THE SCARLET SASSAFRAS... Owasippe's"Unwebsite" & E-zine

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The Sounding Board

"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion."

--- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Charles Jarvis, in 1820.

***PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT...To Share With Us Your Opinions, Concerns, Accolades, and Ideas For Owasippe. Please include your initials, name(s), a pseudonym, or "Anon", your choice of ID as the author of the commentary:

Contact Owasiron

Is It Fiduciarily Responsibile to Be In Receivership?
...or to spend in excess of $1-million to sue BL Township?
Just asking.
Thank you for keeping all of us informed of the sad story of the Chicago Area Council's Board of Directors refusal to drop the sale of Owasippe. It is very obvious to me that there is something devious in this refusal. I find it impossible to believe that no one knew of the bankruptcy [?] of the council for two years. Where is the money coming from for the legal fees if the CAC is bankrupt?
Pulling new By-Laws out of the air is also astounding, and very convenient. $12-million will turn a lot of heads in Texas.
Yours in Scouting,
~ Bob B, Silver Beaver '94
[Note: CAC did not file for bankruptcy, but it is having cash-flow difficulties and had to borrow against its trust funds as reported at a prior Executive Board meeting.]

A Prayer for Owassipe

That council, who art in Chicago,
 hallowed be thy camp.
Thy proceedings come.
Can it be done
 at Owasippe as it was with Hoover?
Give us this day our daily crisis.
And forgive us our litigation,
 as we forgive those who litigate against us.
And lead us not into frustration,
 but deliver us from deadlock.
For Scout camps are a tradition
 of fun and adventure and laughter,
 forever and ever.
~ by Cliff Golden
Scoutmaster Troop 33
DeKalb, Illinois

Just A Money Grab?
a personal opinion
The National Council wants out of the Camping Business and into Learning for Life. Almost every Council is selling their Summer Camps. Des Plaines Valley Council has just announced that they are selling their two camps in Wisconsin.  I took the time to investigate the surrounding summer camps during the Christmas holidays. 149 troops camped at Owasippe last year. The adjacent Scout Council summer camps cannot accommodate all 149 troops.
If we ,the Scout Leaders, do not stop the selling of Boy Scout Summer Camps, soon there will not be any left to camp at. You see, every Council thinks the other guy is going to pick up the slack, so they do not have to bear the expense of operating a camp.  The professionals want to live off the interest generated by the Endowment Fund so they do not have to keep beating the bushes for money.
~ Erv Brinkmann
[Note: Not every council is selling their summer camp, but there is a growing number of such sales...just Google "Scout camps for sale".  We're also not sure if Des Plaines Valley Council is formally putting up their 2 camps for sale...but just considering this action.]

Questions Scouts' tactics and motives
Muskegon Chronicle
Letters to The Editor
I read the articles regarding Gerber and Owasippe. What struck me is why my council can't seem to do what Gerber is doing so successfully. Perhaps we should deed the property to make it the "Gerber Scout Reservation."
Chicago says it needs $2 million for improvements and yet it allegedly has assets in access of $21 million. Even if you remove the $7 million that I believe it claims as the value of all real estate, furniture and equipment, that still leaves $14 million. And they can't find $2 million to provide a quality camp at Owasippe? Could it be that pumping up the endowment fund is more important than the camping program? Who would ever believe such a thing of the Boy Scouts?
Unfortunately, their contract with the developer requires them to exhaust all appeals. Or, if they can bankrupt Blue Lake Township, perhaps the township will cave. I wonder what part of the Scout Oath and Law covers that tactic?
Reinhard Plaut

Smoke Up Your @#$
Thu Oct 18, 2007
from the OSA Guestbook,
All this talk about Jamborees and pumping water are nothing but a legal smokescreen. The Council is claiming that Blue Lake has "taken" their property due to the restrictive zoning.
According to Michigan Case Law "as a prerequisite to a takings claim, “the landowner must show that he sought alternative uses of the property as zoned and was denied, thus leaving the property owner with land having no economically productive or reasonably beneficial use.” Braun, supra at 159
All the CAC is doing is coming up with wacky ideas to use the property as zoned, that they know are going to be shot down, so they can show the judge that they are trying to find alternative uses.
I don't know if it will work or not. I guess time will tell.
~ Vince Rychtanek - Elgin, IL

Donate to The Blue Lake Township Legal Fund

Hey, Scout Leaders!  The very best action is to donate to the Blue Lake Township Legal Defense Fund.
Buying stock and attending the Stockholder Meeting will not work because they will not let you talk and will kick you out if you protest. You also have to spend a lot of money to go to the Stockholder Meeting.
The key to saving Owasippe is supporting the Blue Lake Township Court Battle with our donations. If Ben Smith cannot build houses on Owasippe land what can he do with the property?
You have to open up you wallet and donate $100 dollars to Blue Lake Township.  You will spend a $100 dollars to go to just one Cubs Baseball or Bears Football Game which lasts for just an afternoon. A donation to Blue Lake Township will make Owasippe last forever.
If someone can find a way to make donations to the Blue Lake Township Fund tax deductible that would increase the chances that people would donate to the fund.
Blue Lake Township Legal Fund
1491 Owasippe Road
Twin Lake, Michigan
~ Erv Brinkmann
Veteran Scouter and Eagle Scout

Snowball Your Funding Via Your Units

Donate $100 to your unit. Then have the unit send their $100 to the Blue Lake Township Fund. Then YOUR donation is tax deductible. It's the same thing as donating to the unit, and then the unit decides to spend their new $100 on something. You would also want to let Stone know of your units donation. Got to keep the old boy smiling.
~ Wayne Schimpff

Bull in A Chinashop?
The National Jamboree could be akin to allowing an 800-lb bull loose in a china shop.  We forget how fragile the Owasippe ecosystem and soil system is and how intrusive a 40,000-person Jamboree can be. The Jambo brings demands for infrastructure and services that do NOT exist and may be impractical to create for just a 2-week event that is only run once every four years.
- Ron Kulak
Owasippe and National Jamborees
Weds, Sept 19, 2007
While I am glad to hear that our Council leadership is FINALLY waking up to the other possible scouting-related uses for Owasippe, I wonder how Jamborees will affect the land and the usage of the land by the scouts on a yearly basis?
I have never been to a Jambo, but if I am not mistaken they usually require huge swaths of open fields. Where would these be obtained Owasippe? (Perhaps clearing out Carlen or Crown - which would then mean that these camps will never re-open.)
Also, with the huge prep needed for a Jambo, and all of the additional people attending the Jamboree, would that mean that our scouts' use of the summer camp be curtailed or eliminated every 4 years?
Just wondering...anyone else have any thoughts on it?  
~ Jerome Lasky
Chicago, IL

-----------------------------------------------------  -----
Blue Lake Township Defense Fund
-----------------------------------------------------  -----
One Man's Opinion...
This fight is not over.  It has just begun.  CAC is not going to back down.  They are going to court in October.  The Blue Lake Township needs money to continue the fight.  They have about 30 thousand, and they need 80 thousand. 
We need to dig into our pockets and send Blue Lake 50 or 100 dollars {each].  If they do not get 80 thousand dollars by October, they will probably throw in the towel and change the zoning laws to housed from camps.
There is about 1,900 or so people living in Blue Lake Township.  We cannot expect them to come up with the money while we sit on the sidelines and watch.  We are getting the direct benefit of their blood sweat and tears.
The Blue Lake Township government is all that is standing in the way of the CAC Executive Board and Council Executive Professionals.  WE have to support them with our cash.
If you do not donate to Blue Lake this is what it will cost you every year you go to camp.
Your Troop will be the out of out or council troop and therefore you will pay the premium that our of council troops pay to Chicago Area Council.  This year it is 15 dollars a boy. Multiply the number of boys you take to camp by 15 dollars.
The Scout Camps that you will want to attend are further away than Owasippe so multiply the extra cost of transportation by the number of cars that you take to camp.  Add this up and this is the extra cost that you and your troop will pay each year that your troop goes to camp.  Forever!!  I think that will be a lot more than the 100 dollars you will give to Blue Lake Township today.
You and your troop will be in direct competition for campsites in the remaining BSA camps.  It is a good chance your troop will not find a place to go to summer camp next year. Your troop might have to travel many 100's of miles more to find a summer camp who will accept your reservation.
This fact is not lost on the professionals of the surrounding councils. They will view this as a profit center they cannot pass up.  They will sock it to the out of council troops because they are just obeying the law of supply and demand.
All the talk about what a shame that Owasippe is gone, all the work we did as members of the Order of the Arrow and Owasippe Staff Association on the Owasippe Scout Camps are in vain IF the Blue Lake Township quits the fight or CAC wins the law suit.
Now is the time to open your wallet and shell out your 50 or 100 dollars!!! Next year will be too late :-(
~ Erwin Brinkmann
*** Note: In a response from one of the township trustees to Erv, it was exclaimed that they will look for whatever ways they can to raise the funds and will NOT throw in the towel.  They have NO intention to capitulate and rezone!!

Scouts not negotiating with the rightful owner of Owasippe
Letters To The Editor
Whitelake Beacon
I stand before you with a heavy heart. My name is Al Medaco and I am
an American Indian. I understand that someone is trying to buy a lot of land on the south side of Big Blue Lake (commonly known as Owasippe camp). I don't think that they are negotiating with the rightful owner. The Creator owns this land and He is just letting us use it. As an American Indian (before the coming of the Europeans), we did not believe that we owned the land. The Creator made this land so we could use it and appreciate the beauty He put into it. I do not believe that by destroying the beauty of the land and putting up
buildings will keep the beauty of it as the Creator intended. I urge the people that make the decision to sell the land (which is still owned by the Creator) to follow their hearts when making this decision. There are not many places of beauty left, so let us keep this one unspoiled.
~ Al Medacco
Freesoil, MI
A Quixotic and Wasteful Venture
an editorial
It's insanity to think that you can move all of the operations and facilities of Owasippe and jam them all into the immediate Blue Lake Area.  The cost of rebuilding and relocating would be incredibly high, wasteful, and totally unnecessary.  The facilities that Owasippe now has are adequate with some upgrades.  Money can be better invested to upgrade and expand what Owasippe has and to implement a full-blown PR program to better market their great camping product and facility...TO INCREASE ATTENDANCE AND USAGE YEAR-ROUND!
Hey, guys, GET A CLUE! Easy to say...NOT easy to do!
Besides, ALL Scouts and Scouters want access to ALL 4,700+ acres of
Owasippe for camping, hiking, horseback riding, boating, swimming, nature study...the whole gamut of summer camp activities that Owasippe can uniquely offer today.
If CAC wants to show its sincerity and caring, then drop the lawsuit against Blue Lake Township.  Instead of spewing words...take some tangible and positive actions for us Doubting Thomases.  Announcing that the contract with Ben Smith has been ripped up would do wonders for the volunteer Scouter psyche and give new hope to the people of Blue Lake Township who want their community and the environment protected.
~ Ron Kulak

What other people think of Owasippe
I am a member of a yahoo message board for all things related to boy scouts. Go to this link:   Anyhow, there was a discussion of where troops go to summer camp, and when I mentioned Owasippe, someone responded that they though the camp had been sold already. This may be a problem with attracting out of council units to the camp, if "outsiders" believe it has already been sold!!
~ Jerome Lasky
Chicago IL

An Open Letter to The CAC Board of Directors
June 18, 2007

We elected a new board. Our hope and desire was that it would be more
open and transparent.  Why wasn't Micheal Hughes' "Open Letter," posted on the Council's web page?  Did the board have input and approve the sending of this letter?  How come Board and Executive committee meetings aren't
listed on the Council calendar?
I just finished the on line training for troop committee members. In it was stated that all functions of the BSA are open to any scout leader or scout parent to observe. What do you think of the idea of having a contingent of interested parties attend all Board and committee meetings?
~ Reinhard Plaut
CAC Troop 923
[NOTE:  As of June 21, CAC has posted Mr Hughes' open letter and it
can be seen in its entirety at, then tab
to "current events".  Sometimes, the squeaky wheel will get the
grease...thanks for squeaking!  Don't forget to share your views and
wishes to Mr Hughes at]

CAC Needs To Consider The Aftermath of Its Actions
I sincerely hope that the tactic of the CAC is not to win by draining the Township's defense fund.  They will in all likelihood NOT win the zoning battle in court, and Mr Sturdaven is going to be successful in rallying the troops to get enough monies donated and enough friend of the court briefs to ensure victory.  Using this approach will only create enough ill-will between the players to make it very hard to mend fences afterward.
The end game is important here. 
CAC needs to think about life after this court battle.  What will relations between the citizens of Blue Lake Township, Muskegon County and the rank and file Scouters look like after this matter resolves? 

CAC leadership posting open letters in certain places but not on the CAC website, etc, is not a good sign. 
It is time to think about the future of this Council, not to figure out how to drain your opponent or use a divide-and-conquer strategy by attempting to partition the Camp.  Besides, doesn't the Board need to approve such "offers", especially since there is a contract on the table to sell the property?
~ Charles P

A Perspective From a Staff Alum of 70 Years Ago
This whole situation is so sad.  This is one time I wish I had the money of a Bill Gates, I'd buy the place myself and then arrange for it to remain as Owasippe in perpetuity.
I just, I don't wonder...I KNOW how those honorable, stalwart Scout Professionals of our day (circa the early thirties), would proceed against this horrendous proposed rape of Owasippe.   George Schnier, Al Nichols, Roy Alm, John Lovett, George Mozealous to name a few (George Mozealous was like a big brother to me).  Roy Alm really put the pressure and conducted a tough interview when he tested me for Bird Study Merit badge...I sweat but I admired him for his thoroughness.  I believe his title was Director of Camping or Camps.  George Schnier, was Northwest District Comissioner, Director
of Camp Checaugau, Big Blue Lake.  I was on his Staff at Camp Robert
Stuart in 1936. He was a father image if there ever was one!  They would abhor even the thought of such a move. 
Warmest Regards,  - Fred Brems

Holding My Breath
June 22, 2007
I know most message boards get quiet as the camping season begins.

Everyone is busy with their troops camping and getting ready for summer camp.  But right now, I almost feel as if everyone is holding their breath. The open letter from council president Mike Hughes is almost too good to be true, an opportunity to work out a creative solution that meets the financial needs of the council, provides for a long term solution for summer camp for Chicago and other Scouts, opens up the vast resources for conservation, education as well as other area youth organizations for generations to come, and protects
the quality of life for the local citizens. This is not only a step in the right direction but it would also prove to be a milestone achievement for which all parties involved on both sides of the issue may be proud.
I recall that Mr. Smith named the corporation he formed for the development project in honor of his grandson. I would call on him now to participate in the saving of this precious jewel as a protected resource as a donor. In that fashion he would truly honor his grandson, and then his great grandchildren and their children could see the real wonder of this beautiful land as he sees it today. And remember and thank him for his vision.
Mr. Smith, a real opportunity of a lifetime is now in front of you. 
~ Uncle Willie Vannerson
McHenry, IL, Scouter

Open Letter to The NEW CAC Board and Officers
March 26, 2007
Good luck, gentlemen, and best wishes to restoring good governance and good program in CAC!  The healing must now begin in earnest and the dog must once again wag the tail (instead of the other way around)! 
I would recommend going out to the district roundtables ASAP, meeting
with your constituencies, and LISTENING to what they have to say.   Visiting Owasippe this summer would also be a very prudent and wise thing to do (ie. MBWA - Management By Walking Around) while it is in session to meet with the Scouts and Scouters in their sites and program areas and see first hand what that legendary facility is all about and how special the camp is for them from their perspective. 
Furthermore...Owasippe is YOUR program and facility and the entire board should become familiar with it and what it delivers for the good of our Scouts.  When was the last time you sat around a troop campfire...or ate a meal in the dining hall next to a Scout...or watched a Scout traverse the COPE Climbing Tower...or saw the eagles perched upon their nest...or gazed across the majestic waters of Lake Wolverine...or dipped your toe in the chilly waters of the melodic Cleveland Creek...or took a stroll into the cavernous Paradise
Valley...or jumped up and down on the Quaking Bogs?????  Do you know
what kind of unique vegetation and wildlife inhabit Owasippe?  Do you know what is in the camp's inventory of supplies for use by the Scouts?  Are you aware that we operate a ranch at Owasippe?
Has it been awhile since you have stepped foot on YOUR/OUR property? 
Have you even been there previously and know of its geographic setting?
Perhaps it is time to walk a mile in the moccasins of the Scouts and come to a full understanding of the legend of Owasippe and what it truly means to them and to those that will come after them!
You know, there are just some things in life that you just can't put a pricetag on or effectively evaluate in the text of a contract.   We ALL look forward to your extended visit at Owasippe and hope to see you soon on the trails of the camp.
We wish you well...for the sake of our Scouts.
- Ron Kulak

Time for Chicago Council to pay back the community
White Lake Beacon
Letter to The Editor
March 18, 2007
Thank you for your very insightful editorial last week regarding the letter of intent from the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center. I couldn't agree more with your statements that it's finally time that the Chicago Area Council pay back some of the good hospitality that West Michigan has shown it. If it wants out of its ownership of Owasippe Scout Camp, that's fine. But rezoning and developing the land is not the solution that anyone wants (well, except those on the Chicago Council board who have dollar signs in their eyes).
I'm hoping that the Chicago Area Council will welcome the new potential purchaser of the Owasippe Scout Reservation. This would be a complete solution that is a win for everyone involved - the council gets the money they claim they need, the Scouts get to continue using the property, and the township keeps its green space and character.

Plus the environment is protected against massive development, allowing the 19 endangered and protected species that call Owasippe home to thrive in their chosen environment. And let's not forget the added benefit to all of Western Michigan in the form of expanded use of the property, increased revenue and quite possibly more jobs with year-round operation.
This is an exciting move on behalf of the OOEC. It is an organization that deserves our support. I am glad they are providing an alternative to the Holland banker's "pave-and-build" plan. Hundreds turned out to the public meeting last January to oppose turning Owasippe into a housing development. I feel confident that, if there were a public meeting seeking opinions on the OOEC's plan, hundreds would turn out in support of it. Unfortunately it's not up to the public to accept the letter of intent from the OOEC. That can only be done by the Chicago Council. May they be "mentally awake" enough to take this chance to end the 4-year fight and still come out as winners.
~ Susan Derby
Whitehall MI

A Binding Contract On Owasippe?
February 19, 2007

Can anyone tell me, or should I say does anyone actually know, why when we try to discuss alternate ideas about saving Owasippe we are met with "We have a binding contract."  When we ask about the court costs being paid...'binding contract'. Yet, Mr Hughes makes a video and says we are now telling the buyer we want to alter the deal. CAC is now telling Blue Lake Township that CAC wants to alter the deal.

Now, there is an avenue which isn't met with 'binding contract'. $19.4 million... does that still hold if we are only selling part of the camp?  As I see it, CAC can alter the amount of land to be sold, can alter what the buyer will do with the land after purchase. One would think that the buyer could alter the offered buying price.

Anyone know exactly what we are bound to?
As he would say, 'just thinking out loud'.
Thomas L. Gerez Sr.

Has Anyone Bothered To Review The Owasippe Contract?
February 19, 2007
from the Arrowhead District Yahoo Group
I am assuming that the buyer's obligation under the contract is contingent upon the CAC obtaining a zoning change. I certainly don't have thorough knowledge of the contract or status of the case, but...the CAC has so far tried and failed to get the zoning change.
The issue becomes what duty does the CAC have to continue to pursue the zoning change through continued appeals after the CAC has been denied by the township.  What does "good faith effort" mean?  CAC seems to take the position that it must pursue appeals from the township's denial of the zoning change.  This may not be the case.

The fact that the township has denied the appeal may be enough for CAC to void the contract.   The contract should detail what CAC's obligation is to pursue the zoning change and whether it must appeal negative decisions by the
township.  It may be that the CAC could declare the contract null and void based upon the township already refusing the change.  On the other hand, there may be a contractual obligation to continue to appeal denials of the zoning change to even higher levels of governmental authority.
I think the CAC board needs to tell the membership what the CAC's contractual obligation is regarding pursuing the appeal. Is CAC pursuing the appeal of the zoning decision because they are obligated to do so under the contract or is CAC pursuing the appeal because they want the sale to continue to go through.
It appears that a majority of the membership would want the appeals stopped if there is no contractual obligation to pursue it and would want the contract voided. The membership should insist on an opinion letter from the CAC's attorneys as to whether CAC can stop the appeal process and void the contract.  The CAC should be square with the membership as to what it's intention is if it is not contractually obligated to continue to appeal.
At what point has a good faith effort been made?  One can argue that one has already been made to change the zoning and it has failed. This would allow CAC to get out of the deal.
Has the CAC obtained an opinion letter from the attorneys as to what extent the CAC is obligated to appeal township decisions?  It seems we are taking it on faith that the CAC has a contractual obligation to exhaust all appeals. This may not be the case.  Does anyone have access to the contract?
~ Jim Kash

Can The Pursuit of Money Precede Program?
February 16, 2007
from 'Guestbook'
I attended Owasippe from 1979-1996 and it hurts to hear that my former Council is that greedy for money. Their job is to provide a place for Scouts to camp and provide programs for them as well, and not get rich on.  They need to take a pay cut to balance out their budgets!!
I can still feel the spirit of Chief Owasippe that was instilled in me as a Scout.
Take care & keep in touch,

Dan P. Ferguson
Alamo Area Council, B.S.A.  

Reflections On The January 27th Election
February 1, 2007

National representation was there and all ballots were counted in the
presence of all.  A representative for National went on to say that the Bylaws have been changed and if the next vote does not go through, then National
will come in and take over. This might mean that we will lose our voice in regards to the Council and that they may not renew the Council charter and then proceed to dismantle the Council.
Personally, I took this as a threat in 2 ways.  Yes, we could lose our voice om the Council.  And yes, the Council may close, but we will still have scouting and the frontline scouting will still continue.
Council may close?  Well, then the Council will have to be concerned about working with us to come up with a solution that we like or they may lose their jobs.  But, as long as we deliver a quality program to our scouts, I feel the boys will be fine.  WE have to remember to put them first.
~ Helen Gesell
COR Troop 612, CAC
Can A Nuclear Option Be Avoided?
February 1, 2007

Your right. It's just that we woke up 3 years ago. I don't buy into conspiracy theories either. That fact is that, while CAC is flush with cash and other assets, it's been spending about one million a year more than it takes in.  The former board decided the way to address that issue was to sell assets (read Owasippe, Hoover, and not to replace buildings destroyed by fire) in order to increase the endowment fund to a level that would cover that short-fall. That's a plan that is near and dear to the bean counters and would have worked
if everyone had signed on.
Had the Board been forthright with their financial situation, this might all have been avoided. Any new Board will still have to deal with this issue. It will not go away. What we're hoping (perhaps naively) is that a new and different Board will be more creative and open. Yes, the unwashed masses do have a plan. So far no one in power is interested.
- Reinhard Plaut, CAC T923

An Opportunity To Improve The Governance of CAC?
an editorial by a veteran Scouter
Recommendations of a yay or nay on each ballot/slate are being reserved until such time as we can see who the nominees are and whether it is collectively determined that they satisfactorily represent the best interests of volunteer leadership in CAC.
In these waning days preceding the council election, many questions are raised by concerned and dedicated Scouters, namely:
- Will the roughly 2-dozen or so board nominees from frontline Scouters even be recommended to the nominating committee for consideration?  If so, will they be included on the slates?
- Will the nominating committee lead or be led by the whim of Scout Exec Jim Stone?  Will the tail wag the dog?
- Will the concerns and will of the volunteer Scouting community be ignored as folly by the nominating committee or will that seriously be considered in their effort to restore the faith and trust of Rank and File Scouters?
- Will the nominating committee permit only money interests to be involved with the board, so-called 'rainmakers', or will there be significant representation from the Rank-and-File to directly address program and membership interests and needs?  Many Rank-and-File nominees can actually do both and will play a hands-on role.  Balance will be an important component of the new council board.  But who dictates what 'balance' means?
A positive turnaround in Chicago Area Council will only occur when the faith and trust of volunteer leadership is restored and when they are equally represented in council governance.  Nothing short of that will satisfy the council electorate.  NO simple concession to placate their interests will be acceptable.  Poor council management, misinformation, unlawful dealings, and lack of respect to volunteers has been endured too long to allow this insanity to continue in Scouting.  
So, here is where things are at.  The council nominations committee can either pay attention to and include those Rank-and-File nominees presented for inclusion to executive officer positions and to the board of directors and have the slates elected and supported...OR...they can ignore them and merely work with only those nominees that suit the personal agenda of Scout Exec Jim Stone and have the slates soundly turned down...yet AGAIN!  The latter exercise in futility will then force them back to committee to redraft the slates and/or move National BSA to get more directly involved in making a decision, good or bad. 
Part of the impediment to progress possibly may be the present Scout Exec.  Unless the nominating committee will be assertive and fiercely objective, the only way we can turn the corner and restore fair and representative council governance will begin with the removal of Jim Stone as Scout Exec, the sole remaining lightning rod that National BSA ignored and did not extract.  Was it the BSA good-ole-boy network that allowed Stone to survive and press his personal agenda yet another day or just blind trust in this shrewd and cagey pro?  
This ongoing council fight that has been enduring for nearly four years is not about program and the ideals of Scouting.  This political battle is all about ego, control, and lots of money (potential sale of Owasippe to Ben Smith @ $19.5 million) the behest of just a handful of selfish men and at the expense of generations of past, present and future Scouts and thousands of dedicated Scouter volunteers.  As a result, our beloved program has suffered, we have lost membership along the way, and Scouting has taken a huge PR hit in Illinois and Michigan.
We wait and watch to see what this interim council board is made of.  We wait and watch to see who is selected for the five slates.  The response and acceptance of CAC volunteer leaders will manifest itself in their votes on January 27th.  All CORs and MALs need to be there with a very strong showing from their brother and sister leaders who should attend to bear witness and lend their moral support.
We implore all who are involved in this process to do the right thing!  Let's turn the corner and rid ourselves of this nightmare. 
Carpe Diem!  Get the VOTE out!
Ron Kulak
Lachawelendamen Lenape
'Suspended and Spurned but NOT Silent'

Pulling The Wool Over Our Collective Eyes?
from the Scouts-L email group, 12/15/2006:
Randy Possehl, a Scouter from Baltimore, stated "Somehow, I find it
difficult to believe that someone in Chicago woke up one day and
said 'Hey. I think we should sell our camp.'"
It's a naive assumption that the rank and file run the scout program.
The Board is made up rain makers, money men and women who look at one
thing only...the economic health of the franchise.  They get their information from small groups of sub-committees who are part of the executive committee. The subcommittees are told what the problems are that need to be solved, and they come up with recommendations.

This falls into to solutions for all problems.  Cut expenses and sell assets.  They cut expenses, reduce services, fired the low price help, defer maintenance. Ergo the customer base shrunk. What to do, what to do? 

Go to plan 'B'. Sell assets but make sure nobody finds out about till
it's a done deal.  Well, the word got out and here we are.  Welcome
to the real world of scouting.   It certainly could not have been a problem of mismanagement and questionable ethics at the executive level, now could it?
I have to agree with Randy on one thing however. It's long past time for everyone to wake up. As much as we enjoy working with kids, we better not ignore the politics of the organization.
Reinhard Plaut

Something's Fishy in Denmark...err Chicago
from the Scouts-L email group, 12/15/2006:
{ Somehow I find it difficult to believe that someone in Chicago
woke up one day and said "Hey I think we should sell our camp".  I
find it easier to believe that the local volunteers were instead
simply paying no attention to the deteriorating condition of the
Council finances and the impact that was having on the ability of the
Council to provide services to the youth in the Council. }
I don't believe this is the case in Chicago.  Chicago Area Council has already sold 406 acre Hoover Scout Reservation for $18 million.  That comes out to $44,334 per acre.  I would think that should put the council finances securely in the black.  I don't understand why there would be any additional need to sell Owasippe after transacting that sale.
I don't know if I believe in a national conspiracy from Irving, Texas, but something smells funny in Chicago, and it's not the lake.   
Here is an excerpt from an article regarding the sale of Hoover:   
"Yorkville, IL – The Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America is selling the 408-acre Hoover Outdoor Education Center – prime riverfront real estate in Yorkville – to conservation interests. CorLands, a Chicago-based nonprofit conservation group, is buying the land on behalf of the Kendall County Forest Preserve District and the United City of Yorkville, for a total of $18-million.  The first phase of the three-part purchase is projected to be completed by year-end." [Note: Now paid-in-full. So, where's the money?]
Cliff G
SM, DeKalb, IL

Scouting Asset Metamorphosis?
September 21, 2006

POINT BY P Lamson: "I think  the bigger issue is why should the
county be able to change some one's land zoning without reason or
permission of the land owner."
COUNTERPOINT by Jim Schlichting of Whitehall, MI:  "I believe you are
totally right but not in all situations.  Some camp lands, such as Owasippe, are in a very different situation from what you describe.  The Chicago Council is involved with a 'Legacy Ownership'.
90+ years ago, the land was in the middle of no-place.  Chicago Scouts came in and purchased the land before zoning laws were even established.  The land has been used for a summer camp and the community grew-up around the camp.  The community adopted a character, lifestyle and zoning that made summer camps the major economic engine and essence of the community. 
There are four additional camps owned by other not-for-profits that have been established and grown within the 36 square miles of the [Blue Lake] township.
Legacy Ownership places a fundamental responsibility onto the Chicago Scouts in this case.  The Chicago Scouts long ago established the ambiance, atmosphere, and character of the community that grew-up around it.  That community is fighting to keep itself what it is, not a site for residential urban sprawl.
The community rejected the attempt by the Chicago Council to rezone and establish the camp as residential property.  The community says it has been camp land, it is zoned as camp land, and as the residents of this township we are saying it will stay as camp land.  The local government is even willing to effect a land purchase that will put into the Chicago Council's bank account the full value of the land as it is now.
There is an obligation of a Council, who created a community almost a century ago, to consider the resulting community wants, needs and zoning in order to cash as their "dollar resource".  This is especially true when the Council has received property tax relief in the amount of millions of dollars over 95+ years from the schools, local, county and State governments year after year.  That relieved the Council from paying for local schools, local fire services, local emergency medical service, and more local services.
The idea that the National Council of Boy Scout of America (who have now taken control of the Council) is cramming down the throats of the local community a demand for the maximum land value is obscene in light of the concessions the community has provided the BSA for almost a century.  Call it carpet-bagging or whatever.  The property has been taxed at the Council's 'camp land'. 
Now it's time for the National Council of BSA and the Chicago Boy Scouts to press on with their demand for a change to residential zoning through new State and Federal lawsuits.  This land matter isn't the basis of the Council's governance issues that have caused the uproar in Chicago.  It is just another symptom of a local Council attempting to apply the National Scout Policy of transferring land assets into cash assets.

Owasippe As A Regional Camp?
August 7, 2006

Returned from Period V with my Troop at Camp Wolverine.  Awesome
week!  We are returning next year for sure!  With all the rhetoric, what are the chances that National would purchase OSR and turn it into a National camp similar to Sea Base, Northern Tier, Philmont?  Just think of the possibilities.  For those boys that don’t have access to a “traditional” camp, OSR could be the answer.  With National exposure, the program could be expanded, facilities restored, and boys would not miss the truly great experience OSR
~ Mark Janus
Scoutmaster, Troop 7
Springfield, IL
[Note: This concept has been talked about among scouters for years, however National would need the will to take an unprecedented leap of faith to make this a reality in Michigan similar to the bases it runs in Minnesota, New Mexico (2), and Florida.  It's a GREAT idea whose time has indeed more than ever.  Owasippe has the facilities, the land, the infrastructure and human resources, and the community support to make this work for ALL of our Scouting brothers and sisters.]

Got To Preserve That Little Slice of Heaven
August 15, 2006

I was up to Owasippe a couple of weeks ago. I stepped out of the car and just took a deep breath and sighed. It had been a few years since I had been there and, frankly, I had forgotten how much I love it there!!  Thanks [to ALL] for everything you're doing to try to preserve this wonder ...this little slice of heaven on earth ...this haven for our boys (and their moms!). Keep up the good work!! You and all the others who are involved and determined to save Owasippe continue to be in my prayers.
~ Beth Munder, Tinley Park IL

Camp As A Program Offering...OR...As a Profit Center?
August 10, 2006

If there is one constant with camp fees, it is the simple fact that, no matter what the fees are, someone will think they are are too high.  While Program Director for a camp with one of the lowest fees in the region, I still heard the complaint that the fees were way to high.
Comparisions from camp to camp are difficult for many reasons, such as
location and program offerings.  Another comes from the local council's view of its camping program.  Some councils see the camp as part of its scouting program and therefore, part of the financing of the camp is done through the fund raising and financial support of the council.  This is consistant with statements in the National Camping School material.
Unfortunately, there are councils with leadership (either board or executive) who believe that the camp fees, both summer and off-season, should finance the entire year-round camp operation.  Even with a smaller fee, we were able to make some extra funds beyond the direct summer camp expenses.  I do not see a problem with this since summer camp creates extra expenses such as extra utility use and maintenance.
Even so, I was told by some board memebers (of course, not all) that summer camp had an $80,000 deficit.  They felt that summer camp should pay not only for the summer expenses (staff, food service, program materials, etc), but the year round expenses including the ranger's salary.  To them, camp should not create any expense to the council budget.  It was as if camp was a self-supporting entity and not a council program offering.  Admittedly, this was partially due to poor year round fund raising by the council, which was later
When a council is looking at camp as a finance stream, unfortunately then you have the choice of raising camp fees or reducing expenses.  With as much as 80% of the budget tied to staff salaries and food service, reduction of expenses can lead to many future problems.  A camp runs on its stomach. 
~ Al Whaley
Evanston, IL - Northeast Illinois Council BSA
[ie. Camp Makajawan]

Don't make the same mistakes of the past
July 24, 2006
Muskegon Chronicle - Letters to The Editor
As we follow the efforts to preserve two local irreplaceable treasures, the Owasippe Scout campgrounds and the Scenic Drive area, there are also voices calling from those not now present on earth.  These are voices of future generations who will suffer the consequences of what is done now and will judge if the present actions were wise and thoughtful.
Let us hope that these future judgments will not be like the judgments we now make on our past city fathers' actions ago.  For once upon a time at the Muskegon Channel there was huge wonder, a massive sand dune known as Pigeon Hill. It was like a beacon for passing ships and a splendor to behold when looked upon from the shores of Muskegon Lake.
Now it is gone, sacrificed by ignorant city fathers to commercial interests and when we pass its location we can only view with regret just sticks and stones and curse those responsible.  Let us hope that future generations, when passing Owasippe or traveling Scenic Drive, will not have the same views of regret and be cursing their forefathers.
~ Paul M. Ladas
Fruitland Township, Muskegon County MI

Requiem For An Elder of The Tribe
James" Jim" Vlach, age 63, ASM Troop 306, Chicago IL.
After spending the last two weeks with Troop 306 at Owasippe, Mr Vlach succumbed to complications caused by a pulmonary annurism suffered within 24 hours after returning home from camp.  Jim was an Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 306 in Chicago but had served for four years as its Scoutmaster.  Jim worked up at Owassipe a couple times at Camp Carlen, and I believe he also dedicated some time up there as a volunteer commissioner at Camp Wolverine.
Jim served Scouting as a volunteer leader for over 25 years.  He
served in many capacities in the unit and district.  He was a recipient of the District Award of Merit, Silver Beaver Award, and Vigil Honor of the Order of The Arrow.  He supported efforts to Save Owasippe and had camped there with his unit for many years.  His son, Tom, also had served on staff and was a Staff Apprentice "CIT" in the early 80s.
A memorial service for fallen Order of The Arrow members, "The Broken
Arrow Ceremony" was conducted on Thursday, July 27th, as part of the
visitation at the Linhart Funeral Home in Berwyn, IL.  Interment was
at Lakeside Cemetery in Phillips, WI.
James J. Vlach was an Air Force Veteran and the beloved husband of
the late Sharon (nee Cohn); loving father of Jennifer (Martin) Hufnagel, Thomas (Karie), Ruth and Rachel; dear grandfather of Salena Vlach, James, Jacob and Mollie Hufnagel, Nathan Doolin and Malaikai Stewart; loving son of the late Frank and Jennie; fond brother of 10. 
May he rest in peace and his spirit be with us around the council
fire at camp.

Capital Campaign Resurrection...NOT A Capital Asset Sale!
July 19, 2006

What is going to happen when the new Executive Committee goes up to
camp?  I think that the entire board who votes should go and not only
the new executive committee.

What a difference on how the property would look TODAY if they took
the insurance money and rebuilt the dining hall at Carlen and the
Lodge at Reneker. I hope that someone points out to the board that the
constant raping of the land and resources over the years along with no
overt publicity campaign for camping and utilizing the property caused
much of her appearance today.

Some of that BONUS Hoover money could make quite a difference towards
Capital improvements for this property and would help in a partnership
with the OOEC in allowing for the continued operation of the

It was refreshing to see that the NEW Executive Committee is comprised
mostly of Bankers and not Lawyers, Insurance people or Real Estate
Developers.  Bankers always seem to look at their bottom line more.
Maybe they will realize that Owasippe is Chicago Area Councils truly
only appreciating capital asset that will never depreciate.

God Bless all of you, say a prayer and keep the faith!

John Hosty

I Am Ashamed!
July 19, 2006

I am absolutely ASTOUNDED by the piece "Warning Letter from Jim
Stone" in the most recent edition of Scarlet Sassafras Blast.  I
first became aware of Ron Kulak during the 1970 season.  Here was
a "senior" staffman held in high regard by both his peers and
managers.  I learned from him and those like him.  When a man like
this is stripped of his very membership in the organization he has
volunteered so long and hard for, the message is lost.  I cannot
believe that the concept of arrest by a Sheriff would ever be raised
in connection with OSR and its very life blood.  Something is
DEFINITELY wrong in this Council, and I am ashamed that the
conversation between Mr. Adams and Ron Kulak occurred on the property.

Yours in Service
Bruce H. Petersen

Members Only at Owasippe?
July 19, 2006

I cannot believe he did that !!!  Where, in God's name, are there any
signs in or around Owasippe that read, "members only"?


Road Trip to Owasippe for New CAC Exec Committee?
Perhaps all of these individuals should be invited to Owasippe to
experience it first hand.  With the composition of the executive
council being changed by inclusion of bordering councils [outsiders],
who may or may not use Owasippe and typically go elsewhere, their
perception of the importance of the camp to the core CAC folks may be
lost on these representatives.
- J Ryckman
[Note:  I couldn't agree more.  The new executive committee members
ARE the stewards of Chicago Area Council and should know and
understand its resources as Woodbadge teaches us.   Management-By-
Walking-Around (MBWA) is an excellent opportunity to see up close and personal what they have been getting lip service about and to also talk to frontline scouters and camp staff...not to mention see Scouts in action in multiple program venues. - RK ]
No Legislation Without Representation?

Notice that there are no proletariat Scoutmaster on the governing list.  Notice how the National Council can dedicate a settlement under threat of taking over the property and selling the property of the CAC when the National Council wants to, but when the proletariat Scout Leaders go to the National Council for redress of their grievances they say " Our Hands are Tied.  The Local Council is a independent entity, and we have no control on it.
YIS, Erv  Brinkman

Lot's of things need shaking out

1. When using the word "reorganization", it implies the CEO is a short timer.
2.  Use of an executive board comprised of surrounding councils screams "merger".
3. The letter from CEO Stone obviously is not telling the whole story.
4. Why I say seek first to understand...emotions about potential OSR
closing forces everyone to say "where will we camp".  From the previous regime's perspective, there are plenty of other campsites.

National's "big plan" for supporting councils is for them to develop a BIG endowment and run council "operations" off of that (it's in the national bylaws).  Rather than seek donations, the executive board decides it is easier to just sell assets.  Mind you, I am NOT defending this.  I just think it's important we understand the logic.
That being said, the new executive board needs to get sold on the idea that OSR is financially viable (even a profit center) and that lot of the accounting is not incorrect or dishonest but just misapplied so that Owasippe appears to be not financially viable. 
Accounting, statistics and economics are all subject to a certain amount of creativity, ie: I am real certain when the council put a roof on the ad center that all the expense may have been applied to that year's budget showing a big loss instead of amortized over the life of the roof, a standardly accepted accounting business method.
~ d,h

A Question of Faith and Trust and Money?

Imagine you are watching 60 Minutes and this is the part where Andy Rooney says: 
Why is it that when we asked National to intervene when our camps were listed for sale we were told it was a local issue? 
Why is it that when we asked National to step in when the COR’s could not, in good conscience, elect a slate and the “incumbent leadership” refused to alter the slate we were told it was a local issue? 
Why is it that when concerns were raised over the considerable cost of legal actions taken to further and insure the sale of Owasippe we were told it was a local issue? 
Why is it that when three of our volunteers were sent expulsion letters, we were told it was a local issue? 
Why is it that after 11 dedicated Scouters decided to take this matter to Civil Court and the Judge agreed with their position, it became a National issue? 
Why is it that the only solution (?) National has is that the COR’s and
volunteers of Chicago Area Council cannot lead CAC and promote
Scouting’s mission?
I repeat myself when I again say “Look well to the watch fires my
brothers, we are under siege.”         
“On my honor”, a concept whose time has passed.
“Show Me The Money!”
- Tom G, CAC Scouter


Rick Cronk, New BSA President Takes The Helm
Educate And Inform Our BSA Leadership!
The inside back page of the Life section of a recent USA Today has an interview with Rick Cronk, the new president of the BSA. Right now at
least, the article is also available online at
Let Mr Cronk know how strongly you feel about Owasippe's preservation and how important it is for this grandaddy of all camps to continue in service to our youth intact and unaltered.  Get him up to speed about CAC's governance problems and unfair dealings with its volunteers at...
Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream
Atn: Retired President Rick Cronk
5929 College Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618

by OOEC, 05/23/2006,
With its rezoning request still pending before the Blue Lake Township Board, the Chicago Area Council, Boy Scouts of America has proceeded with a lawsuit against the township challenging the current zoning designation of the Owasippe Scout Reservation.  The suit, filed in 14th Circuit Court in Muskegon, Michigan, will be heard by Chief Circuit Pro Tem William Marietti.
Jim Schlichting, Owasippe Outdoor Education Center’s Development Director, said, “It comes as no surprise that the Chicago Scouts have gone ahead with this suit.  If you go back to 2004, to the Council’s original request for the rezoning, you will find that they, in so many words, said they intended to sue if they didn’t get their way with the township.”
Commenting further, Schlichting said, “It’s rather obvious that the Chicago Council has no interest in listening to township, county or regional residents.  By not acknowledging that township residents have the right to determine what kind of community they live in, the Council is just plain operating with arrogance.” 
“It’s also rather clear, based on other unrelated legal actions taking place in Chicago, that the Chicago Scout officials aren’t even willing to listen to their own members,” commented Schlichting.
Joe Sener, Chairman of OOEC, said, “This entire matter of the Owasippe property having become worthless by action of the Blue Lake Township is absurd and just plain contrary to the facts. The claim of a ‘taking’ of the value of the property by the township will not stand up to a court test.”
Sener continued, “The Council pushed the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center away when we finally, after many months of them ignoring our written presentation, sat in their offices to discuss an offer on the property.  Since that time, with the outstanding assistance of former Muskegon County Administrator Frank Bednarek, we have grown that proposal.” 
“OOEC is totally in sync with the Master Plan of the township and the overwhelming sentiments of people from West Michigan and beyond.  The Owasippe property has great financial value zoned as it is, but the Council just doesn’t want to hear about anything of less value than total conversion to residential property.  The Council’s stand of wanting what it feels is maximum financial value has constantly been struck down as a claim of a taking by government.” stated Sener.
The OOEC Chairman concluded, “I guess this is an attempt to use muscle and might to fight for the biggest financial gain after 95 years of operating in Muskegon County.  The facts are that the Muskegon community has offered continuing support to the Chicago Scouts and there are a huge number of members, former members and others who believe the action by the Council is an embarrassment.”
[Note: Click here for more information and other interesting hyperlinks... ]

Our Justice System In Action
April 25, 2006
WOW!!  It was the first time that I was in an Appellate Court and for such a noble cause as the arguing for YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE in a Democratic election!!
You should schedule an outing for any of your youth sometime to attend a hearing for any meritbadges that involve citizenship or the law. (Not that any units have scouts as lititgants or of course the proceedings of the Scouter 11...disclaimer, so I don't get another letter)
We will NOT be voting tonight [Thursday].  The reason was plain and simple. All of the Appellate judges felt that it was not fair to all the voters to be able to have enough time to make arrangements to come out and vote.  That's it. Nothing more and nothing less.  They wanted to make sure that they had all of the facts to make an informed decision given stacks of papers that were filed by our beloved council in the last week.  CAC is planning on filing a motion to consolidate all of their prior motions on Monday.
Do not give up the faith. The two hour discussion and the comments from the Judges and the attorneys present were positive and the case that the Scouter 11 have is a strong one.  Stay the course and stay the path.  In the end we shall all have an opportunity to make a difference.
On behalf of all that continue to struggle to bring freedom and democratic representation to the youth and families in our scouting family, a sincere Thank you to all for your thoughts, wishes, support, prayers and blessings throughout this entire ordeal and please continue to support the Scouter 11 in this cause.
There is a legal fund set up called the HEART Fund that helps our cause by defraying the legal costs of raising such a case.  I would ask that you monetarily help the Scouter 11 at this time as you have been there for them in spirit and as a brother or sister.  They have risked so much and continue to risk all that they have in order to bring a democratic process forward to our Council.
All of this is not just about Owasippe. It is about who can vote to control the future of your boys and families in OUR Scouting community.  Please donate whatever you can afford for this cause and support those brothers and sisters with a donation to the HEART Fund. The form can be found on the Ft Dearborn and OSA websites.
Thank you all again for your efforts and keep the faith.
 John Hosty Jr.

CAC Wizard by Anon.

by Larry Strickling

I understand that concerns have arisen over the fact that the slates to be
presented on April 20, as posted on the CAC website, are different in
certain respects from the May 5 slates that were included in the Court's
order of earlier this month directing the Council to hold an election on the
20th. As you also know, in his order, the judge directed that the
Nominating Committee, which included Rita Egan, Glenn Emig and myself, meet
to consider nominations received this month. We did meet earlier this week
and as a result of those discussions, several persons were added to various
of the slates, specifically as follows:

Joe Yokley was nominated as Vice President Training
Willard Brown was nominated as a Past President

The following persons were nominated for board seats:
Leslie Anderson
Jim Dunneback
Josh Feigelson
Sheridan Turner

The following persons were nominated as members at large:
Darius Bright
Charles Brown
Richard Christopher
Reginald Hill
Rita Perry
Derek Phillips
Charles Price
Keisha Walker
Chris Weinum

Five of these individuals, including Brown, Christopher, Hill, Price and
Weinum, were originally suggested as board nominees. They did not receive a
majority vote from the committee but were then successfully nominated as
members at large.

In addition, what many of you may not be aware of is that last year, even
after May 5, the Nominating Committee met one more time in June. One of the
actions taken at that time was to remove certain persons from the slates
because they had not responded to repeated requests from the Council office
to register for their positions. This week, the committee unanimously
reaffirmed its earlier action to remove those persons. The persons affected
by this decision were as follows:

Thomas Bean
Michael Gonzalez
William Moody
Eugene Scott

Members at Large
Lester Busse
Jack Donoval
Theresa Horvath
Yusif Mumin
Dan Nishibun
Homer Ortego
Raquel Ortego
Nathan Rosenburg
Phillip Sanders
Walter Smolka
James Wagner
Robert Wooten

Jesse White, at his request, was moved to the Honorary Board.

In addition, since the completion of the committee's work last June,
several persons have resigned from the board and this week the committee
agreed to remove them from the slate. Those persons are Bill MacGowan,
David Johnson, Ben Perks, and Bill Saltenberger.

I think this accounts for all the differences between the slates posted on
the CAC website and the ones in prior circulation. It is important that
people understand that these actions were not controversial within the
nominating committee. If someone who was removed feels that action was
taken unfairly, I apologize on behalf of the committee and urge that person
to get in touch with us. I don't think any action can be taken before April
20 but hopefully, the matter can be addressed promptly after the election.

Preserve Scout Camps For Our Youth
from Scouts-L Email Group, 03/27/2006
I am old fashioned I guess.  I think Boy Scout camps should stay Boy Scout camps.   Yes, times do change but certain things should be preserved whenever possible.  New boys in the Scouting program have a right to enjoy Scouting in a pristine setting that is inspiring and uplifting.   My memories of camping at Pico Blanco in Monterey Bay Area Council, in a new Scout uniform, and the fabulous fully embroidered temporary patch received upon completion of summer camp, are among my most cherished, precious memories.   I imagine many feel the same way about the Chicago camp.  So, Ron's post is very welcome news [ie. Township planning commission rejecting rezoning request by CAC].  
"Lagging interest in camping is another reason the Scouts give for wanting to sell the property." [per Muskegon Chronicle, 03/18/2005]
I find the above utterly fantastic.  The fact that there is a hue and cry about selling the camp clearly suggests otherwise.  The whole point of a B.S.A. Council Scout camp is to provide for and promote Scouting and Scout camping.  To say that there is a "lagging interest" in camping as an excuse to enter the development business is ridiculous on the face of it (prima facie).
To say there is a "lagging interest" in camping is absolutely incredible. The Scout Council is responsible for promoting Scouting, which includes Scout camping, and to suggest that there is a "lagging interest" is an appalling thing.  They are saying that people are, in effect, not interested in Scouting.
This is like a hospital saying people are not interested in their health as a reason to explain underutilization of a hospital.
I suggest that a compromise be sought in this case.  People have to earn a living (the home builders) and Scouting needs funding.  It might be possible to look again at the development plan and find something which preserves the best of the camp and allows some development to take place.  I'm not familiar with this area at all, and if a compromise on the land utilization is not possible, the Scout camp should trump the development.
~ Joe Jansen

Keep Up The Good Fight

I think you are doing a terrific job...keeping everyone informed as this saga unwinds.  You guys are in the right on all counts and there is no need to compromise on anything.  In my opinion, you have already given up enough land, and it is time to draw the line.  Our small council has two camps and, undoubtedly, at some point in time will sell one of them.  To this eventuality, we have started a camp support group that is independant of the council with the hopes of preserving our camp.  Your efforts are an inspiration!  Keep up the good fight; many here are watching and cheering you on.
~ Bill Dorrell
T-28 ASM, Mt. Pleasant IA

Kudos To Blue Lake Township
from Guestbook, 03/24/2006
I am feeling a sense of relief that the community around Owasippe is supporting the cause for keeping Owasippe untouched.
I have noticed something that makes me think even higher of Blue Lake Township. This entire re-zoning process has been kept open, and the input of the citizens (even those from outside community) have been solicited and listend to throughout the entire process. Nothing was done behind closed doors, and the decision to reject the re-zoning proposal was based on the input and wishes of the community.
If this issue were to have surfaced in Chicago, no input, or very limited input from the citizens would have been sought (or the "open" meetings would have been scheduled at the most in-opportune times). A few alderman with connections to the developers would have forced the zoning change through and the average citizen would have been left out in the cold.
So, kudos to the members of the Blue Lake township zoning committee for actually listening to their citizenry, and doing the right thing.
~ Jerome Lasky - Chicago, IL

Dear Blue Lake Township Planning Commission members,
      It isn't often that we, as individuals, get to make decisions that will have far reaching effects upon our communities, but you have such an opportunity right now.  You have heard all the reasons to not re-zone Blue Lake Township, and a few reasons to do so.
      I would like to take the liberty to borrow from the Christian Bible, very briefly, here.  Judas, one of Jesus' disciples betrayed him, sending him off to his enemies, to die.  After the betrayal, Judas' conscience bothered him so much that he went into the temple and took the 30 pieces of silver that he had been given to betray Jesus and flung them across the temple floor.  He then went out and hung himself.      
      Some people want to betray all that is best in Boy Scouting and sell the land for a profit, allowing the land to be raped and pillaged.  May they, and all who have a hand in this betrayal, choke on their profits. That goes for the business men involved (the buyers) and the professional Scouters.  Greed runs rampant in the Chicago Area Council, BSA.   All they see is the silver; they have no consciences in regard to their stewardship of this precious land, which was meant to be handed down from generation to generation.  Most of the Council board have never seen Owasippe, nor hiked its trails, nor canoed its waters.  They have no idea other than greed.
     One of the key points of Scouting is conservation of natural resources.  These resources will turn into nearly 1,300 houses and roads, etc.  Gone, forever!  Don't let it happen, Blue Lake Township.  Don't give in to the Judases, for they are truly scoundrels... wolves in sheep's clothing.   Do not ruin the jewel of western Michigan.  Let's still have this natural wonder in Western Michigan, for our grandchildren, long after all the sellers and buyers are dead and buried. 
Don't cave in.  Thank you.
~ Bill Schaefer, Twin Lake, MI 
 [with permission]

Dear Mr. Monette,
a letter to Blue Lake Township
What a difficult job you and the Commission have in balancing the needs of the Township along with those constituencies for and against the proposed sale of Owasippe Scout Reservation.   Such a significant decision that will affect generations to come has been placed in the lap of the Commission and it is not an enviable task. 
Bottomline – from my perspective, the sale of this land and rezoning it will take away what has been and hopefully always be a place where our youth realize the wonders of nature and grow up to become the good citizens of this country.  Without camps such as Owasippe, the youth of America thinks shopping malls, theatres, restaurants and video games are what growing up is all about.  I fortunately had the privilege of attending Owasippe three years as a scout and seven years on staff.  I say privilege in that although I was paid a nominal amount for the work done I would have worked without pay to be able to experience Owasippe and all it had to offer. 
I saw the baby eagles when they were born and I walked the trails and canoed the rivers.  I learned how to survive and be accountable for myself.  I learned responsibility – a trait lacking in so many children today.  I made friendships that last to this day and taught hundreds of boys how to swim, row a boat and paddle a canoe.  I taught many how to save lives and I would like to think they have successfully done that due to my teaching.  Where can this type of environment exist without a camp such as Owasippe?  Yes – Scouting has changed significantly over the years.  It always has and I believe that our culture will turn towards what Scouting has to offer once again.  Unfortunately, if the camps are now sold based on the current needs of a misguided Scout Council, there won’t be a camp available when the trend is reversed.  I am saving for retirement and recognize the importance of not touching the principle of my investments and watch it grow.  By selling Owasippe you are touching the principle.  This has to be a basic value and I hope one that the Commission understands and reflects upon when making their decision. 
Please vote against the proposed rezoning and sale of this property.  Take a stand for what is necessary in educating our youth.  Discuss the opportunities of opening Owasippe to Scouting not only from Chicago but also from Michigan, the region and across the country.  If managed properly so many more can see the wonders of this beautiful land and recognize Michigan for its belief and trust in our youth.
~ Larry Gersch, Gurnee, IL  60031
[with permission]

Appreciation to Owasippe-Hearing Community
White Lake Beacon, Letter to The Editor
On January 14, 2006, the Blue Lake Township Planning Commission conducted a public hearing addressing the rezoning of the Owasippe Scout Properties.
Being a small, rural township, we haven’t had past experience conducting a hearing of this magnitude and emotional response and were unsure of what to expect. We were very grateful that it went so smoothly, but it would not have without the support and help of many individuals.
We appreciate all those who took the time to come and speak, as well as those who have since written letters. Your input was well thought out, informative and has been very helpful.
Our lasting gratitude goes to the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for allowing us to have this meeting at Marek Dining Hall. They provided the seating arrangement, the P.A. system, and employees to direct traffic, set up equipment, as well as building a raised platform. Our gratitude extends to Andy Dagen and his crew for all the help.
We utilized a stop light timer for speakers which was operated by Peter Hunt. Tim Cassidy operated the microphones and the Fine Arts Camp took care of the taping of the hearing. These jobs are extremely important to a meeting of this size, and we really appreciate their help.
Since we anticipated a long meeting with over 400 people and have no restaurant in the area, the Blue Lake Township Fire Department volunteered to provide a lunch. Our appreciation extends to them for feeding a large crowd in a short time and they in turn are grateful for the donations which provided over $500 for their equipment fund.
Our township attorney, Mr. Doug Hughes, was most helpful in guiding us through the process of conducting the hearing and developing a protocol.
The Blue Lake Township Planning Commission has a difficult decision to face.  This decision has been an emotional one for many. We have appreciated all the thoughtful, informative, as well as emotional input from so many people from all over Michigan, Illinois, and beyond. This decision will impact many now and in the future. We are grateful to all who are giving of their time to help us come to a recommendation.
~Lyle Monette, Chairman
Blue Lake Township Planning Commission

Good Deeds Bring Hard Decisions For The Boy Scouts
February 6, 2006
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller under Boom Bubble Bust , National Market , New Development , Public Spaces / Source: WSJ
The housing boom has forced many organizations with valuable real estate assets, to consider what was once unthinkable. In a page one story in the WSJ, "Boy Scouts Weigh Merits of Unloading Hot Real Estate: Thinning Ranks, High Prices Tempt Them to Sell Camps, But Locals Put Up a Fight".
Fights like this are playing out across the country, as scouting groups face lean coffers and declining membership. Many councils, especially those in hot real-estate markets, are debating whether to cash in on skyrocketing property values. As a result, struggles — over camp land and all it symbolizes to local residents — have erupted in such states as Michigan, Texas, Arizona and Washington. Mere rumors of a possible sale often spur action by community members. Some try to buy the camps themselves or align themselves with nonprofit organizations to bolster their chances in a bidding war. Others file lawsuits or wage zoning battles.
Boy Scout and Cub Scout participation was about 6.5 million in 1972, but totals about 4.2 million today, excluding new programs. That decline has caused some councils to merge, sometimes creating organizations with multiple camps and not enough money to maintain them. Each Boy Scout council is a corporation, beholden to the policies of the national organization, based in Irving, Texas, but they raise their own funds, manage their finances and make decisions about property and programs.
Organizations like the Boy Scouts, with thinning ranks, are being forced to consider selling off land that, in the case of Bradenton, Florida, is ripe for development. Speaking as an Eagle Scout, once very active in the organization, and knowing how much land is owned by various Boy Scout Councils, it won’t be an easy road as pragmatists go up against those with strong emotional ties to the properties.
For the entire story and graphics, go to...

Chicago Politics?

A "Scout Salute!" to the "Scouter 11" for their willingness to hold the CAC board accountable.  It's always hard to judge when "viewing from afar," but as close as I can tell this is one of the most egregiously dishonorable not-for-profit boards I have seen in quite some time.
It does point out a significant flaw in the BSA model bylaws which affects all of us, and which we should all strive to correct in our own councils before we find ourselves in Chicago's shoes.
Specifically, the bylaws specify that the membership is only allowed to vote on the nominating committee slate, and the nominating committee is set by the current officers.  This sets up a deadlock situation when the permanent members (CORs) vote down the nominating committee slate... the current board stays in control and keeps re-nominating the same slate.  This is just phenomenally poor bylaw writing for a membership corporation, which literally leaves litigation based on the state NFP code as the only equitable recourse.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN CHICAGO CAN HAPPEN IN YOUR COUNCIL at the point when you discover some "bad guys" need to be removed.  A group of developers on your board really can stall while they vote to sell off all of your camp property for below market value.  The Monmouth Council board really can drive their council into bankruptcy while the membership remains helpless.
The solution to this inane problem is to amend your council bylaws NOW to eliminate this possibility.  Council bylaws are not purely dictated by National because they are a creature of state law.
The simplest way to do this is to change the wording to allow nominations from the floor in the event the nominating committee slate is voted down.
If you care about your council never becoming one of these corrupt national news cases, you'll get on your COR and council officers right now to make that change.
Personally, I would also encourage additional edits.
1) Allow for the recall/removal of the executive board at a special meeting called by the membership for that purpose.
2) Further restrict "members at large" to no more than 25% of the current number of permanent members.  The current setup where they are 100% minus one allows the deck to be stacked too much, IMHO.  Back in the days of small councils that might have been necessary to recruit enough "outside talent," but in today's larger councils there's no reason you need 100 or more "at large" members.
3) Make the council bylaws amendable only by the membership, not by the Executive Board.  A board of a membership corporation should never be able to modify its own bylaws without a vote of the members.
This amendment makes it so that you don't need every single COR to show up to vote down a slate, just a lot of them.
Yours in Scouting,
~ Bob G, Southeast Mich

She would hate to see Owasippe camp lost
Muskegon Chronicle Friday 1/20/06
"Viewpoints:  As Readers See It"
I live in Blue Lake Township and am interested in the situation with the Owasippe Boy Scout Camp.  I have watched news and read articles about this situation and have become concerned.
I personally have visited the camp.  I have ridden their mountain bike trail and fell in love with not only the beauty but the peacefulness and tranquility it brings to me.
I have personal memories of the biking trail.  I went with my uncle and brother.  It was an inspiring experience until I got lost.  It was almost dark and we had no lights.  I was worried we would have to sleep on the ground.  When I took a breath of fresh air my worries melted away.  With a new sense of adventure we pressed on.  After we started off again it was only a little while until we came to a road.

The Boy Scout camp has many critters, one of these being the bald eagle.  I found it interesting that Owasippe was an original repopulation area of the bald eagle.  Another endangered species that calls Owasippe home is the Karner Blue butterfly.
Owasippe, the great American Boy Scout camp, America’s first Scout camp, and they chose to build it in our lovely state of Michigan.  How would you feel if a part of our history was erased?  If we lose this, it won’t come back.
The camp is not just for Boy Scouts, but for human beings in general.  It is a place to relax and breath the fresh air.  Don’t let this go to waste.  Remember, we don’t want our history erased.
~ Kristin Martin, Holton MI

Treat It Like A Baby...Preserve Owasippe
White Lake Beacon Letters to The Editor:
My compliments to reporter Debra Carte on her story concerning Owasippe. As a participant in the public meeting I watched her record the many comments made by those who knew it was important to speak out. It would have been difficult for me, as I am sure it was for her, to choose the most noteworthy comment because every speaker spoke with sincerity. The most repeated comment was about preserving the land of Owasippe for the future.
While listening, it seemed to me that I was hearing an extended community of people realize that a precious baby is presently in their care. Through their words they acknowledged this particular baby needs to be tended to, nurtured, and protected. Because the baby cannot speak for itself it must rely on others for its voice as well as its perpetual care and feeding. Many unselfish acts by caregivers in the past and present show that this unusual baby, called Owasippe, has a value that is beyond the measure of dollars and cents.
The fact that Owasippe exists, as it is today, should help us realize that many people before us, especially the American Indians, saw Owasippe land as a sacred land. Will Owasippe continue to be a revered land of many or will it be mutilated and divided up for the pleasure of a few? Please send your comments about Owasippe's future to Planning Commission Chairman Lyle Monette, 11063 Nichols Rd, Holton, MI 49425. The future of Owasippe truly is in the hands of those who care.
~ Nancy Frye, Holton, MI

Rent Scout Camps to Outside Groups?
[There has been talk nationally about selling all the Scout properties and outsourcing summer camp programs.]
I attended a talk at the National [BSA] Meeting in May that suggested the opposite, which would be retaining our properties but finding ways to leverage both camps and expertise to accommodate groups outside Scouting. Certainly there are a lot of people willing to pay way more than what we charge for summer camps to send their kids off for a week. Why aren't our councils figuring out ways to profit from this?
~ T.W. Cook, SM Troop 151/CC Crew 911 - Georgetown, Texas

BSA Should Extricate Itself From Real Estate Development
[Skyrocketing real estate values that make cashing in camp property
look like salvation?]
This is a very troubling observation to me.  Scouting, both nationally and at the council level, should not be about making money by selling real estate.
A council camp is a place that holds special memories for many people and commercial development of a camp property should be off the table except in very extraordinary circumstances.
If it is absolutely necessary to sell a camping property some strict criteria should be followed.  At a minimum a solution should be sought which results in the creation of a camping property equal to or better than the property that is being relinquished.
Financing Scouting by entering the real estate development business makes no sense to me whatsoever.
~ Joe Jansen, Scouter-L Group

Still Time to Subscribe To OSA Calendar Yearbook

Scouters, units, campstaff and businesses can subscribe to a variety of ads in the Owasippe Staff Association's Yearbook and Calendar to be published and distributed on March 4th.  Costs vary by the size and placement of the ad.  Proceeds are used to offset the cost of the yearbook and to support ongoing camp projects at Owasippe.
For more information on this opportunity to help, go to the last issue of the OSA's "Vibrations" or its website at, or click open:

The Cost of Development
White Lake Beacon - Letter To the Editor, 12/27/2005
With the Blue Lake Township Planning Commission public hearing drawing closer, I would like to encourage the residents of Blue Lake Township to understand the cost of development.
I'm a member of the American Farmland Trust and have been following development debates for a long time. What the residents need to understand is that the tax base will go up, but so will the cost of serving all those new residents. In most cases, the cost of services (fire, police, schools, road maintenance) is more then the increased tax base.
To illustrate this point, refer to the following press release from two townships in Calhoun County. The press release can be found online at
~ Dave Strenski
Ypsilanti, MI

Judge Renders Decision Favoring Scouter-11

(12/1/05)  In his decision in Chancery Court, Judge Martin Agran
agreed with eight of the nine complaints brought against the Chicago
Area Council and Council President Lewis Greenblatt by the Scouter
11.  Judge Agran also found that Greenblatt had breached his
fiduciary responsibilities as Council President and that his
dissolution of the December Nominating Committee and subsequent
appointment of a new nominating committee was in violation of
Illinois law.

Citing violations of the Illinois Not-For-Profit Corporation Act,
violations of the Bylaws, and irregularities in procedures, the
eleven Scouters filed suit in October against the Chicago Area
Council in an attempt to force CAC President Lewis Greenblatt to
bring the Nomination Slate approved on May 5th before the voting

The plaintiffs, known as the Scouter 11 include James Adamitis, Pete
Conway, Rita Eagan, Bill Eagan, Glenn Emig, Herb Goode, Craig
Johnson, Chauncey Nizol, Joe Sener, Vince Sheridan and Larry
Strickling. The action listed The Chicago Area Council, Lewis
Greenblatt, and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

(Lisa Madigan was involved in conformance with the Illinois
Charitable Trust Act and in fulfillment of the Attorney General's
duties at common law as they relate to Illinois charitable

The Scouter 11 filed the suit as a result of recent actions by Lewis
Greenblatt, CAC president, and members of the Executive Committee
who rejected the nominating committee's proposed slate of May 5th,
disbanded the sitting nominating committee, and appointed Dennis
Chookaszian to chair a reconstituted nominating committee. 

Three previous slates submitted by the original nominating committee
had been overwhelming defeated by the vote of the membership and
many felt that the May 5th slate would be approved by a majority of
the members.  However, Greenblatt was opposed to the slate and took
actions to prevent it from coming before the membership.

In their First Amended Complaint the plaintiffs raised nine issues
for which they requested judgment.  Although the decision is
contained in a long judicial summation, Judge Agran basically ruled
in agreement with the plaintiffs on the following issues:

> The December Nominating Committee (as defined in the First Amended
Complaint) was duly appointed by the Board of Directors;
> The May 5, 2005 slates (also defined in the First Amended
Complaint) were duly approved by the December Nominating Committee;
> The act of the Executive Committee in disapproving the May 5, 2005
slates was beyond its authority;
> The members properly petitioned the Council to hold a meeting to
vote on the May 5, 2005 slates;
> The Defendants violated the Plaintiffs' rights by not calling a
meeting of the members within 60 days of June 10, 2005 for the
purpose of conducting a vote on the May 5, 2005 slates;
> Defendant Greenblatt's action in dissolving the December
Nominating Committee is in violation of the General Not For Profit
Corporation Act of 1986, including Sections 108.40(a) and (c)(4);
> The action of the Executive Committee in appointing a new
Nominating Committee after Greenblatt's dissolution of the December
Nominating Committee violates 805 ILCS 105/108.40(c)(4); and
> Any slates nominated by the new Nominating Committee are void and
should not be presented to the members for a vote

The complaint also contained a ninth issue involving seemingly
illegal appointments to the board of directors by Greenblatt.

Any persons voted in or appointed as Directors by the Executive
Committee but not the Board of Directors are not valid Directors
because their appointments were made in violation of 805 ILCS 108.40
(c) and such persons have no power or authority to serve as
Directors of the Council.

Judge Agran dismissed this point due to the fact that the alleged
illegal appointees were not specified by name.

Agran's rulings should now open the way for a vote on the May 5th
slate presented by the original nominating committee.

More detailed information will be posted as it becomes available.

# # #

09/10/2005 - Can You Handle The Truth Or The Consequences?
Chicago Area Council, Boy Scout of America leadership states that Owasippe Scout Camps serves only 3 percent of the youth registered with the Council and the Chicago Area Council can not afford to support such a small membership number.
Here are the facts.  The youth membership is divided approximately into the following categories:  32000 Learning for Life, 6200 Cub Scouts, 3500 Boy Scouts and 700 Venture Scouts. Learning for Life does not camp and should not be counted in the percentage of youth that camp at Owasippe.  The CAC statistics state that about 1500 boys’ camp at Owasippe. That is 43 percent of the Boy Scouts not 3 percent.  Any volunteer organization that can get 43 percent of its members to participate has a very successful organization.
Chicago Area Council states that in the 1970’s 10,000 scouts camped at Owasippe and today only 3500 scouts are campers.  In 1970, the Council operated 14 section camps, today they operate two camps.  One section camp was burned down in an arson fire and never rebuilt. The 11 remaining camps were located on land that the Council sold. Every year, we increase the number of campers - 25 more campers this year than last year. If CAC would open more section camps we would have more campers, and Owasippe Scout Camps would show a profit instead of a loss.
Learning for Life Youth is a separate non-profit corporation from traditional Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venture Scouts.  The Learning for Life has separate professional scout executives and separate funding.   The curriculum for Learning for Life does not have camping, a system of advancement leading to Eagle Scout or leadership training guided by experienced, and dedicated volunteer adult leaders.
Learning for Life is a course of study, just as English is a course of study.  Learning for Life is a motivational course in ethics taught by professional teachers and directed by the school administration and local school council. Learning for Life has curriculum, lesson plans and workbooks written by the Boy Scout of America which Teachers use to teach the Learning for Life Course. Learning for Life is sold to the Local School Council or Board of Education., and they decide whether several grades or the entire school participates in the Learning for Life course. There are about 300 thousand students in the Chicago Public Schools so not every student participates in Learning for Life.
In traditional Boy Scouts, the adult leaders, the youth, the parents and the sponsoring institution volunteer their time, talents and money. Everyone connected with Learning for Life is paid.  The taxpayers fund Learning for Life. When the Local School Council decides to fund a new motivational course, the Teachers will stop teaching Learning for Life and the membership will drop like a lead shot.  Traditional Boy Scouts will continue on because everyone is emotionally involved and dedicated to the principals of Scouting.
Learning for Life people are dedicated only to a pay check. Learning for Life is just another of an unending parade of motivation fads. It will not last long.
Citizens of Muskegon County and Blue Lake Township need to stand fast and resist the pressure of Ben Smith, the land developer, to destroy the treasure that is Owasippe Scout Camps. He will walk away with a huge profit, and stick you with tax bill for the required new infrastructure, and expanded school system. The school tax is always the most expensive item on your tax bill and it never goes away.
Any job that can be done on a computer can be done in Bombay, India, and anything that can be loaded on a truck, can be made in China.  The wilderness that is Owasippe can not be imported, and the jobs that Owasippe provides can not be exported.
~ Erwin F. Brinkmann
Assistant Scoutmaster, CAC Troop 944

09/13/2005 - Remember The Past and Protect The Future!
I was and I am again a member of [CAC] Troop 923. I moved to Central Illinois in 1978 and have stayed somewhat active in Scouting over the years. I also am active again with Scouting in Central Illinois with a local Cub Scout Pack. I have made several return trips to Owasippe between 1978 and 1991.
Until this year, my last trip to OSR was 1991. Having returned to Owasippe this year with the Scout Troop of my youth, I was amazed to see how much Owasippe looked the same but different. In the past I brought several central Illinois Boy Scout Troops to Owasippe in the 80’s & 90’s. They were amazed at what was there and everyone loved the camp. If advertised and marketed properly, the potential for a great regional camp is unbelievable! 
I say it is different because the camp is already considerably smaller than when I first attended in 1966. With assistance from other Scouter’s this summer, I re-traced the steps back to where several of our closed or lost (sold off) camps used to be. I was heart sick at what has transpired to the ”Old Owasippe” and have a renewed appreciation for what remaining Owasippe really is. The Chicago Area Council does not realize what it has for a camping facility. 
Why are there no ads, in the Scout and camping magazines? Why has CAC decided to turn its back on such a rich and great tradition? When I first heard about the possible sale, I was mortified. I have memories and experiences from my years at camp that need to be passed down to other youth. Many of these experiences are only possible at a camp of Owasippe’s size and woodland variety. I have decided that if it is possible I will return to camp in 2006 to help the scouts that do come up and do my best to help “transfer” the “Owasippe Experience” to the next generation of youth.
I was impressed with the amount of “Save Owasippe” signs that I saw all around Whitehall. I heard local town people talking about how they are hoping the camp would not be sold. It’s amazing how an OSR t-shirt would get people to walk up and ask questions. I hope and pray that the local zoning board sticks to it current decision on the “camp only” zoning.
Since I am a BSA member, I am going to try to stay in touch with the on-going OSR situation and keep the Scout’s and Scouter’s in my prayers. I pray that OSR will be there for future generations of youth camping. It would a terrible loss to our youth if this camp “went away”. When I was a young scout, I was taught by a very wise group of adult Troop leaders to “Keep the Outing in Scouting”. Hopefully the CAC will remember that as well!
~ Bob Lagerquist
Committee Member, CAC Troop 923

09/01/2005 - Time For Teamwork and Loyalty To Owasippe
I have been a scout/scouter for over 49 years and during that time I have been a loyal follower of scouting (Eagle Scout) and its principles, to include loyalty to Owasippe.  I fully support your stance on Owasippe. 
I served on staff there and have been there over the years as a scout and scouter.  Having served in many Adult positions and now as a District Commissioner I find you comments with regard to the District Chairman and District Commissioners very disturbing.
You have the wrong enemy.  The real problem is how council has wasted and not accounted for large sums of money over the years, but I can't but help blame the scoutmasters who have not been loyal to Owasippe as noted by the declining attendance.  Such was not the case when I was a scout and scoutmaster.  EVERYONE SUPPORTED OWASIPPE YEAR AFTER YEAR AND DID NOT GO ELSEWHERE, except for an occasional trip to Philmont or a High Adventure base.  SUCH IS NOT THE CASE NOW.  But take a look at how many of those absent scoutmasters and troops want to jump on the bandwagon now to save Owasippe.  In fact they are using it as an excuse for everything.
I wish you would target in some of your email and attacks those absent scoutmasters and troops. 
A great way to turn the tables is to have 100% of all units from CAC attending Owasippe, especially next year during the 95th anniversary.  A show of support of this magnitude would show Council and it would send a message that you better account for every dollar spend by those units to send their boys to camp.  Council could no longer use the declining attendance and lack of funds then.
~ Gordon Lohrman
District Commissioner, Iroquois 

08/24/2005 - Clueless or Sly As A Fox?
Greenblatt's letter is very revealing.  Do you think this is the
attitude of "national", too?  I find two other problems with his
First, his 3% figure.  Does that also include the youth served through
Cub Scouting?  Cub Scouting is really not a camping program.  Certainly not Tigers, Wolves, and Bears.  Webelos is only an introduction to camping and Owasippe was never promoted agressively to any of these Cub Scouting groups.  So what is the percentage of Boy Scouts in CAC that go to Owasippe?  Isn't that easy to find out?  We know the total number of scouts that go each year.  We should be able to find out the number of Boy Scouts in CAC. 
Second, his statement that the decline is not the result of lack of
promoting camping.  Who's he kidding? Not only has there been no
aggressive promotion of camping but the promotion that has been done has been self defeating.  Did you see the commercial CAC ran several years ago on some of the Chicago access channels?  It was a commercial
directed at kids and it told the kids how great scouting is because it
is going to build your character.  Give me a break!  What kid is going
to run up to his mom or dad and want to join anything because it will
build his "character"? 
Has CAC ever ran an ad like this?:  Joey gets home from school all
excited, "Hey mom,dad. Billy and Sammie went to camp in the summer.
Billy learned to swim! Sammie went canoing.  They both got to shoot
arrows and rifles at targets.  They went hiking on a forest trail. Billy caught five fish in 1 hour!  Sammie got to cook his own meal, and everybody liked it.  Billy said they sat by a hugh campfire and the leaders were doing crazy skits and songs.  Mom, it was the 'Boy Scouts'.  Can I join?  Please?"
Either Greenblatt doesn't have a clue or there is more to this than we
know.  Shame on him!
~ Jim K, Arrowhead Dist/CAC

08/24/2005 - A Veiled Threat...Should We Be Fearful?
I have just re-read the letter of B. Smith dated 8-15-05, he has made what appears to be a direct threat to CAC, to the residents, and to the BSA itself.
I think he said "the longer and more costly the process of getting the property returned to it's former zoning, The more property will have to be developed".
He also states "If our investors grow weary of this process, there are others who are willing to step in - and I can assure you they will not have the same attitude we have".  Now, I am not an expert, but that statement in my opinion tells me Mr Smith truly cares only for his own financial well being. I truly question his real intentions, once the sale goes through he and his investors can and will do what is best for them financially in the long run. No one in the council let alone this country can tell someone what they can and cannot do on their own property as long as they stay within the limits of the laws of this nation.
Mr Benjamin Smith, you are trying to bully people, you must have been a child used to getting what you wanted. You letter sounds like "If I can't get you to do as I want, I will bring in others who can force you!"  This is simple old fashion Mafia/Chicago political tactics to get what you want.  You sound like you have taken a page out of Al Capone's play book (do as I say or I'll have some of my friends who are not so friendly take care of you).
I hope and pray your neighbors and customers of your bank can read through your lies, you have NO intention of ever using this land for conservation past the next five or ten years.  You would have more respect from me and people like me if you just came out and said "Hey, this place would be wonderful for lake front property with all the trees and wildlife.  I could make a fortune developing and/or building secluded vacation homes".  Stop pretending you give a damn about the Scouts and your community and face up to your need...or should I say greed?
Once in your possession, the only grandchildren that will be able to enjoy this property will be your own and the grandchildren of your investors through the millions you all will make from the real estate sales!   No Thank You, Mr Smith!!!  I pray each day that the zoning will not change, that the members of that community and the zoning board see through you, and that the powers in control (for now) at CAC get shafted and the sale falls flat.
Although the scouts in my troop choose to camp at other long term camps to get new camping experience, they have and will continue to call Owasippe their "home".  They are both proud and ashamed of that statement.  Proud, because they share what scouts from Chicago have been doing for nearly a century and ashamed that their own council can sell Owasippe without regard to how this will shape the future of scouting in Chicago without a place for resident camping once it is gone.
~ John Smith, SM - T610

08/24/2005 - Lew Greenblatt's 3% Stat
In response to a question that asked about the veracity of Lew Greenblatt's (CAC Council President's letter to the White Lake Beacon.) assertion that the CAC camps only 3% of it's youth, the following may be helpful.
That includes everything you can count including LFL. The last break down of membership I have for the CAC is for October 2004. There it lists a total of 2,866 boy scouts. Approximately 1500 CAC Boy scouts went to camp. That's about 50%. That percentage has stayed about the same for the last 60 years.  If you count everyone in traditional scouting, the number was 8,377 or 18% have attended Owasippe.
It is obvious that we no longer have the population count we
need.  However, when you take into account that another 1500 attend from off council, it seems to me that one thing that has to be done ... is view Owasippe as the "Philmont of the Midwest," and recruit units to attend from all over the country.
If scouts will pay close to $2000.00 to go to a Jambo than at $200 /
week, we've got the best deal in town.
~ Reinhard Plaut, T-923 CAC & Member-at-Large

08/24/2005 - Letter To The Beacon Editor
White Lake Beacon, August 28, 2005
'Frontline’ Scouts Opposed To Sale of Owasippe
I spent several weeks up in Michigan, at different times, in Holland, Whitehall, Muskegon and Blue Lake Township. At most of the places I went to, I was wearing an Owasippe shirt and I was questioned as to why the Boy Scouts want to sell the camp.
I want to make it known that the 'scouts' and the 'leaders' do not want to sell the Camp and have voted, time and again, against selling it. We have held protest marches, pickets and wrote letters protesting the sale of this precious piece of land, here in Chicago. We have written about the fact that Camp Owasippe started out as a parcel of land that was over 22,000 acres, which included Paradise Valley, Owasippe's Grave, Stuart, Beard and many other areas, which have all been sold off, by the Chicago Area Council, over the years. We now have around 4,700 acres and don't want to lose anymore of this precious, non-renewable commodity. And the past sales were also against the wishes of the 'frontline' scouters.
What I mean by 'frontline' scouters is that these are the people who actually come up here, with the boys, the troops and the families, and spend our hard earned money while we are here, in Michigan. We go to the beaches, the farmers markets, the stores and the restaurants, and please let's not forget the "Ice Cream stores." We enjoy the nature, the forests and the lakes, ponds and streams - and we spend our money. And we come because we love the camp, we enjoy the communities and appreciate the people of Michigan, who welcome us when we are there.
We, the people of Chicago scouting, do not want to sell Camp Owasippe or to lose this jewel, or the peace, or the community surrounding the Camp. The Chicago Area Council, by their own words, already have over 19 + million in their coffers and do not need to sell this for more money. Please help us continue our fight, in Michigan, and we will continue our fight here in Chicago.
~ Helen Gesell
An Owasippe camper and visitor since 1965 and a member of T683 & 600.

- from Ft Dearborn District E-news

7/8/05--In a long three-hour-plus meeting, CAC Executive Board Member Dennis Chookaszian met with Chicago area Scouters on July 5th at the European Chalet banquet hall to discuss issues which have recently surfaced in the Council concerning nominations to the Board of Directors. (See article on district website)

Although the meeting was called at short notice and not widely publicized, approximately 160 Scouters and interested parties were in attendance.  Attendees represented members from every CAC district as well as one representative from the Learning for Life program.  Several District Chairmen as well as Scout Executive Jim Stone were also in attendance.

Chookaszian, a former CAC President, who has been appointed by current CAC President Lewis Greenblatt to chair a reformed nominating committee, began the meeting by reviewing the council nominating process.

According to Chookaszian, the procedure is as follows: 1) A nominating committee is appointed; 2) The nominating committee accepts nominations from the membership.  3) The nominating committee formulates a slate. 4) The slate is presented to the Executive Committee for approval; and 5) If approved by the Executive Committee, the slate is presented to the membership for voting.

However, Chookaszian may have been in error because a reading of the Chicago Area Council Bylaws Appendix B, which contains election procedures, finds no mention of Executive Committee approval. [The current CAC Bylaws may be reviewed at]

Chookaszian then gave a brief presentation of the number of youth involved in both the traditional programs and Learning for Life.  Chookaszian is former National Learning for Life President.

During the meeting Chookaszian referred to LFL participants as “youth served” rather than “members” apparently since technically LFL is an ethics curriculum rather than a membership organization, as he explained.

Chookaszian then opened the meeting for questions from the floor.

When asked why the previous nominating committee had been disbanded and why the slate they had proposed on May 5th was blocked from coming before the voting membership, Chookaszian stated that he could not speak for the reasons each voter on the Executive Committee had opposed the slate.  However, he personally
had voted against the slate because he felt it was not representative of the current demographics of the council but that other voters may have had other reasons.  Later in the meeting he stated that all of those who had voted against the previous slate had shared his opinion.

Pauli Johnson, a volunteer from Fort Dearborn District asked how the newly formed nominating committee could be representative of the membership when 5 of the 7 nominating committee members were also the same members of the Executive Committee who had disapproved the previous slate even though at least 40% the voting membership had supported it based upon signatures on a petition to the council demanding a vote on that slate.  Johnson questioned how the general
membership would get fair representation under these circumstances.

When asked what would happen if the membership chose to vote down a slate presented by this current nominating committee, Chookaszian stated that if the future slate was defeated, the Executive Committee would refer to the bylaws for a resolution.

The bylaws of the Chicago Area Council were changed by the Board of Directors in 2004 to include a clause which allows that after a presented slate is defeated twice by the voting membership, it may be referred to the Board of Directors for resolution and they may appoint themselves despite the wishes of qualified voters.  These bylaws changes were approved and instituted at the Board level and were not voted on by the general voting membership.

Scouter Mary Beth Niziol asked how the general membership could make informed decisions when documents such as the bylaws and financial statements were not always readily available to the members.  Chookaszian stated that those documents were available to anyone who asked at the Scout office.

Another Scouter, who identified himself as a recent graduate in business and accounting, questioned the accountability of the Executive Committee if their actions could trump the oversight responsibilities of the full Board of Directors.  And although Chookaszian continued to defend the Executive Board’s recent action by citing the bylaws, when questioned regarding specific clauses or wording in the bylaws which justified his position, he stated that he was not personally familiar with the exact wording but left interpretations to CAC legal counsel Louis Vitullo who had approved recent Executive Committee actions. 

It was pointed out by an attendee and verified by Jim Stone that Vitullo had not been in attendance to offer advice at the meeting when Greenblatt refused to entertain a motion for the full board to review the actions of the Executive Committee.

In referring to the current impasse, Chookaszian speculated that most of the dissent in the council was due to the sale of Owasippe and that once that sale was completed, membership would settle down and the council would go on about its business.  He stated that he believed that aside from the sale of Owasippe, there were no other issues of contention.  However, several members insisted that this was untrue and that the main issues of concern were council governance and accountability to the membership.

Scouter Jim Adamitis questioned the fairness of refusing to allow a membership vote on the May 5th slate and why the Executive Committee would continue their present actions when it was obvious by defeats of three previous slates and petition signatures of over 130 voting members that the membership had no confidence in the current administration. 

“What makes you so wise as to force your opinion,” asked Adamitis, “as opposed to the collective wisdom of 130 voting members and front-line Scouters who signed the petition?”

Chookaszian stated that the Executive Committee was committed to its current course of action and intended to follow through until the sale of the Owasippe property was finalized.

“That’s complete arrogance,” said one southside Scouter following the meeting.   “If we vote them out they can appoint themselves back in.  What is the point of our vote? If we disapprove of their actions, they don’t care.  They do what they want.  They completely ignore the wishes of the membership.”

Although the meeting was conducted in an orderly fashion, tempers flared at one point causing Chookaszian to walk out of the meeting.  He later returned and the meeting continued.

“I’m tired of it all,” proclaimed one Scouter.  “Ultimately, it’s the kids who lose.”

Chooka$zian's Folly II & III
~ per (from a handful of contributing reporters)
8/28/05--Dennis Chookaszian decided to host two more open volunteer meetings on Chicago's Northside the week of August 15th to reportedly solicit ideas and opinions from CAC volunteer Scouters about council nominations. This is on the heels of the fiery meeting held at the European Chalet in mid-July.
Many that went felt that the meeting was a travesty and a waste of their time. There were about 20 there including a few from the "new" council nominating committee, namely George Walper, Tom Thilman, and Sue Castillo. As in prior meetings, many in attendance walked away feeling that their ideas and grievances fell on deaf ears.
However, while the meeting was supposedly organized to address council governance issues and the board nomination process, Chookaszian kept jamming his theme of..."Owasippe's gone, now lets all get on the bandwagon and plan for the future."
When asked about the nominating committee procedure, Chookaszian explained that the committee would present a slate and, if it were voted down, they would take 90 days and either revise it or not and present it again. If it were defeated again, the board would move to appoint themselves. When asked if that meant that there was no way to vote them out of office, Chookaszian responded, "that is correct". He further emphasized that the current board would remain "whether we liked it or not."
Someone asked what then was the purpose of even holding a vote to which he responded that the real ones who should have the vote are the boys themselves. Another then replied that as the unit's chosen council representative, he had a vote but felt that this exhibited attitude disenfranchised the voting membership "whether he liked it or not."
During discussion about the slate, it was asked why the May 5th slate wasn't used as a model and, if additional representation for LFL needed to be put onto the board, why not just add additional names to what was already researched and reviewed. Mr Walper of the new nominating committee suggested that the prior duly selected nominations committee had done a poor job in putting together a representative slate on May 5th.
Chookaszian also reported that the CAC hierarchy had been looking at camping properties near Madison WI (Makajawan?); Dubuque IA, and Rochelle IL (a 3-Fires Council Camp?). According to Chookaszian, they are looking for approximately 500 acres with a lake for swimming. Some Scouters present felt that the criteria Chookaszian outlined sounded like they were looking for a camp similar to Hoover Outdoor Education Center and wondered, if that were the criteria, why HOEC was sold last year? Chookaszian emphasized CAC's desire to build a "Cub World Camp" and intended to do it "whether we like it or not" (a phrase he used liberally throughout the meeting)!
While Chookaszian had been concerned about getting Scouters to attend and to present their ideas and input, he seemed very quick to challenge, dismiss or even ridicule opinions rendered by those whom he asked to participate.
Following both meetings, a general impression of attending Scouters was that Chookaszian had shown a total disrespect for volunteer Scouters and a disdain for allowing them to manage the destiny of their own council organization.

Factual Errors In CAC's Defense of "It's Plans"
a rebuttal to Lew Greenblatt's letter to The Beacon:
Seems to me there are at least 3 factual errors in his letter...
1> CAC actually supported the Blue Lake Township Master Plan for recreational zoning so they could get their taxes cut.
2> The "less than 3%" number includes LFL which is not part of the BSA
program nor does it have a camping component [and is an classroom enrollment for a values-curriculum].
3> "We have similar goals, so why aren't we working together?"
Really?  Then, why did he dismiss the former nominating committee [and not recognize the 130+ signed Scouter petitions]?
~ Reinhard Plaut, CAC T-923

08/15/05 - Abandonment of Traditional Scouting?
A rebuttal to Greenblatt's letter to The Beacon:
Wow!  Talk about taking the "out" out of "scOUTing!"
At one time I was willing to give the CAC the benefit of the doubt. But
this statement leads me to believe that the overall objective is to not
invest money or effort to support camping. Rather they seem intent on
pillaging a windfall profit from the generosity of those who do believe
in "traditional" Scouting values and redirect those resources to the
remaining 97% percent, meaning the Chicago Public School system
programs. (BTW, I still really question these numbers regarding the
number of children served via LFL).
To me, it sounds like the board is not only selling Owasippe, but is also selling out "traditional" Scouting.  Are they truly intent on burying Scouting?  If so, they should simply resign and leave the assets and resources behind for "Traditional" Scouting. There are those in this nation who believe that there are values and skills best taught in the outdoors.
CAC seems to be running a shell game to shift the assets from "traditional" Scouting to LFL just before turning off the lights on "Traditional" Scouting.  To date, there has been no detail explanation or accounting for the millions of dollars gained from the sale of Hoover in Yorkville and the intended sale of Owasippe. I'm sure there have been discussion in the smoke filled backrooms at the private business clubs where they conduct their secret ad-hoc meetings. But...these discussions are not readily available the rank and file volunteers, the voting CORs & members at large, and perhaps even to some of their fellow board members who are not invited to these meetings!
Also, I would seriously question the veracity of the statement "it is
not a result of a lack on our effort to promote camping."  In general, I
have seen no effort to promote camping from the CAC board or staff.
   * I have seen minimal effort on their website. Even basic information
on operations is missing.
   * I have never seen a direct mail piece to promote attendance at
either the camps or the High Adventure program, which they don't even
consider High Adventure (check out High Adventure on the website and you
will not see Manistee Quest listed).
   * I have not seen a single add in any Scouting magazine while other,
smaller camps and venues promote their less attractive locations.
   * Directors and staff were not officially named until just weeks
before the season began preventing
Honestly, if these folks promoted their businesses the way they promote
Scouting, their shareholders would have voted them out long ago. Of
course, that would have happened already to the CAC board if they didn't
change the rules to prevent their constituents from having a voice in
the process.
Mr. Greenblatt's letter appears to be an effort to establish lines of
communication between the counsel board members and Blue Lake Township.   But I would first encourage Mr. Greenblatt to open a line of
communication with his own constituents as to what his true intentions
are because right now I don't believe he or the other members eager to
sell of Scouting have shown all of their cards yet. Remember the first
Scout law.
~ Willie Vannerson, ASM - McHenry IL


07/19/05 - Let's Work Together For Traditional Scouting & LFL
Why can't learning for life and traditional scouting coexist without sacrificing one of our biggest traditions? After attending this meeting on the 5th of July, it is obvious that CAC wants LFL to happen. They also say they want a strong traditional scouting program. When I looked at all the faces in that room of the people that I know are working very hard to save our traditional camps...with all the heads in that room and all the thousand of heads involved with this council from the executives to the Scouters, people from almost every conceivable occupation...with all these people, all these minds, all this knowledge, and energy...WHY can't we come up with a solution to these problems?
Why can't the executives of CAC see what they have? Why can't they hear what they have?  It was asked at the meeting what are the problems between the executives and the volunteers?  They need to listen to this..."WE DON'T WANT ONE OF OUR BIGGEST TRADITIONS LOST FOREVER. DON'T SELL US OUT. DON'T LOOSE SOMETHING YOU WILL NEVER GET BACK.  DON'T SELL YOUR SOUL FOR 30 PIECES OF SILVER."  I could go on and on. The point is DON'T SELL OWASIPPE!!! To the executives of Chicago Area Council:  Let's work together without selling Owasippe. 
I believe if we all worked together in a true scout spirit we could have an excellent  Learning-For-Life program AND an excellent traditional scouting program WITH the best scout camp in the world.
~ Thomas Grigoletti, Scoutmaster of CAC Troop 683

07/19/2005 -  I just have returned from Owasippe.
    I have seen things that will make you cry...
          New scouts catching their first fish in Lake Wolverine.
                New and returning scouts seeing the Bald Eagles over Camp Carlen in the morning...flying endlessly on the thermals.
      I seen first year scouts become Swimmers...much to their delight.
               I have seen little boys earn their first merit badges, grow in one week, that would of taken years before, with confidence and self-reliance.
         I have seen teamwork on groups of boys in the quest to earn the Baden-Powell Award.
   I have seen stars that don't shine in Chicago...from "Dixie's" boat docks.
          I have seen li'l boys being CIT's, staffers for the first time, showing growth and maturity and being responsible beyond their years.
        I have seen the spirits on the trails and heard the chatter of scouts of years past.
             I have seen a young camper from Camp Reneker ask if he'll see the Indians again this year.
                I've been to Camp Reneker and seen the future (li'l wannabe-Scouts) learn the scouting ways, ie. grow, fall in love with all of Owasippe's greatness, treks to the Quaking Bogs.
      I have seen the tears on their faces Saturday morning when it was time to leave our little piece of heaven in Michigan.  Years back, I could tell them it WILL be there next year for them.
        I did cry...You just need to open your eyes at camp sometimes.
~ Michael Opitz, Scoutmaster CAC Troop 612
  2W25 - Dixie site 2 ... 3rd generation Scout/Scouter

07/17/2005 - Loss of Owasippe affects us all
White Lake Beacon,  Letter to the Editor:
Last week I attended the Boy Scout Camp Owasippe, a 5,000 acre summer camp in Whitehall, Michigan owned and operated by the Chicago Council of the Boy Scouts of America. My 2 sons & I, along with 19 other scouts from the Greater Cleveland area enjoyed a week long retreat in the woods working on merit badges, fishing, climbing and riding horses, among other scouting activities.
I have to tell you that this has been one of the best Scout camping experiences in my 15 years of scouting as a leader and parent of 3 scouts.   While there, I was astonished to learn that this pristine camp was on the selling block. I can only wonder, what is the Chicago Boy Scout Board thinking? Have they lost their minds? This camp is a mecca for scouting and it is being disregarded as a burden for the sake of development. I submit that these directors do not serve the boys and are blinded by the 19 million dollars that they hope to gain from this unholy venture.
Where will the boys go then? Chicago needs Owasippe for the sake of its children and for the hope that young boys can still play in the woods, discover themselves, learn to challenge their limits on their own, make lifelong friends, and give back to the community what they have so innocently learned, to do their best. I submit that the Chicago Boy Scout District needs to go back to their deliberation room and really ponder whether they have been loyal and trustworthy in carrying out their responsibility to the boys of Chicago and the nation. Any Chicagoan with an ounce of respect for the Boy Scouts and love for Camp Owasippe, needs to know what is happening. This loss extends beyond the borders of Illinois and Michigan and affects us all.
Mark Corcoran
Boy Scout Parent
Troop 401, Fairview Park, OH

07/10/2005 - Ex-CAC Exec Weighs In On Saving Owasippe
I try to keep up with the happenings in the Chicago Area Council.   Seems to me that many great Scouters have to exert far too much energy trying to protect the heart and soul of your service in behalf of youth. Good, decent and committed leadership, working cooperatively, CAN find a way to keep the treasure, OWASIPPE. I applaud your grassroots efforts to save Owasippe.        ~ Dean Lollar, New Mexico

07/10/2005 - Owasippe Is Priceless!
Letter to The Editor, White Lake Beacon:
In a world so riddled with constant changes, some not always for the best, I’d like to ask for your support in helping to prevent a change that could cause a major loss in one of our local communities. As a member of the Blue Lake Township in Muskegon County and the State of Michigan, I fear for the possible loss of the treasured Owasippe Scout Reservation. I believe that this property is a National Treasure and it is the oldest Scout Camp in the United States of America - established in 1911.
I’m sure we can all agree that children are our future. It is our responsibility to provide them with the appreciation, the learning experience and the existence of nature at its best. For it is today’s children that will uphold tomorrow’s environment. Owasippe Scout Reservation is one of the rare natural beauties left in the world today for this upcoming generation to use as their learning experience and to love as the generations before them have loved.
This camp and the surrounding area is unique, it is beauty at its simplest and it is truly irreplaceable. I plead for your support in helping to prevent this gift from being rezoned into an all to common residential classification.
We need your support of the nonprofit OOEC (Owasippe Outdoor Education Center). OOEC would continue to offer camping to the Scouts as well as businesses, church or other organizations, that would like to camp at Owasippe. Our children need your support. Our children’s future children need your support. Please help us to save the Owasippe Scout Reservation. Saving something to priceless can only be the right thing to do.
~ Sandra Henry

Loon Alert!
Just filling you in ....the last "Blast" stated that the Loons hadn't been seen this year.  As of the Memorial day work weekend, there were probably 2 pair diving in the channel area of Wolverine (between the boat docks and Eco-con).  In fact, one did an "up periscope" about 10 feet from the row boat as I was fishing.  It was about 20 ft away when I found the camera.  Quite an experience.
~ Kurt "OPITA" Bihlmayer

A Report From The Field
by Kevin Posen
Mike Finnegan, my Dad, myself, and our kids got back from Owasippe yesterday after three wonderful days of fishing and hiking.  My Dad caught and released a trophy bass in Lake Wolverine, 6-1/2 lbs and 22.5 inches long, largest bass ever caught in his lifetime.  I caught and released a 4-pounder, and we caught another thirty fish among us all.  We saw the eagles, otters, wild turkeys, a million chipmunks and A PEACOCK (???) on our Blue Trail hike.  
Last night, I attended my son's troop meeting where 43 Scouts chose the merit badges they will be working on at summer camp.   I can't wait to go back to Owasippe for another week on June 25!
~ Kevin [Medinah, IL]

Ten Percent is not Conservation
Letter To The Editor, May 12, 2005
There have been numerous letters appearing in support of saving Owasippe Scout Reservation, many from current and former campers who whose lives were forever altered by their experience among the woods and dales. And while these letters demonstrate to the citizens of Blue Lake Township that there are many dedicated individuals committed to the goals of The Owasippe Outdoor Education Center and that they will help see it through to a successful completion should they be given the opportunity, their concerns are not exactly the same as the residents.
The monetary impact is likely foremost in everyone’s mind as the development of 90% of nearly 5,000 acres will require a significant investment by the taxpayers to build up the infrastructure and ongoing expenses associated with explosive growth, such as numerous referendums on the horizon to increase property taxes to pay for new schools and teachers. I live in a well developed community with high growth and these referendums appear at every election so I can understand with those concerns as well. But I’d like to address the impact related to the remaining 10%, the portion the builder has indicated he would set aside for conservation. Ten percent is not conservation.
Current conservation practice targets preserving and restoring habitats, the natural community in which the endangered or threatened plants and animals live. The logic follows that if we protect the environment where they live, including the neighboring plants and animals, and the soil and water, then they will be able to lead a successful and productive life. Hence the species will have a better chance at survival. It’s similar in concept to how we raise our children by creating a safe and productive environment or habitat for them to grow. But this practice will almost become impractical if not improbable for many of the endangered or threatened species that live in the woods and dales of Owasippe. The Karner Blue Butterfly is one such species.
The tiny, delicate silvery blue butterfly lives at Owasippe because its rare habitat, the Oak Savanna, can be found at Owasippe. The open sedge meadows present ideal conditions for the wild lupine, a plant that the Karner Blue requires as it is the only food source for its caterpillars. Furthermore, Southwestern Michigan’s climate is uniquely suited for the Karner Blue as the lake effect snows from Lake Michigan protect the butterfly’s eggs as they winter over on last season’s Lupine. In fact, this area one seven locations in the U.S. with Karner Blues, and one of only two locations with significant populations (the other is in Southwest Wisconsin).
The Karner Blue and several other of the identified nineteen endangered or threatened species exist at Owasippe because it’s one of the few remaining private land holdings with Oak Savanna habitats. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has named the Oak Savanna natural community as a state endangered habitat with less than 0.01% remaining in the state, and that miniscule number will further decline once 90% of the land become developed estates. Furthermore, the DNR reports that residential development is one of the leading causes for the continuing population decline as the Oak Savannas continue to disappear, a trend hastened by the development of Owasippe.
The Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has publicly stated that they are glad that the developer is willing to set aside 10% for conservation and look forward to working with him. That may sound like a ringing endorsement for the plan, but it’s not. I’m sure they would prefer to keep Owasippe intact and work with the OOEC to set up a true conservation and education program. But a dime in the pocket is better than the dollar lost so they put on a good public face and do what they can to save as much as the developer will let them. But you, the residents of Blue Lake Township, have the opportunity to save the entire dollar, to save the entire 5,000 acres and help preserve your heritage and your community. Support the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center in it’s effort to preserve this precious resource.
Express your support to your elected officials that you are 100% behind retaining the existing zoning so that they have the confidence of knowing that they represent your interests as they handle this situation that has been thrust upon them.
~ Uncle Willie Vannerson, McHenry IL
Note: You can learn more about the state’s Karner Blue Habitat Conservation Plan and Michigan’s Natural Communities at

Feasability Study Done or Are They Shooting From The Hip?
Has anyone taken a serious (academic) look at the cost of replacing
Owasippe? I think I saw a quote from Chooka$ian to the effect that the
council could find something closer to Chicago that would see more use. I think that's a fiction. My gut tells me that to replace (as irreplaceable as we know it really is) OSR would cost around 6-8 million depending on proximity. That's based on about 200' of shoreline on a lake that can handle canoes, rowboats, and small sailboats, as well as a lodge, dining hall capable of handing 300 campers/session, a food preparation facility (possibly part of the dining hall), storage, docks, and pool all on about 200-250 acres...IF such a parcel even exists in a two hour radius of Chicago!  Could we get one of the local university B schools to do a case study in this regard?
~ Ron Sebonia

Developing Owasippe Unthinkable
May 9, 2005
White Lake Beacon - Letter To The Editor
In a country where big dollars rule the day in almost all things, we find a multi-millionaire developer poised to preside over the extinction of one of Michigan’s most treasured lakes. I refer to Big Blue Lake of Muskegon County.
Let me qualify myself as a spokesman who is against the madness of building many hundreds of homes on or near this tiny jewel of a lake. My beloved wife’s family has been involved as property owners there for 96 years. We know the lake intimately and hold a great love for all it represents.
Blue Lake cannot possibly support this project environmentally. Hundreds upon hundreds of trees will be destroyed. Lawn fertilizer and sewage will run off into the waters. To even contemplate building such an inordinate number of homes on a small and fragile lake is unthinkable.
With water access rights being offered to all buyers, as is a certainty, one can only imagine the impact of hundreds of boats madly racing around the lake on a Sunday afternoon. Even today, the noise pollution created by but a few screaming jet skis is intolerable. The effects of many dozens of such craft, aimlessly traversing the water at top speed, cannot be overstated. Nor can the danger of such behavior be ignored.
So, in the end, Big Blue Lake will simply die, in terms of water quality, wildlife and the peace and tranquility it has afforded Michigan residents for a hundred years. By this time, the developer will be off on some other destructive project and the people who have spent their money building there will have a lake which has become worthless and we will all be the poorer for it.
Charles W. Lewis
River Forest, Illinois

05/09/2005 - Big Blue Lake Pioneers
May 9, 2005
White Lake Beacon - Letter To The Editor
A little over a year ago, my husband and I purchased property in Blue Lake Township, on the White River. It is vacant land, and it holds a dream for us. Our dream is to build a house for our family (ourselves and our two little boys, ages 2 1/2 and 1 1/2) in a peaceful, natural setting, allowing our children to experience nature and all it holds in a way children growing up in a suburb never will.
Now the possibility of Owasippe and all it's land being sold and turned into homes and developments threatens our dream. Our children may not grow up in the quiet setting we want to create for them. Instead, it may someday be just like any other city or suburban area; deprived of the almost untouched thousands of acres that have managed to remain intact for over 100 years. Once it is broken up and sold to the highest bidder, what will we be able to give to our children? And their children?
~ Krissy Buys

05/09/2005 - Developing Owasippe Unthinkable
May 9, 2005
White Lake Beacon - Letter To The Editor
In a country where big dollars rule the day in almost all things, we find a multi-millionaire developer poised to preside over the extinction of one of Michigan’s most treasured lakes. I refer to Big Blue Lake of Muskegon County.
Let me qualify myself as a spokesman who is against the madness of building many hundreds of homes on or near this tiny jewel of a lake. My beloved wife’s family has been involved as property owners there for 96 years. We know the lake intimately and hold a great love for all it represents.
Blue Lake cannot possibly support this project environmentally. Hundreds upon hundreds of trees will be destroyed. Lawn fertilizer and sewage will run off into the waters. To even contemplate building such an inordinate number of homes on a small and fragile lake is unthinkable.
With water access rights being offered to all buyers, as is a certainty, one can only imagine the impact of hundreds of boats madly racing around the lake on a Sunday afternoon. Even today, the noise pollution created by but a few screaming jet skis is intolerable. The effects of many dozens of such craft, aimlessly traversing the water at top speed, cannot be overstated. Nor can the danger of such behavior be ignored.
So, in the end, Big Blue Lake will simply die, in terms of water quality, wildlife and the peace and tranquility it has afforded Michigan residents for a hundred years. By this time, the developer will be off on some other destructive project and the people who have spent their money building there will have a lake which has become worthless and we will all be the poorer for it.
~ Charles W. Lewis
River Forest, Illinois

05/03/2005 - Feasability Study Done or Are They Shooting From The Hip
Has anyone taken a serious (academic) look at the cost of replacing
Owasippe? I think I saw a quote from Chooka$ian to the effect that the
council could find something closer to Chicago that would see more use. I think that's a fiction. My gut tells me that to replace (as irreplaceable as we know it really is) OSR would cost around 6-8 million depending on proximity. That's based on about 200' of shoreline on a lake that can handle canoes, rowboats, and small sailboats, as well as a lodge, dining hall capable of handing 300 campers/session, a food preparation facility (possibly part of the dining hall), storage, docks, and pool all on about 200-250 acres...IF such a parcel even exists in a two hour radius of Chicago!  Could we get one of the local university B schools to do a case study in this regard?
~ Ron Sebonia

It’s not too late to Save Camp Owasippe!
Muskegon Chronicle, Op-Ed 04/17/2005
Save Owasippe! Can you really imagine that we would allow Owasippe, which is the oldest Scout camp in the nation, to be sold and disassembled?  There is still time to stop it from happening.
The developer from Holland does not want to buy Owasippe unless it is rezoned to allow residential development.  There are many local developers who could do the same thing.  Instead, they have respect for Owasippe and its natural splendor and they appreciate Muskegon’s future partly rests with being a tourist destination.  If our woods and waters are privatized and decimated, what would draw people to Muskegon County?  You will appreciate the no one we talked with wants Owasippe sold for residential development.
There is another willing buyer for the Owasippe property and it is based right here in Muskegon.  It is the Owasippe Project and its goal is to establish the Owasippe Outdoor education Center (OOEC).  OOEC is a not-for-profit corporation, incorporated in the state of Michigan, which would provide management of Owasippe as an outdoor education center.  Its vision is simple: provide a world-class outdoor education experience for youth and adults by operating a premier outdoor university rooted in conservation minded principles.  In addition, provisions will allow the Scouts to continue their fine traditions of camping as they have since 1922.  Owasippe Project is willing to purchase the property without changing the current zoning.
Another interesting fact is that the original property for Owasippe, America’s first Scout camp, was donated to the Chicago Boy Scouts by the city of Whitehall.  You can bet that the city leaders never envisioned the Scouts selling the land to be used for residential development.   We have received support from the Muskegon County Commissioners, State Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom and the Muskegon County Conservation District, to name a few. We are asking the people of Muskegon County to assist us in preventing this natural treasue from being decimated. 
You said “No!” to North Star Steel.  You said “No!” to selling a portion of Beachwood Park.  You said “No!” to a hotel at Pere Marquette Park.  We must say “No!” to any residential development at Owasippe. Instead, we must say “Yes!” to the Owasippe Project and the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center. 
Join us, the Big Blue Lake Association.   To see what you can do to help, call the Owasippe Project at (231) 733-0557 or visit us on the web at
~ Nick Groszowski
Holton, Mich

04/08/2005 - Resignations Are In Order & Overdue!
It has become extremely obvious that the leadership of Chicago Area Council needs to be turned over and turned back to the volunteer frontline Scouter membership and that conscientious reforms need to be instituted to never again allow current history to repeat itself.  Over the last several years, all of us have witnessed a decline in quality in CAC and a steady deterioration in relations between the council elitist hierarchy and frontline scouters.  Key council administration has gone into hiding and has lost touch with those that breathe life into our movement...the frontline volunteers.
To resurrect the council and to restore the faith and confidence of traditional Scout leaders and families, it is time to demand the resignations of Council President Lew Greenblatt, Scout Executive James Stone, and Board Member (chief architect of Owasippe's demise) Dennis Chookaszian.  They have overstayed their welcome and have estranged themselves from their core constituency.
More than sufficient cause can be drawn to give credence to this move and to signify a need for dramatic change, namely:
> Three consecutive votes of "No Confidence" by the voting membership of the council;
> Lack of close interaction between the board and upper echelon of the professional staff with district personnel, unit scouters and families;
> Selective communication on council issues and relative information;
> Blatant contempt toward the will of the frontline volunteers and a disrespect of their talent and time;
> Insufficient shared leadership with frontline scouters;
> Abuse of power to squash critics of the council administration and to curtail communications between volunteers;
> Re-engineering of the bylaws to dilute the democratic process;
> Cancelling of important council program events such as Junior Leaders Training, Toure de Loop, OWL Training, Super Scouter Saturday (Pow Wow), and other training workshops;
> Steady decline in traditional scout enrollment caused by poor recruitment and marketing, reduction in program, and a revolving door with its district professional staff;
> Establishing the ruse of a false sense of security and solution with the previously run summit conferences;
> Partial distribution of call-in information and instructions for the last board meeting on the sale of Owasippe;
> Lack of accountability to the volunteer membership of the council;
> A hazy plan for the future of traditional Scouting in Chicago;
> No major reinvestment of hundreds of thousands of fire insurance proceeds back into Owasippe's tattered infrastructure and facilities;
> The unnecessary sale of all of Owasippe in the face of strong opposition by the volunteer leadership and without an alternate plan;
> Disregard for Owasippe's history, environment, and heritage; and
> Lack of imagination and will in effectively promoting and managing Owasippe as a year round facility and summer camp.
If you feel as strongly as I do in this matter, please convey your sentiment and will to your Chartered Organization Rep and to any Members At Large whom you would know...INCLUDING the current board nominating committee members (ie. Hughes, Saltenberger, Strickling, Emig, Johnson, R Egan) who must hear a resounding voice of dissatisfaction from us.  Those addresses are posted on both the Sassafras and OSA websites.  You can also write to Council Commissioner Mark Linse at 1218 W Adams, Chicago IL 60607.
It is time to stop the bleeding and to begin the rebirth of Baden Powell's vision.  We owe it to our Scouts and to the integrity of this great movement.
~ Ron Kulak
<Suspended & spurned but NOT Silent>

04/08/2005 - A Good Omen?  Are We Blessed?
A resident of the Muskegon Area and friend of Owasippe, Nick Groszowski, has reported seeing the eagles frequenting the nest overlooking the shores of Big Blue Lake at Camp Blackhawk.  Our Native American bretheren would consider this a good omen and, during the "Hands Across The Waters" gathering last August, they considered it being more than that...a blessing on the land and on those who would protect it.  Perhaps, we need to take stock of the hope and confidence our national symbol is trying to convey to us.  They have come home to nest and are at ease in the bosom of the camp and with our Scouts as neighbors.  Take hold and nurture this vision of the future...but it is up to us to make it so.
~  Ron Kulak
< Suspended and spurned but not silent>
Chicago Ridge, IL

04/08/2005 - Reconsider developing Owasippe.
Dear Editor <White Lake Beacon>,
Let's please take some time to consider the ramifications of another development in beautiful west Michigan.
We are a state known for bountiful forests, amazing lakes, and wide open spaces.  Through time we have lost some of our most amazing identifying assets to development. Do we want to mirror our neighbors and sell our unique attributes for another mini mall or subdivision or do we want to maintain resources that not only we can enjoy for years to come, but will also draw tourists and income?
We should draw upon our natural attributes to stimulate the economy. The developments we have invested in have been quick fixes that will be outdated and vacated in years to come. Who wants to live in a waste land? We want to live in an area where we can hear the birds sing, see the butterflies float, and smell the fresh clean air. Once those things are gone they aren't easily brought back.
Please think about the trade off here and work to save Owasippe.
~ Crystal Chumley-Jarvis
Montague MI

04/08/05 - Hey, What About The Scouts & Their Units?
Making the full Scout program available is an important priority.  A
great Scout summer camp program can add tremendously to the value of
the Scouting experience.
The Scout Council has as its mission to see that this is facilitated.
Selling the camp property may raise great funds for the endowment but
there has to be some solid proposal in place that will provide a summer camp program of value EQUAL to that previously provided at the old summer camp <Note: still undefined>.
I just hope that the bests interests of the boys in the program will
be kept foremost in mind as this <Owasippe> situation plays out.
04/08/2005 - Do not rezone
Dear Editor,
It was with great shock and sadness to hear of the sale and certain demise of what I as an Eagle scout and parent of a current scout, called Camp Owasippe.
I truly felt like I have lost a dear friend. The sale at Camp Hoover at least allowed our camping presence at the camp site while still preserving a beautiful piece of God’s earth. The sale of Owasippe does nothing except garner the scouting organization 30 pieces of silver ($19.4 million). It is unfortunate that the Chicago Area Council’s Board has turned its back on the very ideals (respect for the environment) that we try to instill into young scouts.
Whether it was in writing or not, one can be certain that whoever donated this beautiful land in 1911 to the Boy Scouts assumed that it would be preserved in perpetuity in its pristine state. A scout is trustworthy comes to mind. The board certainly has violated that part of the scout law.
The point that the developer Mr. Ben Smith III will tread lightly is laughable. The developer talks a good game until the zoning change from campground to residential is obtained from the township. The legacy of what was once Owasippe will again be violated and subdivided. It is also unbelievable that a lease agreement wasn’t obtained before the deal was completed, good legal counsel. Fat chance of getting that after the sale contract has been completed.
I seem to remember something about “mentally awake,” oops someone was napping. It’s a loss for scouting that those who carried out this boondoggle and violation of trust only thought in terms of dollars and cents. Maybe there were too many insurance executives, accountants and lawyers on the Chicago Area Council Board. They put a price tag on something that was truly priceless, once again selling off the legacy and memories that hundreds of thousands held more dearly than the bottom line.
Hopefully the Blue Lake Township Zoning Board will be “brave” and not grant the zoning change to residential allowing some other solution which would preserve the integrity and honor of the boy scouts and that “little piece of Heaven,” Camp Owasippe. It will be interesting to see who ends up with lake front property on Big Blue Lake, maybe Judas himself.
~ Kenneth M. Stoffel
Palos Park, Illinois
04/08/2005 - Preserve Owasippe
Dear Editor,
I am appalled and ashamed that the Boy Scouts would put such a beautiful property up for sale instead of making the efforts to raise funds to save it for future generations. We all owe it to our children and future generations to donate to save this historic property, America's first scout camp. As a tourist who considers Whitehall one of my favorite places, let’s protect Whitehall's tourism economy also by preserving this precious property.
~Kirt Manecke
04/08/2005 - Memories of Owasippe
Dear Editor,
In 1947, I was two, my parents took me to Blue Lake Township for the first time to a little house on Fruitvale and First, our family summer home. Back then it took 8 hours-plus to get from Chicago to our summer home and the Scouts had already been doing it for 36 years.
In 1956 I took a train from Chicago for the great adventure that is Owasippe. For the next 12 years I looked forward to going to Camp Blackhawk. My grandmother would bring fried chicken down to the Scouts at Rochdale landing, when they would land their canoes. The journey started for me again in 1978 when I went back to Owasippe as Scoutmaster of Troop 6 in Chicago. I have seen the look on young Scouts’ faces as they live the Owasippe experience for the first time. I watched my two sons grow with the Owasippe experience and join their father as an Eagle Scout.
This summer I will be taking my troop to Owasippe for the 27th summer to experience America's Premier Scout Camp and all the wealth of earth and heaven. We are America's oldest Scout camp, serving youth since 1911, and now a speculator wants to take it over and destroy what God put there. Do not let this happen, keep Owasippe for the young. Let them experience it in perpetuity. I do not want my 39th summer to be my last. I want my future grandchildren to have the Owasippe experience.
~Robert P. Burns, Jr.
Scoutmaster CAC Troop 6
Eagle Scout

03/28/05 - The Proposed Sale Is NOT In The Best Interest Of Scouting
Dear Editor...
I am writing to you because of my concerns over the sale of Owasippe Scout Reservation. It is my belief that the sale is not for the benefit of the Scouts, the Blue Lake Township community, or the many endangered species that call it home. Poor decisions made concerning this sale can never be reversed. Money should not always be the bottom line; there are more important things in life.
Owasippe has stood for the dreams of generations of Scouts and should remain for many more to come. There are very few places left in this world where a new generation can have the same experiences as the one they followed. Owasippe is one of them because the magic is still there and it remains there to be discovered. How often can a father relate to his son about anything? Owasippe bridges that gap; it is timeless.
Owasippe is a place full of wonders, adventure and fellowship. If you have never been there you are missing out. It is something that you need to experience. Once it has pulled you in, you will never be the same. You will always have a place for it in your heart. I want Scouts for generations to come to know and experience Owasippe. It should not be in the hands of a few to destroy this land and all it stands for.
~Mark Siegel, Eagle Scout
03/28/05 - Hail Owasippe!
Dear Editor <White Lake Beacon>,
For generations of Chicago area youth, the above words are synonymous with one of the longest running traditions in the Boy Scouts of America. It has unfortunately been announced that the “management” of the Chicago Area Council of the BSA has a buyer lined up to purchase the Owasippe Scout Reservation, the oldest continually operated Scout camp in the country.
While some may see this as an inevitable event due to the changing interests of today's youth, the true tragedy in today's society, is we are allowing ourselves to lose touch with many of the things that really matter in life. We seem to always want to mortgage the future regardless of the consequences. Once a treasure like Owasippe is gone, it's gone for good. There will be no turning back!
The importance of maintaining the Owasippe experience for our youth is a regional issue. I have met Scouts and their leaders from the Muskegon area, on lay over in Chicago's Union Station. These Scouts trained at Owasippe in preparation for their pilgrimage to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
There is a value to Owasippe's natural splendor that cannot be figured by a surveyor's instrument, or an investment banker's calculator, if only we have the wisdom as a society to appreciate it and act to preserve all of it for future generations.
~Lawrence Kochan, Oak Lawn, IL

03/28/05 - When We Are Gone, What Do We Have To Offer?
Hi, <I am a> camper and current staffperson at Owasippe.  I am writing to tell you that the decisions of the Chicago Area Council are NOT the opinions and ideals of Owasippe supporters who are mentally, physically, and financially throwing themselves into an effort to preserve the “wealth and heaven” we know today as Camp Owasippe.  While to some it may seem like an unbeatable foe, just looking at the accomplishments which have occurred so far are enough to keep trying.  Boy Scouts are loyal...Loyal to preserving a camp for future generations?  I certainly believe so.
Owasippe, to some, may simply be a camp.  To many more people, however, it is so much more than that.  It is a city boy hiking miles and knowing the beauty of true nature.  It is an underprivileged scout mastering archery at the end of a devoted week.  It is a staffman looking into the eyes of a camper and knowing he has made a difference.  It is a physically and mentally stimulating paradise which touches anyone who experiences its glory.  It is meant to be used and respected.
Either way, a decision must be made.  It is my hope is that, in time, it will be realized that you can build residences anywhere, you can buy the newest sports cars at any time, you CAN continue scouting.  However, when houses grow old, sports cars rust, and scouts are experiencing nature at their local park, maybe people may then realize pristine, untouched, and true beauty cannot be built or bought, only appreciated and preserved.
When WE are gone, what do we have to offer?
Owasippe Forever,
~ Caitlin Boline

03/28/05 - What's Wrong With The Chicago Area Council?
I need to speak out from my experience as a career Scouter. I don't know how to say this without causing anger and resentment among volunteer board members, but I must say that either they have been misled, undertrained, or are simply poor leaders.
The purpose of any board of directors is to 1) work as a team to establish and maintain the integrity of the organization, 2) represent the organization in the community, 3) to establish and maintain the budget of the organization within legal and ethical limits, 4) and to supervise and advise the professional leadership of the organization, and to make changes where and when necessary. There are other duties, but these are the important focus at this time.
The blame for the fiscal irresponsibility in the Chicago Area Council goes back a very long time. It is a cancer that has been growing for decades. I take it all the way back to Boypower and the burning desire on the part of professionals and board members alike to serve a "representative one-third of all available youth" no matter what! The scandal then should have taught us a lot, but it is being repeated again today in councils in the south where ethics have been thrown out the window and they have been "cooking" the membership books (as opposed to Enron and WorldCom, etc, cooking the financial books).
The long range planning that should have taken place, along with sound financial planning to avoid disasters such as the sale of Owasippe, kept being put off. In the meantime, financial resources started to dry up, partly because the BSA has stuck to its principles regarding atheists and gays, thus incurring the ire of special interest groups that have influenced the unites funds, ways, and appeals to de-fund local councils.
The Chicago Area Council could have become financially independent long ago. Everyone knew that it would become necessary, but few have had the courage to "just do it". Had it been done, the CAC would still have Hoover, much of what has already been sold off at Owasippe would still be there, and nobody would have been even considering the sale of the rest of the property.
I would guess that most of those who voted for the sale have no vested interest in Scouting, let alone in Owasippe. They agreed to serve on the board because they are truly altruistic (in their own "works righteousness" way) or membership on the board would look good on their resumes. In either case, we cannot expect them to understand "all the wealth of earth and Heaven". They've never experienced it.
They are "bottom line" people. Their knowledge of stewardship ends there. They voted as they did because they are pragmatic in philosophy, are profit-oriented, and have little or no understanding of just what it is that the youth and leaders of the CAC will lose.
Now we are being called upon to make lemonade from the lemons we have been given. The OOEC, the OSA, and all others interested in the future of Owasippe and the CAC must continue to fight the good fight (read the words of the apostle Paul for inspiration and courage)!
You are all in my prayers.
~ David Webb, OSR staff alumnus

03/28/05 - Standing Together To Protect The Land
I as the founder of the Owasippe Conservation Group since 97 am saddened at the greed that has taken place in the <Chicago> Council. Since 97, we have donated 3200 hours of work a year on the camp in exchange for hunting.  All of the dedication and pride our group has put into the camp to make it grow and go has seemed to only enhance the property for resale.  This is one reason why I have not yet rewired the camp's high voltage system...all 6 miles of line.  We stand here with you in defense of the land that brought so much laughter to the children.  Our 80 members stand ready to help where needed as we have in the past.  So, please call on us as we still strive to save the land we so dearly love.  Still working.
~Dennis Blankenship

03/21/2005 - That's The Fact, Jack!
...In the spirit of the famous line of dialogue from the movie "Stripes".
No hyperbole, just stark reality of what certainly will be unless all of us act in unity to prevent this tragedy from occuring and make the CAC to realize the folly of their decision.   Ladies and gentlemen, Scouts and Scouters alike, dont sit idly by and watch the future of Scouting vanish into some strangers pocket.
Make sure your COR votes "NO" to any actions which will enable the
sale of Owasippe to be consumated. If your COR cant be made to "see
the light", then replace him or her.
We simply must take every measure possible to make the CAC see the
error of their decision. The money they choose to make is to support
non-traditional Scouting. Is that what all your time and hard work is
Don't Speak, ACT!
~ C.J.Tomlin
COR 647 & 3647, Iroquois Dist, CAC

03/17/2005 - The BSA Is NO Longer What Baden Powell Had Envisioned
Well, I'm just one more former scouter and former staff member who is
outraged by the constant barrage of betrayals that is being heaped on the volunteers who helped to build and maintain the Scouting organization. It's my opinion that the dismantelling of the camping program is the final step in this betrayal. I'm sixty years old and my father and my friends' fathers and grandfathers help build the organization. It was neither a corporate entity nor a political entity. It stood for religious tolerance. The special interests in Scouting have worked energetically to profit financially from the work of others and to ignore their [BSA's] principles.
~ R Dates

02/18/2005 - Open Letter To The CAC Board
It is now the eleventh hour.
If rumors are true, in a few days you will be part of a decision that will forever change the Scouting program for young men in the Chicago area. I like so many other volunteers with ties to Owasippe, strongly disagree with this decision and urge you, beseech you to vote “no!”
I believe that Owasippe should remain the cornerstone of the Council’s camping program in it’s current configuration. I do not agree that a “good” program can be run on a camp of a few hundred acres. I know because our troop has camped at such locations and will not return. There is no adventure when the stars are obliterated by light pollution and the majority of the wildlife has abandoned the area for lack of habitat. To sell off or significantly reduce the size of the Council’s camp will in essence be tantamount to outsourcing its camping program as many troops will seek other, more suitable locations for their boys. And once you’ve lost control of your camping program, you’ve lost control of the heart of the Scouting program.
Therefore I implore you to not agree to this sale. Instead you should do everything in our power to support and enable the successful transfer of Owasippe to the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center (OOEC), even if that sale would net less profits into the Council’s bank account. The sacrifice of the short-term gain will be offset by the long-tern benefit to generations of youth to come. I realize that there are hard and complex issues at stake and that you have a fiduciary responsibility in your role. But you also carry the responsibility of standing up as a leader for the organization, a leader of with vision.
 Mark Twain wrote:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover."
Should you chose the safe, profitable path, there will be no “Camp <Your Name>” or a “<Your Name> Camping award.” Not that one should aspire for such accolades, but one should aspire to become the leader that would inspire others to honor you thusly. The profits from this sale may go a long way to help save or create valuable programs, but none of them will carry the lasting legacy that saving Owasippe would bestow. So I encourage you with all my heart to take a few moments before the vote to reflect upon what you believe your true contribution to the program will be. What will your legacy be? How will your name be remembered by Scouts 50 to 100 years from now in a time when camping resources, such as Owasippe, will be non-existent.
Will you throw off the bowlines and fight for Owasippe? Or will you seek the safe harbor and forgo the adventure, dreams and discoveries for our youth?  I beg you to catch the trade winds in your sails and ride the crest of the wave. Vote down the sale and throw your support behind the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center’s effort.
~ William "Uncle Willie" Vannerson, ASM
03/14/2005 - A Letter To An Editor,
Soon canoe paddles will be a thing of the past at Owasippe, making way for condominiums and other urban hustle and bustle.  How sad it is that Scout’s through out the Midwest will no longer be able to walk the Orange, Blue and White trails identifying leaves and other outdoor vegetation to complete their BSA nature requirements.  Alas, corporate greed has finally won the battle to sell off the oldest Boy Scout Camp in our nation.
As a Boy Scout from Troop 624 in Chicago, we made the trip to the Owasippe Scout Reservation in busses back in the late 1950’s.  We never complained about the length of the trip.  Most of us were so anxious to get there we had our swim trunks on and headed for the aquatic area as the busses were pulling in to the reservation.
I learned to swim at Blue Lake because there were no lakes or pools on the south side of Chicago.  After two weeks in natures grasp it was tough to come back to the city.  Oh how we looked forward to summer camp each year.  Chicago Council sold off Camp Stuart, Camp Beard and Camp West in the mid 80’s to help them out of a cash crunch.  Too bad they couldn’t find it in their hearts to have done some long term planning to save some of this natural beauty for future boys and for Scouting.
Having moved to Indiana many years ago, I helped keep this summer camping tradition alive.  There was not better camp in the Midwest but the one just a couple of hours north in Blue Lake Township!  Our Boy Scout troop has been attending summer camp at Owasippe for more than 15 years.  I am glad both my sons, now Eagle Scouts, have had the opportunity to experience the finest Scouting facility in the nation, bar none.  There is no better place to experience the roar of a campfire; the tug on a fishing line or the sight of a deer scampering through the meadow at dawn.  Guess my grandson’s will now only be able to experience Owasippe through my many pictures and old Scouting stories.
Shame on the Chicago Area Council for selling this property!  Owasippe made more boys want to continue along the Scouting trail more than any other program or process.
As the Owasippe Chant so eloquently reads “Leave your cities far behind [Hail, Owasippe]...on a trail a whole new life you’ll find, [Sons of Owasippe].”
Farewell our mighty Chief Owasippe.  May your land somehow continue to inspire Boy Scouts for many years to come.
 ~ Bob Westfall, Committee Chairman, T-906, Valparaiso, Indiana

03/09/2005...Memories and Dreams For Cash?
So the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America has decide to sell off the property. The first scout camp in the nation is now going to be condos and lake homes. Here is an ABC story. Here is a Muskegon Chronicle story.
I'm almost in shock over this. Part of my youth, my identity is being sold off for a fraction of its worth. There are memorials to friends now lost. The ashes of friends are in the lakes. And its being done in a back handed sort of way that I have come to expect from professional scouting executives. A meeting was held to vote on the sale and three votes were allowed to be phoned in on a conference call while other board members who would have opposed the sale were not able to vote or give their proxy. It stinks like Chicago politics and I can't help but be saddened by the loss of a place I haven't been to in years and had no plans of returning to any time soon.
It is still the place I return to at night. It is still a great part of what shapped me. It is still an ideal place for getting children off the couch and into life. And we sang:
All the wealth of earth and heaven
bless they woods and dales
over all they lakes and forests
happy youth prevails...
...Well, maybe if mommy and daddy buy one of the condos.  I think mostly youth loses out here.
~ Rich Rosenthal, past Owasippe Staff

03/09/2005...Let The Will Of The Chartered Org Reps Be Heard!
"A 4,700-acre campground in Michigan owned since 1911 by the Chicago Boy Scouts council would remain largely undeveloped by an investor group that has agreed to buy the land for $19.4 million, the head of the group said Wednesday."
"It's possible the Boy Scouts could lease part of the Owasippe Scout Reservation from the developer, but one Scout official said Wednesday that the council also could use the proceeds from the sale to buy a campground that's a bit smaller and closer to Chicago."
[Wait!] Is this not what Hoover was ?????
~ M Opitz
Note:  The issue and resulting decision is so HUGE that it should still be brought to bear for scrutiny and decision before the entire voting body of the council's CORs and MALs.  It's the only way to achieve fair and representative treatment.  Let the voices of the frontline scouters be heard!

03/09/2005...Practice What You Preach?  Naw!
There is a few things I would like to get off my mined. The more I think about this vote to sell Owasippe the more ticked off I get. If everyone who is allowed to vote was given the opportunity to vote. If we had lost fairly it would have been a little easer to take.  Is it too much to ask that the Boy Scouts of America  Chicago area council be  FAIR.  
Other things are for 90+ years we have been told this is your camp don't cut down trees, pick up itsy bitsy , be careful with fires, etc. it's your camp take care of it. We have been told teach your scouts to take care of this land it's your camp too, if you do it will be here for your kids. We have done our best to take care of our camp.
For CAC to sell it off to someone to put million dollar condos on it goes agents everything we have been taught. Owasippe to me is a place everyone can enjoy rich or poor young or old not just the rich. CAC is doing a great disservice to the youth of this council. I know there are a lot of very good people working hard to save Owasippe as it is I want to thank you for your effort.                 
~ Tom Grigoletti troop 683

03/09/2005...Take A Stand!
We as volunteers should screen the intentions of our council to find out why they believe we need to close our scout camps. Our land is a precious resource that we should not give up to these people of the council, we may never see the day, but, our children's children may see a day where they may need to grow food or live on this camp we call Owasippe.
To my knowledge Hoover was sold for Eighteen Million, what was that money used for? Where did that money go? I know that there was talk of trying to purchase camp Kiwanis but Ray Charles could have seen the answer coming from the Cook County Board. Since the BSA will not allow Gay Leadership the County of Cook will not do any business with them, if in the eyes of the County Board you discriminate against any person or group, the Board can and will every time refuse to do any business with you.
How much is enough?  How can CAC justifiably send volunteers into the lions den to ask for monies to be donated to the FOS?  Especially after the three wise (guys) men decided to suspend one of the most giving volunteers I have met in this lackadaisical organization of our council, and/or district.  Then they send out more or less warnings to two other hard working if outspoken volunteers to silence if not bully them and the rest of us into submission.
To all volunteers, TAKE A STAND!
The hundreds if not thousands of volunteers cannot be wrong.  Encourage your reps to get to these important meetings and vote in the best interest of their and our children, put people in place that will work with the volunteers...not against them.   The money shortage had to have been identified some time ago, but greed seemed like it had a great deal to do with the decisions of CAC.
Turning farmland into subdivisions, is like turning Hoover into something other than a place near Chicago that is accessible to all, this seems very similar to what these foreign governments could be doing to us.  Starving out the masses for the betterment of the few.
Step Down Mr. Greenblat.
Step Down Mr. Stone.
Step Down Mr. Linse (unless you're doing the work of a volunteer).
Mark you always seemed to be a good man of high principles, please don't let the greed of the first two here sway your intentions as a great volunteer! Even though they seemed to have shown you the kingdoms of the council, put them behind you and ignore their evil intentions.
~ JW - CAC, T610

02/25,2005 - Without Camping, There Is NO Scout!
The program is "scouting", right?  Doesn't that imply camping?
It's not the "property", it's the "camping".
Without camping there is no scout!  Boys don't join scouting to become better citizens.  Boys don't join scouting to build their characther.  Boys don't join scouting for their physical growth. 
Boys join scouting to be outdoors.  To have fun camping.  It's us adults that then attempt to instill the leadership skills, character building, etc., once we have the boy's attention.
But without camping, there is no boy. 
How do we go into schools to attract boys to scouting?  Can we be honest with prospective boys now when we tell them about all the fun camping they will do?  
How many boys will join scouting if all you can tell them is that the program will build your character?
Without camping there is no scout. 
~ James Kash
02/25/2005 - Owasippe Is The Tip Of An Iceberg
To provide a great scouting program we need the tools to do the job.

Owasippe is only one of those tools. But it is the culmination of the year long program. It provides program opportunities that I can not supply in the city.   It is not the glue that holds the program together but the tip of the iceberg that represents the rift between traditional scouting and the professional staff. The professional staff appears to be only concerned about the money while we frontline scouters are concerned about the kids.
I have heard put forth the theory that the professional staff would be happy if the traditional scouting program would go away and then they could sit back and run Learning For Life. The more I see of Jim Stone Inc, the more I begin to wonder.   Please do not get confused or think that this fight is only about Owasippe.  It is about the future of traditional scouting in the Chicago Area Council and who is going to define how the program will be preserved for the next generations.
I went to Owasippe for my 50th time last summer and took my grandson for his first. I WILL FIGHT WITH ALL OF MY HEART AND SOUL TO MAKE SURE HE CAN TAKE HIS GRANDSON TO OWASIPPE IN 2054!
YIS, Craig W. Johnson

02/25/2005 - The irony did not escape me.
As I walked down the street from my office to the post office with my armful of letters to the CAC board, my path took me past the corners of Illinois & Dearborn. It was at this corner in Chicago in the Boyce Building in 1910 that William Boyce began the process to form the organization we call Boy Scouts of America. Now, 95 years later, at what may be Chicago Scouting's darkest hour, I carried past that location my letters urging the board to remain true to the ideals and aims set forth by Boyce, Beard, Seton and others who built this program.
It is those very ideals and aims that drew me into the program as a youth and pulled me back in as a father. I am not ashamed to say that I grew up at Owasippe and that I am thankful that my two sons had the opportunity to experience it too, even though it's not the same as it was thirty years ago. I truly hope that the board can find a few moments this weekend to reflect upon aims and ideals the BSA founders put forth not 2 blocks from where I now sit. The same aims and ideals that stirred the imagination and excitement of young men a century ago still burns in their hearts today. Owasippe is the foundation of the council's camping program and camping is central to those aims and ideals. Owasippe in it’s full glory is central to stirring the imagination, the adventure and the dreams of our youth.
Two blocks from where I now sit, the seeds of the Scouting movement were planted. The fruit of that sowing now appear to be withering in the very city where it took root.
I am not ashamed of my Owasippe experience. But I know three score who should be unless they decide to remain true to the founder’s vision on Tuesday.  
~ Uncle Willie Vannerson, ASM

02/25/2005 - The dirty deed is not yet done! 
Don't despair as we have options to exercise which will take time and, by the grace of God, will succeed.  Keep the faith and say prayers.  If you feel like doing something, send a courteous rebuttal to our illustrious board members, especially those in the "for-sale" group. They need to hear and see our disappointment and disapproval... including letters and photos directly from the Scouts! 
I would suggest not participating with CAC where feasible and boycott its events and fundraisers.  They've turned their backs on their loyal Scouting family and we should return the favor!  We've been betrayed :-(
Provide input and thoughts whenever it comes to you.  Continue to talk to each other.  BY ALL MEANS...get your unit CORs and MALs out to vote on Monday evening, March 9th (see below), to turn down the board slates...we need to send a strong vote of NO CONFIDENCE!!!  All Scouters can attend and be in the gallery to witness the vote.
Thanks for what you do for Scouting!  Remember our Scouts!  Remember the Camp and continue to bring your troops to Owasippe!  Don't allow CAC to have a self-fulfilling prophecy of deteriorating attendance. 
It's NOT over until WE say it is!
~ Ron Kulak, "Suspended But NOT Silent"

02/22/2005 - Sad About This Whole State Of Affairs
Just a line, to let you know we are so sad about the sale.  We can only
hope the citizens of Blue Lake put up a fight about the zoning.  We were interviewed by our local Fox station this afternoon,and I told them about the Scouts coming up thru the years and coming back as councilors,and then coming back with their familys, also about the pristine land that, if developed, will never be the same.  As the tale goes about chief Owasippe,  he is probably crying right now!!!!!!
~   by for now,  Arlene (Ishnala's)...aka- Pump House Two.

02/02/2005 - Letter To the Chicago Tribune Editor
In regards to the Chicago Area Council Boy Scouts, I am disappointed in the Board and their behavior. They were originally complaining that we did not take enough notice of the problems the CAC were having and when we finally find out what the problems were and wanted to be a part of the solution, we are told we are blocking their ability to "fix" the council. We are told that they need money and we came back with let's sell the downtown office (worth approx. $25 million) and use our facility out at Yorkville (Hoover Outdoor Educational Center) and instead they sell Hoover for $18 million and now they say they "NEED" to sell part of Owasippe.
We asked what happened to the money?  We want to know where it's going and what they are spending it on. We KNOW that there are certain expenses and want to know what they are. We are denied any access to any accounting of the funds. They constantly extend when that will published and one person, Mr. Greenblaat, had said he was resigning at the begining of this, pending the finding of his replacement, and yet he's still there and still on the ballot.  The council refuses to let us cast votes on a line by line basis and won't change the ballot, even though they have not been voted in - 3 times!
I thought we were in a democracy and that the Boy Scouts are owned by the "scouts" and not by those who want to sell our camps for lining of
whose pockets?  As for those being disciplined, we are always told that the camps are for the 'scouts' and that they need to participate - if a parent decides that the scouts should have a say, why can't the boys (which is why we are here!) have a say in whether they have a camp or not?  I know of several Owasippe staffers (scouts) who want to save their camp and are already mourning the loss of Hoover and don't want to lose the only camp they NOW have.
~ H Gesell - scouter & concerned parent, Arrowhead Dist

02/02/2005 - What Is Un-Scout-like Behavior?  A Trib Response.
I am a front line scouter in the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. I have been working with other front line scouters, board members, and professional staff members in a series of summit meetings to try to resolve numerous issues, not just the sale of Owasippe, that exist within this council.  These meeting started in October and are on-going.
During the course of these meetings I have been urging other front line
scouters to have patience and let the summit process have a chance to work. The letters to Kulak, Podbielski, and Hosty have not only stirred up a hornet's nest within the ranks of the front line scouters, but have also cut the legs out from under scouters like myself who have been trying to keep the situation calm.
I am not sure if these letters are an attempt to torpedo these summit
meetings, because the front line scouters and board members are starting to talk to each other, or if they are intended to put people on notice that if you do not sing the company song you may be removed from scouting. Whatever the reasons, this action will only exacerbate the rift that already exists between the council professional staff, the board of directors, and the front line scouters.
On a related issue, the webmaster of the Ft Dearborn website was told by a council professional staff member that the link to our website was being removed from the council's website.  He was also told that the other six districts that make up the Chicago Area Council were also instructed to remove their links to our site.  This was done because our website contained "un-scout-like material".  This "un-scout-like material" is a factual report written by our webmaster concerning the actions taken against Kulak, Podbielski, and Hosty by the council.
Since when is it un-scout-like to exercise your first amendment right to
free speech?   Since when is it un-scout-like to factually report on an action taken by the council?   If these actions were not to be made public, then maybe the actions taken by the council are un-scout-like and need to be reviewed.
Makes you wonder.
~ Craig Johnson, District Commissioner - Ft Dearborn Dist

02/02/2005 - YES & NO Questions That Need To Be Answered by CAC's Key-3
"Key-3" defined: Lew Greenblatt, Council President; Mark Linse, Council Commissioner; James Stone, Council CEO/Scout Exec.
    1.  Were the letters sent out to Messrs., Kulak, Hosty, and Dr Podbielski for violating the values held by the Boy Scouts of America?    
    2.  Does "Duty to God and Country," include the values as articulated in The Constitution of the United States?
    3.  Does Duty to God include the value of individual conscience to do, upon serious reflection, what may be perceived as necessary?
    4.  Are the Professional staff, Key three and Board members bound to upholding  the   Scout Oath and Law?
    5.  Is a scout's participation to free assemble and free speech abridged by the Scout Oath and Law?
    6.  Is a scout's participation to free assemble and free speech abridged by the rules of the Boy Scouts of America?
    7.  Could participation in a public rally that supports an issue one cares about fulfill a merit badge requirement for, "Citizenship in the Nation?"
    8.  Should the Key 3 resign if they no longer enjoy the confidence of the membership?
    9.  Should the Board resign if they no longer enjoy the confidence of the membership?
    10.     If the membership can't effect there desired reforms, should they still encourage other to contribute to the "Friends Of Scouting" fund raising campaign?
~ Reinhard Plaut, T-923

02/02/2005 - What's The Plan?  Why Does Everything Seem So Difficult?
I do wonder why the CAC leadership have been so difficult to work with.  I know that when cornered an animal will often attack.  This is done to protect itself and its territory. 
Over the years, the leadership at the CAC has patched this program at the sake of another program.  But is there are real plan?  If they sell off OSR, do they have a plan for the capital that will be raised?  Will it be used to feather more beds or will it be used to improve programs?  We already know that selling a camp such as Hoover, does not solve the financial woes of a Council.  Rather it puts another bandage on a serious wound.  Instead of getting the real help, the infection is raging and the patient CAC is getting into some serious problems. 
What is amazing is the fact that other councils have had these same situations.  They have taken the steps needed to make it all work out.  The leadership of the CAC does not need to "reinvent the wheel" rather, they can take a look at some of the things the local Girl Scouts have done. Downsize the administration and staff, move to smaller quarters, solicit grants and aide from new sources.  In no way did they compromise their standards nor put their clients on any lower ground.
Good luck in trying to work with an administration who would rather solve problems on their own, regardless of the outcome.
~ John Adamowski, Past Owasippe Staff

02/02/2005 - Where's The Leadership And Vision?
I've been following the actions taken by CAC and am simply baffled by
a total lack of leadership from the executive director. That three
individuals were discussed in major media outlet - through a spokesman
- speaks to a broader problem of accountability to stakeholders.
The entire controversy surrounding Owasippe's fate confounds me - the
national BSA is not taking an active interest in preserving what could
be embraced as a 'crown jewel of Scouting, the CAC professional staff
appears interested in a handful of interested parties instead of all
stakeholders, and I can never remember a public acknowledgement of the
OSA & OEC efforts towards ensuring a successful future.  The executive
director should be embarrassed for fighting a group with which CAC
should be aligned as strategic partners. We have a enough problems
from without (ACLU...) to be openly fighting within.
When will we see a unified approach and strategic plan? It pains me to
see dedicated Scouters ostracized while the professional staff purports to hold the best and only solution to all problems. If CAC were a business, it'd be new CEO time. If CAC were government, it'd be time for an investigation. Sadly, I am concerned that large benefactors will think twice about contributing to capital or operating fund raising campaigns while the CAC organization has no
vision and doesn't know how to treat its people.
Thanks for all you do for Scouting.
~ Ned Swanson, USN/Eagle Scout/Owasippe Staff, La Jolla, CA

Thanks To All For Your Continued Support!=========================================
I have received numerous emails and phone calls on what has transpired and want to express my appreciation and gratitude for everyone's overwhelming support and kind words.  Thanks also for your great ideas and suggestions.  As taught in Woodbadge, "Know and utilize your resources".  What a great support group our Scouting family truly is.
We three are planning our appeals and rebuttals that will be submitted in a timely fashion.  Until then, I guess we are presumed guilty of alleged violations until proven innocent.  How ironic.  Don't despair and keep the faith.
But, what is happening to me palls in comparison to what is threatening the integrity of our beloved Owasippe and to what is endangering the quality of Scouting in Chicago.  I will not allow myself to be ruled by fear and intimidation and suggest you do the same.  There is strength in the numbers of devoted frontline Scouters, and you should therefore speak assertively and challenge relentlessly. 
Our ultimate goal is to do what is best for Scouting and to restore representative democratic government back to the volunteer Scouters and away from an aristocratic regime which has been continuously served with a vote of "no confidence" by their grass-roots constituency.
Be faithful to Scouting and continue to do what is best for the kids.  With that in mind, we will all see this to a successful conclusion.  Eventually, I'll see you all again around the campfire circle that never ends.
Firm Bound... Ron Kulak, "Lachawelendamen Lenape"

An Iroquois District Scouter Speaks Out
Ron, my heartiest thanks to you and to John Hosty and others whose names I haven't mentioned for your tireless efforts on behalf of OSR and Scouting both.
The word is officially out, courtesy of the press, about the antics of the Chicago Area Council.  We MUST continue this grass roots solidarity of effort on behalf of our beloved Camp Owasippe and for all Scouts. We MUST mandate that of ourselves.   We WILL make a difference, we WILL be heard.
In my position as COR of 3647 and 647, I have made the sponsor of our units aware of the developing scenario and of my participation. I have their wholehearted support. Our sponsor is willing to withdraw sponsorship of Scouting , if the BSA fails to provide the sort of program compatible with the principles of the sponsoring organization. I have made the DE aware of this fact.
Keep on keepin' on!
Sincerely yours in Scouting
Charles J.Tomlin, COR Pack 3647 & Troop 647
Iroquois Distric, CAC
Stone-walled To Invisibility?
"...Is it really true that you have been suspended from all Scouting activities? If so, I can't understand the thinking of the "supposed" guardians of our youth and future leaders. The news came as quite a shock to all of us who truly know your intentions: to preserve Owasippe in perpetuity and to let others experience what we lucky ones have enjoyed (though in  my case, I regret the twenty or so years I missed). By all means, keep me posted, and if I can help, I will try. We're all on your side. Just goes to show you that all the rules seem to be theirs, and if not to their liking, rules are used as an excuse to "Stone"wall the entire process. Thanks for reading my rambling."
~ O/L
Hey, They Shot The Messenger!
Ron, it is unconscionable that individuals who have proven by their actions, to be unreliable custodians of scouting's present and future, should attack and impugn volunteer Scouters who have proven their commitment to Scouting ideals day after day, year in and year out by being on the front lines of the organization.  Your passion for preserving what is good and right in Scouting should never be questioned, especially by these people bent on destroying what drives Scouting's success, the outdoors in Scouting.
Owasippe and the ideals of Scouting it represents is the vehicle that drives the heart and soul of Scouting, our youth.  In the short time we have become reacquainted, I as well as many others, have seen that passion in you and I would expect nothing less than for you to carry on the battle. 
Remember, for them it is easier to address the messenger, than to address the message by admitting there may be a better way.  They believe that by taking punitive action against you, the messenger, the message they don"t want to hear will go away.
While I would not encourage you to press the message to the point of risking being taken out of the picture completely by the pro-organization and council volunteers who follow,  I believe you can and should continue to be an advocate for what is right.  At this time, gentle encouragement of the forces you have already put into motion may be the best course of action. 
~ B/G

More A Hinderance Than A Help?
I suppose it's true that no good deed goes unpunished. I want you to know that I am happy to offer any help I can. It's sickening to see that an organization dedicated to social service and the youth of our country can treat people with such vengeance and disrespect. I fear, from seeing what CAC has been capable of over the past few years, that the scouting program in Chicago will hurt more people than it will help because of personal politics and greed.
Good luck to you, and always know you are part of my scouting family.

A Rebuttal To The Scarlet Sassafras Blast Editor
Quoted from the Scarlet Sassafras..."It's too bad that they [Owasippe Lodge, OA#7] haven't taken up the cause to preserve and protect the camp whose name they have adopted for their Lodge and which gave them life under the leadership of Dr. E. Urner Goodman. This "brotherhood of cheerful service" hasn't lifted a finger to serve and assist any of the affiliated groups formed to help "Save Owasippe" from partitioning and the developers' shovels. They have gone into hiding and haven't learned the lesson from their own "legend" and the wise brave, Chingachgook, who so courageously volunteered to warn others of impending dangers and to fight the fierce marauders. Remember always...'A Scout is Brave.'"
Dear Ron Kulak and other valuable subscribers of the Scarlet Sassafras,
I have been receiving these newsletters for quite some time now and I have agreed with alot of what people are saying and have kept quiet for quite some time.  There were things printed in the last newsletter that I just didn't agree with so you've forced me to voice my opinion.  IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER HAS OWASIPPE LODGE NOT LIFTED A FINGER FOR BOTH OWASIPPE SCOUT RESERVATION OR HOOVER OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTER.  But you wouldn't know that would you Mr. Kulak, because last time I checked you weren't even registered with Owasippe Lodge or even the Chicago Area Council.  Let's gets some facts straight.  Right now, Owasippe Lodge #7, gives over 1800 workhours and $500.00 in supplies each fellowship weekend at Hoover.  We're also at Hoover in June setting up campsites for the staff.  Also, we are the #1 source that the council looks to for service to Owasippe with our annual Memorial Day Work Weekend and our three induction weekends during the summer.  And further more in your previous newsletter it was stated that attendance has increased over the last two years.  How do you think that happened? MAGIC!  Owasippe Lodge is the only organization in this Council that has a camping promotion program that has directly led to an increase in attendance at Owasippe.
Now ask yourself this question Mr. Kulak.....Why hasn't Owasippe Lodge "supported" any of these "Save Owasippe" groups?  I'll tell you why, because life is a two way street.  If you would like to see Owasippe Lodge assist your groups maybe your groups should assist the Lodge in their efforts to become an integral part of the Summer Camp experience.  I can attest for all active members of Owasippe Lodge that are on staff at Owasippe that the senior staff and the camp directors couldn't care less about our efforts to make the Order of the Arrow worth something more than an extra "hour a week",  worth something more than a "cool sash" and a pocket flap.  Maybe your groups shouldn't continue to bash the wrong people/groups [Owasippe Lodge] and start addressing your problems toward the right people/groups.
Yours in WWW, Alexander D. Lohse
[Immediate Past Lodge Chief - Owasippe Lodge #7,
Current Chapter Chief - Nacha Alluns Chapter
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster - Troop 904]

An open letter to the editor of the The Scarlett Sassafras
(Note:  I tried to respond to the Sassafras email but discovered that I
can't respond to your readers as you have it restricted.  I want to
apologized to the readers of the Arrowhead group for sending it to them
but it is the only way that I know what must be said once and for all and I feel that all should know how I feel.)
To the used extremely poor judgment, in allowing the article that "questioned" Owasippe Lodge's commitment to our dear and beloved camp to be in your Sassafras.  I assumed it was an article submitted by someone other than yourself otherwise this saddened me even more knowing you as a longtime friend would write such a thing and expecially since you were at one time very active in the OA.  It is sad to see that you spend so much time supporting OSA, its members and OOEC than in our youths and their dedicated leaders that works so hard everyday to make Scouting what it is and the many wonderful organizations that are officially affiliated with BSA.  It seems some of us may be losing our focus by spending so much time "Saving Owasippe" and criticizing CAC and its members including our youths.
Perhaps, we need to ask ourselves why isn't some of these organizations
you mentioned aren't supporting the Order of the Arrow Memorial Day work
weekend or the Weekend Fellowships instead of starting their own
weekends?  Why aren't they there working side by side with our youths?
Why aren't we following the youth's agenda instead of our own agenda?
What happened to the youth run programs!  Instead the article asked
Owasippe Lodge to "assist any of the affiliated groups" namely those
that are run exclusively by adults.  Perhaps they should seriously consider serving the youths and maybe even involve the youths in their
organization?  Perhaps we should review the basics of the Scouting
program and what it originally intended to be.
I am confident to say as one of the Charter Members of OSA, that when we signed on, it was with the understanding that this "new" organization would be supporting the youths especially in the area of summer camp and not to take over or even run Owasippe and I believe many feel the same as I do.  Maybe you have a great idea but meant to say that the OSA should be an alliance of the Order of the Arrow and asking how can we support their programs, instead of the other way around?  Certainly we don't stand so tall that we have to stoop to talk to any of our youths?
Do we need to ponders our innermost intentions?  Dr E. Urner Goodman
would be very saddened by the comments being made against our youths and
our Order.  Perhaps you need to question in your article the Camp
Director who, this summer, publicly criticized in front of the whole Camp Staff that the OA was taking too much time away from the summer camp's program.  That the OA Induction Weekends, OA Social Nights and other OA activities is somehow not part of the summer camp program.  Perhap you need to advocate in your article the importance of the role of the OA and start praising how much they have added to the summer camp program.   Perhaps you can suggest that the other organizations affiliate with the OA and educate others that the success of summer camp can be greatly enhanced with the involvement of the OA in its programs as it was originally intended.  Put that in your article!!!.
Mention the fact that the OA seldomly, if ever, hangs a plaque or put out special notices to make claims of their accomplishments but do so because it is expected of us.  Should we not stand in the shadows of our youths and let them have all the glories?  Perhaps you can challenge many of your readers to work with the Order of the Arrow, I know many of its members are or at least at one time or another a fervent supporter and member of the Order of the Arrow and knows of its purpose.  Maybe you can question when was the last time some of them came to an OA Memorial Day Weekend, a Fellowship Weekend, a Fall Gathering, a Section Conclave, NOAC, etc.  Ask some of them where they were when some of the youth Arrowmen needed a ride to a function!  Even a grander idea is to have The Scarlett Sassafras focus exclusively on the Scouts and the wonderful stories involving them, and promote how the Scouting and Camping program can be made stronger through them and how other organizations can get involve to support them!!!
I pray that Owasippe will always stay in the hands of our youths and that we refocus our purpose to Scouting.  I pray that if we have an agenda or issues that we feel strongly about that we work within the system we have and not try to be divisive or use the Scouts for our own means.  And most importantly, I pray that I (as I do sometimes) and others keep our mouths closed and let the Scouts do the talking and run the "Programs". 
God bless and thank you for your time.
by Bob "Rooti" Radtke (not representing anyone but myself)

An Editorial Commentary
by Ron Kulak,
Re OOEC:  The Owasippe Outdoor Education Center is the camp's best hope for salvation and preservation as we now know it either as a CAC-assigned long-term manager of the properties and program or as a new owner-operator or both.  It's obvious that CAC does not have the talent or interest in developing this choice piece of real estate into a world class facility that our Scouts can benefit from.   Their view of Owasippe appears to be as a commodity that can be exchanged for mucho-cash.  The OOEC takes a different view at Owasippe with the "glass as half-full" a resource for further nourishment and for use by a variety of youth-related organizations (BSA being a key client and partner) as well as by the communities of Muskegon County...and beyond...while maintaining all of Owasippe's wilderness areas and saving it from becoming a residential subdivision. 
Re Owasippe Lodge OA:   I take nothing away from what the lodge has done and now does for Scouting and Owasippe.  They should be commended for their service.  However, my arguement is in what they are NOT doing in respect to fighting for the preservation and saving of Owasippe.   Silence and inactivity is only detrimental and plays in the hands of those whom would eliminate or incapacitate Owasippe as a valuable program resource for our Scouts.  The advisors to the lodge have to take their share of responsibility for poor judgement and mediocre action in this matter.  I was not aware that the 13th point of the Scout Law was "Infallible" nor did I realize that "Obedient" was now to include "blind obedience" contrary to what is defined in the Scout Handbook.   And, I'm sorry if certain folks have their feelings hurt or don't like to be called-out but, if they can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!
Re Youth Leaders:  All of these lodge "youth leaders" are references mostly to those who can serve in the military, drive a car, get a credit card, possibly vote on November 2nd, have kids and even get married...mostly adult stuff by government and society standards.  They are old enough, then, to take or reject advice and to make good or bad decisions.  We're not talking about Webelos or Tenderfoot Scouts here by any stretch of the imagination.  So, they are not beyond criticism when it is deserved.

Loyal, Helpful, Friendly . . .
by Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun-Times Columnist
September 6, 2004
I've been up to Owasippe, the Boy Scout camp in Michigan. Years ago, with a group of Eagle Scouts from Cabrini-Green. Lovely place. A big expanse of trees and trails and lakes. Felt a little sad when I heard that the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts plans to sell off more than 80 percent of it to keep from going broke.
Yes, "thrifty'' only rates ninth in the Boy Scout Law, trailing behind "kind, obedient and cheerful.'' Still, you have to wonder what these guys have been up to. The camp has been around since 1911. They didn't have to sell it before. Owasippe is one of those resources that, once it's gone, it's gone forever. Nobody is ever going to tear up a suburban development and put in a camp. Why, one might wonder, are the Boy Scouts going broke?
With all the emphasis on nature, with the surge of post 9/11 patriotism, you'd think that a quasi-military youth group devoted to camping and the outdoors would be in its glory days. Could they -- possibly -- have somehow fallen out of step?


White Lake Beacon - Port or Starboard:  Chicago Boy Scouts' plan for Owasippe is speculation at its very worst

Jim Schlichting, Owasippe Outdoor Education Center August 30, 2004
The White Lake Community bestowed a gift upon the Chicago Boy Scouts over 90 years ago.
That gift has survived, moved, expanded and contracted for almost five generations. It remains as the 4,700 acres known as the Owasippe Scout Reservation.   A legend has evolved and become the spirit of Owasippe. That legend has been taught to hundreds of thousands of youth who have come to Northern Muskegon County from all across Michigan, Chicago and the Midwest to camp at Owasippe. It's a teaching that establishes respect for elders and recognizes the need for elders to guide and support youth as they begin assuming responsibility.

But, forget all of that "do good" stuff. That's not what the Boy Scouts now want to talk about. It's business time and the Scouts want you to know they know a heck of a lot more about what's good for this area than local residents know. onto newslink:

09/12/04 - Offseason Opportunities At Owasippe ARE Available!
<<As printed in the Chicago Tribune..."Chookaszian said off-season use has been researched but found to be without financial promise.  'We've tried on multiple occasions to make year-round use of Owasippe,' he said. 'It sounds good, but fundamentally it's next to impossible to do.'">>
And now for a contrary belief...
I look at Owasippe as a great area to host many popular and somewhat profitable events like a Trail Triathlon, or a Sprint Adventure Race. I have already been in contact with Jim Dreyer about hosting a all night ultra running event called Dusk to Dawn, this is a race with real potential. Some of my other thoughts would be to contact Southern Michigan Orienteering Club to see what it would take for them to come out and re map all trails, and help us set up an Orienteering course.
Now if land is sold along Big Blue Lake that would make it much
tougher for a staging area for a Triathlon swim.   The possibilities are endless as to how make Owasippe profitable. It seems to me Owasippe would be a great place for a local cross country team to hold its meets.
Just a few thoughts.
~ Matt Vander Sys
Endurance Sports, Coordinator of the Save Owasippe 5K Run in June '04


09/10/04 - Daniel Burnham Was Right...Follow His Lead
For better or for worse the Chicago Area Council B.S.A. become the
trustees of approximately 9000 acres in western Michigan. Over the years, they have sold off half of this property to solve reported financial problems. In the mid-sixties with 2-1/2 million dollars in donations, they went on a spending spree to build four additional camps and an administration center. Unfortunately, no thought was given to depreciation and maintenance. 40 years later, the chickens came home to roost and 2 million dollars are now needed to fix this problem of
mismanagement. The money is not there (they now say).
Anthony Gibbs is quoted as saying the council had an operating deficit
of 1.4 million in 2002 and Owasippe ran a deficit of $200,000 in 2003. Well, the annual report in 2003 reports a deficit of $85,000.  Dennis Chookaszian was reported as saying that off season use has not proved to be economically feasible.  However, those efforts were pusillanimous at best. Numerous non-scout groups have wanted to lease space at Owasippe and have been turned down by the Council.
Mr. Chookaszian is also the national chairman for "Learning for Life."
The council could implement the outdoor component of this program as
recommended by the National Council in 2001 but has chosen not to do so.   This wholly-owned subsidiary of the Boy Scout of America was a way to get around the issues of alleged discrimination against homosexuals and non-theist.  It was a way to get United Way funds and Corporate donations flowing into the coffers.   Unfortunately, the Chicago Area Council commingles those monies to the dismay of United Way.  United Way turned off the spigot.
Now, the professionals and some Board members see a solution.  Sell to developers, put the money into an endowment fund, and relieve the pressure for fund raising. The 4600 remaining acres are there, not only for the scouts, but for all the people near and far.  It is certainly true that 1300 Chicago Area Council scouts do not need that much land to camp on.  But, it is certainly false that this is the only value of the property.
Poetically, Owasippe is "God's Country."   The Scout Oath states, "I will do my duty to God and Country."  Preserving this unique acreage is certainly that. We never agreed to do our duty to increase the Council's endowment fund.  If Daniel Burnham had caved in to the developers, the Chicago lake front would be lined with factories instead of beaches.  It seems to me that the Board of directors and the Scout professionals can at least exercise the same amount of courage.
The solution seems apparent.  Change of leadership (in the Council) or sell to the Owasippe Outdoor Educational Center.  One dollar would be the right price.  
- Reinhard Plaut, T-923

09/09/04 - Chicago Area Council Should Be Ashamed Of Itself
It really makes me wonder sometimes.....How long have they (CAC) had the idea of selling off parts or all of the camps.....If we hadn't found out about the plans, would the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center have ever had a chance?....They would have dumped it all for the money... sort of reminds you of the strip mining companies in the traditional song sung by John Prine...."Paradise...and they wrote all down as the progress of man."  It's sad to think that an organization that preaches the Outdoor Code and Leave No Trace would have individuals so short-sighted, making policy that would destroy that which was placed in their care.  You cannot take a small piece of what is there, to displace what God has given...the eagles move away...the butterflies you think you preserve die do the turtles that are found in so few places.   You would change the face of the earth to build your city in the wilderness.  You would kill off the eagle to place his feather in your hat, and then you would tell us it is for the best.  WE DON'T HEAR YOU and...YOU ARE WRONG!   And your leadership is not needed for our boys (Please leave NOW as the stain you leave will eventually wash away)...You turn your back on the teachings of your father, and the teachings of Baden Powell and so many more.  You should be ashamed.   It shames me to have your name on my shoulder!!!   
It is my greatest hope that this will be resolved as it should be  with Owasippe one the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center...and used the way it was meant to be...for all who would come.   
~ Kurt Bihlmayer, SM, CAC T-616

09/07/04 - A Letter To The Tribune Editor
Thank you for a very good article about the plight of the Owasippe Boy Scout Camp. A few things that need to be clarified:
1. If the Chicago Area Council is loosing One MILLION FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND dollars a year and the Owasippe Scout Camp is loosing $TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND a year, where is the CAC loosing an additional ONE MILLION, TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND dollars a year and what if anything are they doing to stop THESE loses?
2.Why can't the volunteers or public get accurate records about the CAC finances?
3.Mr. Chookaszain (WE don't need 5,000 acres.) should visit Camp Napawan run by the Northwestern Suburban Council in Wisconsin.  It is 400 acres surrounded by civilization. You can get a scout to camp his 1st year and he will earn 2-6 merit badges. You can get him to go the second year and he may earn a few more. IF! and I do mean IF! you can get him to go for a 3rd year it is either for a white water canoe trip or scuba camp (both out of the Napawan area). You will NOT get him to go back to Napawan itself for a 3rd year. Owasippe has kids coming up to camp for their 3rd, 4th. 5th, and 6th years because of the program opportunities!
3. Concerning the needed improvements...Where is the insurance money that CAC collected for the fires that destroyed the ranger's cabin, the Carlen mess hall, and the Family Camp Lodge?
4.Why won't CAC admit that the population attending Owasippe, although less than the 1960's, has been increasing summer after summer?
5. Why doesn't the CAC use Owasippe for their mandated outdoor portion of their Learning For Life Program per National Council BSA?
I WILL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT, about this issue (nor should you).
~ Anon JPC From CAC
(Webmaster Note:  Forget about asking Chookaszian to go to Camp Napawan.  When was the last time he visited Owasippe?  Was he even ever there?)

09/08/04 - While Waiting For The Big Bucks To Come... 
~ THANKS, GEORGE DUNNETT, Arrowhead Dist Roundtable Commish

09/08/04 - The Council Has Made No Attempt To Attract Off-season Usage
This Sunday's news article has prompted me to get this going again, especially the comment (from Chookaszian) about attempting to promote off-season failing.   Balderdash!  The council hasn't even promoted seasonal use for the core function of summer camp properly, let alone alternative uses. I haven't seen one ad in Scouter or Boys Life, not one piece of direct mail (not even a post card), not a single PSA on late night TV or cable, not even one decent URL to promote the camps to scouts and scouters! Bah!!!
- "Uncle Willie" Vannerson, ASM


Enough Of This Nonsense Already
from Bob Geier, Scouters-L Group
Thanks for the updates, Ron.
<...considering selling parts of the camp in order to offset the
 council's $1.4 million annual operating deficit.   Owasippe had an operating deficit of about $200,000 in 2003, Gibbs said, and he estimated this year's deficit will be about the same. The Chicago Area
Council as a whole had an operating deficit of about $1.4 million in 2002, the last year for which figures are available.>
<Facilities in Owasippe's 150 buildings need at least $2 million in repairs and upgrades to water, electrical and telephone systems, Gibbs said.>
I've mentioned it before, but this is grotesque mismanagement.  You cannot cover operating expenses with sales of capital assets.   Sales of capital assets are ONE TIME MONIES.  Operating expenses are ongoing.    The ONLY way to address an operating deficit is to increase operating revenue or decrease operating expenses.  The executives must look to increased program and marketing OR to cutting expenses (probably administrative staff).  And if they can't do it, CAC's executive board has to do it for them, beginning with the SE.  Nothing else is financially responsible.
If they just sold Hoover for $18M, and they need $2M in repairs at Owasippe, that's an exchange of capital dollars for capital investment and is perfectly reasonable.  They should spend $3-$4M to upgrade Owasippe, then invest the rest;  the interest would easily cover Owasippe's operating deficit even if the upgrades didn't improve revenue.
Find out how much they're spending on legal counsel and PR for all this
nonsense.  I bet that too would cover Owasippe's deficit.
Keep up the good fight.  We're all cheering for you!

Accolades On Owasippe's Webelos II Program...And More
I just wanted to pass along a thanks to the staff at Camp Wolverine.  My son
attended the Webelos II week this year, and he and his friends had a great time!

When you're a former staffer it's easy to fall into the "we used to do it this way" mode. But, the '04 staff's enthusiasm and experience never left me wondering about their commitment to camp. Way to go Wolverine !

On a less flattering note, its easy to see the years of deferred maintaince are
taking their toll on the reservation. Owasippe has all the wealth of earth and
heaven, but until we pry it from the neglectful hands of CAC, the reservation
will continue to fade to a shadow of it's former self despite the best efforts
of the OSA.  Here's to the OOEC!

I wonder if it would be worth our while to organize a march to protest any
further sale of property (remember CAC has sold more than half of the
reservation since the mid '70's).  Anyone up for a hike on Columbus Day from a downtown location to the scout office?  Some publicity might force the council to abandon its rezoning initiative for the Blue Lake acreage. 

~ Ron Sebonia, Webelos Leader

Time To Stand Up & Stop Any More Destruction
The Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America is in financial trouble and they are proposing to sell a portion of the Owasippe Scout Reservation in Blue Lake Township, Michigan to developers to help fund their operations. Unfortunately, the land they are proposing to sell to be developed is home to many protected, endangered and guarded species of wildlife. I personally observed a Golden Eagle,an active Bald Eagle's nest and several turtles in just an hour time span from a boat looking onto this property.
The Boy Scout's Vision Statement claims that Scouting will "Offer young people responsible fun and adventure", yet they are proposing to sell some of their property to developers "for homes, condominiums or hunting cabins. Boy Scout officials said they have been talking to builders and others who are interested in camp property" (quote The Muskegon Chronicle, Saturday, July 24, 2004 issue). The reason for the sale is alleged to be due to the financial drain on the Chicago Area Council's resources by the operating costs of the camp and the need to serve the children in their communities.
It is my opinion that destroying the habitats of protected species does just the opposite, it deprives these inner city children of the opportunity to see these beautiful creatures in their natural homes, not just in a book or in a zoo.   Sure, the Chicago Area Council is in financial difficulty, but everything I know about Scouting and about life in general is that taking the easy way out is not always the best way, nor the right way.
~ Judy, resident of Blue Lake
PS:  For more info and details of how you can help stop this selfish destruction, see:

07/23/04 - A Testimonial From A McHenry, IL, Troop
by Willie Vannerson, ex-OSR Staff and now of Blackhawk Area Council
I just returned from OSR (Blackhawk GO!) 2nd Period.  Boy, what a week!  Our boys tried to fit in as much as they could in one short week, USS Silversides, White River canoe trip, wall climbing, horseback rides and merit badge, and backpacking outpost.  The staff was excellent, the food was good and plentiful and the program is tops all the way around.
I took three boys, including my son, out on the backpacking outpost
overnight.  In my opinion, it's a sleeper program. There was just the
four of us and Heidi, the High Adventure director, which is a shame as
it's a great program for the middle to older scouts with little or no
backpacking experience. 
We were taught some basics about gear and backpacking techniques
(mirrors the Philmont way), then hiked a few miles down to the Marl Beds
and Quaking Bog.  The wet spring has made the bog especially "quaky."
We then headed north a ways into Turtle Valley (you won't find that name
on your USGS topo!) and set up our campsite in an out of the way clearing. Set up our gear fly, bear bags and tents and had a great feast on chicken and rice with raspberry cobbler for dessert.  The next morning we broke camp and trucked into Ad Center where we dropped off Heidi and the crew gear. 
Since there were just the four of us and Heidi changed the normal route,
which loops to Bass Lake for the evening and then back to Crown the next
day via the orange and blue trails. But we're headed to Philmont in a
few weeks and I needed to more miles on our boots. So we said our
goodbyes and headed back onto the trail, south along the red trail, then
cut over the white and orange trails to the blue, and finally made our
way back to camp sing "I'm happy when I'm hiking" load and proud as
we walked into our campsite.  It was a great experience.  I'd encourage
more troops to sign their boys up.  Too many scouts see no more of
Owasippe than what's a half mile radius from their campsite.  The trails
are in good shape and mostly well marked, and travel through some of the
most beautiful woods and dales you'll every see.
Heidi led our trek as all off her regular trail guides were out on the
trail with Manistee High Adventure treks.  That's awesome news!  My
understanding is that they even had to turn down a couple of treks as
they did not have enough guides to accept them all (HIRE MORE!)  In my
opinion, the Crown High Adventure base is a sleeping "cash Cow" that
should be marketed and grown.  There is absolutely no reason why
Owasippe cannot become the Philmont of the Midwest and become one of the
most desirable destinations for older scouts.  Plus the new ferry opens
up a whole new market for high adventure treks.
Speaking of the Lake Express Ferry, we had a great ride both ways. It was cloudy and foggy on the way over, but that did not deter the boys enthusiasm.  The 2.5 hour ride allowed us leaders to sit with the boys and review their schedule and blue cards.  Plus I cannot say enough on how well the Lake Express staff treated us.  A SNAFU on the Muskegon side left us stranded at the terminal. The manager there recognized our problem and called a local bus company and made emergency transportation arrangements for us.
After the closing campfire on Friday, which was beautiful from the new fire bowl watching the colors of the sunset on Big Blue, I hung around as the staff worked together to put out the fire, sing the old camp songs. I joined in as they started the lower lake medley, in reverse starting with Camp Stuart.  The new Blackhawk fire bowl built by the OSA is wonderful. Kudos to all who made it happen!
I have so much more to say and I'll embellish some of the experiences
later.  But we had a great time. But all of the leaders agreed that the camp staff and facilities where top notch. They expressed a noticeable difference between the Napowan staff and Marilyn's crew at Blackhawk.  She should be proud of them and their commitment to running a top notch program.
BTW, Our troop signed up for the same site for next year.  The PLC has the final say in Sept. at the planning meeting but it's a good start.
~ Uncle Willie

07/23/04 - Shazzam!  Chris Hill Climbing Wall Impresses!
I've just returned from Owasippe and I can proudly say that it was my best summer camp I've ever had.  I'd really like to thank Danielle, Jenny and Kirsten from the climbing wall and COPE staff for making a lasting impression upon myself and the rest of Troop 101.  Shazaam! Looking forward to maybe staffing/CIT next year.
Thanks a lot, Owasippe.
~ Simon Gifford of Oakwood, OH
(Note: Go to the TSS Home Page for a full pic of this climbing wall)

07/23/04 - Financially Dire Straits or A Self-serving Illusion?
I have been going to Owasippe for the past nine years. I have so many great memories of Owasippe, from earning my first merit badge to earning my last merit badge and earning the rank of Eagle. This July was my first time attending Owasippe as an adult leader. I guess now being a leader and not going through the whole ordeal of working on merit badges anymore, my perspective has changed.
I went along with my Troop to Camp Wolverine (Zaxie!) and found out that some outposts were free. I want to know why these would be given for free when OSR is supposedly $200,000 in debt?
Also, I stopped by Carlen and while I was there I noticed that some of the kybos and the pool had hot water tanks, and new roofs. I'm not sure but I thought Carlen was closed... But, I know that Camp Wolverine has cold water, bad conditioned kybos, and bad roofs.
The last question that I asked myself was whether or not my children would be able to attend Owasippe the same way that I did (and everyone that is reading this). I know that Chicago Area Council owns the camp, and I am planning to go up there for the fix-it.
~ Brandon "Smiley" Ferrell, Burbank IL (CAC)

07/23/04 - More Owasippe 2nd Period Feedback
My son had a good time at Space Ex.  The other 2 boys from our troop said it was boring the first day.  Also there were no merit badge books available(!?).  Lucky my son brought one, or they would still be sitting there.  I didn't see any in the trading post either, but I didn't look that hard.  My son also took photography, and he enjoyed that. Too bad most of the stuff he learned is going by the wayside to digital photography.
The weather was rainy but didn't stop most activities.  The troop went
tubing on Thursday and it was pretty cold but they had fun.   Our troop won the Wolverine Regatta (we were the only entry) and the staff hunt.  I entered a snickers cake in the cooking contest.  I didn't win, but there was none left.  Ironically the winner (jambalaya) was not all gone?????  Anyway during the cooking contest judging a staffer named Jim Rich started talking to me.  It turns out he and my dad were Trainmens Local officers.  My dad was sec treas and Jim was president.  Never know who you'll meet......
8 boys went sailing but we didn't have anyone for Cope or Climbing.  The
older boys did go golfing on Wednesday. (There's a golfing outpost?)   I rode on the Hart-Montague trail Friday 44 miles.  It was a nice solitary ride with great weather for cylcing.  (Note: there are no local vendors who rent bikes at this time, so bring your own).
~ Herbert Dulzo, CAC T-617


06/02-2004 - I think it would be great to reopen Carlen!!

 We enjoyed eating in the open air tent, the super hot showers and the boys especially liked the fishing.  The part that troubles me this year is the possibility of overcrowding and program availibility. Camping is supposed to be out in nature, not up close and personal.  I hope that the interest prevails.
- Phil D, ASM - T671 CAC

06/03/04 - It's Time To Open Carlen

If Wolverine and Blackhawk are running at/over capacity, then Carlen
should definitely be re-opened (again).  Blackhawk and Wolverine's sites
have been in near-continuous operation for years and the land needs to
recover.  The only place for those troops to go is Carlen.
Beyond the environmental impact, Carlen's own characteristics should be
considered.  The small number of sites and the presence of the dining
hall/tent make for a close-knit camp community, one that is sorely lost
whenever the camp is closed.
Also, why hasn't CAC utilized the two years of vacancy at Carlen to
rebuild the dining hall?  If I remember rightly, the spat of arson a
couple years ago was what triggered the creation of the sassafras in the
first place. The insurance money from the dining hall, Reneker lodge,
and LC-1 can't be used for any of their accounts (or, at least, it
better not)! Do they not expect the need for a third camp anytime soon?
Yours in Venturing, Kyle B - Eagle Scout
EDITOR'S NOTE:  Your guess is as good as mine as to the whereabouts of the $400,000+ insurance proceeds from the three Owasippe fires.  We have heard no plans to rebuild these camp facilities and are not expecting to given the eagerness of CAC to sell (and NOT develop) Owasippe.

06/03/2004 - There's A Buzz In The Air About Carlen

Theres a buzz and a certain excitement about the thought that all of us Camp Carlen (Overall!) campers have hoped for...Our camp re-opened...A chance to go back home......For the boys of Troop 616, campsite 3 on top of the hill above the firebowl at Camp Carlen is home. It was the Troop summer home before either of my sons joined Scouting.  The question I'm asked by many of the scouts all the time is..."Do you think it will ever re-open?  Will we get to go home?"  For my youngest son, Kris, going home is what its all go to where you started your Owasippe experience and to relive all your memories.
You remember what its like, and how strong your loyalty is to the places you call home.  This is not to say anything bad about our Wolverine experience.  Buda and the Wolverine staff are great.  And at least we were on Wolverine Lake, just a short leap down the road.
But the big thing that is missing is the dining hall "Big Top" tent experience, the camaraderie that you have with the other Troops camping with you during the period...singin songs and enjoying all those things that make meal times special.  Would we like to see Camp Carlen re-opened in 2005?  Oh yes!!!  Where do we sign to go back home?
I believe that we now can fill the camps, which was the goal to get more boys back to Owasippe.   Get the word out that there will be room for more boys to camp at Owasippe and maybe that large troop from Cleveland will be others!   We want em all to come home to all our camps...Blackhawk, Wolverine and Owasippe.   Wouldn't it be great if all the Troops, who haven't been back for a while, came back in 2005?  Now that would be something special!
Meanwhile, back to the buzz for 2004...and rockets flyin in the air.   The buzz for Owasippe never stops.   It's what many of us boys live for.  Every time we go back, we remember what getting wound up is all about.  It's about all the memories and the joy of comin back again.
~ Kurt E.B., T616, CAC

03/03/2004 - Camp Promotion Videotape Available


I have a Camp Promotion video from 2002 that we borrowed from CAC to show my son's troop. We're first timers to OSR so I wanted to generate some excitement.  Steve Adams gave me the option of retuning it to him or to pass it along to other interested troops.  I'll be at the banquet Saturday and can easily bring it along to hand it off to another interested leader.  All I would ask is that we make sure it gets back to Steve at some point down the road.  Let me know and I'll look for you at the banquet!  (Don't forget your name tags everyone!)


BTW, the video is in two parts.  Part one is approx. 20 minutes and shows some section camp activities and a good deal on the COPE course and climbing tower.  Part two is approx. 8 minutes on Crown High Adventure Base featuring Chauncey as the commentator.  It includes some great river scenery shots (Chauncey, which river is that in the video?)


Also, I know several OSA members had a hand in creating the tape.  Nice work.

~ Bill Vannerson


03/01/2004 - CAC CHUTZPAH?
I find it incredible that both Scouting Magazine and the Scouter trumpet the value of camping as central to the operations and values to promote scouting and then the Council sends their attorney to Blue Lake Township asking for a zoning change so they can sell off Owasippe using the excuse that Urban Scouting does not focus on camping as central to their program and therefore does notneed the current acreage.
Talk about chutzpah.
~ Reinhard Plaut, T-923

03/01/04 - To Save Owasippe Is The Most Important Thing!
I have read with great interest and sorrow what is happening and what is being proposed to happen to our camps. I know that a lot of it is the result of the BSA's relentless upholding of basic principles. As a result, throughout America, Scout councils are being attacked by leftist groups that want us to abandon our principles and become "politically correct".  We must never allow that to happen.
Today, several major Scout councils have modified (read: compromised) our principles in order to retain funding from United Way organizations and union-affiliated industries, and big-money liberals.  They have done so, also, to keep their foot in the door at our nation's schools, our chief recruiting ground. I believe they have sold their souls to the devil, and know that in time there will be hell to pay (no pun intended). I pray that the Chicago Area Council never caves in to these evil influences. We must stand by the values of Scouting regardless of the cost. It's the only way we can pass them on to our future citizens.
Ron, the work being done to save Owasippe is the most important thing that any of you can be doing right now.  I read today's letters and believe that both "sides" believe that they are doing the right thing. But those who would sell Owasippe are so wrong.  Eventually that money will be gone, and then where will we be?  No money, no camp, no council, no Scouting in the Chicago area?
But I have faith- faith in God (He's now a Missouri Synod Lutheran), faith in you and the leaders of the OSA, faith in Joe Sener and Gordy Zion, and faith in the countless numbers of Scouts, Scouters, and families who have spent time in the Land Of Owasippe. I pray for all of you.
God Bless you all!  ~ Ohio DaveW

02/20/2004 - Hoping Owasippe Will Endure!
What a great site (Scarlet Sassafras). As a continuing regular at Owasippe with my son, I hope it's still available for my son's son. But I fear this will only happen if we get it away from the "professional" scouters. 
  - Jkryl3

02/20/2004 - Dear Mr Greenblatt:
Rather than making plans to sell part or all of our one remaining camp, how about putting a portion of the money from the sale of our Hoover Outdoor Education Center to use in a way that will be agreeable to all of the scouts and scouters that I have talked to.

"How shall we put a portion of the money to use in that way?" you ask.

Very simple, put a portion of that money into a trust fund and use the
interest to keep Owasippe open for my son, and his son, as well as the
future generations of all other scouts and scouters.

You say you want to "serve the needs of our traditional membership".
What is more traditional to scouting than camping. If you truly want to serve the membership, keep our only remaining camp open.

Speaking for myself, and possibly others, I would rather have to wait a few days to hear back from my District Executive than to lose the ability for my son and future generations of young scouts to spend time at camp, a camp that they can truly call their very own.

Once any or all of our camp is sold, we lose it FOREVER. There is no way that we will ever be able to buy it back.

The solution is, listen to the volunteers ideas on how to make the camp more profitable. Rent it out in the off season.

Yours in Scouting,
Jim Dreger
ASM Troop 337


02/17/2004 - Scout Camping No Longer Important?
It is very hard to understand the Council's (CAC) persistent efforts to sell major portions of Owasippe in light of the sale of Hoover.  How much money do they need?  Prior administrations have already reduced Owasippe by more than 6000 acres, and further reductions will irreparably damage the reputation of the camp and undermine its capacity to provide quality experiences to scouts.  Indeed, Hoover and Owasippe will then fall in line with the sales of Valley View, Crete, Fort Dearborn, and Kiwanis.   The sale of these assets did not resolve the financial problems of the council.  Where will we turn when all of our camps are sold?  To suggest that scout camping is no longer important in urban councils strikes at the very heart of scouting.  Has anyone bothered to ask scouters how they feel about the abandonment of scout camping in the Chicago Area Council?   That scouting has failed in Chicago is not now nor has it ever been a problem caused by camps.

-- Pat Monahan



02/16/2004 - Serendipity At Owasippe
Mark Janus is a scoutmaster from Springfield, IL, and has been bringing his Troop to Owasippe for about 5 years now.  The strangest part of this story is that he was one of those long lost relatives that people have, and we met at Owasippe because our names were on the board in the lodge where they list; site 6 scoutmaster Janus, site 7 scoutmaster Janus, which became a sort of camp joke.  So, I looked him up at the leader lunch just for grins, and it turned out that we were cousins! 
It is one of those amazing camp stories that attest to the Owasippe mystique.  If not for Owasippe, we probably would have never met.  Since then, our troops have had several campouts together, and we have had an ongoing joint program for the 3 citizenship merit badges, which has proved to be very succesful.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your efforts with TSS, its one of those things that keep Owasippe a "magical place"
Thanks, Don Janus



11/02/03 - Whitehall Mayor Wants Owasippe Preserved
Norm Ullman, outgoing mayor of Whitehall, Mich, said he believes the community needs to continue the fight for clean water, air and soil, as well as push to save the Owasippe Scout Reservation.   "It is absolutely critical to the quality of life in this community to keep that camp out of the hands of developers," he said.  
Last week Ullman was honored by his fellow city council members. Ullman served on city council 12 and a half years in his first term, 1967 to 1979, before running again for office in 1991. The city has term limits, allowing council members to serve just 12 years at a time.
-- White Lake Beacon

10/20/03 - Concurring With The Return Of Webelos Camp
I agree!! My older two sons both ended Owasippe as Webelos.  They LOVED it.   This past summer, my youngest son was so disappointed that his Webelos week had to be at Hoover.

I do believe that if Council wants to keep promoting traditional scouting to our youth, then Council should re-instate the Webelos week at Owasippe.   Yes, my youngest did have fun at Hoover, but the experience was not the same as it would have been at Owasippe.

I would think that the first step in accomplishing this would be to get a
number of Webelos interested in participating. Not sure what the next step would be!   Ideas anyone??

~Karen H, CAC Arrowhead Dist



10/28/03 - Bring Back The Webelos Camp At Owasippe
I would like to start a conversation about promoting a Webelos week up at  Owasippe again.   My oldest son participated two years ago with almost all of the Webleos in our Pack and they had a wonderful time and more importantly - they matured.

This year we have 14 Webelos who would GREATLY benefit from spending a week at Camp Owasippe.   Please let us consider opening up Camp Carlen again for the Webelos!!!!!

Beth Donahue
Cubmaster, Pack #3644

10/24/2003 - Don't Forget About The Owasippe Fires!
Underneath all this sale of Hoover and Owasippe Consortium please don't forget about the insurance money from the arsons that is supposedly on hold.    Is there any guarantee that that money still exists?  Has it been absorbed into the general fund now that we have a cash cow from the Hoover demise?  Questions that still need to be addressed. 

It might seem like chump change to some of us but I'm sure none of us would pass it up if it were going to our expense accounts.  Let's not forget that  this insurance money has to/should go directly back to Owasippe to update and/or modernize the program for the Scouts and leaders.  There was talk about  a multi-use facility at Reneker that somehow has been forgotten. 

Remember how we felt when we heard about the damage to LC-1, Blackhawk and Carlen's mess halls and Reneker's lodge?  Well, don't forget that feeling because that chump change will end up in someone else's pocket who doesn't bring the program to the Scouts.  I'll bet some Administrator will get that chump change, not the Scouts!
Bob M

Here's Hoping We NEVER Have To Sing This Lament:
"Don't ya know it seems to go;
Ya don't know what you got 'till it's gone.
They've paved paradise (Owasippe)
And put up a parking lot."
-- Joanie Mitchell

BP's Admonition To Us
Upon his death, Baden-Powell had two letters published.  The one to scouts is well published in scout handbooks and elsewhere.  His second letter to adult volunteers (Scouters and Guides) is not as widely reproduced.  In that, B-P wrote regarding the Scout Movement:

"You will do well to keep yours eyes open, in your turn, for worthy successors to whom you can, with confidence, hand the torch.   Don`t let it became a salaried organization: keep it a voluntary movement of patriotic service."

Herb Dulzo, T617

10/05/2002...Dear Friends Of Owassippi and Keepers Of The Flame,

I take this opportunity to wish you and those you hold dearly ...good health, much happiness, and prosperity. Along with this, I would be remiss to not consider that special place in our hearts, that place of our youth, that place where legends were born and memories are made, that place of history and place of beauty and serenity, that place which the Great Spirit has blessed, that place which has helped to develop and grow Scouting...OWASSIPPI.   I ask you to join with me and grant a wish and a prayer for that land of the Potawatomi bestowed to us as "keepers of the flame" for safekeeping and assembled by fate and by design for the development of youth in Scouting for generations to come...

> for a skilled, passionate and giving Owassippi campstaff molded together as good teachers and positive role models for our youth and leaders,

> for a talented and energized Council Board of Directors blessed with wisdom and fortitude and resolved to make right and timely decisions for the well-being and growth of Scouting and Owassippi,

> for the dedication, integrity, and unselfishness of the professional Scouting staff eager to support the decisions of those volunteers banded together for the benefit of Owassippi and willing to empower volunteers to be the long-range stewards of the camp's destiny,

> for urgency in administering camp improvements and for ease of funding for same but not at the expense of program areas,

> for elimination of procrastination, mistrust, greed, and politics in the proper and effective management of Owassippi,

> for the safety and well-being of our Scouts and for the protection of the camp from those who would do her harm,

> for the restoration and preservation of Owassippi as "America's Premier Scout Camp", and

> for the molding and building of Owassippi as a world-class and year-round camping and outdoor education facility for all of Scouting and for character and leadership development.

So may it be and as it was intended by the Chief, E Urner Goodman, Sheridan Nunn, Pat Newell, Chuck Nagel, Jack Coussens, Patrick Foster, Milton Gray, Whitt Lloyd, Bob Blew, Mike Basset, Steve Schaefer, John Crown, and ALL THOSE who follow and who steadfastly wish to "keep the flame" for the ages. Let this be our legacy to Scouting as true Sons and Daughters of Owassippi.

Please save a place for me as you circle your council fires and continue to do your best to do your duty.

Your dedicated servant,
Dan Beard



03/26/2003... Sell The CAC Service Center First!
I don't believe the sale of Hoover should even be considered for a solution to CAC's money trouble. Sell the CAC office 1st and move everything to Hoover. Any sale of camps should be as a last resort. The Executives should also take a major PAY cut and lose all perks (cars, trips, etc). I know of several Eagle Scouts and OA members who would do a better job of serving our youth and are lifetime members of scouting! Good Luck.
--- H. Gesell, Oak Lawn, IL
Feb 16, 2003... Leave No Stone Unturned, No Dollar Unsent
We need more soldiers and believers such as Mary Mazur, Rick Reichardt, Jim Adamitis, John Kennedy, Kurt Bihlmeyer, Barb Lea, and many other inspired donors...who are committed in OUR mission to save Owasippe, who are passionate in their resolve, who do not hesitate to recruit others, and who firmly believe that no effort and donation is too small to make a difference for a cause and toward our goal. 
While big donations can get someone's attention and grab a headline, it's the little contributions, ie. a Scout's $5 bill, a senior's $500 from their limited retirement income, memorials made on behalf of someone who has passed, and all of the other numerous small donations, that make a BIG difference... because they solidify ownership and bond people together in a very special way that is everlasting.  I will always prefer to take in 50,000 - $100 checks and all of the related hours of bookeeping and letter-writing rather than one check for $5,000,000.  In the process, you have gathered an devoted alliance and formed an energized army that will only continue to grow and do great things beyond the immediate mission at hand.
We should be inspired by these actions.  Perhaps, we should publish them so as to motivate others.  Certainly, there are many who have gone beyond the call to help pull this off and I hope we can someday recognize them for their efforts.  Let us not diminish this work but cultivate and grow it!
This has also been the story of the OSA and should be the legacy of SOSR.  Let's garner new disciples and make more believers in the power of human faith, hope and perseverance.
If you haven't donated to the SOSR campaign, why not do it now and get someone else to join you in doing so?
God Bless Owasippe and Our Efforts To Save Her!
Ron Kulak

01/28/2003... Privatizing Owasippe Away From CAC
The expressed purposes of the OSA have always been to serve the camping properties of the Chicago Area Council. Our purpose is to support scout campling. Indeed, our efforts over the years have always been to insulate Owasippe as much as we can from the reductionistic and often counterproductive measures that make it more difficult for Owasippe to complete its function, which is to provide a setting and a program in which young children may acquire the knowledge, habits, values, and skills of effective leaders.
Whose camping values would support the indiscriminate desctruction of
the majority of trees in the heart of a section camp?  Whose camping
values would support opening a camp without adequate communication
capabilities?  Whose camping values would support the selection of a
menu that is insufficient for children?  Whose camping values would open a camp without sufficent numbers of staff to deliver a safe and
effective program?  I could extend this list for miles.  The OSA has
always tried to  improve Owasippe, insuring that it provides the highest
quality facility and program it can for children. Whether it's better
sanitation facilities or improved ceremonial areas, the OSA has worked
to deliver a scouting program which matches our values.
The record of the current Council staff is deplorable in this regard.
Indeed, they have devalued scout camping to such an extent that they
would close all facilities that support it.  They would ask us to believe that they are still in the character education business and have simply changed their methods (Learning for Life).  Fortunately, Councils
throughout this country seem commited to maintaining the vision of
scouting that the OSA continues to embrace.
The decision to work toward an independent Owasippe is not a decision
taken hastily.  It comes in full recognition of the incompetance of the
people who have served badly as stewards of the property.  Their
self-serving motivations and lack of interpersonal skills have left us
bereft of scouts and supporters. Sustaining Owasippe as a resource for
the scouts of Chicago is at the heart of the plan along with the belief
that a committed volunteer agency can do it better, without corrupting
its moral purpose.
One of the reasons Owasippe grew during the Ewan/Schafer years was our professed belief that a camp's purpose can only be achieved if it is
filled with children.  We didn't care what Council anyone came from-a
child is a child.  Why would we believe that including children from
Muskegon would in some way undermine the values that we profess.  Surely, we are not so elitist? 
Sadly, we have lost trust in the Council's professional staff.  It is
not the first time, only the most egregious.  More importantly, we have
lost faith.  They no longer seem committed to the values we cherish. 
The mission of a move to privatization is to secure scout camping.
Bickering over politics only makes the formidable task of completing
this mission more difficult.  Surely Joe Sener and his team understand
the issues of privatizing the camp.  It can be done well or badly, and I
hope they are able to do it well.  But separating the camp from the
corrupting influences of an unpredictable, if not contemptable set of
Council executives, is the only logical course of action.  
Patrick Monahan
Past Owasippe Reservation Director
Past Director, Camp Blackhawk, Stuart
Past President, OSA

Owasippe Scout Reservation Too Important To Lose!
Muskegon Chronicle Editorial... Friday, November 8, 2002
It has been granted a reprieve by the far-sighted Chicago Council of the Boy Scouts of America, but that doesn't mean the threat to the existence of the Owasippe Boy Scout Reservation is over.  Far from it.

That threat would come in the form of an immense land dissection by developers that would change Blue Lake Township forever. It would also spell the end of a unique piece of county history, as well as one of rank of Muskegon County's most cherished tourism charms.

At stake today is the very existence of Owasippe, one of the most famous names in Scouting.  For almost a century, it has been serving the Boy Scout troops of our area and the Chicago Council as a unique and sprawling outdoors "university" for the thousands of young Scouts who have passed through its gates.

What those Scouts have learned and have seen is quite remarkable. For through those gates are wondrous lakes, woods, hiking trails, meadows, streams and forests covering 4,800 acres of unspoiled wilderness. It is home, in addition to Camps Blackhawk, Wolverine, Reneker and Carlen, to all kinds of birds, plants, fish and wildlife. It is an invaluable and rare sanctuary close enough to Chicago to be viable for Scouting, yet far enough away to be left relatively untouched.

All of this could come to an end, however, with the sale of this property. Earlier in October, the Chicago Council's executive board recommended the camp be sold to stem ongoing budget problems caused by a drop-off in campers, which is due to many factors, not the least of which is the continuing controversy over the Boy Scout organization's aims and goals.

That "sell" recommendation was, however, tempered by a later resolution allowing volunteers the time to establish a hefty, $15 million endowment that would save the property for future generations of camping. Although no time limit was put on the funding drive, clearly the clock is ticking.

Owasippe's fate is not just Blue Lake Township's concern, but the county's, and even the region's. We urge the formation of a local task force, either independent or county-directed, to look at the issues affecting Owasippe, in order to be positioned to make funding and grant recommendations to the proper authorities should the opportunity arise. The time to save Owasippe is now, not when the ticking stops.

Nov 20, 2002... Camp Carlen (Overall) Reflections
And just when you thought that you were done being pissed
off.!!!!.....For all you Camp Carlen campers.....OVERALL...The latest
recommendation from the Camping committee is that Owasippe should open Camps  Blackhawk,Wolverine and Renecker for this years camping season.....Did you  notice one major ommission...The camp that we've all proffered for years...It would take too much money to open,and we all have to make sacrifices,and its the smallest camp. You'll have a choice of where to go.....course theres never any openings at Blackhawk,we tried that after the bad food of 2001,...Back home
to Carlen,and it was great...besides we like the campsite we've been in every year......But we get to have the scraps of whats left ,so if theres no dining hall space left, Tough ....You could stay with your major rival.....but maybe you'd have to change weeks,..You know we had to wait a couple of weeks,because after attending this year in the second period.We decided to change to the 3rd period ,cause we lost a few scouts attending cause of family vacations around the 4th.....they didn't know,if our site would be available in the 3rd period..OK your site is available But..cause we can't fill your camp... I thought I made my message very clear at 5 Holy Martyrs.....That they need to  PROMOTE the camps...and quit making the same mistakes over and over...and screwing Troops around.......I said open ALL the camp.....and what a novel concept.....FILL THE CAMPS...if you have space to fill,go out to Troops who quit attending or Troops who've never attended...and get them to come to camp this year.....And like I said this was just their recommedation....But we have to start somewhere ....and our quality staff? Well some of them just won't have
jobs this year.....Do you ever get the impression that they just don't get
it?......Understand that there will not be enough room at Blackhawk for all of us Dining hall campers....and once our camp is empty for a while,Who needs it?......So I guess while we're out there digging up money to save Owasippe, understand that we are the ones elected to make the sacrifices...otherwise camp as normal....and about that site you've been in for years...sorry, not needed anymore.....ARE WE?..Why don't we go bury a pool?
Sorry, I forgot to add, the committee also feels that there will be no
room this year for the Webelos at Owasippe...and they should stay at Camp Hoover for a week.......Good luck with those boats and the fishing in the middle of a field..(no water!)..Great camp ,but not exactly what they were looking for...They were looking forward to Owasippe.
Camp Carlen.......OVERALL!!!!!!!!     ---- Kurt B


Nov 18, 2002... Scout camp memories never die

Daily Southtown, Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Recently, the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America announced its plans to sell the Owasippe Scout Reservation. The camp comprises several section camps and is the oldest and largest council Scout camp in the country. The sprawling camp covers 4,800 acres of pristine Michigan wilderness.

I have been a member of Chicago Area Council since 1965. I first attended Owasippe in 1969 at Camp Wolverine South with Troop 490 from Hickory Hills. What a great place! It took three years before I passed the swim test, but each year I got a little better. For swimming merit badge, I had to rescue the staff member, who really resisted attempts to rescue him. We camped in site 3, right across from the pool. It used to be called the sand pit. We stayed in site 3 for a few years and then moved to site 10. Much less sand.

In 1972, we were camping at this site when lightning struck our site. Five Scouts were struck; three of the Scouts stopped breathing. Our Scoutmaster revived them all. The tree that was struck splintered and fell on one of the tents. The next day, a few adult leaders took the piece that fell (about 8 feet long) and engraved it with all the Scouts' names. We called them the Lightning Patrol.

Our Scoutmaster, Mr. Christensen, received a medal from the National Council. This rather large plaque hung in the Wolverine South Lodge until it closed in 1979. I camped at Wolverine South in 1977, 1978 and 1979. I was Scoutmaster of Troop 490, the same troop I attended OSR with as a Scout. The Wolverine South section camp closed in 1980. I was assured there was a place in the Owasippe museum for our plaque. I never saw it again.

Troop 490 started camping at Camp Black Hawk subcamp in 1980. It was quite a change. We did try to camp at Camp Stewart one year; unfortunately, that was the year they decided to close that subcamp. I moved to Evergreen Park and joined Troop 656. They were also regularly attending Black Hawk. Then Camp Carlen, another subcamp, opened, and we camped there for several years.

When I finally had a son who was Scout age, he joined Troop 656. At the time, the troop was attending camp Shin-go-Beek in Wisconsin. We went there one year, and I decided my son had to experience Owasippe. We transferred to Troop 617 in 1992 and have been going to Owasippe ever since. In 2000, I took my second son on Manistee Quest, a weeklong backpacking adventure run by Owasippe Scout Reservation. My third son is also cherishing his experiences at Owasippe. He attended in 2001 and 2002.

Take the time to multiply these experiences times the total number of Scouts attending Owasippe over 92 years. There is no conceivable way to put a monetary value on these experiences. Yes, my business experience tells me the camp should close. However, when you take a look at all the leadership experiences instilled in Scouts (the Mission of the Boy Scouts is to develop leadership), it is very effective and cannot be minimized to a real estate appraisal.

If my memories of camp spark your memories, I ask that everyone who has attended Owasippe over its 92-year existence go to our Web site at and help save Owasippe Scout Reservation!

Herbert A. Dulzo,  Advancement chairman
Troop 617,  Evergreen Park IL

Nov 15, 2002... If You Plan To Fail, Are You Then Successful?
I've been nosing around trying to find camps similar to OSR.  It's a
tough search but I found one.  Camp Tomahawk in Northern Wisconsin,  2300 acres, 3 subcamps.  One with traditional dining hall, one with open are dining hall and one hotpack.  Isn't it interesting that this camp far away from anything can service 5500 scouts 1500 adults/summer (9 sessions)and still be in business?  The one section camp is new.  They had to add on because of demand. 
Get rid of our CEO and hire a salesman!

It doesn;t make any difference where the scouts come from.  The camp is still satisfying it's mission

If you plan to fail, does that mean you are succesful?
Herb Dulzo

Nov 15, 2002...Sell The Service Center First
Has anyone asked what has ever happened to the fundamental
belief in our youth? Are we going to bankrupt the future of our youth?
What will we list as assests, when or if Hoover & Owasippe are sold?
Surely not the downtown office?  This office costs us $ 28,703 per month - wouldn't this be better utilized for our scouts?  If the camps bring in 1/3 of our revenue, and the service center is costing us this much, how come they want to sell what brings in the money. And, if the camps are costing us money, how come the form 990 shows our liabilities have decreased? And if the office is costing us over $ 300,000 a year, why not sell the office, since our debt is supposedly only
 $200,000? This would maintain our assets and our income we receive from those assets, and we'd only lose an expensive, under-utilized white elephant, which is so poorly designed, you have to go elsewhere to hold meetings and training!!! 
Also, why not have the council training at Hoover or Owasippe, instead of spending our income to go to Lake Geneva and using hotels, when our camps have the space and the facilities that are needed.    After all, if we can do Woodbadge, Scoutmaster Fundamentals, OWL training and JLT at camp, why can't council utilize the same facilities?   After all, aren't they a part of our council and scouting???  Whatever happened to keeping the "outing" in scouting? 
And aren't we suppose to be conservation minded, because a natural resource is not renewable - After all, you can't make more land and we should take care of what we own!  The boys own the camps, not a few select people!
H Gesell, CAC - Troop Chair and general busybody

Nov 14, 2002...Survival Of The Fittest?

On Tuesday night I attended a fireside chat that was organized by the CAC Board of Directors (council president Lewis Greenblatt, scout executive James Stone, Anthony Gibbs and Bobby Madison).  The meeting was poorly attended by the leaders of this once great council.  Roughly 30 scouters attended this meeting.


This fireside chat was to share content of the Strategic Long Range Plan.  I havent seen the strategic long range plan of the CAC.  To my information the strategic long range plan for the CAC is listed in the new copy of the council Scouter newsletter.  Tuesday night was the first time I heard about the plan.  So until I see the new copy of the Scouter, I will not comment my views or thoughts.  Some leaders found a lot of differences to what was being said and what was actually stated in the Scouter newsletter.


What I didnt like about the meeting was the restriction of time they gave to the leaders to ask questions, to make comments and/or suggestions.  We were only giving a half hour to ask questions, to make comment and/or suggestions.  The attitude displayed by our Council President, Lewis Greenblatt and Scout Executive, James Stone was very negative. They refused to take questions from a few leaders and didnt answer the questions of many others fully. To me it seemed many of the questions received the same answers.  


I feel that this meeting left me more confused and with the uncertainty of our council camps still looming, I asked myself this one question.  What is the state of our councils future?  I know Jon Chucla asked a similar question.  Our council president Lewis Greenblatt and Scout Executive James Stone did not reply to Jons questions. Anthony Gibbs ended up answering that question.  The question was along the lines of what will happen to scouting in the CAC if the council cant get out of its financial troubles. This was an issue that a mentioned to the save our camps group.  Anthony Gibbs stated that once the council filed for bankruptcy, the national council will come in and take over.   The National Councils first order of business will be to liquidate all CAC assets (like Owasippe, Hoover and CAC Headquarters). 


We must look at CAC as a corporate business to understand the liquidation process.  The National Council will settle all debt of the CAC by means of closing the camps and then sell them off.  Then it would be the National Councils decision to keep scouting from the Chicago Area Council by dividing the units up into other councils, in this process scouting will lose many units even if the units dont fold.   National Council will ultimately decide which units will be saved and then placed into a new council.


This issue should become a growing concern by all the scouters of the CAC.  If this does happen, this will not be the first time in Scoutings history that this has happened.  It can happen and it might happen to this once great council of ours.  It is apparent that mistakes were made, wither these mistakes are recent or were made in the past.  The bottom line is that we all are just beginning to feel the effects of those mistakes. We cant allow ourselves to continue passing the blame, we just cant keep passing the buck. The buck needs to stop here. Whatever happens we need to stand together. Maybe it is time that we start accepting some of the blame ourselves.  Maybe we should be asking who failed who?  Did council fail the units or was it the units that failed council?   


If our camps do survive we need to do our part in making sure this never happens.  It is time that we learn how to communicate. We need to strive in getting are units to use our camps. We need to promote our camps on going. We need to get more involvement from our Order of the Arrow Chapters.  The number one goal of anything organization should be membership.  I dont like hearing the on going joking about giving only one hour a week.  We all know the countless hours that we all give.  Its time that the old pool of leaders let the younger pool of leader emerge rather than get pushed away or stepped on.  Attend District Roundtables or promote to leaders about becoming a unit commissioner. I am tired of hearing leaders say what can i do to help.  There are a lot of things that we can do and its time to start making these changes together to better our council.


Randy Etapa             

Nov 13, 2002... Can't Afford Complacency!
Should have known that things are going on behind the scenes  and glad to know that  this was a major part of the commitee meeting last night.    I was hoping to see more donations to carry in to the OSA pizza party at the end of the month.  We cant afford to get complacent and with email activity slowing down and a low ,but productive turn out last night, I'm a bit frustrated.    Can't get the money up fast enough for me.   
I hope the turn out tommorrow night is better.   If you know anyone out that way, encourage them to attend ......Tell them we want all the camps open and that we want everyone to come.
.....Kurt B

Nov 13, 2002...We Return So Faithfully Each Year
As a youth involved with a Scout Troop in South Chicago in the
60's I had the incredible experience of spending a couple of weeks each
summer at Camp Stuart.

Four years ago my son joined a troop in Calumet Council. When I
discovered that the troop attended Camp Blackhawk at Owasippe Scout Reservation, I was overjoyed. I now have a troop picture from 1969 with my father and I at Owasippe, and a troop picture from 1999 with me and my son. This kind of tradition and heritage is what Scouting is all about.

Our 74 year old troop has been going to Owasippe for a number of years - I believe our current streak is somewhere around the last 14 years straight. We are not in the Chicago Area Council, but each year look forward to returning - even with the higher out of council fees. As
Scoutmaster, I have begun to look at alternatives for our troop - not
because we want to go elsewhere, but we need to be prepared in the event we're "asked not to return". Looking at other camps and programs I've decided I definitely don't want to go elsewhere. Owasippe is special and has so much to offer.

Our troop has learned to avoid "Scout burnout" by structuring our weeks.   We have also come to rely on the Adventure Patrol for our first year campers, and it works really well. In my opinion there is more than enough at OSR for Scouts to do over their camping careers.

Which brings me to a question. I look at the back of Scouting magazine
and I see ads for all kinds of summer camps, high adventure bases, etc., but I never see an ad for Owasippe. If falling attendance is a problem, why isn't the Chicago Council promoting the camp more? Building on the tradition of Owasippe's legend, and being the oldest continuing operating Boy Scout Camp in the country should be a draw for Scout troops from across the greater midwest at least - and certainly the country. 

An Old Stuart Camper

Nov 13, 2002... Be Prepared
After attending the November 12th Fireside Chat at Five Holy Martyrs
Church, I have become more convinced than ever that this fight to save Owasippe  needs to be opened on a legal front as well.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, Jim Stone made some comments about the  fact that information had been leaked to the newspapers.  It is my  understanding based upon information from my personal lawyer that non-profit corporations by law must be open, transparent, and accountable. 

It seems to me that if everything is open and transparent, leaks cannot occur.  If the information is freely available what would there be to leak?  Mr. Stones acknowledgment that there was a leak is an implication that there was  a secret that he felt shouldnt have been known. 

Do these guys just blatantly intend to ignore their obligations of openness under law?  As a partner in a high profile Chicago law firm, Im sure Mr. Greenblatt is aware of the rules of transparency which can only imply that their attempt to keep the membership ignorant is intentional.

Further, according to the most recent issue of the OSA Newsletter:
Sept. 11 - Joe meets with a small group of council officials. First word
surfaces that long-range plans called for the outright sale of both camps. Joe was told to remain quiet about it until the Oct. 16 council board meeting.

Remain quiet? Why should he have to remain quiet if everything is open and transparent?  This is further proof of their intent to violate their duties under law.

I brought these points up to Anthony Gibbs after the meeting and he said there were some things the membership didnt need to know.  He started to give me an example and I jokingly said, Wait a minute, if I dont need to know and you give me an example, then Ill know.  But the real joke was not mine.  The real joke is how the board and the professionals are trying play the membership for suckers and fools.

These guys need to be shown the door!  But, should the CORs vote them out in January, Ill bet dollars to donuts that you will find the vote challenged in court by Mr. Greenblatt, whose company specializes in this type of law.  At any rate, the Boy Scout motto is Be Prepared.  Without legal representation, we who oppose this board and its actions are NOT prepared.
The Council has a paid attorney and it is also backed up by Nationals bevy of attorneys in case of any action.  Ideally we should also have a paid attorney who would have more than just volunteer time to devote to what could (and probably would) become a high-profile case.  Even with a paid attorney we, who oppose the board, are at a disadvantage.  It is still a little like David going against Goliath.  But remember David won.

Back in the 1920s the well-known evangelist Billy Sunday said of the devil:  Ill punch him and Ill kick him and Ill bite him. And when I am old and fistless and legless and toothless, Ill gum him until I go to glory and I send him down to perdition!  This is the tact we must take against these who would divest our treasure. 

Make no mistake, at each of these meetings I can see by the outrage of my fellow scouters that this is quickly escalating into a war between those who support traditional scouting ideals and those who only want to support the bottom line at the expense of those ideals.  We MUST fight it on all fronts.  We MUST get effective legal representation!

Ray Toler

Nov 6, 2002... Everyone CAN Make A Difference
Just to let you know what my individual Troop has been working on to help save Owasippe. We are Troop 414 out of Calumet Council and have been going to Owasippe for 20+ years.

We placed a giant sign in our front yard with flyers with donation cards. Placed it there for Halloween and have had many responses.

Contacted major local paper in south suburbs and northwest Indiana. They are going to do a human-interest story about Owasippe interviewing me and past Scouts of mine. There will also be a picture.

Sent letters to all past and current Scouts from Troop 20+ years asking them to remember their good times and send money to Save Owasippe, to also contact family, friends, work places, etc.

We are having a tag day (like Veterans Poppy Day) on Sat. Nov. 23rd in Lansing, IL. All proceeds to Save Owasippe.

Sent in my application to join the OSA.

Every one can make a difference. We can save Owasippe.
--- Rich Reichart, Lansing IL

Nov 6, 2002... Can We Take A Lesson From Mo-Town?
(Note: The following is a response to a question posed to a Scouter from the Detroit Area Council as to how they can continue to run their Scout Reservation, D(bar)A, at an annual deficit of $400,000.)

Our Revenue is over $1.1M from camping operations. Our expenses run about $1.5M. We have a full ranch with live stock and a full year program. We service over 45,000 visitors a year. I think most councils understand that camping is not self-sufficient. We have agreement from the finance committee (which I am a member) and the professionals who do the budget on what the delta will be and that we will manage to it.

We have been very open with our volunteers as to what it takes to run our camps. The $225 was the recommendation of the scout leaders after we explained all the costs and revenues to them during the summer camp sessions. We haven't increased our Winter camping rates for three years. We have committed to them that we will not increase summer camp prices for two years and it could be three years if we can increase our attendance by 800 over the two year. So we work closely with our volunteers and professionals.

We have probably put over a million dollars into our two camps over the last 4 years from donations and contributions in addtion to our operating funds.


Nov 5, 2002... I'm Not Going To Take This Garbage Anymore!
Remember, next month when you complete your unit charter, make sure the correct person is listed on the charter as the C.R.  This person WILL be called upon to do the tasks needed to correct the problems in the Chicago Area Council. They WILL need to attend informational training meetings for the overall good of traditional scouting in Chicago.  
As long as Owasippe is part of CAC, I refuse to go another camp or Council. Owasippe, along with Hoover belongs to our children's children! We received them from people many, many years ago that wanted our kids to use them forever. I'll by (------) if I'll go anywhere or even talk about leaving my council or my camp.    If we have a problem, get ready to fix it. Write letters to National NOW!
What are you waiting for!!   Stop giving up and start kicking back! Make sure your charter is in good shape, accurate and has an active,
supportive, positive minded Scouter ready to do battle in January!


Bill Egan, Arrowhead District Chairman

Nov 4, 2002... Spreading The Word At Juarez HS
Ron, I saw you at Super Saturday but did not want to interupt you, but I did get a chance to talk to Pat Monahan and Ron Derby.  Thank you for getting the information out to everyone.  I'm sure you and the others had a list of oter duties to do last Saturday, but you gave it up to help Owasippe.  I know how volunteering is a thankless job and I don't want that to be the case this time. 

THANK YOU TO YOU, Pat, Bob, Ron, and Sue for coming down to
Juarez and letting the facts be known.  
My prayers are with you.   I have gotten letters out and am doing what I can.  I wish it was more, but I am firm on saving Owasippe.  Thank you again and make sure the others get my family's thanks. 

Bob McMillin

Nov 4, 2002... It Would Be A Sad Day IF...
I hope with all my heart that this can be worked out for the  future
scouts that will miss the happiness of camping at Owasippe. I have fond
memories of camping with my two sons and the other scouts in our troop.  I always hoped to bring my grandson to camp with me but it wasn't to be.  It will be a great loss to scouting if this camp is closed.

Frank Wiatrowski

Oct 31, 2002... How To Help A Camp

Well, whenever I hear of camps closing, being sold off etc, I find it to be a very sad occasion and often a very short sighted decision.

We in Narragansett Council have probably 8 camps and perhaps two more camping areas that could be considered camps but owned by somesort of friends of scouting group.

One of our camps on Block Island off the coast of  RI (about 12miles) is really poor but the only place you can legally camp on but its a great place to biking and nice ferry trip there too.

Two other camps , our largest are supplementary funded in two unique and different ways. Buck Hill Scout Reservation in northern RI tried a go with scout summer camping but it did not work out so the area where tent platforms are now rented out during summer months for family camping and is mostly trailers and motor homes. I guess it keeps the camp funded and there is enough land that we can camp as troops and pretty much avoid the motor homes even when they are present....the camp is about 2000 acres.  The other large camp has been in existence since 1916 and is a shade under 2000 acres is well know world wide and that is Camp Yawgoog. One of the long time staff members and professional scouter who recently died at about age 97 or 98 came up the idea of a alumni group..........all you had to due was have camped or be a friend of the camp to join.........dues very and they yearly dues money is NEVER spent ! Instead only the interest on the account is spent so that the endowment fund continues to grow! can see i am sure how a simple idea can do so much............hope other groups try it! it works!

read below to see what this fund has been able to do! you can see how the scope and cost of the projects have increased as the fund grew!

YIS, John Blanchard SM Troop 35 West Greenwich, RI

Oct 28, 2002... What History Has Or Hasn't Taught Us
Having visited OSR numerous times over the past twenty years, it
is very apparent that the CAC/BSA has really lost touch with what
Scouting was all about. The condition of the facilities, the attitude of
the CAC staff towards the operation, and the lack of promoting OSR's
merits to units in the Midwest are mistakes that will be very difficult
to overcome. Like other people before me have mentioned, I too remember these "professionals" selling off Beard, Stuart, and West to make a little money. Money that has long since evaporated.

Scouting is a non-profit organization that the paid staff appears to be
trying to run like a ma and pa corner store. If the Council is so worried
about loosing money at OSR and Hoover, why don't they divest themselves, at no financial gain, of both camps to a regional not-for profit organization comprised of BSA councils throughout the Midwest. This organization could then run the camps using the resources and integrity of a board consisting of representatives from all the councils involved.
Maybe this organization might have the imagination and courage to develop OSR as a year round destination for scouts. In addition, this group could explore new ideas to fully utilize a unique resource that is within a days drive of millions of potential scouts. I would think that given the opportunity to run an established regional camp, a motivated executive board would be able to provide scouts the OSR experience that I remember for generations to come. I would imagine that there would be no lack of volunteers for serving on the board of such an
organization. This time, however, I would make sure the organizations
charter would be clear as to the purpose of the camps.

Whatever up front costs that would be involved in such a transfer would
be no where near 15 million if the CAC treats OSR as it was intended to be, a legacy for scouts to enjoy and to experience, rather than an asset to profit from.

If CAC thinks that running these camps is such a hassle and a financial
burden, let other councils and the real scouts take over. Its a shame
that the people running the CAC seem to have forgotten what scouting is about. I remember provisional troops coming from the inner city camping for the first time, kids learning to swim, catching a turtle, paddling a canoe, seeing an eagle, the welcoming campfires, all my friends you get the idea.

I, for one, havent forgotten. I hope the people in the CAC offices
remember before its too late.
Jim Marszalek, Wolv North Staff 78, 79

Oct 25, 2002..."The Time For A New Vision Is Now!"
For any of us who have seen the presentation of the CAC long term  plan,we now know that our council has no vision.   This is just another rehashing of the same stuff that got them in financial trouble in the first  place.   They have continually refused any solutions that might bring them into the 2000's.   They think a program of Isolationism is a way to solve their problems.   As they cry about funding lost,  ie. Mont Wards being gone, I guess there are no other businesses in Chicago, there are no doors to knock on.   Besides, they would have to get out from behind a desk and actually do something.
They talk about their Learning for life program like it the only  program....a program not available at a so called middle class school like Mt Greenwood or in Oaklawn etc.   Parents of those kids, both parents working, have to pay baby sitters etc til they get home rather than being involved with Scouting programs after school.
In order for our traditional unit programs to survive we need all of our camps, Hoover and Owasippe.  Last weekend we had 500 Scouts and leaders at our district fll camporee.   Camp Kiwanis can't handle that, and, besides, the only interest our council seems to be considering is closer to home.    WHY?  They are not the ones driving.  We are! 
We need to promote our camps.   Let anyone who wants to come, come.  Advertise!   Look at your Scouting Magazine with other councils' camps featured in it.   If you need more sites, open Crown.  They need to find other ways to save money, like salaries, company cars......and actually accepting free labor and materials for work done(IBEW).   The latter refused because they might want a beer after they busted their butts.   Yet, if council has a dinner to schmooze money from companies, cocktails are served.   I guess they think the Mayor will let us have fires in Grant Park.
We need a change, a vision for the future.   These people can't see the forest for the trees.   We need addresses for national Scout leaders like Roy Roberts and and Roy Williams....cause we need new council leadership now!!!!   Or, we won't have any Scouts to have a program for.    When young Scouts are crying cause they won't be able to go to Owasippe any more, then we have a problem that needs immediate change. 
This is no longer a local problem.   It's a national one cause they gave us these people.   They need to listen or leave and be willing to get their hands dirty in the process.   We need workers, not desk jockeys or bean counters.   The time for a new vision is now!!!!
--- Kurt. B, Camp Carlen/Troop 616

Oct 24, 2002...Are They From A Different Planet?
Mr Greenblatt had the character needed to make a presentation in
front of a hostile group it is a shame that he was so poorly prepared
to discuss the topic. There were a lot of questions that weren't
answered and it is irrelevant whether he didn't have the answer or
the subject had never been considered. He showed no interest in
considering them after he was made aware of them the commitee must of course be omnipotent. Their view of the world must be the only
correct one. 
If you look at the plan presented, to include the slides, you will
notice that there were many errors and some ill conceived ideas. They
claimed that both camps are operating in the red in excess of
$200,000. In the first information that they put out they claimed
that Hoover was operating at a deficit of $100,000. They told you
that the Cub Scout summer resident camp cost each participant $140
when in fact they were charging $160. They told us that Hoover was
surrounded by new sub-divisions, and that was addressed and pointed
out to be incorrect. Why does council ignore suggestions to generate
revenue at the camps? Cell towers were suggested years ago and were
turned down for both camps.
The 75% weekend camper usage for Hoover is understandable when
council will not let you book anything else in there, and their claim
that staffing is a problem is erroneous, staffing arraingements can
and have been made in the past to accomidate this. Why isn't more
done at Owasippe to offer program twelve months out of the year?
Several suggestions have been made in ways to do this. With all the
erroneous information  and tap dancing that was being presented, how
much can council and the commitees be trusted?
The commitee has directed them to trim one million dollars in
operating costs and yet they plan on hiring more professionals to
increase the numbers and to be paid Scoutmasters. What company or
corperation hires more people when they are this far in the hole?
Wouldn't it make more sense to give more support to the people they
all ready have rather than hire more inexperienced people? Why did
the council continue to spend money at the level they were when they
lost all this funding, wasn't that the time to cut back on some of the expenditures. How about salaries and corperate perks?
I don't have all the answers or even most of the answers, but it seems that there must be other avenues to explore. The professional scouters, the commitees, and the volunteers owe it to the kids to do so.

--- Neil

Oct 23, 2002... How About Printing A Position Paper?
In talking to a long-time Scouter, Russ Gremel, a question arose as to why just save Owasippe? Isn't Hoover worth trying to save too? Russ spends a lot of camp-out time at Hoover and said he would sure hate to see either camp sold, but why such a strong emphasis on Owasippe.   I tried to explain and relay some of the things that were said at that first rally and probably missed some salient points.

I would like to suggest a "position paper", news letter or something like that, stating exactly what the OSA has in mind and is hoping to
accomplish.   That position paper to be mailed out to all Scouting units (Cubs thru Exploring) letting them know just what is happening. There are probably a lot of units who are not "computer literate" and can't log on to the OSA web page or The Scarlet Sassafras either. 

Just a thought and I pray that all will work out and someday, at some
campfire at an Owasippe fire bowl, we can all say our thanks to the
"Great Spirit of Owasippe".
--- Ted Rotzoll

Oct 23, 2002... Volunteers, Put Up Or Shut Up!
I think it showed alot of character for Lew Greenblatt to come before
an angry audience last night to try to explain his perspective on the
whole situation. Unfortunately, the whole thing broke down last
night. First of all, Lew was not able to answer many good questions
that need answers. He either didn't know the answers or the questions
had never been considered. This shows that we need to seriously
converse with the board to get a full accounting of the situation:
what the problems are, what potential solutions have been considered,
what is the thinking.
Secondly, emotions clearly got in the way last night of serious and honest discussion. Comments and tone became very personal towards Mr. Greenblatt. This was not only not called for, it had the effect of forcing Mr. Greenblatt to abandon his effort to communicate. He was facing an angry mob attacking his leadership and character and there was no winning.
Thirdly, some of the information presented last night was new to most of us. During the presentation, some slides detailing the major expenses of both Owasippe and Hoover were shown. The problem is that they were only displayed for a short time and the emotional outbursts took up most of the question and answer time, preventing any real questions from being asked about these numbers.

Finally, I have heard alot about how "the council" should have tapped
their biggest resource - the volunteers. Well, as I think someone
else on this message board has said, there is a giant problem with
volunteers in our council. We have few. Sure, everyone involved in a
unit is a volunteer, but how many do you have? How many parents or
community leaders are willing to put a bunch of time into their unit?
How many have so many volunteers in their unit that they are able to
help at the District level?
 In Iroquois district, we generally only have 15 people on the boy scout side of the roundtable. There are district positions unfilled. There are district events that don't happen or that are done poorly because there is no one to chair the event or even if there is someone to chair the event, there are few to help with the planning and execution. I don't blame anyone for this. How can we demand of anyone that they must volunteer more? How can we expect people who are struggling to keep their own units running properly to volunteer more time?

--- E Gorz

Oct 23, 2002... "Do Unto Others?"
I don't know if anyone else came away from Round Table thinking "what a waist of time", but I for one think that our time could have been better spent on our regular agenda.   The President of the Council did "his best" to convince us he actually cared about these Scout Camps, and I realy don't think he should advertise being an Eagle Scout when he stood there talking from both sides of his mouth. 
How could he stand before us and say that Joe Sener has been given a chance to raise the needed funds to save Owasippe from being sold, and then in the same breath make the statement that the council will only "NEGOTIATE the sale of this property". Just what the heck does that mean?  Why would you negotiate the sale of anything if you have No Intention to sell that item?

Our good president did a little side step on many of the questions and offers made to help the Council.   I found it a little suspicious that he stated that the council only began to look at it's options three or four months ago to stop the bleeding so to speak, when the Executive Board knew of the deficit prior to that. And the President had NO comment when asked why the council didn't bring this to the Volunteer Scouters years ago, or why they (council) didn't solicit susgestions and or assistance when this problem first came up.
I for one think the council executives feel a need to give themselves more money, I may be way off here but I doubt the executives could pay their exorbitant salaries from the Traditional Scouting Fund, so they must be paid from some other account like maybe Learning For Life?  Maybe that is why they want and additioinal 20% going to this fund, I think, and again I may be totally wrong but this seems to be the Cash Cow of the Council these days. It looks like the Council would try to fill the vacancy of the person who used to solicit donations from the various business's and corperations.  
When it was sugested that the Executive Board members cut their slaries, it seemed to insult the President who states he is a volunteer like the rest of us. He even made a comment that if they did that then No one would want the job, I don't know about anyone else but I would work for half if not one fourth of Stone's salary.  
I also wondered why Mr. Stone even showed up? he seemed almost bound and gag like our good friend Mr. Hoasty.   With all that has transpired and has yet to come I wonder why this council does not want to promote and utilize what we have rather than dumping and moving on, this is a clasic example of the low class way of thinking...
1. Move in.
2. Wreck everything in site, let in run down to a such a state of
disrepair that one can have No other choice but sell.
3. Dump the property and move on to something else.

I hope this isn't the lessons the council is trying to teach our youth.

Just remember what these experts are trying to do to our Traditional
(Paying) Scouts, when the time comes in January to rid ourselves of
these Rodents.   

Remember the Golden rule: "Do unto others", we just need to do it

I do promise to help Joe and the SOSR group, but I still have little
hope for keeping Owasippe and Hoover as our own.
--- J Smith

Oct 18, 2002...God Isn't Making Any More Real Estate!
We must save this treasure, it would be like selling a piece of the heart of every individual that has ever been associated in any way with those woods and dales, those lakes and forest where happy youth prevails!  Some where I read and I certainly agree 100%, once that gem of land is sold and the monies collected for it, what happens, the money is used up, exhausted over a few years and then what's left, a terrible void.  It has also been said, "God isn't making any more real estate. Where are you going to find a treasure  anywhere near like Owasippe as close to the Chicago area?
I am certain many suggestions have been made for the preservation of Owasippe.  For an interim period would it be feasable to operate as a Wilderness Camp?  Troops both from CAC and other locals could reserve space, using their own equipment, such as tentage, cook their own meals, conduct their own programs keeping a minimum staff?  A staff consisting of a caretaker an assistant and perhaps a few volunteers to assure that proper respect and use of the reserved sites be maintained.  This would, of course, be after 2003 and just be a stop-gap until the financial crises has been resolved.
My first experience at Owasippe was in 1932 and continued until 1936,37,38 when I became a member of the staff.  I was also Chief of Owasippe Lodge, Order of the Arrow for the year 1940-41.  My term of office was shortened by a call by Uncle Sam's Army on 13 June 1941.
Respectfully, Sincerely,           Frederick C. Brems


Oct 17, 2002...Chicago Area Council's Future


To my understanding and to help shed some light on the situation at hand about Chicago Area Council's proposed plans on selling both Owasippe and Hoover are based solely on a short term financial concerns.  The financial reports for Chicago Area Council clearly shows that council is bankrupt and within 3 to 4 years, there would be no other alternative then to file for bankruptcy.


If Chicago Area Council does file for bankruptcy, council will immediately be taken control of by national.  When national takes over Chicago Area Council, all council owned properties (Owasippe, Hoover and Headquarters) will be seized and immediately sold.


Jim Stone, Anthony Gibbs and many board members do feel that they have exhausted all that they can do in trying to save Owasippe and Hoover from being put up for sale.  Hopefully, board members like Joe Senor and Bill Egan can make the other board members see that all has not been exhausted just yet in todays meeting.  Chicago Area Council is fully aware of what is at stake and that the sale of any camp or even both camps could result in the loss of many scouts and scouters.  It is true council as been irresponsible by not truly exhausting all possibilities in trying to save our camps, themselves. 


Fact of the matter is that council wants all of its financial concerns out of the red within 3 to 4 years.  Council it not just looking for money to keep our camps open, but to eliminate all debt and to have long term finances available.  Council's best solution of its financial concerns to date is the proposed sales of our camps.


For those who have asked the question how can council even sell property that was originally donated.  Well to my understanding the agreement(s) clearly states that council holds all discretion on the use of the land, which includes renting, leasing and/or the selling of the land .      


Council's realization of this matter might solely be that in 3 to 4 years, they will all be out of a job.  So is council really looking out for the best interest of scouting in the Chicago Area Council or for their own welfare?         


Yours in Scouting, Randy


Oct 11, 2002... The Old Smoke And Mirror Trick?
I think there is a smoke and mirror trick brewing within this council.
I believe that the council doesn't want to sell Owasippe at all. I think they do want to unload Hoover, there is a definite market for the Hoover property.   Just look at the homes being constructed on Fox Road. Look at the location and the beautiful forest they can cut down and clear out for more homes.

I believe this council is creating such controversy over the sale of Owasippe that most all past, present, and future scouters will be glad to sell Hoover if it will save the Oldest Scout Camp in America!   Mr. Sener stated the other night that he personally was interested in saving
Owasippe. Mr. Sener also stated that the Hoover property was estimated between $10 Million and $15 Million, strange how that works out to the amount needed to save Owasippe.

Something else that struck me funny was the story of how Mr. Sener came to be informed of the Council's intention, and was asked to "sell it to the units".  I think Mr. Sener has been had by the powers that be.
I am not a well educated man as compared to some in this Council, but my police instinct is on fire with suspicion.  Maybe it's the way the council is bringing this to us or not, but something just is not sitting right with me.

Let's face it the council is not in a business to make money, but the business executives that are not able to grasp the idea of non-profit see things different. I am willing to bet like most everyone else that these camps have in fact lost money to operate, but it was to the benefit of the Scouts who used and are using it now. The Executive Board needs to find and I think they Mr. Sener has found alternative solutions to Owasippe to defer the operating loss, which leads me to another thing I found strange.   
Mr. Sener really did his homework.   He started exploring ideas about the use of this camp for groups other than our Council prior to the first week of cleanup to get the camp ready for the summer or there about. He met with groups in Michigan by his own admission, that seemed odd for not having prior knowledge of the councils intention.   Well, draw your own conclusions but I hope and pray that neither camp will be
Someone should explore the idea of blocking the sale on the grounds.   Mr.Sener also stated "there are nine species of animals on the endangered list that live on Owasippe." Could this give way to preserve this land as a wildlife sanctuary?   Like I said, I don't have all the answers nor do I pretend to, but something is missing from the story. It's like reading a novel with a cliff hanger.

During Wood Badge Training we were asked to think about the kind of Legacy we could leave scouting.   My final appeal is "What kind of Legacy do you want to leave, Mr. Stone?"   Does anyone on the Board want to have the responsibility of voting to sell these great camps?
I wouldn't in any way shape or form.

God Bless this Land and all who are fighting to protect it.

Joh Smith, CA Pack 3656

Oct 10, 2002... What's The Source Of The Deficit?
Another question I have after yesterday's meeting is: Where does
the $200,000 annual deficit come from? I thought that taxes would have
been much more than the reported $50,000. What about the other $150,000?   I know attendance has been declining for decades reducing the revenue but what are the big expenses?   Is is food prep and delivery?   Is it salaries, both summer and year round staff? Is it the council moving other expenses to the camp's financial statements?

I understand that the purpose of camp is program, not fundraising. But in lean years such as these, we must be more fiscally responsible. In order to do that, we need to trim as much fat as possible (as well as increase revenues).
Ed Gorz

Oct 10, 2002... I would hate to see it disappear!
For a few years I have been receiving those invitations from you to join the OSA, and wouldn't you know that when I finally get around to joining, the camp's future becomes uncertain.  I had never expected to see the day when the CAC would consider selling all of OSR.  Having lived at Owasippe during the off-season, I had plenty of time to explore the entire camp and appreciate the uniqueness of the land.  When I left n October of 1999 I was under the impression that things were improving and attendance was on the rise.   Nevertheless, I would sum up my experience as assistant-ranger there to being like a member of the band on the Titanic, because of the illogical actions of the CAC (failure to develop profitable off-season uses), the apparently constant budget problems, and the overwhelming facility maintenance burden. 
Of course, my memories of being on the staff at OSR for 5 years are nearly all good ones, and the experiences I had there genuinely changed the direction of my life.  I can clearly remember you leading the Owasippe Chant during staff-week in 1996 at the Wolverine Chapel, the first time I heard it.  What a great song that is.  It is a motivating song, I think, and it gave me cause to consider "what a special place Owasippe is - and I get to be part of it!"   Hopefully the will of those trying to save OSR will prevail, and you will have more opportunities to lead people to become productive staffers.  I would hate to see it all disappear, but for it to continue on the way things have been recently should not happen either. 
Well, I look forward to being a member of the OSA for many years to come.   Good luck in your efforts to stop this foolish land sale.  If I wasn't still broke and in college I would offer support personally, regrettably I cannot.  I will continue to be a regular reader of your informative "Scarlet Sassafras," please continue sending it.
Cordially, Nick Carr

Oct 10, 2002... Strategic Plan Or Hot Air?
I have just finished reviewing the Chicago Area Council Startegic Plan...   According to the CAC, they have spent the past 18 months formulating this plan and have "dreamed no small dreams".

The topic that keeps coming to forefront in conversations concerning the CAC is Finances. In the CAC's Stategic Plan, they address the area of Finances. After 18 months of planning and identifying benchmarks for sucess they are ready to take the steps necessary to get us where we need to be to make these benchmarks a reality.

The entire strategic plan for Finances involves asking each Board Member of the CAC to donate $5,000. The only area of the strategic plan that actually shows some iniative and planning is the topic of selling Owasippe and Hoover. Everything else in the plan is a bunch of hot air about identifying this and developing that. Looks like the best we can hope for is to try to persuade them to sell it to an entity that will
keep it open space instead of selling it to a developer.

Perhaps we can convince them to have some consideration for the history of America's oldest scout camp and donate some land (lets say 80 acres or so) of road accessible property to the OSA along with the Goodman Museum building and contents. Then we could at least have a place where scouters, former staff and the general public could stop by when they are on vacation and honor the memory of what was once America's Premier Scout Camp.
Vince Rychtanek

Oct 6, 2002... An Owasippe Matter!
I honestly don't know how to feel right now.  I am literally in shock at the possibility of Owasippe being sold.  But I know that any solution that comes of this situation will be well thought out, and planned by the true Owasippe family, those of us who have dedicated at least one summer to work at.  I know at least for me, and I'm sure everyone that has visited this site, Owasippe is not just a former place of employment, but a special part of their life.  More information needs
to be presented, and soon.  If we have until June 1st to come up with
$10-15 million dollars, then we need to start now, we can't afford to
lose any time. 

As a former staff member, and a leader in Calumet Council, I feel even
more empowered to do something.  From what I have read thus far, there is no guaranteeing that any money gained by the sale of Owasippe would actually go to the scouts, and what does will only be to CAC.  Like many people have stressed 50-55% of the scouts that attend owasippe are out of council.  A large majority of the out of council scouts and staff are from Calumet Council.  Selling Owasippe wouldn't just hurt CAC scouts, it will hurt scouts, leaders, and former staff members from numerous councils.  We need to make it known that by selling Owasippe a part of history and a part of thousands of lives is being sold. 

Most CAC execs have never spent more than a day or two at Owasippe.  To them it is just land and buildings.  To me and numerous other people it is a very memerable and missed part of their lives.  This past summer was the first summer since 1996 that I was not at Owasippe at all, and as many of you know, that first summer away is very hard.  Owasippe is both a part of my family, and my family.  I cannot express my feelings concerning Owasippe to someone who has never been there, "outsiders" can't even begin to understand the experiences at Owasippe as a scout, leader or staffmember.  Owasippe helps scouts become leaders, but also develops staff into great people both in scouts and out.  Owasippe needs to be saved, and my only hope is that our efforts are not in vain.

Hopefully there is a better solution than raise the money or sell
Owasippe.  I agree that a break even year would be a great start towards improving the financial situation.   This is not a CAC matter.  This is an Owasippe matter!  Let all those who love Owasippe show their support in saving Owasippe.
Elizabeth Jackson, Staff 1998-2000

Oct 3, 2002... Questions In Need Of Quick Answers
Before I go out into my district to sound the alarm and organize, there are several questions that I hope someone can answer definitively:

1. Do charter organization reps also have a vote on the council board? If
so, do they (the COR's)know it?
2. Who selects the members of the council board?
3. What is the board's timetable for voting on these issues? Did they
decide to postpone any decisions to give us time to raise the money or
are they going ahead with a vote anyway?
4. Have any other suggestions been made or tried at the official level?
It seems to me that working on not losing money every year may be easier than raising $15 million in less than a year. As others here have siad, that may require changing fundamental things about camp and what it offers. Outside the box thinking is definitely needed.
5. Why is raising $10-15 million in less than a year our only option?
Even if we can't stop losing money every year, we can at least try to
lose substantially less every year. As someone else here suggested, can we try to raise enough money to have a break even 2003 and thus more time to raise a substantial endowment?
6. Who is able to present proposals?
7. who hears these proposals?
8. Are there any coordinated avenues open to volunteers who want to help, besides writing letters and spreading the word?

Sept 30, 2002... OK, So, Let's Crunch Some Numbers--

According to the Chicago Area Council's own web page ( the Chicago Area Council serves 59,000 registered Scouts and Scouters. We must raise at a minimum $10 million by June. This amounts to $169,492 for each Scout and Scouter in the Chicago Area Council--this is the minimum. Ideally we would like to have $15 million or $254,237 per each registered Scout and Scouter.

Simple donations from our members will be helpful but obviously for the amount of money we will require, we are going to have to solicit from corporations. Which ones? The ones already being hit up by the Council? In these economic times corporations are looking for ways to decrease their donation dollars not increase them.

That leaves soliciting new corporations who are not already contributors to the BSA. That will require more than simple letter-writing campaigns. It will require facts, figures, printed proposals, schmoozing, personal visits to corporate officials, etc.--Pretty daunting for volunteers who only have their spare time for these efforts. Raising that kind of money is a full time job.

Now, a grassroots campaign is a very noble proposition but not a very practical one. For that kind of money in that short amount of time I would suggest hiring the services of a professional fundraiser.

In addition, I would like to question whether the Council intends to help with this effort or do they just intend to wash their hands of the matter and leave everything to the volunteers intending for us to fail? Do they intend to show any cooperation at all? Perhaps that is why they were willing to appear that they were taking a big risk by allowing us this "opportunity." They expect the task to be too massive for us to accomplish. They have set the standards too impossibly high in an impossibly short time. In their minds, they are taking no risk at all. The surveying and scale down efforts continue. They threw us a bone with no meat on it. Basically they have told us to "cough up or shut up."

The Council was also quick to point out that any donations could not interfere with the Friends of Scouting campaign. Of course this is important to them. Donations from Friends of Scouting pays salaries for the executives. I would suggest the opposite approach. I would suggest putting pressure on them by boycotting Friends of Scouting until this issue is resolved to our satisfaction.

After all, why would we want to donate to a fund that is obviously not intending to use the money for their stated purpose? Read the Council's own webpage concerning what donations to Friends of Scouting are used for:

"In the field of camping and outdoor activities, the council:
1. Maintains reservations for year-round camping and Cub Scout family outdoor events (Our camps serve year-round activities, camping, and training centers).

2. Covers costs of camp repairs, equipment replacement, utilities, maintenance, insurance, camp rangers (These and other charges are not paid for by the boys fees).

3. Employs full-time rangers for the protection of the properties and the convenience of units using the facilities (They keep these facilities available at all times).

4. Provides unit leaders guidebook, camp slides, folders, literature, and other aids to help units with their outdoor program.

5. Provides scholarships or "camperships" for Scouts who need some help to have a summertime camp experience.

6. Offers units the high adventure of Philmont Scout Ranch, high adventure bases, national jamborees, field days, camporees, and other special events (These would not exist without a council giving leadership and coordination)."

The above, according to the Council, is part of what we are buying with our Friends of Scouting donation.

Yes, we must continue with our grassroots effort but it will not be enough. We are going to have to fight this fight on other fronts as well. I think we are going to have to get tougher.

1. We need to retain an attorney. Actually retain one and not go for a volunteer. A volunteer attorney might have a good heart and all the right motives but we need someone who has this type of thing as his specialty, who is paid so that he has a vested interest in our cause and our success and has more than volunteer time to devote.

2. We need to file a legal injunction against the sale of our properties. Once this is done there is a legal discovery process. There can be no more covert action on their part. We will be legally able to request and receive any and all documents from the Council that we request or require--including a full audit of where all donated monies have been dispersed.

3. Our attorney needs to review the Bylaws of the Chicago Area Council for any procedural errors in the way the Council has handled any of these matters. Any actions or measures not following published and approved procedure must be discounted and disqualified.

4. We need to institute an immediate boycott of donations to Friends of Scouting and other council funds until this matter is settled to our satisfaction.

5. We need to immediately review whether or not we want to retain our current executives in our employ. Their covert and transparently sneaky actions have betrayed our trust. They have not been open and forthcoming with us. We can no longer have a satisfactory and cooperative working relationship with those we no longer trust.

6. We need to contact each member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Area Council personally. They are volunteers as well as we are, however any information they receive is coming to them only with the spin placed on it by the Council Execs. It is not inconceivable that there is an attempt by Council to manipulate them just as the attempt was made to manipulate us. We need to insure that they know fully both sides of the issue. They have the vote. We need to lobby and campaign.

7. We need an organized and thought-out publicity campaign geared to put public pressure on our Council execs and make them accountable for their actions not only to us but to the general public. We need to also appeal to the emotions of the general public. The article in Sunday's Tribune was excellent and a good start. But a photo of a Scout with a tear in his eye over the loss of his campground would inspire more sympathy for our cause than a picture of Bob Kurth hauling around his gear bag (no offense meant to Kurth). We donate money to "Jerry's Kids" not "Jerry's Adults"--Why? Kids will inspire more sympathy and in actuality kids are the ones we are representing in this matter. I know that we don't always have a choice in what is pictured but having been interviewed in many newspapers, I realize that often the photographers shoot photos of what is readily available. If we know we are going to be interviewed and photographed, let's be prepared to communicate the exact message we want to communicate.

Why must we do these things? Because the council by their actions has drawn the battle lines. They have given us no other options. If we are going to win the battle, we have to have more than good intentions. We have to be armed with the proper weapons.

Ray Toler

Sept 29, 2002...Personally, I agree with everything Anon has to say.
The only disagrement I have  with them is in not signing their name. What say EVERYONE who does agree with the idea that the first step we need to take in saving OSR is to get rid of the bean counters who would sell her stand up openly and say so. What is the worst thing they can do? Not hire us next year?
Folks, they are trying to FIRE not only all of us but CURRENT AND FUTURE CAMPERS RIGHT NOW.   As for not taking non CAC units, this is simply nuts. If the problem is that there is not enough money coming in to operate the place, would someone please tell me how telling 55% of our
customers (all of whom are paying extra - with no CAC camperships involved) to go to hell is going to make the operation more profitable?  My troop Has camped at Owasippe 11 of the last 12 years. The ASM responsible for the one year not there is no longer with the troop. Lets make it so for any professional who is so out of touch with CAC BSA as to consider selling Owasippe.

John Armstrong

Sept 28, 2002:   Save Owasippe!
I've been reading about the possible sale of Owasippe. The last years of Eds career he often said that the Boy Scouts have forgotten why they are in business. He would say they have forgotten about program and have become a big business only concentrating on numbers. If you dont give a boy a good program youre not going to get the numbers. It sounds like the exec of Chicago has forgotten about program.

I am glad to see all of you trying to save Owasippe and I know Ed would also be glad to see his staff working so hard to save it. Keep up the good work!
---  Donna Black 

Sept 28, 2002:   Throw Them OUT!

 Have Jim Stone and Anthony Gibbs lost their minds?  Do they really think that if Owasippe is sold on their watch that they will be retained in their positions after creating such outrage among the rank and file?  Even if Owasippe is not sold, do they actually believe that they can maintain any type of working relationship with the volunteers after such devious and covert actions as trying to ramrod this sale through with little or no notice to the membership?

Either way, it's time for them to go.  Scout Executives serve at the will of the membership and their actions on this issue certainly do not reflect the principles or ethics of Scouting.  Perhaps its past time for a change.

01/02/2002...Once Lost, But Now Found...

Comment: Owassippi was aboslutely the most life-shaping and memorable experience of my entire life (outside of my Christian faith and my family). There is not enough room on this website for me to adequately express the fun, learning and friendship that I experienced in those years. Any amount of service I rendered in those years has continually come back to me 100-fold in my fond memories and the skills I gained in those hollowed Michigan woods.

I pray for Owassippe's continued success and abundance. If I did not live in New Orleans, I would find a way to lend a hand now and then. Someday, I still hope to do just that.

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Chuck Nagel. He was my first supervisor at Canoe Central. Chauncey, thank you for doing so much to help and shape me way back then. I promise, I have not hit one single tree or flipped one single jeep since the summer of 1972 (approx). Thank you for never giving up on me or making me feel like an idiot. I am glad you are continuing to carry the OSR torch.

My best wishes to all...Vince Guider

Camp Affiliation: Former camper from Troop 569 (Dan Beard "1970") and former staff member (Pack & Paddle - "72", Camp Sauger Lake - "73", Camp Blackhawk "74 to 77", Camp Stuart "78"). E-mail:

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