2012-07-05 / News

Boy Scouts ‘serve’ Mackinac

Hiawathaland Boy Scouts recently embarked on a journey to the 2012 Mackinac Island Service Camp and Governor’s Honor Guard. Above, members of the flag detail return after raising their flags at the “Avenue of Flags” entrance into Fort Mackinac.Courtesy photoHiawathaland Boy Scouts recently embarked on a journey to the 2012 Mackinac Island Service Camp and Governor’s Honor Guard. Above, members of the flag detail return after raising their flags at the “Avenue of Flags” entrance into Fort Mackinac.Courtesy photoMACKINAC ISLAND – Fifty Boy Scouts from across the U.P. recently participated in the 2012 Mackinac Island Service Camp and Governor’s Honor Guard. Scouts of the Mackinac Island Service Camp operate in conjunction with the Michigan State Park personnel, serving as guides throughout historic Fort Mackinac.

Every summer, Mackinac Island State Park service accommodates up to 56 Michigan Boy and Girl Scouts and their leaders for their respective week of service. These scouts serve the state as the Mackinac Island Governor’s Honor Guard.

The program began in 1929, when the State Park Commission invited eight Eagle Scouts, including young Gerald Ford, to serve as honor guards for the Michigan governor. In 1974, the program was expanded to include Girl Scouts. The program is popular, selective, and a long standing tradition. Scouts raise and lower twenty-two flags on the island, serve as guides, and complete volunteer service projects during their stay.

Scouts on Mackinac stayed busy with guide duty, barracks duty, service project duty, or a myriad of activities. Scouts could also go biking, swimming at the Grand Hotel, go shopping downtown, explore the island and more.

All activities were done with a “buddy”, or as a patrol activity such as patrol bike ride around the island.

While on Mackinac, Scouts had the opportunity to earn Merit Badges and Rank advancements. This year, the Mackinac Island 2012 contingent was proud to award over 30 Merit Badges and a couple rank advancements. Mackinac 2012 was also proud to have Aaron Radlicki of Troop 414 Escanaba, pass his Board of Review for the rank of Eagle Scout, while serving Mackinac Island.

This year, the Hiawathaland contingent was again hosted by Troop 411 of Escanaba, with Craig Woerpel serving as Scoutmaster. The contingent was youth-led by the Senior Patrol Leader Cameron Gitzlaff of Troop 16 and his youth leaders.

The Scouts participating in the Service Camp were also required to attend training sessions prior to their deployment to the island. The training included everything from learning detailed information about guide duties, marching practice, flag raising and lowering and folding, to simply sleeping in the barracks.

The Mackinac Island Service Camp and Honor Guard program is funded locally, with most coming from the Scouts’ registration fees. Donations for the upcoming Mackinac Island Service 2013 Camp can be made by contacting Patty Woerpel at (906) 280-2375.

Scouts interested in participating in Mackinac Island Service Camp 2013 should contact Craig Woerpel at craig@upscouting.org.

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