GREENFIELD — His tiny fingers were wrapped tightly around the rope designed to steer the wooden cart he was driving.
High on top of the hill, the one children go sledding down in the winter at Riley Park, Josh Gordon was sitting in the cart, waiting for a push to get him started rolling down the big hill.
Josh, a second-grader at St. Michael School, nervously waited in the derby cart he and fellow Cub Scout Pack 770 members made by hand.
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The group was out testing several go-karts Sunday afternoon at the park as part of a scouting project designed to get the youngsters to work together and do an outdoor project. They weren’t racing, just rolling, having fun, playing in the great outdoors — a scouting tradition, officials said.
With one big shove, Josh was off. His eyes were wide open and he had a grin as wide as the Cheshire cat’s filling his face.
He looked as if he was flying down the big hill with the wind blowing the curly hair around the helmet secured tightly on his head.
The pack members took turns going down the hill, then pulling the carts back up it, before getting in line for another ride.
“It’s really bumpy,” said fellow pack member, Evan Pangburn, a third-grader at Weston Elementary School. “I was a little scared.”
Jerry Gordon, Josh’s father, is one of five different den leaders in the 40-member pack.
He and the other den leaders thought it would be great to create a project for the boys, one to get them to work together on an outside adventure.
“We’ve kind of reached the point with a lot of our projects where the kids don’t have a lot of interaction in some of the stuff we do now,” Gordon said.
Children spend so much time indoors on computers, so they thought the project would be ideal for the boys to get outside where they could just be kids, leaders said.
Gordon found the project in one of his old scouting books from when he was a kid and thought it would be perfect.
The old scouts used to make go-karts, back in the ’30s and ’40s before World War II, Gordon said. They stopped because they were getting so many smaller children joining that they had to switch to making miniature pinewood racers.
Leslie Wise was glad to see the pack branch out and try something different, a project that pushed her son, Aiden Wise, a second-grader at Weston.
“He’s kind of shy about trying adventurous type things, so we liked this,” the Greenfield resident said.
So did Aiden, who was all smiles as he went down the hill.
The Cub Scouts spent two den meetings building the go-karts, den leader Aaron Hilbers said.
Many of the boys enjoyed the chance to build something from the ground up and see how it worked. Putting the wheels on was the boys’ favorite part, Hilberts said.
“I really liked how you’ll see all the pieces and then when it’s done, you’ll see how it’s built,” Pangburn said.
While all of the Cub Scouts made it down the hill and back in one piece, it was somewhat challenging to steer the cart by the rope, the riders said.
Some of the drivers got a little off track and veered wide right or left, but all-in-all, the den leaders said they were pleased to be able to reach back into the scouting past and bring forth an old time project, one the boys won’t soon forget.