Farmington Scout Leader honored at Klondike Derby

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Gearry “Smiley” Judkins, Scoutmaster of Troop 546 in Farmington, received the District Award of Merit during the Klondike Derby at Camp Bomazeen. Covid and scheduling delays had prevented his receiving the award since 2020. (Photo: Mike Labbe, Pine Tree Council Commissioner)

BELGRADE – Gearry “Smiley” Judkins, Scoutmaster of Farmington Troop, received the District Award of Merit for his devotion to the youth of Maine. The award was presented during the Klondike Derby held at Camp Bomazeen in Belgrade on January 21.

“Gearry, better known as Smiley, has been a great asset to the Scouting program in Kennebec Valley,” wrote Travis Robinson when he nominated Judkins for the award in 2020. The presentation of the District Award of Merit has been delayed since 2020 due to Covid and scheduling conflicts  but a crowd of more than 100 Cubs, Scouts and leaders- including members of his Farmington Troop 546-  cheered from Bomazeen’s snow-laden fields as Judkins finally received his long-overdue recognition. Robinson, former Kennebec Valley District Commissioner, praised Judkins for his devotion to Camp Bomazeen where he started going as a camper in the late 1980s and then working there as a Counselor in Training in 1992. He has worked as Provisional Scoutmaster at Bomazeen in the past ensuring all Scouts have a great experience.

Judkins addressed the Scouts from outside McCurdy Cabin near the shore of Great Pond stating that he joined Troop 274 in Boothbay under Paul Gooch. “Paul was a great man and if I can become half the man Paul was in life that is saying something.” He mentioned that Paul had passed away last November and he, Judkins, had continued in Scouting for so many years because of the leadership and inspiration Paul gave to him when he was a Scout. Gooch was also the person who gave Judkins the nickname “Smiley” back when he was a Scout in Troop 274.

The District Award of Merit is the highest award a local Scouting district can bestow upon a volunteer Scout leader. Nominees must be registered Scouters; have given “noteworthy service to youth,” either inside or outside of Scouting—or both; have gone beyond the duties of their volunteer position; and maintain a positive attitude and work in cooperation with the district and council.

Tammy Smith of Winthrop is a member of the Pine Tree Council Executive Board and the Kennebec Valley District Committee. She was on hand when Judkins received the award and said, “He lives the quote from Baden Powell ‘a scout smiles and whistles under any circumstance.’ His positive attitude is infectious, making him a joy to be around whether at his Farmington Troop, Kennebec Valley District activities or at Camp Bomazeen.”

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