- History -
- 1948-2006 -
“The Nation’s Oldest Event of Its Kind”
The M&M Bay Jammer began in an old log cabin in Marinette, Wisconsin on the south shores of the Menominee River in January of 1948. At that time Bay Jammer would begin as an event of the former Nicolet Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Sitting around an old pot-bellied stove at the first organizational meeting were Leo Promen and Lloyd Schaefer, both of Fond du Lac; Bill Fisk, Cletus Weber, Jack Doering, and Art Lindren of Green Bay; and John Turner, Ernie Stromer, Howard Klumb, and Ray Pawlowski of the Menominee area. The event name was proposed by Bill Fisk and was later ratified by the committee.
The three-day event was to be geared toward mostly water related events with competition in sailing (large and small sail boats), sealed orders contest for inboard power boats, swimming, pulling boat races, canoe races, canoe tilting, log rolling, and drilling and maneuvering.
Highlights of the first Bay Jammer included a Saturday morning “demonstration” period along with invitational cruises sponsored by the local M&M Yacht Club and local Scout Ships. Saturday afternoon featured a Bay Jammer Cup Race for larger sailboats. The 50-mile race covered a triangular course across the bay of Green Bay towards Chambers Island, to Green Island, and then back to the Menominee Marina. While the cup race was in progress, other competitive events took place. A Saturday evening banquet was followed by a formal ball, which was held at the Marinette Catholic Central High School gymnasium. The Bay Jammer Ball featured a Bridge of Honor and the awarding of the Bay Jammer Cup and other trophies.
Approximately 250 young men and women attended the first Bay Jammer and was lead by the late John Turner. Little did he or any of the other founders realize that this event would flourish and continue to this very day. Bay Jammer eventually reached its peak of attendance in the mid-sixties with over 1,200 Scouts and Scouters from around the Midwest attending.
Over the years, the Bay Jammer experience has changed and evolved with the times. Now Bay Jammer has more of an even mix of both water related events and land-based events. The boat races, which at the time were very popular, have declined progressively as the number of Sea Scout units have declined as well. Bay Jammer began as an event for Sea Scouts, then progressed to an event for both Explorers and Senior Girl Scouts, and is now the premier event for all of the above, but is the flagship event of the Bay-Lakes Council’s Venturing Program. The original intent of Bay Jammer was to provide a fun-filled and competitive event for Scouts in a seafaring community. It is fair to say that Bay Jammer has fulfilled those expectations. Since its inception, Bay Jammer has used the facility located behind the Band Shell that today is home of the M&M Yacht Club. The Bay-Lakes Council, BSA and the Bay Jammer Committee thanks the M&M Yacht Club for the use of their fine facility year after year.
The M&M Bay Jammer is the nation’s oldest Scouting event of it’s kind and is held each summer in beautiful downtown Menominee, Michigan and utilizes the facilities of the M&M Yacht Club. In its 58th consecutive year, Bay Jammer has played host to thousands of youth participating in Sea Scout Ships, Venture Crews, Explorer Posts, Boy Scout Troops, and Senior Girl Scout Troops from all over the Midwest region. Events at Bay Jammer have changed and evolved over time, but it still includes the essence of what Scouting is all about. Some events Scouts participate in at Bay Jammer includes canoeing, boat races, swimming, log rolling, volleyball, sand sculpting, a talent night called “LipJam”, a triathlon, and much more. Each year an average of 400 youth and adults make the trek to Menominee for this historic event. More information about Bay Jammer can be obtained from long-time chairman Steve Gromala at (715) 209-5822.