildlife identified including 19 rare,
threatened, or endangered species.
- The focal point for the Council's summer camping program.
- A youth and youth leader program training and education center.
- Under-utilized as a result of a number of strategic causes: (1) Reduction in the number of Scouts attending
from Chicago Area Council as well as Out-of-council units; (2) Strategic decision made by council leadership to NOT make use
of the camp during the off-season, Aug-June.
2. Owasippe Offers...
90+ years of relationship between Chicago and the West Michigan communities on 4,800 acres that provide an unsurpassed
experience for youth
Facilities for recreation, educational programs and services based on identified needs which reflect the values
of the BSA and our natural resources.
A facility to host many other groups of diverse backgrounds and missions
3. Owasippe Has...
Approximately $200,000 annual shortfall from operations
Electrical wiring needs... underground cable donated by Huen Electric Co several years ago and still held, coiled
up and unused, at the camp
Phone System Problems... a new $77,000 phone switch donated through the good auspices of Tellabs and Siemens
Telecom, not hooked up and turned on
A Need For Phone Alternatives... wireless options being investigated by Curt Andrich of Booz, Allen and Hamilton
A Water System in good shape but in need of a backup generator for its central water supply
An LP gas system in need of review and inspection by a competent party
*** POPULATION ISSUES:
When we look at the population of youth we serve and the number of Scouts in Chicago who do not come to camp, we
believe there are 2 main reasons:
- The main reason is a function of single leader units and single parent families
- Our council leadership and operations mis-management of Owasippe has driven many units
away from our campgrounds
It is NOT a function of money (the current membership funds exist to remove that issue)...and it is NOT a function
*** ADDITIONAL YOUTH
- We believe that we can increase the number of youth coming to camp by creative use of "provisional"
- We have two volunteers ready to move to change the camping format in these "at risk" units to get
them organized to come to camp.
- We need to act NOW and not come May.
*** OWASIPPE'S BUSINESS PARTNER
- Muskegon County has ranked in the top 30 out of 315 metropolitan communities in "Industry Week's" World Class
Community annual survey for five consecutive years.
- The Muskegon-Grand Rapids-Holland MSA ranked 3rd nationally for new and expanded business facilities according
to the 2000 survey conducted by "Site Selection" magazine, for their annual Governor's Cup Contest.
- In the past 10 years, West Michigan's population has grown from a 1991 estimate of 955,165 individuals to a 2001
estimate of 1,099,841...a 15.1% increase compared to a 6.4% increase for Michigan and a 12.6% increase for the U.S.
- Total wage and salary employment by place of work mushroomed 35.2% during the past 10 years, from 445,800 employees
in 1991 to 602,500 in 2001. This compares to a 20.1% increase for Michigan and a 22.1% increase for the U.S.
- While manufacturing employment is shrinking elsewhere, West Michigan experienced a 21% growth from 1991 to 2001
compared to a 4.7% increase for Michigan and a 3.8% decrease for the U.S.
*** COMMUNITY CONTACTS
Since June 1, in an effort to determine the receptiveness of the local community, I spoke with a number of people
interested in helping to make Owasippe a viable member of the community, ie. county officials, Michigan state representative,
a county foundation, a licensed civil engineer, Blue Lake Township supervisor, mayor of Whitehall, and Grand Valley State
University, and the board president of the West Michigan Girl Scout Council.
*** OFF-SEASON USE OPPORTUNITIES
Lease a portion of Owasippe to Muskegon County for a low-risk adjudicated youth facility (at Bass Lake)
Lease Camp Robert Crown to the West Michigan Girl Scout Council
Lease additional camping space to Scouts of the Church of The Latter Day Saints
Conduct "shoulder season" specialty camps for the school systems in the county, ie. football camps, band camps,
leadership schools, etc.
Develop Reneker Family Camp into a multi-season use facility for use by executive teams as well as youth organizations.
*** MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
Here is a sampling of some opportunities that have come our way recently but have NOT been capitalized upon by
our professional staff:
$150,000 of annual lease for the Church of The Latter Day Saints Scouts (They are still interested in a Wood
Badge course today.).
West Michigan Shores Football Conference annual football camp (recent email) for 300 youth for a 10-day camp.
Camp Miniwanka, 20 mins north of Owasippe, acted on the request, got the camp, and charged $300 per participant for their
Overlooked grants from The Community Foundation for Muskegon County
*** SOLUTIONS POSSIBILITIES
Sell Hoover and Owasippe, then consolidate the camping activities into a near-in camp within two hours of Chicago
Sell Hoover only, and use the proceeds to retire the council's debt and fund a permanent endowment of Owasippe
Fund a permanent endowment of Owasippe through outside fund-raising
Generate sufficient funds through additional in-season revenue and off-season usage
Selling Owasippe and Hoover will NOT address the fundamental problem of leadership's inability to run a camping
program for the Scouting Youth of Chicago
We recommend the generation of an endowment through a number of means:
- Sale of Hoover Outdoor Education Center
- Solicitation of funds from donors in Chicago utilizing the volunteers. Either we can find the support or
we can't, but we do not believe that the council has done a complete job (ie. Steven Fossett, Stone Foundation, Crown Foundation,
- Generation of off-season use revenue to further support the cost of operating Owasippe
*** WHAT WE WANT
We are not ignorant of the financial issues and their magnitude. The most active volunteers have been dealing
with this for over twenty-years.
WE WANT... a chance to prove we can provide the financial backing necessary. If, after a reasonable period,
we are unable to do that, then we must face the inevitable
WE DON'T BELIEVE... that all of these options have been explored enough to cast off our existing resource
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME!
Omnes Divitiae Terrae et Caelli... All The Wealth Of Earth And Heaven