Silver celebrations! Lusophone Scouts’ 25 years of service to the community

Marco Carvalho

The story is not entirely unknown, but in mid-1997, with Macau’s handover less than three years away, a group of young Portuguese residents came together to promote an experimental camp. The initiative attracted over 150 participants, and its success was so great that it provided the necessary impetus for the creation of a local group of Portuguese-speaking scouts.

A member of the Portuguese National Scouts Corp, the Lusophone Scouts Group of Macau (GELMac) was formally created on May 11th, 1997. The group adopted the Scout’s teaching and ideology as its pillars, together with a strong religious component of Catholic-Christian nature.

A silver jubilee is a significant milestone in every organization’s life and the Lusophone Scouts Group intends to announce at appropriate times how the 25th anniversary milepost will be celebrated throughout the year. The Catholic Scouts should have had their end-of-the-year celebration this weekend, but the initiative was postponed due to the weather forecast. “According to the forecast of the Meteorological Bureau, it will rain on the weekend, so the camp was postponed. It will probably take place on the 3rd and 4th of June, but we still have to confirm the exact location where it will take place,” the head of GELMac, Nelson António, told O Clarim.

If the plans of the Lusophone Scout Group of Macau come to fruition, the initiative should take place in Coloane, in the recently-opened Urban Farm. The private development, located in the vicinity of Oscar Farm, halfway between Coloane village and the seaside resort of Cheoc Van, was chosen because it provides a greater involvement with nature. Mr. António explained, “This is our end-of-the-year camp. The location was chosen because it is a more suitable place for camping with nature all around, and it offers our young members the opportunity to learn various different scout techniques.”

The history of Scouting in Portugal is closely linked to Macau. The Scout movement took its first steps here in 1911, when then Governor Álvaro de Melo Machado founded the first ever Portuguese-speaking scouts group. Scouting only took root in Portugal two years later.

The Lusophone Scouts Group of Macau is, nevertheless, a direct heir of Group 341 of the Portuguese National Scouts Corp, preserving the order of its affiliation. The group, which was headquartered in the Cathedral parish and had Saint John Baptist as its patron saint, was founded in 1971. The first Scout promises were celebrated later that year in the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady by Bishop D. Paulo José Tavares.