Editing by Ananias Tsirabides
Emeritus Professor AUTh, Member of the Board of Directors of HARH
In 1925, five years after the arrival of the first refugees from Pontos and Asia Minor and their settlement in the region of Kalamaria and while Scouting had already made its appearance in Athens and Thessaloniki, we have the first registered group of Scouts in the Settlement of Kalamaria, the 13th Group of Scouts of Thessaloniki. A few years later, newspaper reports of that time inform us that in the period 1929-1931 Kalamaria had two Groups of Scouts, the 13th and the 18th.
The presence of these two groups in the Kalamaria refugee area is also linked to the rations provided to the refugees. Responsible for the breadline was the Refugee Rehabilitation Committee and other bodies operating in Kalamaria, including the Scouts, who, while remaining faithful to their law, presented important social work at the time.
In 1932, the 1st Kalamaria Scout System was established, which received official recognition from the Greek Scout Corps in 1936. At that time, on Komninon Street, at the height of the 1st Primary School (now City Hall), there were two military bypasses of the old Allied camp from the First World War. The Committee for the Rehabilitation of Refugees, which had undertaken the task of receiving and temporarily rehabilitating the refugees of the Asia Minor Disaster, was initially installed on them. Later in these shacks, the Kalamaria Educational Association “O Apollon” and the 1st Kalamaria Scout System were hosted, until spaces suitable for their activities were found. This concession was based on the long presence of the two players in Kalamaria and their intense activity during the difficult days of the occupation.
The beginning of the 1st System’s modern history dates back to 1956, when, led by the late Georgios Kalandides, it is moved to 15 Mourouzides Street, where a wooden building is constructed by its graders, to house all its members even temporarily. 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.
At the same time, the 2nd System of Scouts is added to the potential of the Scouts of Kalamaria which was based on the beach of Aretsou and was housed in the old pumping station there. It is worth mentioning that the System had its own boat for the training of the scouts. It ceased operation in 1968.
In 1956, the 5th Air Scout System was established, the first of its kind in the Regional Scout Authority 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 originally housed in the area of Nea Krini. In 1965, it ceased to operate.
The Kalamaria Local Scout Ephorate was created in 1957 and initially included the 1st Kalamaria Scout System, the 2nd Aretsous N/P System and the 5th Aerial Scout System.
In the early 1970s, with the initiative of Loukas Dimitriadis, the Equestrian Group of Scouts of Thessaloniki was created, which was based in Kodra Camp and its members were Charalambos and Ioannis Partsalides and Dimitris Isaakides, Scouts of the 1st Kalamaria System. In 1973, this Scout Equestrian Club took part in the 24th Jamboreto Union at the Chortiatis Scout Center. The presence of the Scouts of Kalamaria was dynamic throughout its operation.
In 1980, the commissioned officers of the 5th Kalamaria Air Scout System decided to change the specialty from aero-scout to navigational scout and thus the 9th N/P System was established, which since 1985 was moved to 23 Kapodistriou Street in Nea Krini, where it remained until 2000, when by decision of the Municipal Council of Kalamaria it acquired a new roof in the area of the Student Homes of AUTh in Nea Krini. The contribution of the Professor of the Department of Geology of the AUTh and Municipal Councillor Ananias Tsirabides was important.
In 2010, he was awarded the Medal of Service of the Greek Scout Corps to the 9th N/P Kalamaria System, for his 25-year presence in the region.
The 7th Kalamaria Scout System is the newest member of scouting in the Municipality. It was founded in October 1998 in the Votsi area and was originally housed in a rental shop. In 2013, he found a permanent solution to the housing problem, when by decision of the municipal authority and with the help of Mayor Theodoros Bakoglides, was moved to a ground floor area of the 5th Lyceum of Kalamaria.
The historical course of the Systems of Kalamaria is directly interwoven with their harmonious relations with the municipal authority, since they constantly enjoy its full support in all their activities and needs. Thus, in 2006, following an intervention by the then Mayor Chr. Economides, the 1st System was installed in a newly built wooden building at 11 Mourouzides Street, where to this day it continues its activity.
In 2010, the Local Scout Ephorate of Kalamaria celebrated the 100th year of Scouting in Greece at the Municipal Theatre of Chilis Street.
In 2012 the 1st Scout System of Kalamaria was honored with the Medal of Outstanding Deeds for the 50 years of its continuous operation and in 2014 with the Medal of Scouting Value for its 75 years of presence in the scout movement.
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 Kalamaria Scout System at the Municipal Theatre of Chilis Street, the anniversary headscarf was awarded to its old leaders.
In 2005, after many years of actions by the head of the TE Scouts of Kalamaria Stavros Makoulidis, the Ministry of Agriculture granted to the Greek Scout Corps in the area of the community of Karteron of the Municipality of Lagada an area of 10 acres for the creation of a campground for scouts all over the country. It is only 35 km from Thessaloniki.
Today, in the area of Kalamaria there are three Systems, the 1st Scout System, the 7th Scout System and the 9th N/P System. Since 2014, the systems of the Kalamaria Local Ephorate have been administratively joined with the 1st Thermi Scout System, the 3rd New Machinery N/P System, the 6th N/P Peraia System and the 12th N/P Reomi System and together they constitute the Local Ephorate of Scouts of Kalamaria – Anthemounda, of the Regional Ephorate of Scouts of Thessaloniki.
The 90 years of the Presence of the Scouts in Kalamaria have been determinant for the local community and the promotion of the principles of Scouting, educating with love and consistency children of all ages. A road that is 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.