Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Your Pinewood Derby is Showing!

Ever stop to think about what your pack’s “Pinewood Derby” says about your unit?

I know PWD’s run the gamut from non-competitive play to competition (and parent) intensive ordeals to be endured.

All of them are loud, too!

We didn’t have a pinewood derby for the first 3 years of our pack. The first year, we were simply too new to pull it off. The next 2, I was very hesitant to introduce “bad parenting” to the events.

You know what I mean—the professionally constructed car; Scouts not allowed to touch the cars (including their own); official weigh-ins; adults handling the races; electronic scoring and spreadsheets; endless conversations about axles, graphite, and burrs on the wheels…and bored kids hanging out waiting for their turn.

Last year, we decided to give it a try. The Scouts got their kits for Christmas from the pack, and had until the January pack meeting to get them ready to go.

I offered scant advice—parents should help their Scout as much as he needed it, and no more. Timmy Tiger needs a lot of help, and Wally Webelos should just need a lift to the meeting.

The pack meeting was a quick presentation of awards earned that month, followed by, “get in line with your car, 3 Scouts at a time”. I made a big deal during the weeks prior to the big event that we would race as long as they wanted.

We raced, and raced and raced some more.

Scouts pared up against each other and no one was upset, or bored. The kids did everything except flip the starting gate (my job!). Families stood around and cheered, little siblings jumped around and yelled.

As Scouts and their families needed to call it a night, they went home. Last few families called it a night just after 9PM, with over 2.5 hours of racing wrapped up.

No one won, and everyone won. No awards or medals. Just fun.

Tonight we race again, and the excitement is high.

1 comment:

FamilyMan said...

What a great pinewood derby last night! I had several parents let me know they appreciated the whole "just for the fun of it" approach.

Whew! My throat is sore and scratchy from doing all the announcing of each heat for 2.5 hours again.