LAKE ORION, Mich. - For years, Camp Agawam was the summer getaway for Boy Scout troops in Metro Detroit. But now the camp will sit empty for the immediate future.
Parents recently received notice of the closing -- and Agawam is not alone.
Walking through Camp Agawam brings back memories to hundreds of scouts including Jim Huttenlocher, a Boy Scout volunteer.
"I remember with my kids singing songs, silly songs, to keep the kids and the parents calm during that period of time," he said. "Teaching the kids emergency preparedness telling them Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts is a lot of fun."
While Boy Scout season is over this, low participation and a shrinking budget means Agawam will remain empty in 2013.
"This decision was agonizing," Huttenlocher said. "We knew we had to do it from a financial standpoint but we also knew we had to do it for the kids to give them the best experience possible."
Three camps -- Agawam, Lake Scout Reservation and Paul Bunyan Scout Camp -- will completely close starting Jan. 1. Four resident Boy Scout camps will remain open. The rest will be open on weekends.
"When you look at the total available youth -- we're close to 400,000 of available youth that we're not serving right now, " said Richard Fischer, a scout executive.
Even on hard times, as a volunteer Eagle Scout Huttenlocher knows this always will be a tradition which so many families will continue to cherish.
"I'm living proof of that," he said. "I did it with my dad and now I'm doing it with my kids. They are so many dedicated volunteers that are living the program on a daily basis."
Recent headlines of sex scandals within the Boy Scouts of America program is not helping participation. However, that is not why leaders say they are closing camps in Michigan.
The plan is to consolidate camps and rebuild the programs to make them better and stronger.
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