Jamboree 2016! What. A. Night.

It takes a certain kind of person to take on the Jamboree. I mean, it’s not just a party—it’s a celebration for hundreds of neighbors spanning all generations—with games, rides, crafts, food, drink and entertainment. And live animals.

Photo credit: Manelle Martino
Photo credit: Manelle Martino

We’ve been lucky over the years to have creative, big-hearted volunteers step up to lead this charge. And they’re awesome.

So, this year. A fearless Meredith Van de Kamp heeded the call! She summoned her creative superpowers (truly, they are super) to reimagine the Jamboree in new—and old—ways. She worked to weave in the Jamboree’s past (spanning over 70 years!) with the present—infusing some of the charm that had been long forgotten (literally—for decades up in old attics) while also working to keep things interactive and fun for our younger people. And other generations. Oh, and on top of it all? It’s a fundraiser. Yeah, so there’s that. It needs to make money.

Sound like a reality show? I think it was. And what a success! The night was tremendous—memories that we all get to keep forever. Our own bar! A band! Sweet, traditional games and a rock wall! Wow. And we pulled in some serious funds also. Bam! Meredith, thank you for your hard work, creativity and direction here. We are so grateful to you!

(Does anyone have any pictures to share of this event? We’re woefully short here. Send to if so!)

When asked for a recap to share with the community, here’s what she sent, pasted below. A whole lot of heartfelt gratitude to everyone else. Awww.

Well done, Meredith & team! Here’s to next year! (And is Heron the Dog open later? No? Darn.)


First and foremost, I still can’t believe how many people it takes to pull off this event! I was in awe of the volunteer turnout – from set up, to the booth volunteers, to the crew that showed up bright and early (likely not feeling 100%, eh em…) to help break it all down. I wish I had written down each and every name but sadly, that is a lesson learned. This year I’ll do my best to recall as many helping hands as possible! Please know, I am grateful to each and every one of you! Our volunteer sign up list was 95% FULL by the day of the event…and that is EPIC! Thank you all sooooo much!

While it’s on my mind: donations. How fortunate we are to have the food—all that delicious grilled food—donated to us by Grumps Cafe! Thank them by popping in sometime with some friends. (They’re right next to West Marine if you didn’t know). And the Wine Cellars for donating a case of wine. We drank it! (They’re in Clocktower—pop in and thank them personally!)

My mom and dad, Dee & Gary Van Nest and my in-laws John & Kitty Van de Kamp. Always the unsung heroes in my world. Thank you for supporting my crazy ideas, for your enthusiasm, your manpower, and huge amounts of help (in many forms!) to keep the plates spinning amidst all the chaos. I am eternally grateful!

My husband. OMG…I have no words. I’m pretty sure he has FUN participating in all the events I rope him into, but the wrath it takes on our house (and laundry), is something out of a sci-fi novel. He is a trooper. No doubt.

Holly Moring & Meredith Howe. I mean… Where would be without these two? As if running 4th of July wasn’t enough, Meredith stepped up in so many ways for Jamboree—but mostly as a critical sounding board, offering amazing ideas, rounding up volunteers and helping to think things through in a logical way. She was always just a phone call away – and that was truly invaluable. She is an absolute force when it comes to keeping Bay Ridge traditions alive and well! And our Holly…always in the wings ready to help get the word out AND a creative mastermind! She single-handedly took on the task of finding the firetruck and didn’t give up until she succeeded! She also spent hours organizing our volunteer sign up which turned out to the backbone of our event.

Tiffany & Morgan MacKinnon. This mother and daughter team showed up four hours before show time and did NOT stop until after 11pm! Setting up the booths, signs, pulling tickets, distributing coins—basically taking on an impromptu co-chair role, without hesitation!  Can’t thank them enough!!! xoxoxo

Kevin Dell’Oro for the being the Set-Up and Tear-Down Volunteer Ring Leader!  All it took was reaching out to Kevin and he wrangled the troops!! I seriously can’t thank him enough. I didn’t take role…but these guys (and their wives) know who they are…and I am so grateful for every moment you gave to Jamboree.

Mike Matton for showing up whenever he could as an advisor & helping hand! As long as Mike was there, I always felt like everything would be ok!

Greg Kenefick. The man saved me. He always seemed to have an answer. “Alright, I’ve got a Big 9 wheel? Now what!?”  Always smiling, always helpful – that’s our Greg!!

Rose Jones. She was the confidence it took to pull off Heron The Dog. She helped me think it through, weeks before Jamboree and then hit the ground running that hot Saturday afternoon – and DID. NOT. STOP!  She ran it like a well oiled machine. We are lucky to be able to call her our neighbor!  Heron the Dog served roughly 1,200 drinks in 7 hours – raking in $5,394.00!  (Bay Ridge Wine and Spirits stared at me (in disgust, I think..) when I only returned one bottle of rum and few boxes of wine. They think we may have broken some records. Well done, neighbors…well done.)

Joe Evans – Our “band leader!” As soon as the band was booked – he graciously took it from there! Tracking down the most economical stage, driving hours to pick it up, setting it up, breaking it down AND spending the night tending to the band making sure they had anything they needed. I owe you, Joe! Thank you!

The Behrands – Not only did they man the volunteer check-in booth for several hours, they answered questions all night AND kept my daughter occupied on top of everything else! (no small task!)

The Harris’s – It wouldn’t be a Bay Ridge Jamboree without the Harris’s at the ticket counter!! What a team!

Mitzi Gardiner – not sure I would have gotten through August without her!  She spearheaded the credit card machine and manned her post ALL night! She was always a calm voice and the organizational guru that I desperately needed!!

Christy Julian, Emily Cregan & Julie Langlie took Jamboree prizes to a whole new level!  Christy Julian masterminded the “tickets to tokens” prize structure – which had a larger impact than any one of us could ever imagine! Booths had lines ALL NIGHT with kiddos trying to earn enough coins for the prize of their choice! These three ladies worked for weeks – databasing coin values & prize costs, maintaining a budget AND building out a booth that had never been done before! Not to mention, negotiating with every child at Jamboree! No small task!  Thank you so much to all three of you!! I know the hours it took – but I hope you know it had a huge impact!! xoxo

Doug Stewart – Rum Punch & Grapefruit Crushes. Need I say more. This teammate took our cocktails to new levels – mixing up the goods all night! We ALL owe you a big THANKS!

Cliff Howe – The food booth master!!! He got to work on his tasks weeks before Jamboree and didn’t stop until late Sunday afternoon! Thank you so much to Cliff and the entire Howe team!

The Bake Sale Dream Team!! (some of my most favorite Bay Ridge ladies too…) Rosie Miller, Carol Patterson and Jane McWilliams – these three wonderful ladies ran the bake sale until it was SOLD OUT! Raking in a whopping $345.00 for BRCA!  Many thanks to all the donations, too!

The Joseys – Thanks to their dedication to this awesome tradition, we all enjoyed another successful night of Bingo!!

Stacey Hooper – Stacey just appeared one day, and said, “Hey, need any signs made?” Wide eyed…with excitement…I said “YESSS!!! How did you know!!??” Not only did she whip up over a dozen new signs, to bring new games and rides to life! BUT, THEN she came by on the DAY OF the event to paint the horse race track AND brought her daughter AND her daughter’s friends to lend helping hands to our booths! THEN, as if that wasn’t enough, The entire Hooper family donated most of their night running Hooper’s Hoops! A dream team that I’ll never forget! Thank you so much!!!

My dedicated pre-teens/teens. You all made my day! Honestly! I wish I could remember each of you that stepped up – you all had such big smiles on your faces and made each booth shine! From face painting, to bean bag toss, to henna, to snow cone sales to popcorn making to everything in between – it wouldn’t have been the same without your energy and enthusiasm!  Can’t wait to work with each of you again next year!!!! xoxoxo

I also want to send a CONGRATULATIONS to our raffle winners! Bobbie Hecklinger and Jody Lacey! How lovely it was to send winnings over to two expert Bay Ridge volunteers!  Well earned, ladies!! Thank you for your years of service to Bay Ridge – so glad to have been able to give back a bit!


By Holly Patterson Moring

Hello, community! I grew up here in BR, moved away and came home. Literally. To my parents back yard. I live here now with my husband and daughter--happily bookended my family on both sides.

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