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About pjha

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  1. I am always perplexed whenever there is an "event" and society is compelled to categorize it as either competitive or non-competitive, as if they are mutually exclusive terms. There is no reason why an activity has to be one or the other as learning (cognitive and affective domains), to include conduct, can be very enjoyable and satisfying, particularly when theory and hypotheses are realized in actuality (design). In my five years experience, to include Den Leader and on the committee that determines the rules (1 of 5 years), the most grievous situations occurred not with the Dad's, but with the official "leaders" involved with the execution of the race. With the exception of the last two years, which I will explain/recommend below, inevitably what causes the most chaos and confusion/problems is with those "leaders" that are either not qualified to conduct the race and/or have not taken the time to realize the importance of conducting the race, e.g. make sure all cars race the same amount of times in the same lanes (remove the track as a variable) and make sure the pairings are done correctly (everyone races enough people and/or you don't restrict the number of people that can advance in a den, since you could have the fastest three cars in the same den). In addition, make sure you have a computer and not use the human eye as "the judge"; the human eye can not differentiate to one thousandths of a second. No matter how much people want to focus on Dad and the Scout making the car, this is all superceded/irrelevant if the race execution is flawed. The district should have training to consider all of these issues/variables and ensure people are qualified to properly conduct the race. There will always be sore losers and sore winners, arrogance and humility. There will always be excuses and those that try to put a car together the night before. What I have learned and have witnessed is that if the race is conducted properly and you post the rules in advance/when distributing the kit (recommend applying only the minimum requirements, as depicted in the kit, i.e. use BSA approved parts and only be concerned about the length, width, and weight) and then let innovation and ingenuity take over. PACKS only exasperate/complicate the situation when they try to induce rules that can not be enforced such as you can "modify" the wheels to take out the burrs of the wheel mold. How do you regulate the subjective word "modify" and then measure/enfore? You can't due to subjectivity. Just like in life not all people approach the same activities with the same attitude and aptitude and you shouldn't penalize those who both want to try their best, and, enjoy the situation, by trying to imply and create rules or procedures; wherein, the attempt is trying to equalize the field. Noble and compassionate, but not practical or possible. Lesson learned: make sure the PACK has the knowledge and the proper means/equipment to conduct the race, and establish the minimum requirements and the scouts can witness first hand that the outcome is directly correlated to the input/effort, attitude and aptitude of those that want to do their best and not succumb to apathy or mediocrity, just like in real-life. For those that cast stones and behave inappropriately regardless of the outcome; the behavior far outlasts any implied grievousness on who really made the car. Practicality in this says that if the scout is making the car totally by themselves, then safety (use of the necessary tools) has been compromised, i.e. making the car is intended to be BOTH a Dad and Scout activity and safety surpasses who "really" made the car. Given that, if the Dad is exclusively making the car in reality, then the only person who does not benefit in the end is the scout, sadly. Peace, pjha
  2. (This message has been edited by pjha)