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The Soap Box Derby is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to build knowledge and character, and to create meaningful experiences through collaboration and fair and honest competition. Core Values and Drivers • Youth Education and Leadership Development • Family Engagement and Enrichment • Honesty, Integrity and Perseverance • Innovation and Entrepreneurship • Teamwork and Collaboration • Mentoring • Volunteerism • Commitment to Community
The Soap Box Derby is a youth racing program which has run nationally since 1934. World Championship finals are held each July at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio.
The first All-American race was held in Dayton in 1934. The following year, the race was moved to Akron because of its central location and hilly terrain. In 1936, Akron civic leaders recognized the need for a permanent track site for the youth racing classic and, through the efforts of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Derby Downs became a reality.
Each year since, with the exception of during World War II, youngsters from throughout the United States and several foreign countries have come to Akron with the racers they have built and driven to victory in their home communities.
The goals of the Soap Box Derby program have not changed since it began in 1934. They are to teach youngsters some of the basic skills of workmanship, the spirit of competition and the perseverance to continue a project once it has begun.