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Jambo 2012 draws 4,700 scouts, 1,400 adults

Published July 06. 2012 05:02PM

A field filled with inflatables provided a colorful backdrop for the registration and information tents at Jambo 2012 held in May at Kutztown University. The colors stretched far across the campus in tents and the shirts of Boy, Cub, Venture and Explorer scouts who had traveled to the college town for the biennial event.

The Kutztown Jambo is sponsored by the Minsi Trails Council but people come from as far away as Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Long Island, Baltimore and places in between, said Paul Oswald, organizer for Jambo.

Todd and Tyler Seifert of Bethlehem said they were having a lot of fun. The day was filled with activities including earning an archery belt loop, Civil War reenactments, hiking and backpacking, a monkey (rope) bridge, HAM radio, rail splitting and snake fence building and two-man saw use.

A Midway included activities sponsored by businesses and organizations - for instance, a Tandy Leather display and an obstacle course. A media sponsor was the TIMES NEWS and the Lehigh Valley Press newspapers which donated the tab providing information to the scouts and leaders.

During the opening ceremony on Saturday held in the Kutztown University stadium, the Silver Beaver award was presented to Dr. Javier Cevallos, university president. The award is the highest that can be presented for noteworthy service to youth by a Scouting volunteer.

A Saturday night show featured Kicking Daisies, winner of Disney's 2012 Next Big Thing award. A power parachuter provided entertainment. Scouts then returned to their camp sites from which fireworks could be seen.

Troop 86 had a homemade picnic table that had to be replaced because the troop is growing and it is no longer big enough, said Scoutmaster Steve Mehl. The four-foot long table was made from one sheet of three-quarter inch plywood including benches.

His scouts as well as many others had the cook stoves out and were busy fixing dinner around noon. Troop 86 and East Texas' Troop 431 are "brother troops" because they do so many things together.

Bethlehem's police department led an Explorer Post program. Explorer Scouts delve into possible career choices.

This is the first year a troop of Girl Scouts attended.

"It's just so nice of Kutztown University to welcome us. People say they are glad to see us. We are so appreciative of what the university has done for us," said Lori Wehr, marketing manager for Minsi Trails. She said Fred Masenheimer, TIMES NEWS publisher, was especially helpful in putting together the tab that was given to the Scouts.

Sean Dallas, assistant director of university relations, said approximately 40 acres were used for Jambo. It was the fourth time it was held at Kutztown. The university has a Camp and Conference team. In addition the students, athletic department, university relations and the bookstore help with the two years of planning and many are on site during the event.

Over 8,400 hours of planning went into Jambo, including 11 primary staff from the university, and a total of 80 when such things as security personnel are added.

"It's an exciting day for all of us," Dallas said.

Paul Oswald, staff advisor for Minsi Trails Council, said there were 4,700 scouts on the property and 1,400 adults. Of that number, 5,000 camped overnight.

"It is the closest thing to the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree that a scout can participate in locally," said Oswald.

The event is staffed by the Minsi Trails Council with the help of 600 volunteers, most of whom have a connection to scouting.

The Most Reverend John O. Barres, bishop of the Allentown Diocese, celebrated mass with the scouts and their families at Jambo. He enjoyed the opportunity to join the Scouts at the 2010 Jambo and was pleased to be invited again. The mass was held Sunday morning in the stadium.

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