To force bbPress use your template you should name them properly, check bbPress compatible Twenty Ten included in plugin, e.g. archive-forum.php is responsible for forum list/archive.
Hi John. I would love to be involved more in 2.2 milestone (and other releases too). Do we have weekly dev chats as core team do? That would be great starting point for me, so we can discuss tickets, possible improvements, etc.
I guess best time for this would after WordCamp SF.