As a repeat visitor to San Pedro, I look forward to returning each year for Kelly Maguire’s annual birthday bash/SAGA fundraiser. I spent the winter of 2016/2017 on Ambergris Caye. A record snowfall of 108” the year before drove me to flee New England in search of a warmer winter. Armed with my laptop and two suitcases, I found myself a small apartment in San Pedro and was able to work remotely until Spring.
Meeting people, however, was a different story. I didn’t want to fall into the bar scene, so volunteering seemed like a great way to meet like-minded people. I had been involved with fundraising for animal shelters for 15+ years, so I messaged the folks at SAGA and showed up to sell raffle tickets at their Superbowl party.
It turned out to be the best decision of my trip – besides the trip itself. The volunteers welcomed me into their group and introduced me to countless people in the community I probably wouldn’t have otherwise met. Their clinic also saved the life of a street cat who lived on the property of my building twice and helped me obtain the necessary paperwork to bring her home with me. When I returned to Boston, I eventually met other SAGA supporters – folks who volunteered with the shelter or adopted from them, increasing my circle of friends both locally & internationally.
Volunteering is a great way to experience life as a local, from a non-tourist perspective. It can facilitate and heighten your perspective and understanding of a place and its culture. It’s also a terrific way to help out an underserved population – in this case, homeless animals. For me, it was a great way to meet new people and make new friends as a solo traveler, have fun raising money for a good cause, and it brought me a new furever friend. It’s a vacation that can change your life — and that’s what the best vacations do. – Carol Taylor
I vouch for Carole’s volunteering skills. Not only was she helping at the event, but she was also reaching out and getting her island friends to come to the party. She brought another volunteer, Cathy this time, and got her hooked on the idea of another volunteer vacation next year.
Palapa Bar Party
I was one of the people that Carol reached out to with private encouragement to come say hi and attend the event. I arrived a bit after the start and it was jam-packed. Surprisingly (but not) I was told I had missed the “busy” part.
I had a fun time at the party and saw a few people I had not seen in a while. Palapa fundraisers and events are always a great place for catching up with friends.
Saga Thank Yous
Saga Humane Society would like to give a huge thank you to Kelly McGuire for celebrating his birthday and helping with a great fundraiser. Thank you to Scott and Jodie Harnish from the Palapa Bar for hosting the event. Thanks to the Palapa bar staff who are always such a great help. We couldn’t do this fundraiser without our volunteers Eileen Jamieson, Katia Marin, Kevin and Heather Smith, Iliana Paj, Carol Taylor, and Cathy Murphy Kedski. A big Thank you also goes to all our raffle donors, Marbucks Coffee House, Some Place South, Pampered Paws, Akbol, Estel’s Dine by the Sea, Caribbean Adventures, Rio Bar, Crocs Bar, Iguana Juan’s, Truck Stop, Pur, Crazy Canucks, and Caye to the Heart. Last but not least, we would like to thank all our Saga supporters who came to celebrate with us. We can’t do what we do without you guys. [From Saga Facebook page.]
Easy Vacation Volunteering in Belize
If you are one who misses your fur family when on vacation, why not share the love with some Belizean animals at Saga. You can go snuggle with the cats or join the Dog Walkers.
For about seven years now a group of about seven core members walks dogs weekly, to help Saga. Sometimes people join in and they’ve had as many as 17 people turn up to help.
The Dog Walkers meet at Fort Dog every Saturday morning at about 8:15 and they have leashes and poop bags for everyone. If you are interested to join you can just meet them by the cages That’s also where they congregate afterward before going for refreshments somewhere close.
Palapa Party Pics
The party was so crowded that night I kept having to take a long way around to say hi to people I knew in the crowd. Definitely, not a bad problem to have at a fundraiser and it shows how much people believe in helping Saga.
Kelly McGuire is another “rock star” volunteer vacationer – literally (although he sings “Beach Country”). He gives up time to help this worthy cause every year at his birthday bash with a big party. He performs a live show and is also the auctioneer.
It was a touch windy that night so they put part of the windscreens down to keep the crowd comfortable.
The pic below shows Steve Schulte of Tropic Air winning the Ak’bol Yoga certificate. When it came down to the auction of Tropic Air tickets from Belize to Cancun, to help drive bidding up, Auctioneer Kelly donated tickets on the spot to Island Fest 2020 on Isla Mujeres Island in Mexico.
The volunteers were working hard for Saga and the crowd was happy to enjoy a few beers for a great cause. Volunteer Katia Marin said so far with 10% Palapa Bar bar proceeds is $8117.00. Click on the following link if you would like to see how the money gets used or to make a donation.
While my house pets are currently limited to self-sustaining geckos, many of my friends have adopted from Saga and we all think it is a very worthy cause. The beloved Humane Society was founded in 1999 and turns 21 years old this March. Saga does a wonderful job of helping animal control and caring for both wild and domestic animal populations on Ambergris Caye.
Even the furry community showed up to support. Brent Butcher’s dog Emma was catching a cat nap during the show.