After years of occupying an old government building, the Cayman Island Scouts Association is finally ready to set up camp in new headquarters by mid-March.
The building, under construction at 34 Middle Road off Walkers Road, George Town, will replace the old government-owned structure, which was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. When completed, the building will be the new home of Cayman Scouts, Beavers, Cub Scouts and leaders – and a place where parents, visitors and friends can be welcomed.
It will also house administrative offices, an assembly hall, meeting rooms, scout shop, offices for the Girl Guides and Girl Brigades Associations, storage space and attic space.
“Great progress is being made on the two-story building,” said Scouts Chief Commissioner Orrett Connor. He added that it has always been the desire of the scouts executive to have a place for members to call home.
According to the Scouts Association, the scouts have not had a new home since the 1960s. During the early years, the Scouts headquarters, which was named Dobson Hall after donor Colonel Dobson, was on the waterfront close to Fort Charles.
Mr. Conner said the Scouts Association is grateful for the unrelenting effort of their main benefactor, Charles Jennings, who contributed a significant amount of his time and money toward the project, and to financial contributors Aall Foundation, Dart, Philip Barnes, Maples & Calder and multiple individuals and businesses.
“The association is also grateful to the Cayman Islands Government for the peppercorn lease of the land for an initial 33 years with the ability to renew for two additional 33-year periods,” Mr. Connor said.
Work on the new building is being carried out by Titan Development. Scout groups exist in all districts with the exception of North Side and Cayman Brac. The scout program provides a wide range of activities and is open to boys age 6 to 20.
Scouting was introduced into the Cayman Islands in the late 1920s by the Rev. Ed Beale, a Presbyterian minister. Unfortunately, the program lapsed several years later when Rev. Beale departed the island.
In 1935, the local movement was revived under the leadership of Ernest Panton. Valentine Anderson succeeded Mr. Panton as district commissioner, and was assisted by Timothy McField.
Forced to retire because of ill-health, he was succeeded as scout district commissioner by Oswell Rankine. Under Mr. Rankine’s leadership, and with the assistance of Executive Commissioner Winston Hayle, the local movement transitioned in 1993 from a District Association of Jamaica to Scout Association status.
In recent years, the position of district commissioner was upgraded to chief commissioner and the governor-appointed chief scout. Mr. Rankine became the first chief commissioner of the Cayman Islands, and Michael Gore was the first chief scout. Mr. Connor became second chief commissioner in 1996.
Scout groups exist in all districts with the exception of North Side and Cayman Brac.