Reading Scouts Celebrate 50th Annual TurkeyJam in the Town Forest

Reading, MA — Last weekend, November 4-5, Reading Scouts and their families gathered in the Town Forest to celebrate one of their favorite annual traditions – the 50th Annual TurkeyJam. Over 200 people, including Weblos and Arrow of Lights from packs 733, 735 & 702, Scouts from Troop 702, family members, leaders, alumni, and volunteers, enjoyed a weekend filled with food, activities, camping, and fun.

Before eating, Friends of Reading Scouting Chair Steve Gousie shared that 75 years ago, Scouts gathered to plant seedlings from their own backyards to create the Council Ring. “Scouting’s relationship to this forest is deep, and Scouts just like you have been coming here and enjoying this special place for generations,” he told those assembled around the fire.

50 years ago, a small group of Scouts got together to cook turkeys in observance of Thanksgiving. That tradition has grown into a two-day, all-Reading event sponsored by Friends of Reading Scouting called TurkeyJam.

What does it take to serve 200 a Thanksgiving feast in the woods?

  • 16 turkeys over 200 lbs total (8 roasted for six hours over open flames and 8 deep fried) 70 lbs of mashed potatoes
  • 35 pies
  • 50 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 18 pounds of fresh cranberries
  • 3.5 gallons of gravy
  • 10 pounds of green beans
  • 45 pounds of butternut squash
  • 14 pounds of butter
  • 20 boxes of stuffing
  • 15 cans of jellied cranberry sauce plus Cranberry
  • 8 gallons of apple cider
  • 10 pounds of onion
  • 7 pounds of celery
  • Gallons of Coffee, Hot Cocoa, Juice and Water

The “kitchen” was run and supervised by two professional chefs, and the safety crew on site included two registered nurses, one doctor, and a police sergeant, all Scouting families.

Everyone pitched in, from making and serving dinner to clean up. In addition to dinner, Scouts learned shelter and fire building, were able try their hand at tomahawk target practice, climb a warped wall, build and cross a monkey bridge and more. Everyone enjoyed a campfire under the stars before retiring to their tents for the evening.

The Friends of Reading Scouting is a group of parent volunteers and trained Scout Leaders committed to providing high-quality Scouting for families and youth. You can find more information, find a Pack or Troop to join, or support local Scouting at our website,

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