Brandon Kathman FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sr. District Executive & Operations Marketing Lead 1/10/2023
Michigan Scouts See Membership Boom Post-COVID
Scouting’s local Michigan Crossroads Council saw an unprecedented increase in youth
membership in 2022, registering 9,648 new participants to end the year with over 27,000
Though initially hindered in its operations by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Crossroads
Council, which spans the Lower Peninsula, was well positioned to bounce back, according to
Deputy CEO Gary Gilger.
“Families have spent more time together due to COVID, and so they are now seeking out
programs that can be done as a family,” Gilger said. “Further, Scouting provides youth with the
socialization lost during the pandemic, which is great for child development.”
Gilger said much of the growth has been observed in the Cub Scout program, which serves youth
in elementary school. The council ended 2022 with 1,739 more Cub Scouts than the year prior.
Gilger noted exceptional growth in Cub Scout units in Flint, Pontiac, Port Huron, Detroit and
Dearborn as a result of new outreach efforts to previously underserved communities.
“Building on this success in 2023, there will be a special emphasis on middle and high school-age youth to have growth in our older programs,” Gilger said.
Cubmaster Mikah Wisner of Pack 186 in Lake Orion watched his unit swell from a dozen youth members at the beginning of the year to over 50 participants on Dec. 31. According to Wisner, while it has been a challenge to manage such growth, he has enjoyed seeing so many families interested in participating.
“It’s such a refreshing experience to see the growth of youth and parents wanting to get back out
into nature and learn life skills,” Wisner said. “The parents are understanding how important Scouts can be.”
The Boy Scouts of America National Office announced 3% growth across its 253 local councils
on Jan. 6, or a third of the rate at which Scouting in Michigan is growing.
Picture 1: Interested families attend a Join Scouting Night at Oakside Academy in Waterford.
Picture 2: New Scout Nic Jeffreys poses with his first fish at D-A Scout Ranch in Metamora.
Picture 3: Scouts carry out a first aid drill at Camp Agawam in Lake Orion
Picture 4: Scouts with Waterford Pack 61 march in a holiday parade.
Picture 5: Waterford Pack 61 Scouts pose for a group photograph.
Picture 6: Scouts in Sterling Heights participate in the 2022 Scouting for Food Drive.
Sr. District Executive
Scouts’ Food Drive a Success in Oakland County
Hundreds of local Scouts helped make the 2022 Scouting for Food drive a success, with over
46,000 pounds of food collected for charities in Oakland County alone.
The drive, which is held between November and December across the state, is the Scouts’ largest
service project of the year. According to project coordinator Bob DeWar, over 100 local packs and
troops have taken part so far in 2022.
“While our drive has concluded in Oakland County, we still have food to collect elsewhere in
Michigan,” DeWar said. “With that said, local Scouts have given us a great start.”
Between Nov. 5 and Nov. 13, Scouts distributed special grocery bags to homes across Oakland
County, requesting that they be filled with nonperishable essentials and placed on doorsteps for
pickup. A week later, those same youth returned to collect on behalf of numerous nonprofits.
Much of the food went to drop sites facilitated by Gleaners Community Food Bank.
“Scouts who participate are walking away with a lesson, not just about the need for good deeds,
but also the rewarding feeling that comes with helping your neighbors,” Kevin Lauro, who
supervised a Gleaners drop site in Novi, said.
The Scouts hope to build on the success of the food drive in years to come. DeWar expressed a
hope that 2023 may see new collection sites and partnerships introduced.
“We’re so proud of all that our young people have accomplished so far this year,” DeWar said.
“As a parent, I was able to watch my own son and daughter participate, and that means the world
to me. As we watch each truckload of food arrive at the collection sites, we can also watch our
children learning valuable life lessons.”
The 2022 Scouting for Food initiative will officially conclude with a final collection in the
Thumb, which will occur in December. For more information about local Scouting, including
upcoming events and how to join a unit, visit michiganscouting.org.
Sr. District Executive
Scouts give back with “Great Shoe Shuffle”
Cub Scouts in the Farmington area have collected over 600 pairs of used shoes to support those in
need as part of a drive that will end with a charity run on Nov. 19.
According to the shoe drive’s coordinator, Rachael Ayotte, Scouts have been collecting footwear
since October. Local Pack 45, Pack 179, Pack 226, Pack 231, Pack 263, Pack 362 and Pack 389
all participated in the endeavor.
“This was a great opportunity for our local packs to work with each other and collaborate with
Farmington Public Schools,” Ayotte said. “I know that this success will lead to further
opportunities to bring Scouting to kids in the Farmington area.”
The Cub Scout Packs placed a shoe collection box at each of the nine Farmington Public Schools
elementary buildings. Scouts decorated the boxes and made announcements at school, calling for
donations of new or gently used shoes. The shoes were then collected, sorted and organized by
the Cub Scouts.
On Nov. 9, the Scouts invited those in need to the Maxfield Education Center for a pop-up shop,
where the full selection was available at no cost. Ayotte estimated that about 300 pairs were
“shuffled” to new owners locally. The Scouts delivered the remaining pairs to Soles 4 Souls and
Foster Closet. Any shoes not suitable for reuse were recycled.
“This event allowed Cub Scouts and their families to live out many tenets of the Scout Law,”
Ayotte said. “A Scout is thrifty – keep good shoes out of the landfill.”
The Scouts will gather one more time on Nov. 19 for a run to benefit Soles 4 Souls at East Middle
School, as an anonymous patron has pledged to donate funds for each lap they complete around
“This is what we love to see our Scouts doing for their communities,” Bob DeWar, a field director
with Scouting’s Michigan Crossroads Council, said. “Instilling a spirit of cheerful service in
young people is at the foundation of our mission.”
Lincoln Genslak, Clark Oliver, Sawyer Genslak, Rachael Ayotte, Ellis Mahoney and Henry Bristow
Eddie Carson, Clay Carson, Benjamin Mortlock and Sam Mortlock
Over 600 pairs of shoes wait to be claimed by new owners
Sr. District Executive
Scouting for Food returns to Oakland County
Scouts across Oakland County are getting ready for this year’s Scouting for Food event, a
nonperishable food drive set to begin during the first weekend of November.
The Scouting for Food initiative, which is carried out in partnership with Gleaners Community
Food Bank, utilizes thousands of Scouts across the region in collecting essentials. These are then
distributed through the Gleaners network of charities. During the 2021 drive, Scouts collected over
112,000 pounds of food, though local organizers feel confident that this year’s drive will exceed
For Clarkston Troop 189, the drive represents a proud yearly tradition. Assistant Scoutmaster
Dennis Weaver explained that cheerful service is an essential element of the Scouting program,
and the project represents a great opportunity to encourage a spirit of volunteerism in younger
“I hope the Scouts will gain a better understanding of how easy it is to do something nice for
someone else,” Weaver said. “Our Oath calls for us to help other people at all times.”
According to project coordinator Bob DeWar, the Scouts will distribute special bags to homes
across the county on Nov. 5, requesting that residents leave donations on their doorsteps for
pickup in one week. Scouts will then revisit those houses on Nov. 12 to retrieve bags filled with
canned goods, cereal, pasta, peanut butter, juice and other items in high demand, DeWar said.
DeWar expressed high hopes for the drive in Scouting’s local districts, as units in Oakland County
are among the fastest growing in the state of Michigan. In north Oakland County’s Pontiac-Manito
District alone, as many as 300 newly registered Scouts may participate in the drive for the first
“Our local districts have experienced unprecedented growth in the last two months,” DeWar said.
“With more active Scouts than we have had since before the pandemic, we believe this drive could
be our largest in many years.”
Additional information about the drive can be found at:
Scouting for Food
Brandon Kathman For Immediate Release:
Operations Marketing Lead 8/9/2022
Scouting’s local Michigan Crossroads Council has announced it will provide free fishing poles for
all who join its programs between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, a giveaway they believe will make new
youth feel even more welcome in the organization.
“The ‘Hooked on Scouting’ initiative will equip scouts for their first of many adventures in
Scouting,” Director of Field Service Aaron Craig said. “Fishing has always been a popular activity
at our camps, especially for our Cub Scout families.”
According to Craig, registrants will receive their pole once a membership application is received
and receipted. The Michigan Crossroads Council welcomes both boys and girls in its five
programs: Cub Scouts (ages 5-11), Scouts BSA (ages 11-18), Venturing (ages 14-21), Sea Scouts
(ages 14-21) and Exploring (ages 14-21).
The council has secured a supply of 6,000 Zebco rod and reel combos, though they anticipate
placing a second order to resupply before the initiative concludes. Scouting in Michigan already
experienced a surge in new membership during the spring, registering almost 2,000 new
participants by June 30.
“We are so excited to continue growing our movement this fall,” Craig said. “Scouting offers
unparalleled opportunities for young people as well as their families. Many organizations will take
children camping, but we empower them as the future leaders of this nation."
Much of the council’s growth is concentrated in its Cub Scout program, which serves elementary-
age children and is intended to develop foundations in leadership, citizenship, and personal fitness
through family activities. According to Craig, the fishing pole giveaway coincides with the
beginning of the Cub Scout program year, an opportune time for new youth to join.
Craig suggested that interested families seek out “Join Scouting Nights,” which are often
promoted through local elementary schools. Alternatively, information and contact information for
local units can be found at beascout.org.
; summer camp
Brandon Kathman For Immediate Release:
Operations Marketing Lead 7/26/2022
Cub Scout Day Camp returns to Agawam
Cub scouts from across southeastern Michigan returned to Orion Township’s Camp Agawam for
Day Camp in late July, more than doubling the attendance of the event in 2021.
“This is a milestone to be proud of as we build this thing back up after COVID,” Keegan
Springfield, a field director for Scouting’s local Michigan Crossroads Council, said.
Over 100 elementary-age youth participated in this year’s “wild west” themed camp, along with
their siblings and parents. Twenty-four older youth staff from the Scouts BSA program also
supervised the games and activities. Many have volunteered to put on the program for years.
“I like to staff Day Camp because I get to meet people from different troops in the area,” Nick
McKinnon, 14, said. “I remember when I was a Cub Scout, and the staff made Day Camp a lot
Scouts learned how to make paper, shot BB guns and tried to “herd” beach balls. Other summer
mainstays like swimming and fishing also featured. Several scouts caught their first fish on
Tommy’s Lake, and one excited youth attested that a large fish had snapped his pole.
The increase in Day Camp attendance coincides with a marked growth in membership of the
national organization during 2022. With 35,789 more youth in the summer of 2022 than the
previous year, the Boy Scouts of America is outpacing its own projections. The growth is most
apparent in the Cub Scout program, which experienced a spike of 15.5% more active youth.
Cub Scouts teaches young people grades K-5 perseverance and develops their problem-solving
abilities, according to the Boy Scouts of America. It allows youth to develop foundations in
leadership, citizenship, and personal fitness through fun activities involving parents and guardians.
To learn more about local Scouting, visit beascout.org or call the local office at (947) 886-5736.
A Cub Scout pulls a fish from Tommy’s Lake Campers participate in a team-building exercise
Theo Foss jokingly “rides” a pool noodle horse Campers “herd” beach balls