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CAC Governance Reform
Celebrate Owasippe
Owasippes Township Zoning
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Owasippe Web of Life
Monday, 11 December 2006
Owasippe Lodge #7 O/A Winter Banquet
Mood:  happy
Topic: Celebrate Owasippe
Celebrating its 85th Anniversary of Service to Scouting

* On Sunday January 7, 2007

* At White Eagle Banquets and Restaurant,
6839 N Milwaukee Avenue, Niles IL

* Schedule: 4:00 PM – Fellowship; 5:00 PM – Dinner

* Cost @ $18/person for all registered members and their guests by advance reservations by December 28.

Prior lodge and chapter officers and all current and past members are especially welcome and encouraged to attend for this historic benchmark event.

>>>------------> Mail reservations to:
Owasippe Lodge 7Chicago Area Council, BSA
1218 West Adams Street
Chicago, IL 60607-2602

Deadline for reservations is December 28, 2006.
Walk-Ins Will Not Be Allowed! Reservations received after the deadline will be charged an additional $5.00/reservation.

For more information contact Lodge Chief Kevin Harper at or at 773-403-3034

Posted by blog/owasippe at 11:57 PM CST
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Saturday, 9 December 2006
Owasippe Case Heads Back To Township
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: Owasippes Township Zoning
Saturday, December 09, 2006
By Lynn Moore

The Chicago Boy Scouts need to go back to Blue Lake Township to pursue use of Owasippe Scout Reservation property for residential development before proceeding with court claims, a Muskegon County judge has ruled.

Muskegon County Circuit Judge William C. Marietti ruled that the Chicago Area Council of Boy Scouts of America needs to exhaust administrative remedies through the township's zoning board of appeals before seeking damages in court.

Marietti's ruling doesn't affect the Boy Scout council's lawsuit claiming the zoning of its property is unconstitutional, which has been scheduled for an August 2007 trial. Originally, the trial had been set for March.

The lawsuit was filed in May after the township planning commission recommended the township board reject the Boy Scouts' request to rezone the property to allow construction of up to 1,278 homes. The board did reject the rezoning in June.

A $19.4 million offer to buy the pristine property submitted by Holland businessman Benjamin A. Smith III is contingent on the property being rezoned.

The lawsuit filed in Muskegon County Circuit Court requests that the court rule the property's current zoning -- forest recreation-institution -- unconstitutional because it essentially denies the Boy Scouts use of the property for anything other than a camp. It also seeks damages from the township for its inability to fully realize the value of its property.

The council has claimed it loses $5,000 a day on the camp in "out-of-pocket and lost opportunity costs."

To pursue its damage claims against the township in court, the Boy Scout council first must seek a zoning variance from the township's zoning board of appeals, Marietti ruled.

Property owners essentially have two methods of pursuing use of their property in ways for which it's not zoned: secure a change in zoning from the township board, or receive a zoning variance from the ZBA.

Attorneys for the Boy Scouts argued in written court briefs that seeking a variance would be "futile" because two of three ZBA members already have expressed opposition to the plan to rezone the 4,780-acre camp property.

Two ZBA members are Lyle Monette, chairman of the planning commission and member of the township board who is a defendant in the Boy Scout lawsuit, and Scott Haan, president of the Big Blue Lake Association, who testified against the rezoning at a planning commission hearing and turned in petitions opposed to it bearing 1,900 signatures. The third member is Marilyn Belmer, who has not spoken publicly about the issue.

Two of three members would have to vote in favor of a zoning variance for it to take effect.

Devin Schindler, an attorney representing the Boy Scouts, said a variance request had been prepared for the ZBA a year ago, but township officials had indicated it wasn't necessary. But in court briefs, township attorneys argued it was.

"We don't see this as a setback," Schindler said of Marietti's ruling. "It's an annoyance. It's disappointing the township changed gears in an apparent effort to delay the case. In terms of the overall issues, this is a nonissue."

The Boy Scouts have asked Marietti to set a deadline for the ZBA to consider the request. Marietti is scheduled to consider that request Thursday.

Attorney James Nelson, who represents the township, said there was a "breakdown in communication" over the year-old variance request, not a purposeful attempt to delay the court proceeding. He said township officials believed they had come to an understanding with the Boy Scouts that the variance would be considered once the rezoning request had been decided.

He denied that ZBA members essentially have their minds made up.

"We don't look at it superficially at all," Nelson said. "We'll take a very serious look at it."

Members of the planning commission and township board said they rejected the rezoning because it doesn't fit into the township's master plan and would strain existing infrastructure.

The 95-year-old Owasippe Scout Reservation includes several Boy Scout camps that operate during summers. A largely natural area, the reservation is home to three lakes, a trout stream, rare oak-pine savannas and more than 1,000 species of animals and insects, including several threatened and endangered species.

Marietti has scheduled a bench trial in the Boy Scouts' lawsuit for Aug. 8-10 and Aug. 14-17. It previously had been scheduled for late March.

A similar Boy Scouts lawsuit against the township filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids is on hold until the council exhausts its claims in the state court system.

©2006 Muskegon Chronicle

Posted by blog/owasippe at 9:52 AM CST
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Wednesday, 6 December 2006
Popular Scouter Mantra
Mood:  loud
Topic: CAC Governance Reform

"The name to know is 'Fire-Stone' where the rubber meets the road.'

Posted by blog/owasippe at 11:26 PM CST
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Friday, 1 December 2006
Owasippe to be OPEN in 2007 and 2008
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Celebrate Owasippe
As recently announced by both Reservation Director Greg Lange and Director of Camping Steve Adams, Owasippe WILL BE OPEN in 2008. Site and cabin reservations will be taken in advance during the 2007 summer session. Chicago Area Council is currently entertaining 2007 reservations for sites at Camps Blackhawk and Wolverine as well as the Carlen Venture Base, for Manistee Quest backpacking treks, and for cabins at the Reneker Family Camp and Resort.

Units who have yet to sign up are urged to do so before all the best dates and sites are gone.

Reservation forms are available online at

For general information on Owasippe, go to...

For contemporary information on Owasippe program and current events, go to this Owasippe Ezine:


Posted by blog/owasippe at 9:19 AM CST
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Why Not Have An OKPIK Program at Owasippe?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: Celebrate Owasippe
Nope, Owasippe is NOT too far away, especially if this Winter program is conducted in conjunction with school holidays.

Some program resource websites on this topic:'05.htm

Food for thought! If it is to is up to me? Let's get some feedback from you folks out there to see if there is any interest in hosting this Winter camping training at Owasippe.

In the late 50s and early 60s, it was common for CAC to hold a Winter Camping program on some longer weekends and inbetween Christmas and New Years.

Please send in your opinions and ideas for publishing.

Posted by blog/owasippe at 9:08 AM CST
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Muskegon Judge orders Scouts back to Zoning Board of Appeals
Mood:  loud
Topic: Owasippes Township Zoning
As seen in The White Lake Beacon - 11/19/06
Beacon staff writer

The trial that could decide the fate of the 4,700-acre Camp Owasippe is being pushed to next August as the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts now has to go back and complete the step it skipped in its rush to get the property rezoned for development.

Blue Lake Township has won a decision from a Muskegon County judge to have the trial that may decide the fate of the 4,700-acre Camp Owasippe rescheduled from next March to next August. The Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts sued the township in May over zoning issues at Owasippe, the oldest, continually operating Boy Scout camp in the
country. They want to undo a zoning which limits the property to camp use only and rezone it for residential development.

The trial was originally scheduled to take place next March. It’s now scheduled for Aug. 8, 9, 10, and 14-17 of next year before 14th Circuit Judge William C. Marietti [in Muskegon].

The Chicago Council fought the scheduling change, saying in a response to a motion by Blue Lake Township, that the township was continuing to 'stonewall' the process.

The Chicago Council’s legal offensive is taking three tracks - one in federal court and two in circuit court. The first track, a lawsuit in federal court, has been stayed until there’s an outcome in circuit court.

The second track, which asked for damages from the township, has been dismissed by Marietti. He has essentially said the Chicago Council missed a step by not completing the administrative process at the
township. In other words, they should have gone to the township’s zoning board of appeals (ZBA) to request a variance before coming to court.

James R. Nelson, the attorney representing Blue Lake Township, from the law firm of Nelson, Kreuger & Schrotenboer in Hudsonville, said last week the Chicago Council has submitted an application to the ZBA which will begin now to process it. In its sidestep of the ZBA, Nelson said in court documents that the Chicago Council had ignored Michigan law in its “rush to the courthouse.”

It’s the third track of the Chicago Council’s legal action that will be tried in court in August. The council is claiming the township’s rezoning in 2002 of Owasippe and other properties to FRI, or Forest -
Recreational - Institutional, is discriminatory and unconstitutional. The FRI zoning limits use of the property to camping activity and precludes residential development.

The heavily forested Camp Owasippe, which opened in 1911, celebrated its 95th year of operation this past summer. The camp’s oak-savanna forest is the last of its kind in West Michigan. It’s home to a
variety of endangered and threatened species of wildlife, including the Bald Eagle, Karner Blue Butterfly, Eastern Box Turtle and Massasauga Rattlesnake.

The Chicago Council is claiming the rezoning constitutes an illegal taking of its property. The council needs to overturn the FRI zoning because it has an offer of $19.4 million for Owasippe’s 4,748 acres if the property can be rezoned for residential development. The offer was made in February of last year by Benjamin A. Smith III, chairman and CEO of Macatawa Bank Corp.

The Chicago Council submitted an application to rezone Owasippe in 2004. It wants to divide the property up into lots ranging in size from a quarter acre around the south side of Big Blue Lake, to 10-
acre lots elsewhere on the property.

A public hearing was held this past January where around 400 people, including Scouters opposed to the Chicago Council’s attempt to sell Owasippe, turned out opposing the rezoning. The Blue Lake Township
planning commission and the township board have both turned down the council’s rezoning request. They say their rural township’s fragile infrastructure couldn’t support a residential development which could bring as many as 1,500 homes to the property.

Note: To see the frontpage with photo and caption, click here...

# # #

[ Note: CAC has retained two additional litigators, Douglas Dozeman and Scott Carvo, from the same law firm that Devon Schindler hails from in Grand Rapids to continue to pursue the zoning lawsuit against the Blue Lake Township Community. What price glory? ]

Posted by blog/owasippe at 9:04 AM CST
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Saturday, 18 November 2006
Staff Applications Sought for Owasippe's 2007 Season
Mood:  happy
Topic: Celebrate Owasippe
Chicago Area Council is NOW entertaining applications for ALL staff positions for the 2007 camping season from all interested and qualified individuals regardless of gender or council affiliation. ALL positions are open for review including Warehouse and Trading Post Directors, Program Area Directors, Commissioners, Instructors,
Manistee Quest trek guides, Diamond-O Ranch wranglers, outpost managers, store clerks, counselor-in-training, and other positions. Camps/areas to be staffed are Camps Blackhawk, Wolverine, Carlen, and Reneker as well as High Adventure Outposts and the Manistee Quest.

Greg Lange will be returning as the Owasippe Reservation Director for 2007 and has announced recent selections for key staff positions at Owasippe for next summer, namely:

* Peter Klaeser, Asst Reservation Director
* Marilyn Kulak, Blackhawk Section Camp Director
* Candy Merritt, Reneker Family Camp Director
* Tim Gibbons, High Adventure Director
* Ryan Gust, Wolverine Section Camp Director

The first public staff interviews will be conducted on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 25th, from 9am to 1pm at St Daniel The Prophet Church Hall, 5330 S Nashville, Chicago IL 60638. Subsequent interview dates and locations are to occur as follows:

Interview #2: Saturday, December 9, 9am to Noon, at the CAC Service Center, 1218 W Adams St, Chicago (1/2 Bl west of Racine Ave).

Interview #3: Saturday, January 20, 9am to Noon, at St Bart's Parish Kruger Hall, 4924 W Addison, Chicago (1-1/2 Bl west of Cicero Ave).

Interested staff candidates should apply ASAP and get their paperwork and reference letters in to CAC and should appear in Class-A uniform for their interview. Please take this opportunity to recruit qualified candidates from within your Scouting circles. There can never be enough skilled candidates.

CIT (counselor-in-training) positions are for those who will be of Star Rank, minimum age of 14 by the opening of camp, in the 9th grade, have been a summer camper for at least 3 years, and can get their Scoutmaster's approval plus two other letters of reference. The exceptions to this are for the girls at Camp Reneker who do not have to comply with the rank or Scoutmaster signoffs. Regular Campstaff must be age 16 by the opening day of camp. Some management positions require one to be age 21 or older and have other experience for the job.

Staff application forms can be received by calling the Chicago Area Council camping center at 312-421-8800 x227 or by calling or e-mailing the Co-chairs of the 2006 Owasippe CIT Program, Chauncey and Mary Beth Niziol, at 708-562-4874 or to or to

For more information and forms, you can go to...CAC's website at and open the tabs for "Camping" and then for "Owasippe Scout Reservation", then scroll down... OR go to The
Scarlet Sassafras website page, "Camp Staff and More" at

AND MORE GOOD NEWS...Owasippe will be open in 2008 and will begin taking reservations as the 2007 camping season opens.

Posted by blog/owasippe at 10:01 PM CST
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Thursday, 9 November 2006
Fossett Sailing Base Gets Face Lift and More Boats
Mood:  happy
Topic: Celebrate Owasippe
The Owasippe Staff Association invested more than $5,000 into the rehab and overhaul of Owasippe's aging fiberglass sailing fleet this summer and purchased or had donated another six butterfly sailboats from West Michigan owners along with an assortment of parts. The boats, many of which are 25 years old or older, were in dire need of patching and painting and general upgrades. The 'Blue Lake Yacht Club' now consists of 14 functional boats, mostly Sunfish, with a recent infusion of the more durable and larger Butterflys.

Repair work was performed by Moxie Marine of Whitehall.

Those wishing to contribute to the ongoing Sailing Base Fund may send their tax-deductible donation to the "OSA" c/o P.O. Box 7097, Westchester, IL 60154. The Owasippe Staff Association Inc is an
Illinois Not-for-Profit Corp and is a 501c3 charitable organization.

Where opportunities present themself, funds will be employed to further enhance the fleet so that there is sufficient supply to meet the demands of the Scout campers, many of whom in past years have been turned away from a sailing opportunity for lack of sufficient seaworthy vessels. About 9 boats are already in for repairs for next summer.

Posted by blog/owasippe at 12:47 AM CST
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OWASIPPE...As A Regional Camp?
Mood:  loud
Topic: Celebrate Owasippe
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 provides.

~ 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.]

Posted by blog/owasippe at 12:41 AM CST
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Friday, 25 August 2006
Owasippe Zoning Battle Is Far From Over!
Mood:  bright
Topic: Sale of Scout Camps
August 7, 2006

The Chicago Boy Scouts [CAC] did not exhaust the local appeals of the Blue Lake Township vote. They have avoided an appeal to the Township Zoning Board of Appeals. Instead, the Chicago Scouts have decided to go forth in Circuit Court [Muskegon County] and Federal Court with
separate complaints against the Township. As a matter of fact, the Chicago Boy Scouts filed their court complaints BEFORE THE TOWNSHIP VOTE WAS EVEN TAKEN.

West Michigan residents and local authorities have felt that the Chicago Boy Scouts have been planning for a court fight for a long time, since the very beginning of their attempt to create residential
zoning on the entire Owasippe property. In the very first formal communications with the Township, the Chicago Boy Scouts began their “sabre rattling” about bringing the matter to a judge if the Scouts were denied their request.

The OOEC observes that the current proposed sale by the Chicago Boy Scouts is a continuation of a long-established Boy Scout policy of selling real assets in order to fund their current program operations. In the recent past (about 16 years ago), the Chicago Boy Scouts sold more than 8,000 acres of Owasippe property for residential development. The Chicago Boy Scouts have sold ALL of
their other camp real estate holdings [Hoover, Crete, Valley View, Kiwanis, Dearborn, Harrison, et al ]!

The Owasippe Outdoor Education Center is now even more steadfast in working towards a resolution of the Owasippe property issue. WE STRONGLY SUPPORT THE SALE OF THE OWASIPPE PROPERTY FOR THE
DEVELOPMENT OF A NOT-FOR PROFIT WORLD-CLASS EDUCATION AND RECREATION FACILITY. The OOEC has developed a business plan and assembled partners that make the creation of that facility possible. This facility would continue to offer a location for a Boy Scout summer camp program as well as make the facility available to many other youth organizations of West Michigan and beyond.

Posted by blog/owasippe at 12:01 PM CDT
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