NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – More than two dozen Cub Scouts and Weeblos from Pack 135 in North Plainfield fired rockets hundreds of feet in the air in an annual celebration of the end of the scouting year and the beginning of summer.
“Pack 135 is here to celebrate the completion of another year of school, and a successful closing of the school year,” said Cub Master Shawn Jacot. “We ask them to launch their rockets to the horizon and to reach for the stars in everything they do in life.”
For the past two months the Scouts have spent their meetings assembling their rockets, learning about propulsion and trajectory, and designing their rockets. Each participant brought their rocket to the event where parents installed solid fuel rocket engines for the launch.
Pack 135 first participated in a Rocket Derby twelve years ago at North Branch Park in Bridgewater. The pack enjoyed it so much they decided to start holding their own at the end of every scouting year. Since then they’ve held the Rocket Derby at West End School.
The scouts are assisted by the Radical Rocketeers, a model rocket club that operates out of Great Meadows. The organization is one of four such clubs in the state, but it has the highest ceiling waiver from the government of any troop at 5,000 feet. That’s just 280 feet less than a mile.
“We like to help out because it’s a good thing for the kids,” said Joe Dunay of Edison, Secretary of the Radical Rocketeers. “It teaches them science concepts, and keeps them off the streets.”
Members of the North Plainfield Police, Fire, EMS and Youth Services were also in attendance.
In addition to launching the rockets, scout leader Harry Allen of North Plainfield provided lessons on propulsion using just a few dollars of supplies. The favorite of the kids was dropping Mentos into Diet Coke and watching it shoot dozens of feet in the air. Allen also showed the kids how air and water pressure can launch empty soda bottles up like a rocket.
“I don’t know how you can have more fun for less money than that,” said Allen after a series of launches.