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The Scout Room

By Angel Nuñez

Chances are you have heard your parents, who lived in the 1950’s, refer to the San Pedro Scout Room.  What Scout Room, you might ask?  We do not have any Scouts now nor have we ever had.  Well let me tell you and show you pictures of the famous Scout Room in the 1950’s

First of all why did we have that building?  When the Scouts from Belize City were in the middle of their summer vacations, they used to come to San Pedro for one whole month and did their summer camp in San Pedro.  There were adult Scout leaders like Mr. Balderamos, Brother Jacobi, Mr. Panton, Mr. Waight, Mr. Usher, among a few names I can remember. The Scouts used to be mostly teenagers and a few kids. Not having Scouts in San Pedro, we used to think of them as super heroes. These Scouts used to occupy one of the buildings attached to the Catholic Church located at the same site it is today.  It was a U-shaped building- the one on the south being the church, the middle section was the rectory and kitchen for the priests, and the one on the north end used to be the sleeping quarters for the nuns and the Scouts whenever they spent their summer vacations here.

Apparently the Bishop and the Church organization built this large facility for Scouts and nuns to live comfortably in San Pedro.  For the rest of the year, this building was literally locked up. Under the building, there were canoes, paddles and other equipment stored by the scouts.  As children we used to wonder what mysterious things could be locked up in that room.

Now let me tell you of some scouting activities in San Pedro. There was an early morning flag raising ceremony with the sounding of the bugles and the rattling of drums.  We thought this was like Hollywood and woke up early every day to go watch this stunning event. Then there were days they held a lot of sea races and fun activities.  On some days they held competition of sporting and fun events as well.  This was another spectacle for the village.  At midday, Brother Jacoby used to blow the bugle to announce lunch.  And late evening, the church bell was rung for mass or church service.

One activity that captured everyone’s attention was a night procession that looked like a funeral and it scared the guts out of us children. It was called The Old Man’s Grouch” The Scouts were dressed like African tribesmen or Indians with elaborate headpieces of feathers, and with lit torches paraded through the village and out into the bush. They carried a coffin and there were skulls and bones and flags on it.  Whatever they did there was unknown to us because we used to be too scared to follow.  We were told, however, that they participated in some sort of treasure hunt and mimic warfare African tribal games, thus the reason for the coffin.

The Scouts were a lot of fun in the sleeping quaint fishing village of San Pedro.  The Scout room was brightly lit every night in San Pedro at a time when there was no electricity.  And when they left, it was solitude for the Scout Room would be closed for another long year until the next summer vacation.  How interesting the Scout movement was in San Pedro twenty five years ago!

San Pedro Catholic Church, Rectory and Scout Room

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