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The grassroots program—because of its very nature, its inherent merit, and the fact that it is just plain fun—went from one father’s idea at a California Cub Scout pack to sweeping the nation in the early 1950s.
Cubmaster Don Murphy of Pack 280C, Manhattan Beach, California, had a son who was unable to compete in a local gravity-powered car competition.
Of course, the cost of all this, if commercially produced (even from national supply) trophies or plaques are used can be prohibitive.
There are other alternatives, of course, including the pack-made trophy which could be a Webelos craftsman project or an adult contribution to the derby.
Every boy can receive a recognition, but it is probably a good idea that no more than 50 percent or 60 percent of the boys win awards.Murphy came up with a way for his boy and his pack to make and race miniature gravity-powered cars on a small indoor track, and the pinewood derby was born. By 1955, the pinewood derby was part of the official Cub Scouting program and, while always optional, has become a key part of many Cub Scout packs’ annual programs.Variations of the pinewood derby have been developed over the years, including the raingutter regatta and the space derby, both of which demonstrate the worth (and the fun) of the pinewood derby in a slightly different form.Sometimes these problems have actually caused youth to drop out of Cub Scouting.Given that competitive events like the pinewood derby can raise emotional levels beyond what is appropriate, what Scouting goals does the pinewood derby help a Scout achieve?
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Handouts can include plans for a pinewood derby track, alternative plans for running the pinewood derby, and possible designs for pinewood derby trophies.