Scouting in Puerto Rico
Scouting in Puerto Rico has a long history, from the 1920s to the present day, serving both boys and girls. Troops, Venturing Crews and Sea Scouting units are part of the Boy Scouts of America, for both boys and girls, or the Girl Scouts of the USA, for girls. Several campsites are owned and maintained by these organizations.
Boy Scouting in Puerto Rico today
Puerto Rico Council
|Concilio De Puerto Rico|
Puerto Rico Council shoulder patch
Puerto Rico Council
|Owner||Boy Scouts of America|
|Headquarters||405 Esmeralda Ave, Suite 102
Guaynabo, Puerto Rico 00969-4482
|Council Commissioner||Virginia García|
|Scout Executive||Oscar Santoyo (interim)|
Puerto Rico Council official website
Puerto Rican Boy Scouting is served by the Puerto Rico Council or Concilio De Puerto Rico of the Boy Scouts of America. Originally founded in 1927 as the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Council and part of the Northeast Region of the Boy Scouts of America, but the Virgin Islands District was separated into a new Virgin Islands Council in 1965.
Thousands of youth and volunteers participate in four programs, Cub Scouting, Boy Scouts, Venturing and Sea Scouting, with the mission of preparing youth to make correct choices ethically and morally for their future by learning the Scout Law and Scout Promise.
Puerto Rico is the only council of the BSA where the Spanish translation is in primary usage. The Scout Law, or Ley del Escucha, in Spanish is:
A Scout is: - Un Escucha es:
- Trustworthy - Honrado
- Loyal - Leal
- Helpful - Servicial
- Friendly - Amigable
- Corteous - Cortés
- Kind - Bondadoso
- Obedient - Obediente
- Cheerful - Alegre
- Thrifty - Ahorrativo or Economico
- Brave - Valiente
- Clean - Limpio
- Reverent - Reverente
Geographic divisions include six districts:
- Arasibo District, based in Arecibo, it covers the north and central part of Puerto Rico, from Quebradillas to Vega Baja.
- Borikén District, based in Caguas, it covers the east part of Puerto Rico, from Aibonito to Ceiba.
- Caribe District, based in Ponce, it covers the south part of Puerto Rico from Yauco to Patillas.
- Guaitiao District, based in San Juan, it covers the northeast part of Puerto Rico, from Guaynabo to Fajardo.
- Majagua District, based in Bayamón it covers the north-northeast part of Puerto Rico from Vega Alta to Bayamón.
- Yagüeka District, based in Mayagüez, it covers the West part of Puerto Rico, from Isabela to Cabo Rojo.
|Guajataka Scout Reservation|
|Owner||Puerto Rico Council|
San Sebastián, Puerto Rico
Guajataka Scout Reservation is the Puerto Rico Council's camp reservation, it is on the northwest part of the island, at San Sebastián by Guajataca Lake. Camp Guajataka, or "Santuario de Amistad" (Sanctuary of Friendship), is where the Scouts learn how to care for nature and preserve it.
1938 marked the inauguration of Guajataka Scout Reservation, Puerto Rico's main camp center. It is located in the municipality of San Sebastian and on the shores of Guajataca Lake, from which the Camp takes its name. Since then the Camp has evolved, and has seen many changes both in structure and program.
Scouts and Scouters that visit are lodged in one of the 11 campsites areas of the Camp. These campsites feature a series of wood shelters that house its campers. Some campsites have very simple names (such as Campsite A, B, C, D and M), while others are named in honor of distinguished figures (Paquito Joglar and Manolin) or are named based on location, flora or physical characteristics (SP or Swimming Pool Campsite area, Palomar, Cobana Negra). The council is in the process of assigning Taíno indian names to the A, B, C, D and M areas.
The camp's operations are divided into two seasons, Summer and Christmas. The main program is presented during the summer, in which ten weeks are divided for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venture Scouts. During the Christmas season a single week summarizes the summer's offerings, and it is open for Cub and Boy Scouts alike. A short three to four day camp has also been offered during Spring Break with a similar program to the one offered during the Christmas camp. The camp also operates off-season for special troop activities or external groups that wish to experience the outdoor spirit of the reservation.
Guajataka is the official home of the council's Order of the Arrow lodge. Most of Yokahu Lodge's activities are celebrated in the camp, and for years the order has given service to the facilities. The OA has its own campsite, called "The Cabin". This campsite is currently closed, due to structural damages, but it's scheduled to re-open after some modifications. In the past, the Paquito Joglar campsite area was considered the official gathering place for the lodge, but it became a campers area due to the need of space for the many Scouts that attended camp in summer.
The staff of the camp are structured based on Scouting's patrol system. These patrols are based on different specialization areas in the camp's program. The current patrols are known as Program Aide (Scoutcraft/Scout skills), Nature Team (Ecology/Conservation), Aquatics Team, Sports Team, Staff Administrativo and Voyagers (High Adventure, Treks and Project C.O.P.E.). Other former patrols are Administration Team, Order of the Arrow Patrol, Guías de Expedición and Ranger Team.
The patrols are led by a Director, which serves as an administrative official, and a Patrol Leader, in charge of the patrol's specific program. In the past, each patrol had its own campsite in which they pitched their own tents and worked on pioneering gates that awed campers and visitors alike. As of 2006, new Council policies abolished this practice and all staff members were located in a single cabin called "Casa Staff" (Staff House).
The Counselor In Training (CIT) program works in a special way, compared to other camps. Any Scout or Venturer that becomes a Staff member, regardless of age, is considered a CIT during his or her first year in camp. During this first year, the CIT learns the basics of the patrol and gets to know the "traditions" on which it is based. After successfully completing the CIT year, the Scout or Venturer is considered a full Staff Member. Staff members are known for their passion and loyalty toward their patrol, and it is very rare in current times to see a Scout that actually transfers from one patrol to another.
Due to its long history, the patrol system has served to develop a series of traditions inside each patrol. A tradition shared by all patrols is a simple recognition, symbolized by a neckerchief. The neckerchief symbolizes a Staff member that has truly served the patrol and the camp, demonstrates and shares his knowledge, and, most of the times, has been a member of the patrol for two or more years. Each patrol has its own prerequisites for this recognition, and each has its own induction ceremony. Their neckerchiefs as well as their shoelaces (a tradition of Guajataka Camp patrols) have different colors, each color representing a specific patrol: red (Program Aide), green (Nature Team), light blue (Aquatic Team), purple (Sport Team), yellow (Administrative Staff), and navy blue (Expedition Voyagers).
Order of the Arrow
Puerto Rico Council's Yokahu Lodge was founded in 1954 by Luis Matias Ferrer and Dr. Frank H. Wadsworth, inspired after seeing the service potential of the Order of the Arrow at the 1953 National Scout Jamboree. In the beginning, the Lodge literally translated the OA ceremonies and used American Indian attire, but decided later to slightly modify the ceremony to reflect the Taíno heritage from the island. Yokahu Lodge is the only Order of the Arrow Lodge in Spanish.
The lodge is divided into eight chapters that are organized based on the geographical regions on the island. The chapters, like the Council's districts, are named based on words or names in the Taíno language. The chapters are:
- Arasibo (Arecibo)
- Cayniabón (Carolina)
- Guaitiao (San Juan)
- Guaraka (Humacao)
- Guarionex (Ponce)
- Guaní (Caguas)
- Majagua (Bayamón)
- Yagüeka (Mayagüez)
There are four main activities in the Lodge's calendar. The Retorno is celebrated on a weekend of the first months of the year, its purpose is to reunite the Arrowmen and also serves as a chance to meet that year's new Lodge Executive Committee. Halfway through the year, the Lodge celebrates its high adventure activity, in order to challenge each Arrowmen's outdoor skills. In October, the Lodge celebrates its Guateke (which is from the Taíno language, meaning gathering), a fellowship activity in which youths nominate themselves for positions in the Lodge Executive Committee. And finally in December, the annual Convention serves as the conclusion of the Lodge's year, serves as a "Court of Honor" in which different recognitions are handed out based on service during the year and the youth elections for the Executive Committee are held during the day or weekend.
Inductions are celebrated usually four times a year, during once a month from May to August. The induction weekends are called Ordeal/Bros since both ceremonies take place at the same time (Ordeal and Brotherhood). The Vigil Honor is celebrated as an independent activity on the weekend of Thanksgiving.
The Lodge has its own recognitions for distinguished service to the OA. The Cemi de Bronce and the Premio del Alegre Servicio (The Cheerful Service Award) or three W's for short, are earned by youth and adults respectively. Like the Vigil Honor, these awards cannot be earned by a set of requirements, but instead are decided by a recognitions Committee composed of fellow Arrowmen (all youth). These awards have their own quota and are traditionally only given out during the Convention.
Currently the Lodge has only one recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, Dr. Frank H. Wadsworth (1965), and is an active participant in Section and National activities. The 2008 NE-2A Section Conclave took place at the Guajataka Scout Reservation in Puerto Rico, marking the first time that the Yokahu Lodge hosted such activity and the first to be held outside the United States.
On January 2012, Yokahu Lodge started their Facebook and Twitter pages, integrating the era of social media to their communications, establishing a more efficient interaction with their Arrowmen. On January 2013, they integrated Instagram to their social media.
Boy Scouts gallery
Girl Scouting in Puerto Rico
|This section requires expansion. (July 2007)|
Caribe Girl Scout Council
|Caribe Girl Scout Council|
Map of Caribe Girl Scout Council, Puerto Rico
|Owner||Girl Scouts of the USA|
|Headquarters||San Juan, PR|
Girl Scouting in Puerto Rico is administered by the Caribe Girl Scout Council of the Girl Scouts of the USA. It is headquartered in San Juan. The first troop was formed in 1926 in Cabo Rojo by Elisa Colberg.
The Council owns three campsites. These are Campamento Elisa Colberg, near Rio Grande; Campamento María Emilia, near Añasco and Campamento Provi Biaggi, near Ponce. Campamento Elisa Colberg was established in 1948.
The Puerto Rican Spanish phrase for a Girl Scout is Niña Escucha, but the phrase Girl Scout is widely understood and used. The Council's newsletter is called Niña Escucha.
Girl Scouts in this council can earn the badge called Los Faros de Puerto Rico (meaning the lighthouses of Puerto Rico).
Moisés Fragela donated one of his pictures, Quedo en Nada, to the Caribe Council. The picture was to be sold by auction in 2006 to raise money to be used, in part, to improve the council's campsites.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Scouting in Puerto Rico.|
- "Guajataka Scout Reservation". Guajataka Scout Reservation. Archived from the original on October 24, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
- Yokahu Lodge 506 on Facebook
- Yokahu Lodge 506 on Twitter
- Yokahu Lodge 506 on Instagram
- "Campamentos". Caribe Girl Scouts Council. Retrieved August 18, 2008.
- "El Yunque National Forest — Centennial Timeline". USDA Forest Service. Retrieved August 18, 2008.
- "Arte a beneficio de nuestro Concilio". Niña Escucha (in Spanish) (Caribe Girl Scouts Council): 10. January — March 2006.