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Pinewood Derby signals Island Park Cub Scouts' post-Sandy revival

Despite the troubles superstorm Sandy brought to Island Park, reducing Cub Scout Troop 312 to four members, the group led by assistant scout master Phil Treglia Sr. staged its first pinewood race derby since the storm on Friday, April 25, 2014, at Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School in Island Park. (Credit: Jennifer A. Uihlein)

Phil Treglia Sr. arrived late to the Pinewood Derby model car races Friday night and wasn’t missed.

He didn’t mind at all.  

Everything was ready. Cars were inspected and weighed, thanks to Cubmasters, Scoutmasters, Boy Scouts and parents who came together for Island Park’s Cub Scouts Pack 312.

For Treglia, unit commissioner for Pack 312, keeping the group intact is important for fostering the Boy Scout troop in later years. He said that membership dropped 90 percent post-Sandy, down to four.  With such low participation, there was little the group could do.

But with the addition of 14 new Cub Scouts over the past three months, the program is experiencing a renewal. Friday was the first Pinewood Derby event since Sandy hit in October 2012.

“By getting parents together, getting people to say they would be a leader, that helped out a lot,” Treglia said.  

During the derby at Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School in Island Park, there definitely was excitement -- not only from the kids, but for the future of the program.

Coby Spiteri, 6, from Island Park, was beaming after winning first place with a car inspired by cartoon classic Scooby-Doo.

“I was watching TV,” explained Coby, “and wanted to do the Mystery Machine, so I asked my dad, and he said yes.”  

The Derby was a family affair, with parents and siblings present to cheer on their young Scouts. Joshua Vopis, 6, from Island Park, modeled his car after the New York City Police Department.  

“My dad printed out little stickers to glue on the back,” Joshua explained of his third-place winning car. “I was excited, because I really wanted to win a medal, and I did.”

Tags: Island Park , Cub , Scouts , Pinewood , Derby , cars , towns , Sandy

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