Blue Water Healthy Living
Blue Water Area Places

Saving Silver Trails

By Katie Mehlberg

Silver Trials was dedicated November 1st, 1945 and has been a staple in Michigan scouting ever since. This 269.6-acre camp is not only a place radiating family values and life lessons but of rolling landscape, endangered wildflowers flourishing in the woodlands, and their camp trademark, the “Number Nine” sugar maple tree. Inside the acreage of this land resides decades of life long memories; memories of fellowship, prayer, and guidance… with your help, all of this can continue on. The Michigan Crossroads Council (The council set in place after several absorbencies of districts within eastern Michigan scouting) has made it a point to sell this land for their own benefit, after paying in no time or money. They took over this camp, among many, in the merger of 2012, and since then they have been swallowing scout camps one by one… Of the 23 camps taken over by the MCC, 15 of them have been closed or sold, including 1 that was reverted to a Rotary Foundation. Now they are on a fast track to turn a profit yet again. They have lied to the faces of the people in telling them that this “needs” to be done to save the scouts of eastern Michigan. This is, in fact, the opposite of what will happen if this deal goes through. As long as I can remember, this camp has been close to self-sustainability, but more importantly, it has been thriving on scout spirit and pure passion for a cause greater than our own. Isn’t that what it’s all about in the first place? If we lose Silver Trails, we lose more than just 269.6 acres of land…

I am not a Boy Scout, but this camp taught me many things. I watched my brother grow up here; from learning square knots to teaching Tiger Scouts how to tie them. He spent time doing what children in this century can’t do without an opportune place to do so – unplugging and spending time learning lessons to better themselves and those around them. The lessons he learned at Silver Trails made him the Eagle Scout he is today. I volunteered here, learned to shoot here, laughed here, prayed here. I spent family time that cannot be relived on these grounds. Many of my role models, people I look up to years later, poured countless hours into their passion right here – the passion and love in their hearts still radiate through my life to this day. Kevin Koveck – a man who taught me that honor is important, to stand up for what you believe in, no matter what. Jerry Deeg – who taught me I could do anything I set my mind to, and never forget to laugh and love. Cyndi Powell – who taught me to never give up on yourself because people look at you differently for being a woman, you are strong and powerful, period! Karen Stephens – taught me just how important it is to make time for your family! Life lessons I learned just by standing on the grounds of this camp. Life lessons that have taught me more about myself, my country, my faith…

This is more than a camp. This is more than a piece of land. This is a homestead – a living, breathing piece of history. One that proves that it’s about more than the cash in your hand. It’s about love, faithfulness, passion, companionship… it’s about SCOUTS.

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According to the scouts law, a scout is… trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. This camp is where scouts are taught, trained, and sent to be just that. If we lose this camp, we lose an opportunity, unlike any other, to continue raising generations of boys who will learn to be just those things – a scout. 

Memories can’t be relived… but they can continue to be made, if we allow them to be.

This isn’t just land. This is Silver Trails.

This isn’t just money. This is SCOUTS.

Donald Shepard
Scout Executive/CEO
BSA Michigan Crossroads Council
137 S. Marketplace Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48917

Gary Gilger
Deputy Scout Executive
BSA Michigan Crossroads Council

Jane Parikh
Public Relations Manager
BSA Michigan Crossroads Council

Barb Campbell
BSA Michigan Crossroads Council

Christopher Hopkins
Chief Information Officer
BSA Michigan Crossroads Council

Be sure to let your voice be heard on the Petition website.

Katie Mehlberg is a young writer looking to make a difference in the world she is writing in.

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