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Posted on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan lists 55-acre Camp Crawford for sale

By Kody Klein

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan is selling its 55-acre site at 8483 Crane Road, in York Township, in the southeast area of Washtenaw County.

Mary Flegal, president of GSHOM’s board of directors, said the board approved the sale of Camp Crawford in November. The camp reportedly had been losing money since 2008 and an evaluation found that the ongoing cost of maintaining Camp Crawford was no longer feasible.

In 2012, the camp cost GHSOM $40,000 in maintenance, while it generated $5,000 in revenue.

"The cost of keeping the camp open for business far outweighs the actual use of the property,” said Matt Bates, chief information and property manager for GSHOM. “In addition, there are no opportunities to expand the facility.”

The camp will be listed with Bill Milliken of Milliken Realty at an asking price of $850,000.

The property has a main lodge that can accommodate 60 people. The lodge has kitchen facilities, an attached apartment and a maintenance shed.

The property also features a cluster of small cabins and a "bat house" that provides shelter for thousands of bats.

“This is truly a unique property,” said Joyce Blomgren, GSHOM board member.

Flegal said proceeds from the sale will be used to increase the amount and variety of programming and services provided by GSHOM to the 34 counties it serves, where more than 20,000 girls are scouts and more than 5,000 adults are volunteers.

"There is a great deal of history with these camps and we will be asking those with fond memories of Camp Crawford to share those memories in a way that can be captured and preserved," Blomgren said.

Jane Parikh, the group's communications specialist, said GSHOM hasn't yet decided how it will collect and share those testimonies.

GSHOM has nine other camp properties, two of which, Camp Linden and Camp O' The Hills, are less than an hour away from Camp Crawford.

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Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 4:57 p.m.

These closures are happening all over the country and are being encouraged by GSUSA in their push to rebrand the organization into the Premier Leadership Program for Girls, which for the new leadership does not seem to include traditional camping. We are banding together across the country to put a stop to this before GSUSA self-destructs. Please log-on to our website at for the latest news, and to connect the dots in the push for Girl Scout camp closures and legal proceedings. Also please sign the new petition calling for an investigation into the GSUSA pension mess and the link to camp closures at:


Sun, May 26, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

The sale of property is being directed by GSUSA and weak boards are being smoke-screened by CEOs who just want to please the mother ship and are not focused on the membership and most importantly the girls. Demand to see your council's financials. As a non-profit, this information must be provided to the membership. There are lawsuits all over the country against the councils for trying to sell off their assets. Follow the money and you will find the "real" reasons for the divesting of beloved camp properties.


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.

I find it interesting that they point to revenue and low usage numbers as reasons to get rid of this camp. Two years ago when the on-site Camp Director had to move out of state, there was no effort to replace him. Thus, no active marketing or on-going, consistent planning of GS events at this location. Of course use of the property will diminish. Girl Scout leadership is a constant ebb and flow of local volunteers who need continuous up-to-date information about facilities available to them for use. If the only name they ever hear is 'Linden' then that is obviously where everyone will gravitate. Another contributing factor may be the absence of consistently available training for leaders in this area. It took me 4 years to be able to get the training that GS requires me to have to take my girls camping at this location. Even then I had to give in and take a day and half off work and go to a weekend workshop, almost an hour away. At least then my co-leader and I could get most of it done at once. Now it looks like we will have to 1-2 hours away, for our remaining Outdoors courses. How would you expect leaders and troops to be utilizing this great and easily accessible Campground in our own backyard, when the higher-ups in council all but ignore it themselves? This is an extremely frustrating turn of events, my troop and my daughter will all miss the Day Camp. They were really looking forward to getting older and getting to be PA's there :(

Harvey Bat

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 3:43 a.m.

The current leadership of GSHOM couldn't manage its way out of a paper bag. As dismal as the lack of leadership is at the CEO level, the board of directors is really to blame for allowing this travesty of Girl Scouting to go on for four plus years. The board members have abdicated their fiduciary responsibility and must be held accountable for allowing top management to run the organization into the ground. Let's see: purchase a car dealership surrounded by tons of asphalt next to I-94 for a "program center" and sell a beautiful, well-loved local camp (that has been all but ignored by GSHOM management) to meet the mortgage payments. Sounds like *using resources wisely* to me. Too bad the tradition and heritage of four generations of Ann Arbor Girl Scouting is for sale. Why is staff turnover at nearly 75 percent in four years? Why are volunteers quitting? Why doesn't do an investigative series on what has happened to Girl Scouting here? Do some digging,!


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Correction to my comment, I ment to say they didnot offer information on their website on "who they are" and didnot offer financials.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Strange that their website does offer information about who they are or who is in charge or even their financial. Shouldn't non profit organizations be required to post their financial reports or make them available should a potential donor wish to see how they are handling their money? Neither is made available on their web site, but if you go to the web site of the Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan - you will find both! Are they hiding something? What is the deal Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan?


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 9:59 p.m.

Well... this is very disappointing and sad news! This is a beautiful camp site that offered hundreds of girls & adults camping & training opportunities every year. A site with so much potential that was never recognized by those who could have allowed great things to happen. Thank-you to all those fellow Girl Scouts that I had the opportunity to work with and meet along the way. These people put their heart & soul into creating and offering amazing experiences for girls. Those memories will be cherished for years to come!


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

It looks as though there are others out there that are concerned about this council and where it is headed. In the 5+ years that have passed since the merger took place and the current CEO was hired, the council struggled and it still seems to be struggling. With the sale of the building in Ann Arbor, this will be the third property that has been sold, all in the same geographical area. While there are other camps, Camp Crawford was in a GREAT geographical geological area and could have been an excellent resource for girls if marketed properly. Some staff and many volunteers as well as donors worked hard to attempt to create a sustainable environmental educational program and camp center for girls, however, this camp always seemed to come in last, while other camps were still moving ahead. One can't help but question the intentions and decisions of the CEO and her board. It would be interesting to find out the maintenance cost of the rest of the camps. Like the others here, I too wonder about the money that was taken in for the boardwalk planks that were part of the initial plan of the bat house project, which was never completed. Does council have to pay that back? I feel sorry for the donor that gave the large sum of money to do this project. I also agree with a few other comments here that, if selling this camp is a way to cover the operating expenses, with the economy as it is, is this a step in the right direction or will be see the sale of more assets? While they still have 9 other properties in the council area of 30 counties, there are only 2 that are located at a distance of less than 2 hours away, depending on your location. Geographically, there are two camps way up north that are a about 7 miles apart. I wonder what the difference in income vs revenue was out there? Just my two cents... from a long time member. PS Does anyone know why GSHOM doesn't give out an annual report of the council's operations like Huron Valley did to the members?


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:54 a.m.

How many girl scouts per year did that property serve? To me, it's the value to the girls , rather than solely the cost of maintenance as a "guide" or determining factor for continuing / discontinuing. Another way to approach this is the answer to the question: will any girl scouts be deprived of the opportunity to attend a camp because of Crawford's closing?


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

There has been a large day camp held at Crawford for many decades. The camp fee for this camp was low so all girls could afford to attend and from this fee, council received a portion. So because the property is up for sale, over 200 girls will not be able to attend camp this year without driving for over an hour. Many families used this day camp, because it was local and they were able to drop the girls off and go on to work.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:36 a.m.

Total irresponsible board and CEO. Don't be fooled, the money is more likely going to fund their new building in Ypsilanti. How much longer can GSHOM survive under the current "leadership?"

Jason S

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 2:30 a.m.

Well said.

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

didn't know there was a girl scout camp over there.

Luke Powell

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:57 p.m.

I suspected something like this might happen. GSHOM has not been good for the Ann Arbor clusters. I completed my Eagle Project on this site, a trailcase down the "Rainbow Mountain" campsite. Hopefully the new owners will value, maintain and utilize both my trailcase and the Bat house.

michael Limmer

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Hopefully some non profits can join together to keep the place as a camp for youth. This could be a great opportunity for some forward thinking people and NPO's.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Sell more cookies!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

"In 2012, the camp cost GHSOM $40,000 in maintenance, while it generated $5,000 in revenue" I would like to see the breakdown of these maintenance costs. I know for a fact that they haven't put any money into this camp in years. The only thing that was done at the camp for the last two years was mowing. All the trimming of the trails and roads to make them passable was done by volunteers. The majority of the cost for the "bat house" that provides shelter for thousands of bats," was donated by a long time volunteer and the Girl Scout Council still needs to account for the donations that were accepted for personalized planks for the boardwalk to the bat house that never materialized. It is truly a shame to lose this camp. It was used by many troops and was a great spot for day camp in the summer. Maybe the Girl Scout Council should follow the girl scout law and use resources wisely! I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

Will the proceeds go to a trust fund? I'm worried that this lump sum asset will get spent to cover poor management of regular operations instead of balancing spending and fund raising.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

This seems like a case of missed opportunity: GSHOM only generates $5,000/year from the site? Could its use not be leveraged a little to preserve the asset, or is the sale really about generating $800K cash to cover for other budget challenges?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

I am not sure of what, but there are probably some restrictions as to what the GSHOM - a non-profit organization - can do as far as renting this out for profit. To the best of my knowledge it is used only for Girls Scout activities; hence the low income. While the distance is quite good, at 55 acres and no lake it really doesn't have much attraction for summer use except as a day camp or week-end type stuff. Other than summer you are limited pretty much to just the one lodge. This combines to severely limit its income potential for scout usage. Also, since the merger of councils a few years ago, troops in the Ann Arbor area have access to many other camps (the article says 9) that weren't available to them before. Most of them are larger and have more opportunities than Crawford. Of course, they are not as close. I guess its is a sign of the times - everything has to be bigger and (theoretically at least) better.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

Something does not add up with the financials. $5000 in revenue per year? That is a lack of marketing the facility more than anything else. This facility is in a good enough location that it could bring in $5000 in a weekend if they wanted to, not just $5,000 per year. There is much more that this camp property could be used for than just girl scout camp opportunities. I'm sure there are plenty of organizations that would be willing to rent a 60 person main lodge for weeknight or weekend events. I also agree with Kyle Mattson that this could be turned into a campground. I don't know exactly what facilities are offered, but being a scout camp I'm sure it has some appeal as a campground.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

Why doesn't Ann Arbor buy it to add to the Greenbelt? :)

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

Actually, I know this may sound crazy thinker, but I'm wondering what readers would think if that property being turned into a privately or publicly operated campground. It appears to have great freeway accessibility just off of the Willis Road exit and is only 20 minutes from downtown Ann Arbor. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only other campground in the area is at Pinckney State Rec Area.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

It's not a good strategy to sell assets to fund current operations. Then again, putting this up for sale doesn't mean anyone will buy it.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

Aw, that's too bad, but I understand the decision if they're losing that much money on the place. I remember camping there with my Girl Scout troop in the 80's. We always just did tent camping there, though. I don't remember ever seeing a lodge or cabins. Hopefully Camp Linden sticks around. I participated in a lot of summer camp programs there.