Bay Ridge Cub scouts hold annual Pinewood Derby
It felt like the Indy 500 for the roomful of Cub scouts as they gathered to watch their lightning fast custom-built toy race cars head to the finish line.
Local Cub Scout Pack 313 held its annual Pinewood Derby on Sunday, Jan. 21, at Saint Anselm Catholic Academy, 365 83rd St. in Bay Ridge. This is one of many activities undertaken by Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in Brooklyn.
The Boy Scouts of America was formed in 1910 by retired British Army officer Robert Baden-Powell.
The Boy Scouts of America is a volunteer run program, according to the Boy Scouts’ Brooklyn District Executive Jimmy Cho. “The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law,” Cho said. “There are over 2400 traditional Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts all over Brooklyn and over 7000 Eagle Scouts live and/or work in Brooklyn.”
In addition, more than 2,000 scouts attend summer camp including weekend activities, outings, and training events. “Scouting is thriving in the borough from Bay Ridge to East New York; from Greenpoint to Coney Island,” added Cho.
The Pinewood Derby is a Cub Scout tradition dating back to 1953. The Scouts receive a car kit in advance and build the cars at home (with some assistance from their parents). The cars can weigh no more than five ounces on race day.
They perform in a series of heats containing six cars each. Prizes are awarded not only to the fastest three cars in each division, but also in categories such as “coolest-looking car,” “best paint job” and “best theme car,” among others. Many of the scouts design their cars with themes such as superheroes or Minecraft, for example.
For Pack 313 Cubmaster Paul Muccigrosso, Sunday was a bittersweet day.
“This is the last derby I will lead as a Cubmaster, since my younger son David will be moving up to Boy Scouts in the spring and I will pass the baton to one of the leaders who has a younger son continuing in Cub Scouts,” Muccigrosso said.
Muccigrosso has been Cubmaster of Pack 313 for several years. “Before that I was a den leader for my older son’s den from 2009 to 2013,” Muccigrosso said. “I was also a Cub Scout in Pack 313, the same Pack as my son’s, when I was a boy,” he added.
Muccigrosso explained the Cubmaster’s role in the derby. “A leader watches the car finish to assure that the results are accurate. Our pack currently has more than 40 Scouts ranging in age from 5 to 11 [Kindergarten through fifth grade].”
This year Muccigrosso’s 10-year-old son David won the derby. “It was exciting designing my own car,” said David. “Winning the Pinewood Derby and being with my friends was fun.”
This was David’s last year in Webelos, so it was his last opportunity to win the Pinewood Derby, which he had never won before. Webelos are scouts preparing to become Boy Scouts.
“It was very gratifying to see all the Scouts cheering each other’s cars on and displaying good sportsmanship,” Muccigrosso said. “All of the Cub Scout leaders and some other parent volunteers worked very hard to make this day successful, since it is one of the many traditional highlights of the Cub Scout year.”
Upcoming Scout activities include a Pinewood Derby competition in Kings Plaza on March 3, and a conservation project at Floyd Bennett Field, as well as an International Shoreline cleanup initiative.
For more information about joining local scouting contact Brooklyn District Executive Jimmy Cho at (212) 651-2877 or email [email protected]