The adults and scouts from Troop 1518 are getting ready to drive to Lake Phoenix in Rawlings, VA for an exciting long weekend of Scuba diving at Scuba Jam. Held every Labor Day for the past 10 years, youth from all over Virginia, DC, and Maryland come to dive, win prizes, and have a fun weekend of camping before the demands of school get in the way.
This will be the third Scuba Jam for Troop 1518. The troop had several members certified to Scuba dive at BSA Sea Base in 2017 and found this annual camp a great way to do some local diving and keep skills sharp. This year even more boys from the troop have earned their certification and will be attending.
The Saturday and Sunday are when the diving related events happen. Troops and crews divide into buddy teams and compete in underwater events ranging from treasure hunts to putting plastic crabs in a bucket using a fly swatter. On land these are trivial tasks, but doing them underwater requires good control of buoyancy, communication with your buddy, and pre-dive planning. Here, the team needed to find a very specific combination of tokens underwater and return to the dock on time, so put one member in charge of holding the tokens and another on monitoring time.
When not diving for competition, teams go out and explore the sunken attractions around the quarry. Below one of the boys poses with a submerged Blackhawk helicopter that they just explored.
The quarry also has a school bus, airplane, and several boats and cars, not to mention a campsite complete with hot tub that you can sit in. The favorite activity by far is the underwater basketball court, complete with bowling balls which sink slowly in water.
The weekend isn’t all about diving. Scouts can finish their Scuba diving merit badge, too. Below is one of our troop members practicing CPR on a dummy.
Sunday night is the closing activity with a big dinner and prizes. Local dive stores and manufacturers donate both gear and scholarship money and everyone walks away with at least something. One of our troop won a very nice underwater camera set in 2017 and returned in 2018 to take videos and pictures. Others have won scholarships they can use at a local dive center to buy gear or more training.
We’d love to see more people come to Scuba Jam. Head over to http://www.scubajam-va.org/ to read important messages about what’s required to participate and find a local dive center sponsoring the event. They all offer special gear rental packages for the weekend and can help you get registered. Food, camping, and air fills are provided as part of the registration so all you need to do is show up!