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Atkins Receives Major Accolade from Boy Scouts

When you meet Randy Atkins for the first time, you get the impression of a person who wants to be part of something bigger than himself. Since 2008, Atkins has served as Assistant and now Senior Director of Advancement at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS). In that role, he works tirelessly to elevate CEHHS through relationships across Tennessee and the nation with friends and supporters who are as passionate about the College as he is.

Randy Atkins

After a conversation with Atkins, you begin to realize he has a servant’s heart, which has guided him throughout his life and career. He’s worn many hats over the years, from making veterinary pharmaceuticals in Denver, Colorado to cultivating financial support for East Tennessee Public Television.

However, there is one thing that has played a significant role throughout his life – the Boy Scouts. Prior to joining CEHHS, Atkins served in a variety of roles as Boy Scout professional with the Great Smoky Mountain Council for nearly 14 years. He currently serves as a volunteer District Chair for the Mount Cammerer District in East Tennessee.

“As a District Chair, you try to show up to as many events as possible, shaking hands at people for their volunteerism and hopefully be a good representative of scouting overall,” says Atkins.

Randy Atkins, pictured right, holding award. Randy is fair skinned and bald. He is wearing a boy scout uniform and smiling in the photo.

Randy Atkins (right) and Don Dare with their District Awards of Merit

Atkins is definitely a good representative for scouting. His dedication to preparing young people for lives of impact and purpose has led to a major accolade from the Scouts, The District Award of Merit. Only those who demonstrate an outstanding level of service at the district level are eligible to receive this honor.

“I feel like not only my fellow volunteers, but the Boy Scout professionals felt like I made an impact in some way,” said Atkins. “Scouting has always been important to my family, not only as a professional scouter, but as a volunteer.”

You could say that scouting is in Atkins’ blood. His father became a Boy Scout professional after serving in the army right after World War II. He held numerous leadership roles across Tennessee from Camp Director to Council Executive. It was the only job Atkins’ father had after graduating college on the GI Bill. Unfortunately, he passed away when Atkins was only 14 years old.

“I had a background in scouting until fifth grade,” Atkins shares. “I made it to Webelos,” he says with a laugh.

But a meeting later in life led Atkins once again to an involvement in scouting. It was at a football game where a friend told Atkins about a career opportunity with the Great Smoky Mountains Council. Since Atkins was at a time in his current career where he was open to new possibilities, he interviewed for the job.

“I thought this will give me an opportunity to see what my dad did. You know, it was a great training ground for my current job at CEHHS because you work with volunteers, raise money, you do training, you do promotions, and the marketing that goes to the scouting program,” Atkins says.

Today, Atkins is winding down his role as District Chair, but he isn’t finished with his service to the Scouts. He still has much more left to give.

“There’s a lot of training available to adult volunteers. I think that would interest me. There are trainings for the entire 21 county area that I could see myself getting involved in,” Atkins says.

For this District Award of Merit winner, his servant’s heart will continue to make impacts with scouts, their families, and volunteers for years to come.

“You know, it’s hard to get out of scouting and I’m a very good example of that,” Atkins says. “Scouting is important. You do feel like there’s an impact that you make in the lives of kids and their families, which makes me proud of what we do. And ultimately, it’s fun.”