From ScoutingNews:

Two councils in Michigan and Wisconsin have voted to merge together. The Hiawathaland Council in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Bay-Lakes Council in Wisconsin. There will not be a new council created, instead they will keep the Bay-Lakes Council moniker. In November of 2011, nine councils in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan merged into a single Greater Michigan Council. Merging councils increase the resources available to youth, but may have an unforeseen consequences.

I’m not sure how surprising this is from the standpoint that Hiawathaland was being consolidated much like the rest of Michigan, but that they elected instead to join Bay Lakes – a plan that I had heard floated long ago now when Three Harbors first began its talks, but given that they are our neighbors, wasn’t much on our radar screen recently.

Bay Lakes is a great council to join. While absolutely huge in area, it has some of the best Scouting volunteers I know amongst its ranks. Those in the UP have chosen their partner well. How they will be able to distribute their resources, and maintain their properties, will be quite a challenge for them.

It’s no secret that other local councils are also facing challenges, while more mergers loom on the horizon. The Northwest Suburban Council recently enacted new activity fees and changed its senior leadership. Those kinds of changes often mean that fewer youth will participate, and it becomes a tough cycle to break. What little things can we do in our Council to improve how Scouting is perceived? We need to offer a better value – more fun, better communities, for an ever shrinking piece of the pie.

We’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts on these mergers – heck, you’ve just been through one.