PUBLISHED: 6:41 PM on Wednesday, January 2, 2008
JDHS grad earns Eagle Scout status
A brief on business with five questions
James. T. Gamez, 18, of Juneau has earned the highest advancement award offered by Boy Scouts of American, the Eagle Scout award.

Gamez was recognized in a Court of Honor ceremony held Dec. 16, at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Juneau. Master of Ceremony was Mayor Bruce Botelho, and in attendance were previous scoutmasters Ken Vaughn, David Blumenshine, Doug Larson, Keith Pahlke, Brett Farrell, Ron Lorensen and many friends and family.

Gamez joined Boy Scouts in 2000 and earned 23 merit badges and successfully completed a service project to earn his Eagle.

His Eagle project was repairing and repainting the house located next to the church used for youth activities and also designed and upgraded gardens surrounding the house.

Along the path to Eagle, Gamez participated in many years in the annual Frostbite events on the Chilkoot Pass/Yukon, Canada, where he joined scouts from Alaska and Canada to build snow caves and sleep in them for two to three days.

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  James Gamez, left, with Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho at a Eagle Scout ceremony. Go online to for more photos.
He attended the annual Eagle Beach Boy Scout Camp in Juneau where he learned survival skills, environmental sciences, first aid, archery, kayaking and many other skills he will use throughout his life.

In 2004, Gamez attended the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Virginia where he joined 25,000 scouts from around the world in a week-long event.

Gamez is a 2007 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate and is now attending Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz. where he is majoring in environmental studies, water and energy and minor in Russian studies.

While attending high school he participated in student council, enjoyed studying Russian language, earned the Outstanding Russian Department award and was team captain of the high school ice hockey team his senior year.

Gamez is the son of Larry and Carol Gamez of Juneau.

What are some of your most memorable camping moments?

My most memorable camping experience was when I was in Troop 12 (the first of three) and we had misjudged the distance of our trip and nightfall had come too quick. We had to use the metal reflective flashers on the trees to get to the cabin. So what we did was, flash our flashlights in a circle at about head level, look for the next flasher on the trees and go to the next tree and repeat the previous steps. We finally got to the cabin safe and sound and enjoyed a nice steak and potato dinner.

What merit badge do you think was the most difficult to earn?

I would have to say the environmental science badge was a hard one to get because I had to do a lot of reading and writing for it. It was a very fun badge to be because I learned a lot about the ocean and the how the life in the ocean deals with the currents and seasons.

Why did you decide to become an Eagle Scout?

You don't really decide to become an Eagle Scout, it just kind of happens to certain people.

What have you learned by being an Eagle Scout that will help you in the future?

I would have to say that the one thing that I will never forget is the leadership skills I have now. I don't even know when I am using them. They just come natural now. My leadership skills will help me in the future because of the practice I have. I know how to lead and that is a great trait to have at any point in someone's life.

Would you consider being a scout leader in the future and what advice would you give scouts who dreamof becoming an Eagle?

The best advice I can give to scouts dreaming about becoming an Eagle Scout is to think of one phrase "it's right around the corner."

As long as you don't give up, and you put in your time, you will be an Eagle Scout before you know it.