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Tag Archive | "En-Gedi youth center"



Last week we ran article reporting that former Survivor contestant Michael Skupin had been arraigned on multiple felony charges, including possession of child pornography and racketeering. We also noted that the Michigan native had been here in Cedar Springs five years ago to give an inspirational presentation to youth and their parents at the En Gedi Youth Center. We included a photo showing him at En Gedi.

We referenced that appearance in the story because many would remember it, and used that photo because it was the one we had. Skupin is the contestant on Survivor that fell in the fire and burned his hands so badly that skin was peeling off. He said that doctors told him that the way his hands healed was a miracle. He attributed it to God.

The En Gedi board wants the public to know that no children were alone with Skupin at any time during  his presentation, and that they have had no contact with him since his appearance here five years ago. En Gedi was one of many Christ-centered organizations that Skupin spoke to.

In no way did the Post mean to infer that there was any kind of connection between Skupin and En Gedi beyond that appearance.

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Former Survivor contestant arraigned on felony charges

Michael Skupin is shown here with En Gedi after his talk five years ago.

Michael Skupin is shown here with En Gedi after his talk five years ago.

Michael Skupin charged with possession of child pornography, racketeering

Five years ago this week, former Survivor contestant Michael Skupin was a guest speaker at Cedar Springs’ En Gedi Youth Center, where he shared his inspirational story with 120 kids and parents. Many remember him as the man who passed out and fell into the fire on live TV and was medivaced by helicopter to a hospital in Australia.

Earlier this week, Skupin was arraigned on a dozen felony charges. Michigan State Attorney General Schuette charged Skupin, 54, of Oakland County, with six counts of possession of Child Sexually Abusive Materials (a four-year felony), five counts of Larceny by Conversion (a five-year felony), and one count of Racketeering-Conducting a Criminal Enterprise (a 20-year felony) for his role in allegedly running and promoting a Ponzi scheme.

Not only did this man rob people of their hard earned savings with his financial scams but he victimized innocent children every time he looked at a piece of child pornography,” said Schuette. “This man seems to have no concept or caring for right and wrong and will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law for these horrific crimes.”

An investigation began into Skupin after victims from his alleged Ponzi scheme contacted a local news reporter. It is alleged that Michael Skupin recruited investors and friends to take part in his “gifting scheme” called Pay It Forward. Victims allegedly made $10,000 cash investments in the scheme. Their money would then cycle through a chart in which participants were eventually paid out of other new investors’ money. The scheme was discovered when eventually there were no new investors signing and most people in the scheme lost all of their money.

Skupin’s laptop was searched in conjunction with the Ponzi scheme investigation. During the search, investigators discovered images of underage children in sexual situations. The images are alleged to belong to Skupin.

Skupin was arraigned Friday, February 5, 2016 in 52-2 District Court in Clarkston before Magistrate Daniel Schuman. Bond was set at $350,000. If bond is met, Skupin must wear a GPS tether, cannot have any unsupervised visits with children or leave the state. Skupin will next appear in court for a pre-exam conference on Friday, February 19, 2016 at 9 a.m.

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En Gedi auction a big success

Guests browse auction items at the En Gedi silent auction.

Guests browse auction items at the En Gedi silent auction.

Cedar Springs High School hosted the one and only fundraiser of the year for En Gedi youth center Friday, March 21, and people in the community responded both with their presence and with their pocketbooks.

Approximately 150 people attended this year’s big event, which included a silent auction with over 145 items, and 10 bigger items were in the live auction. A money machine and dice game allowed the guests to have some fun. The excitement continued while enjoying the delicious appetizers.

According to Sue Wolfe, the goal for the auction was to make $12,500, to maximize the matching gift from CS Manufacturing. They surpassed that goal by $5,000. Kevin Pike, Co-Chair of the event, reported earnings of $17,794 from the auction, ticket sales, and raffles, plus the $12,500 match from C S Manufacturing, which brought them to $30,294.00 earned for En Gedi in one night.

Guests enjoyed an array of delicious appetizers.

Guests enjoyed an array of delicious appetizers.

“The En Gedi Team is grateful to our community who graciously donated the items and then to our attendees who generously gave,” said Pike. “We know they saw it as more than as a donation for an item, but as a lasting investment in our people’s lives.”

Wolfe was excited to see they exceeded their goal. “Our annual budget is $28,000 so this will allow us to expand on our high school programs and special events,” she explained.


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On tap this weekend

You don’t want to miss these events coming up Friday and Saturday!

On Friday, May 13, at 7 p.m., En-Gedi youth center, meaning a Place to Be Refreshed, will host its first ever “Come Be Refreshed – Special Event” in the Cedar Springs High School. This is a free community event with a dessert buffet/cook-off providing sweet treat samples for guests to enjoy. Area catering and restaurant owners will be vying for guest’s votes in hopes of being named the “2011 En-Gedi Best Dessert Cup Winner.” A silent auction will be held for items such as two tickets to a Taylor Swift Concert, one ton of wood pellets, guided turkey hunt, two desktop computer, monitor, and software, Amish quilts, two bikes, a leather relaxation recliner, one-night stay at the W. W. Lodge, MSU autographed basketball, and many more great items. The evening will conclude in the auditorium with some exceptional music from local musicians as well as hearing from some students and Pastor Holloway. Proceeds go to support the youth center. Visit the En-Gedi website to learn more and/or make a donation (Pay Pal) www.En-GediYouthCenter.com.
On Saturday, May 14, come celebrate the grand reopening of the Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Drive, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Birds-eye Treasure Hunt has been canceled, but residents are still welcome to come out and explore the nature trails and enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the Red Pine Interpretive Center, where lunch will be available for $5. The Howard Christensen Nature Center occupies 135 acres owned by the Kent Intermediate School District and is located west of Cedar Springs in the middle of the Rogue River State Game Area. To make a donation, or to get more information, call (616) 675-3158.

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