District Executive Michael Perry of Jay. Submitted photo

Kennebec Valley District Chairman Chuck Mahaleris of Augusta. Submitted photo

District Commissioner Eric Handley of Sidney. Submitted photo

WATERVILLE — The Kennebec Valley District of the Scouting program held its annual meeting and selected a slate of officers to lead them in 2023.

Chuck Mahaleris of Augusta was elected District Chairman joining District Commissioner Eric Handley of Sidney and District Executive Michael Perry of Jay as the Key Three for the Scouting District. Joseph Poulin of Oakland and Charlie Matthews of Fairfield were elected Vice Chairmen.

The annual meeting was held on January 4 at the Pleasant Street United Methodist Church in Waterville. Kennebec Valley District, one of four such districts in Pine Tree Council, delivers the programs of Scouting to youth in Franklin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln and Somerset Counties. The District Committee members provide such services as Membership Development, Fundraising, District Activities, Camping Programs, Leader Training, and the administration of Youth Advancement.

The officers and the slate of members at large were introduced for approval by the Nominating Committee which included Scouting leaders from all five counties under the leadership of Rick Denico of Vassalboro. Denico is a member of the Pine Tree Council Executive Board and former District Chair. All were elected unanimously and took office immediately.

“The Covid Pandemic and the national lawsuit were hard on Scouting,” Mahaleris said. “Our Packs and Troops weren’t allowed to meet for quite some time and it was almost impossible to recruit new Scouts when schools and churches were under tight restrictions. But things are starting to change. By the end of December, it was announced that nationally Scouting was serving 1,042,000 youth. Locally a new Law Enforcement Explorer Post was started in Rangeley with the US Customs and Border Patrol and later this month we will be starting a new Cub Scout Pack in Winthrop with the help of the American Legion Post #40.”

Mahaleris has been a registered member of Scouting for more than 40 years since first joining as a Cub Scout and earned Eagle in 1985. He works as a Staff Assistant for US Senator Susan Collins and before that spent a decade as a Professional Scout in Massachusetts and Rhode Island where he ran two different Scout camps. Poulin is the President/Owner of Alpine Consulting & Metal Works LLC. He has been involved in local Scouting since 1990 starting as a Webelos and earned Eagle Scout rank in 1997. Joe is the Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 454 for 20+ years and is the Pine Tree Council Training Chair. He has served as Day Camp Program Director at both Camp Hinds and Bomazeen and is scheduled to be the 2023 WoodBadge Course Director in September. Matthews, who is retired, is a former District Chairman and has more than fifty-five years of Scouting experience including many years as the Scoutmaster of Troop 460 in Fairfield. 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.”  Eric Handley works for Aubuchon Hardware as their POS manager where he manages a team that installs and supports the IT equipment and training for all Aubuchon stores. Eric joined Scouting at age seven in 1974 as a Wolf Cub scout and climbed to Life Scout before his family moved in 1982. He became active again in 2006 when his son became a Tiger Cub with Pack 401 Sidney. Currently he is also serving as the Scoutmaster of Troop 401 in Sidney. This is the beginning of his second year as District Commissioner. In this role, he oversees the Unit Commissioner staff who provide direct support to the Packs, Troops, Venture Crews and Explorer Posts of the District. The District Commissioner also oversees the delivery of the monthly Roundtable Scout Leader programs. The District Commissioner is recommended by the Nominating Committee for approval by the Pine Tree Council Executive Board.

“This is going to be an exciting Scouting year,” Mahaleris said. “The Klondike Derby is coming right up followed by the Pinewood Derby. The Merit Badge College is returning in February for the first time since Covid hit and this Spring we will be having a camporee at the Skowhegan Drive-In. This summer will see dynamic programs at both Camp Hinds and Bomazeen and before you know it we will be looking at the Haunted Woods and Fall Camporee programs. Youth have fun in Scouting programs and while that is happening they are developing character, learning to become better citizens, and training to be tomorrow’s leaders while working on their personal fitness. All of this is only possible because of the great work of our Scouting volunteers.”

Those interested in joining Scouting can contact District Executive Michael Perry at (207) 517-4378  or  [email protected] to find the nearest Scouting program to them. Scouting is open to boys and girls from Kindergarten to age 18.

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