Scouting in Puerto Rico

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Scouting in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico Council.jpg
Puerto Rico Council of the Boy Scouts of America
Scouts in Puerto Rico.jpg
Boy Scouts attending the opening of the Caribbean National Wildlife Refuge Complex and Caribbean Ecological Service Field Office in Boquerón, Puerto Rico
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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[edit]

Puerto Rico Council[edit]

Puerto Rico Council (#661)
Puerto Rico Council CSP.png
Puerto Rico Council shoulder patch
Concilio de Puerto Rico
OwnerBoy Scouts of America
Age rangeCub Scouting: 5–11 (co-ed youth; single-gender dens)
Scouts BSA: 11–17 (co-ed youth; single-gender troops)
Venturing and Sea Scouting: 13–21 (co-ed youth)
Cub Scout Packs and Scout Troops: 18 and over (co-ed adults)
Venturing Units and Sea Scouting Ships: 22 and over (co-ed adults)
HeadquartersGuaynabo, Puerto Rico
LocationAll 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra
CountryPuerto Rico
FoundedNovember 15, 1927
PresidentDr. Ángel Velázquez
Scout ExecutiveMaría Molinelli, Esq.
Council CommissionerLuis Vilaró
Puerto Rico Council Facebook
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Puerto Rican Boy Scouting is served by the Puerto Rico Council (Spanish: Concilio de Puerto Rico) of the Boy Scouts of America. Founded in 1927[1] 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.[2]

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. The council serves more than 6,200 youth and 3,500 volunteers in more than 300 units.[citation needed]


The Puerto Rico Council is divided into six districts, all named based on the Taíno name of each of the districts' base area:


Boy Scouts working on a service project

Puerto Rico is the only council of the BSA that uses Spanish as its main language for all programs, including the Scout Promise and Law, and uses printed publications in both English and Spanish.

Scout Promise[edit]

English: On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Spanish: Por mi honor, prometo hacer todo lo posbile, para cumplir con mis deberes para con Dios y mi patria, obedecer la Ley del Scout, ayudar a mis semejantes en toda ocasión, mantenerme físicamente fuerte, mentalmente alerta y moralmente recto.

Scout Law[edit]

A Scout is: – Un Escucha es:

  • Trustworthy – Honrado
  • Loyal – Leal
  • Helpful – Servicial
  • Friendly – Amigable
  • Courteous – Cortés
  • Kind – Bondadoso
  • Obedient – Obediente
  • Cheerful – Alegre
  • Thrifty – Ahorrativo or Económico
  • Brave – Valiente
  • Clean – Limpio
  • Reverent – Reverente

Guajataka Scout Reservation[edit]

Guajataka Scout Reservation
OwnerPuerto Rico Council
HeadquartersSan Sebastián, Puerto Rico
LocationGuajataca Lake
CountryPuerto Rico
Coordinates18°22′3.41″N 66°55′12.38″W / 18.3676139°N 66.9201056°W / 18.3676139; -66.9201056
DirectorFélix Berríos
RangerLeopoldo "Junior" Alicea
Program DirectorRoberto A. Vélez
CommissionerJulián Egea Cardona
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Guajataka Scout Reservation or Campamento Guajataka, often simply referred to as Guajataka and nicknamed Santuario de Amistad (English: Sanctuary of Friendship), is the Puerto Rico Council's camp reservation, located at the northwest part of the island in San Sebastián annex to Guajataca Lake, from which the camp takes its name. Founded in 1938, Camp Guajataka is the reservation where Scouts and leaders of the Boy Scouts of America program attend for recreational activities, summer camp, seminars, leadership training and Scouting-related meetings.[3]

Scouts and leaders who visit are lodged in one of the ten campsites, in-campsite cabins or stand-alone cabin-campsites of the reservation. These campsites feature a series of concrete-and-wood cabins that house its campers. The campsites have very simple names (Campsites A, B, C, D, M and SP or Swimming Pool Campsite), while there are in-campsite cabins (Paquito Joglar and Palomar) and stand-alone cabin-campsites (Manolín and Cobana Negra). The Paquito Joglar and Manolín are cabins named in honor of distinguished Scouting figures of Puerto Rico while the SP or Swimming Pool Campsite, Palomar and Cobana Negra cabins are named based on their location, flora or physical characteristics.

The camp's operations are divided into two seasons, Summertime and Christmastime. The main program is presented during the summer, in which ten weeks are divided for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA and Venturing. The Christmas season runs for a single week and summarizes the summer's offerings open for both Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA. 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.[citation needed] 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 Yokahu Lodge, 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", which occupancy has been discontinued due to structural damages, but remains standing. In the past, the Paquito Joglar campsite area was considered the official gathering place for the Lodge, later becoming a campers area due to the need of space for the many Scouts that attended camp in summer.[4]

Camp staff[edit]

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 Program Aide (Scoutcraft/Scout skills), Nature Team (ecology/conservation), Aquatic Team, Sport Team, Staff Administrativo (Administrative Staff), Voyagers (High Adventure, Treks and Project C.O.P.E.) and the Order of the Arrow patrol.

The patrols are led by a Director, who 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. All staff members were located in a single house cabin called "Casa Staff" (Staff House) from 2006 to 2018.

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, presented to a Staff member who has truly served the patrol and the camp, demonstrates and shares their knowledge, and, most of the times, has been a member of the patrol for two or more years. 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), forest green (Nature Team), light blue (Aquatic Team), purple (Sport Team), yellow (Administrative Staff), and navy blue (Expedition Voyagers).

Order of the Arrow[edit]

Yokahu Lodge 506 is the Order of the Arrow Lodge of the Puerto Rico Council of the Boy Scouts of America, founded in 1954 by Luis Matías Ferrer and Dr. Frank H. Wadsworth.

Girl Scouting in Puerto Rico[edit]

Caribe Girl Scout Council[edit]

Caribe Girl Scout Council
Map of Caribe Girl Scout Council and its campsites
OwnerGirl Scouts of the USA
HeadquartersSan Juan, Puerto Rico
LocationAll 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra
CountryUnited States
Founded1926 (1926)
Executive DirectorNess Marie Tollinche
Program DirectorDenise Sambolín
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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 Camp Elisa Colberg, established in 1948,[5] in Rio Grande, Camp María Emilia in Añasco and Camp Provi Biaggi in Ponce.[6] The Spanish translation of Girl Scout is Niña Escucha but it is also widely understood and used in English in Puerto Rico.

The Council's newsletter is called Niña Escucha.

Girl Scouts earn a uniquely designed badge created by the council called Los Faros de Puerto Rico (The Lighthouses of Puerto Rico).[citation needed]

In 2006, painter Moisés Fragela donated one of his paintings entitled Quedo en Nada (Left in Nothing) to the Caribe Council[7] which was sold in auction for funding part of the renovations and improvements towards the council's campsites.[7]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "...the Boy Scouts of America had just arranged to send Porto Rico its first Scout Executive, Mr. A. S. MacFarlane, recently of the Philippines (where he organized Scouting and placed it on a sound basis)...Boys' Life, Vol. XVIII, No. 11, Nov 1928.
  2. ^ Hook, James; Franck, Dave; Austin, Steve (1982). An Aid to Collecting Selected Council Shoulder Patches with Valuation.
  3. ^ "Thanks to the Order of the Arrow, Puerto Rico's hurricane-devastated Camp Guajataka is open for business".
  4. ^ "Guajataka Scout Reservation". Guajataka Scout Reservation. Archived from the original on October 24, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
  5. ^ "El Yunque National Forest — Centennial Timeline". USDA Forest Service. Retrieved August 18, 2008.
  6. ^ "Campamentos". Caribe Girl Scouts Council. Archived from the original on May 20, 2007. Retrieved August 18, 2008.
  7. ^ a b "Arte a beneficio de nuestro Concilio". Niña Escucha (in Spanish). Caribe Girl Scouts Council: 10. January – March 2006.