Scout-O-Rama event promotes scouting to local children, families

Friday, April 13, 2012 | 4:22 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Local scouting troops have geared up for the Scout-O-Rama event Saturday by following the Boy Scouts of America motto — "Be prepared."

The event will share the message of scouting with the community and give current Cub Scouts more information about the Boy Scouts program said Jon Wilson, district director of the Boy Scouts of America Great Rivers Council.

Scout-O-Rama will include the annual Pinewood Derby race and Raingutter Regatta for scouts in the Boonslick District. Local troops will set up stations with activities such as a rocket launch, a dunk the cubmaster booth and knot tying. Between 300 and 350 Cub Scouts between grades one and five are expected to attend.

A sheriff’s patrol car, fire truck, a fire safety training unit and the PedNet Coalition will all be present. Columbia Second Chance will bring dogs and cats, while the K-9 Unit from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department will perform a short demonstration. The Boy Scout Order of the Arrow Native American Dancers will also give a short performance.

Cub Scouts who qualified at the pack level in the Boonslick District will have the chance to participate in the annual Pinewood Derby race and Raingutter Regatta.

Since 1953, the Pinewood Derby has given scouts the chance to create cars out of a wooden block, four axles and four wheels, according to the official Pinewood Derby website. The scouts with the three fastest cars will receive trophies. The Raingutter Regatta is the sailboat equivalent of the Pinewood Derby.

“The tradition has lasted so long in my opinion because it’s a family-centered activity and because it’s fun,” Wilson said. “Kids that age like the idea of racing. They get help from mom and dad to make it, paint it and put decals on it, and in their minds it’s the coolest car ever. It’s really neat to see the facial expressions of the kids when they see their cars racing and how excited they get.”

Scout-O-Rama events are put on by troops nationwide, but an event has not happened locally since the 1980s. Organizers began planning the event about eight months ago to promote scouting, Wilson said. 

“I went through scouting, and I’m an Eagle Scout,” said Drew Gronauer, district executive of the Boy Scouts of America Great Rivers Council. “It teaches life skills like leadership, responsibility and citizenship. At the Scout-O-Rama, kids who are in scouting can see what other scouts or packs are doing. And kids who aren’t in scouting can see what kinds of things we do and suggest things they’d like to do if they were in scouting,”

The Scout-O-Rama will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Parkade Center. Admission is free, and children must be accompanied by an adult. Families of current scouts and those of children interested in scouting are invited to attend and participate in activities.

The event will include indoor and outdoor activities and will continue rain or shine. The Boy Scouts of America Great Rivers Council and Boonslick District sponsor the event. Parkade Center is located at 601 Business Loop 70 West.

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