FAIRFIELD — The Kennebec Valley District of Scouting honors Charlie Matthews of Fairfield for celebrating 55 years in the Scouting program. Matthewswould have received a 55-year veteran service pin at the annual Scout Leader Recognition Dinner this month, but the event was put on hold in response to Covid-19.
“Charlie Mathews has been a steadfast stalwart Scouter,” said Kennebec Valley District Chairman Butch Dawbin. “Whenever there was a need, Charlie stepped up and performed very well. Troop 460 always achieved high standards when they were at district events under Charlie. It was his leadership and turning over that leadership to his Scouts that made this happen.” Matthews was a youth member of Troop 470 in Fairfield from 1953 to 1955 and then from 1967 through 2019 he served as Scoutmaster of Fairfield Troop 460.
“I have enjoyed working with young people and see them go from a new Scout ,who wasn’t sure of himself, to become a leader with confidence in himself,” Matthews said. He has led the Scouts on annual visits to Camp Bomazeen or Camp Hinds and other challenging experiences as well.
“I think that some of the most favorite experiences were the camping trips. I especially enjoyed hiking 50 miles on the Appalachian Trail,” Matthews recalled. “I enjoyed seeing a Scout taking care of himself for six days. He carried everything he needed for the trip. Many enjoyed it and did the hikes for several years. I had one Scout tell his father that that he ‘did it, done it and never do it again.’ His family moved to Kentucky; they wrote to me when he made Eagle.”
Lyn Rowden, who is Matthews neighbor, related two examples of Matthews’ great work with youth. “Our two sons joined as Tigers and became Eagles under Charlie’s tutelage. They had a lot of fun at camp, on Appalachian Trail hikes and all the Scout activities,” she said. “As adults in their 30s, they both truly respect Charlie to this day. Countless boys have benefited from his dedication to the scouting program. It is Charlie’s knowledge and his easy-going personality that has attracted our family to Boy Scouts.”
Bruce Rueger, who has been in Scouting in Waterville for more than 40 years, admires the example Matthews presents. “Charlie Matthew is the epitome of adult scouting. He always has time to share and has an incredible amount of knowledge. Whenever Scouting is in action he can be found there in the background providing guidance and support to the Scouts who are in front providing the leadership.”
One of Charlie’s Eagle Scouts, Nathanael Batson, was quick to praise his former Scoutmaster. “He never fails to put the Scouts before himself, which shows his kind heart,” Batson said. “Charlie is like a Scouting encyclopedia, always willing to teach others as well as assist in the Trail to Eagle.” Batson earned his Eagle rank in 2015 with Matthews as his Scoutmaster.
Along with his service as Scoutmaster, Matthews has served on the Catholic Committee for Scouting, the Kennebec Valley District Scouting Committee, the Nominating Committee and various special event committees over the years.
“Through the Boy Scouts and Catholic Committee on Scouting, I have met people from all parts of Maine and New England,” Matthews said. “I found them very dedicated to the program and nice people.” In 2015, Matthews served as Scoutmaster of Batson, who received his Eagle Scout rank that year. Nathanael, who is blind, overcame many obstacles to achieve his goal with the support from Matthews.
“The sad part of serving 55 years is that a lot of the old Scouters are gone and that many of my Scouts have passed on also,” Matthews pointed out. “I never set out to be a lifelong Scouter. I enjoy the Scouting program, and I just registered every year without giving any thought to not signing up again. Now I tell people that I am too old to quit. There are many good people involved and many young people who can benefit from the program.”
The award will be presented to Charlie at an appropriate ceremony after the current Covid-19 challenge has passed. He remains an active Scouting volunteer.
PHOTO: Eagle Scout Nathanael Batson had Scoutmaster Charlie Matthews shake hands to day Batson made Eagle Scout in November 2015. (Submitted photo)