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Scouting in Kalamaria: 90 years of history
Monday, 8 May 2017

Editor Ananias Tsirambides
Professor Emeritus of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Member of the Board of HARH

 

In 1925, five years after the arrival of the first refugees from Pontus and Asia Minor and their settlement in the area of Kalamaria and while Scouting had already made its appearance in Athens and Thessaloniki, we have the first recorded group of scouts in the Kalamaria district, the 13th Scout Group of Thessaloniki. A few years later, newspaper reports of that time inform us that in the period 1929-1931 Kalamaria had two Scout Groups, the 13th and the 18th.

The presence of these two Groups in refugee-ridden Kalamaria is also linked to the meals provided to the refugees. Responsible for the meals were the Refugee Rehabilitation Committee and other bodies active in Kalamaria, including the Scouts, who, remaining faithful to their law, presented a significant social work at that time.

In 1932, the 1st Kalamaria Scout System was founded, which received official recognition from the Greek Scout Corps in 1936. At that time, at Komninon street, at the height of the 1st Primary School (today’s Town Hall), there were two military chambers of the old allied camp from the First World War. The Refugee Rehabilitation Committee, which had undertaken the task of receiving and temporarily rehabilitating the refugees of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, was initially installed in these. Later, the Educational Association of Kalamaria ‘Apollo’ and the 1st System of Scouts of Kalamaria were accommodated in these chambers, until more suitable premises were found for their activities. This particular concession was based on the long-standing presence of the two organizations in Kalamaria and their intense activity during the difficult days of the German occupation.

The beginning of the newer history of the 1st System dates back to 1956, when the unforgettable George Kalantidis, the leader of the system, moved to 15, Mourouzidon street, where a wooden building was constructed by its ranks to house, even temporarily, all its members. The contribution of the then Mayor of Kalamaria, Stavros Karatzas, who later served as chairman of the Social Support Committee of the System, is also important.

During the same period, the 2nd Sea Scout System was added to the Scouts of Kalamaria, which was based on the beach of Aretsou and housed in the old pumping station there. It is worth mentioning that the System had its own boat for the training of the Sea Scouts. It ceased to operate in 1968.

In 1956 the 5th Air Scout System was founded, the first of its kind in the Regional Scout Ephorate of Thessaloniki, under its auspices until 1959, when it passed under the jurisdiction of the Local Ephorate of Kalamaria. The System was inaugurated by King Paul and was initially housed in the area of Nea Krini. In 1965 it ceased to operate.

The Local Scout Ephorate of Kalamaria was created in 1957 and initially included the 1st Scout System of Kalamaria, the 2nd Aretsou Sea Scout System and the 5th System of Air Scouts.

In the early 1970s, on the initiative of Loukas Dimitriadis, the Equestrian Scout Club of Thessaloniki was created, which was based at Kodra camp and its members were Charalambos and Ioannis Partsalidis and Dimitris Isaakidis, scouts of the 1st System of Kalamaria. In 1973 this Scout Riding Club took part in the 24th Jamboree of Unitarians at the Scout Center of Chortiatis. The presence of the Scouts of Kalamaria was dynamic throughout its operation.

In 1980 the ranking members of the 5th Air Scout System of Kalamaria decided to change the specialty from aerial scouting to naval scouting and thus the 9th Sea Scout System was established, which in 1985 moved to 23 Kapodistriou street in Nea Krini, where it remained until 2000, when the Municipal Council of Kalamaria decided to give it a new home in the Student Halls of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Nea Krini. The contribution of the Professor of the Department of Geology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Municipal Councilor Ananias Tsirambides was important.

In 2010, the 9th Kalamaria Sea Scout System was awarded the Medal of Meritorious Service of the Greek Scouts for its 25-year presence in the area.

The 7th Scout System of Kalamaria is the youngest member of Scouting in the Municipality. It was founded in October 1998 in the area of Votsis and was initially housed in a rented shop. In 2013 it found a permanent solution to the housing problem, when with the decision of the municipal authority and the help of Mayor Theodosis Bakoglidis, moved to the ground floor of the 5th High School of Kalamaria.

The historical course of the Systems of Kalamaria is directly intertwined with their harmonious relations with the respective municipal authority, since they constantly enjoy its unreserved support in all their activities and needs. Thus, in 2006, after the intervention of the then Mayor Christodoulos Economides, the 1st System was installed in a newly built wooden building at 11 Mourouzidon street, where it continues its activity until today.

In 2010 the Local Ephorate of Scouts of Kalamaria celebrated the 100 years of Scouting in Greece at the Municipal Theatre of Chilis street..

In 2012 Kalamaria Scouts took part in the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Thessaloniki held at the White Tower.

In 2012, scouts of Kalamaria took part in the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Thessaloniki that took place in the White Tower.

In 2016, as part of the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the 1st Scout System of Kalamaria at the Municipal Theatre of Chilis street, an anniversary scarf was awarded to the old leaders.

In 2005, after many years of action by the leader of the Scouts of Kalamaria, Stavros Makoulidis, the Ministry of Agriculture granted the Greek Scout Corps in the area of the community of Karteres of the Municipality of Langadas an area of 10 acres for the creation of a camping area for the scouts of the whole country. It is only 35 km from Thessaloniki.

Today, three Systems are active in the area of Kalamaria, the 1st Scout System, the 7th Scout System and the 9th Sea Scout System. Since 2014, the systems of the Local Ephorate of Kalamaria have been administratively united with the 1st System of Scouts of Thermi, the 3rd Sea Scout System of Nea Michaniona, the 6th Sea Scout System of Perea and the 12th Sea Scout System of Epanomi and all together form the Local Ephorate of Scouts of Kalamaria – Anthemounta, of the Regional Ephorate of Scouts of Thessaloniki.

The 90 years of presence of the Scouts in Kalamaria have been catalytic for the local community and the promotion of the principles of Scouting, educating children of all ages with love and consistency. The road was long, difficult, uphill, but full of smiles, adventures, emotions and many memories and hope for the future that will always accompany those who cross the threshold of Scouting.

 

Thank you.

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