A rainy start didn’t dampen the spirits of the nearly 2000 people participating in Bucks Jam 14, which was held Saturday and Sunday May 17 and 18 at the Middletown Grange fairgrounds in Wrightstown.
The event, which was the first of its kind in the Bucks County Council, took 18 months to plan. According to Bucks Jam 14 Chairman Al Esposito, the camporee was initially intended to bring together the four districts of the BSA Bucks County Council—Playwicki, Pennsbury, Topendel and Lenape. During the planning stages the council expanded to include Mercer County Area and Hunterdon County Arrowhead Districts in New Jersey making it an event bigger event.
Bucks Jam not only brought together the different districts associated with the Bucks County Council,the event included participants from all of the BSA scouting programs available to youth from first grade through age 21 in our area. In addition to the familiar Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, there were participants from coed programs for older youth and young adults. Participating in the event were several Venture Crews which focus on high adventure outings and Sea Scout Ships as well as Explorer Posts which give older teens a chance to experience real world career exploration.
The activities available to those who camped or visited for the day were almost limitless. There were traditional scout crafts and shooting sports as well as newer activities like climbing walls, paint ball and a zipline. Several troops hosted cooking demonstrations involving monkey bread, cobblers and the unfortunately named “trashcan turkey”. Organizers included some more educational activities including visits from mobile units of the Franklin Institute and Philadelphia Zoo.
There were Revolutionary War re-enactors camping along with the scouts and Storm Troopers from the Garrison Carrida Chapter of the 501st Legion posing for photographs and collecting toy donations for area hospitals. Musicians from School of Rock provided entertainment on stage during the afternoon.
Area clergy conducted religious services Saturday evening. Eagle Scout Pastor Mike Carlson of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Southampton conducted a Protestant Service; Eagle Scout Rabbi Mitchell Delcau of Temple Judea, Doylestown conducted Jewish services and Eagle Scout Father David Friel of St. Anselm Parish in Philadelphia celebrated a Roman Catholic Mass. A campfire program that included a magician Matt Cadabra, musical guests Where’s Pete Band and a laser light show finished the day on a high note.
Esposito, who had some anxious moments with the heavy downpour Friday night, was pleased with how well the first Bucks Jam went and deemed the results of his team’s efforts to be “fantastic."