1956 at Highland State Recreation Area: The 1st ever Girl Scouts of the USA Senior Roundup


In 2017 the Friends of Highland Recreation Area formally began what we know will be a great relationship with the Girl Scouts of the United States or America after we learned in 2016 of the amazing history of the Scouts at Highland Recreation Area that began with the first ever Girl Scouts Senior Roundup at which was held at the Park in 1956.


Press Release
White Lake, Michigan
August, 2017

1956 Girl Scout Roundup Commemoration to be Held at the Haven Hill Festival in White Lake, Michigan

The Friends of Highland Recreation Area volunteers are pleased to announce the commemoration of the first-ever Girl Scout Senior Roundup which was held at Michigan’s Highland State Recreation Area in 1956. Scouts and their Leaders from all 48 states and the territories of Alaska and Hawaii traveled by plane, train, bus, and automobile to attend the 12-day gathering from June 29 to July 10, 1956.  Ten other countries from around the world were also represented at the giant multi-day campout. 


On Saturday, August 26, 2017, at 1:00 pm EST, a special commemorative informational sign created with the assistance of the MotorCities organization of the National Park Service, will be unveiled at the Park during the 2017 Haven Hill Festival. Girl Scouts young and old are encouraged to attend the Festival to learn of and recall the memories of one of the organizations’ most significant outdoor gatherings. The ceremony is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend.


In preparation for the 1956 Roundup, an enormous one square mile encampment was created on the land of the former Edsel and Eleanor Ford Haven Hill Estate within the Highland State Recreation Area with the help of the United States 5th Army. The military troops built roads, assembled large tents, installed shower facilities, and even erected a press tent. The hundreds of large and small tents and other US Army-constructed facilities resembled a small city with water pipes and electrical power, telephone lines, food facilities, and even a small hospital for the over 6,000 Girl Scouts, their Leadership, guests, and visiting dignitaries. 


The Roundup impacted the lives of thousands of Scouts and their families for generations to come. The Scouts formed new and long-lasting friendships by sharing their personal backgrounds and the histories of their home communities. They traded and collected special hand-crafted mementos from their home towns at a giant “swaps” tent. Several giant gala assemblies during the Roundup gathered the thousands of girls together to listen to educational speeches and enjoy entertainment such as live music, theatrical performances, and dance. At Roundup’s end, the Scouts’ collections of life lessons, souvenirs, and memories where taken back with them to their homes and shared around the United States and the World. 

'56 Patch.gif

An informative display of re-printed original photographs telling the story of the 1956 Roundup event will be on display at this years’ Haven Hill Festival on Saturday, August 26 from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm in the Goose Meadow festival tent. 

The Haven Hill Festival is an alcohol-free outdoor family event held yearly at Highland State Recreation Area in White Lake, Michigan. In addition to the Scouts Ceremony, this year’s Festival will include summer foods and beverages, live brass band music, a barbershop quartet, a vintage base ball exhibition game, a fundraising Commemorative Brick Sale at the Gate House and an Antiques and Collectibles Sale at the Edsel Ford Barn. Proceeds from the food, beverage, and fundraising sales provide funding for the Friends group to continue their renovations of the remaining Edsel and Eleanor Ford Haven Hill structures and properties.

The Highland State Recreation Area is located at 5200 Highland Road (M-59) White Lake, Michigan, 48383. (248) 889-3750. Admission is with your Michigan Recreation Passport status on your vehicle license plate.
For more information go to www.fohravolunteers.org.

Article Contact: Jay Fitzgerald, Secretary, Friends of Highland Recreation Area. Ph.: (248) 494-8919