Jump to content

Alternate Pinewood Derby

Recommended Posts

I generally don't favor what I call overproduced Pinewood Derbies, where parents, usually Dads, dominate everything and children can be excluded from racing.


Last year I designed a PWD that suited my tastes, and it was well received by both parents and boys. This year parents at our committee meeting last Monday wanted to repeat it again this year.


The features are:


1) Boys and parents come in about 1oAM on Saturday and are issued a new PWD kit. Parents are encouraged to bring whatever hand wood working tools they may have.


For about an hour to an hour and a half, boys and parents work together to design and build their PWD car. We have a spray paint booth so boys can paint their cars as well.


Boys can seek help from any parent on designing, building or decorating their car, so children of single moms (or whatever) aren't handicapped by lack of tools or help.


2. While the cars are being built, we set up our non-computerized three track race course.


When several of the boys have completed their cars, they are issued a PWD Driver's license --- a certificate for the race.


Each Scout picks who they want to race against, and the boys put their cars on the track and the heat is run. The winner of each heat receives a sticker for their Driver License each time they race. Boys race as often as they wish.


At it's peak, we probably run three heats per minute.


3. After the racing gets started, we bring in pizza and drinks for snacks.


4. This year Cub Scouts will be encouraged to invite a buddy and their parent(s) to the PWD to make and race cars. This will be our example of a fun Cub Scout family activity, and will be the opening of our spring recruiting effort.


5. We will have flyers for our district PWD, which is a more competitive PWD race with trophies for winners. Boys who want more racing or a more competitive event will have that option.


5. Last year boys competed to see how many stickers they accumulated on their driver's license --- everyone had at least six or so, and some nearly twenty.


Any suggestions for additional competitions or recognitions we might add to this event?




I like this format because younger boys especially mainly want to build their cars and then race them as many times as possible against their buddies. This format does a great job of meeting those desires.


It gives parents and dads in particular a good role, but it leaves the boys making their cars with the assistance of parents. Dads aren't encouraged to take car building away from their boys, although they may help complete saw cuts and things when boys get tired of sawing.


It's a nice, simple one day event that's easy to organize.


Any other suggestions or ideas would be welcome.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Seattle, this is what it's all about. My only quibble is the title of this thread, as this is not an "alternate" , this IS the PWD as it should be: Boy centered, not just 'win' centered.

And, yes, some dads will try to make it a live-my-life-thru-the boy. Best way around that is, as always, have a "unlimited" class.


KIS MIF as always.


Link to post
Share on other sites

The idea of having a section for parents is that it would distract parents from working with their boy in building and decorating their cars. Last year parents were pretty engaged in doing that.


I really liked the experience last year. It combined parents --- dads mostly, helping their boys to lay out their cars and helping them with the parts they couldn;t do as well, such as finishing major wood cuts when younger boys tired of sawing. At the same time, some dads specialized in an ad hoc way of helping with particular things, and boys felt free to ask any of the parents for help.


I have one dad and granddad who are our Tiger Cub Den Leader and Assistant Tiger Cub Den Leader. At our parent meeting last Monday, the grand dad offered to bring a power scroll saw to do the major cuts on the cars, but I discouraged that since it would turn over a task boys could do perhaps with some assistance into one done by adults. He understood and accepted that.


It's perfectly natural for parents and dads to be eager to participate in the PWD with their boys, and indeed I want that to happen. But often dads don't realize how they can take over the event and spoil it for boys. That impulse tends to take over the event, and that's what I am to avoid by the structure of this activity, such as not starting construction of cars until the day of the event and giving everyone equal access to tools and equal time to build a car.


But of course what counts is how this works out in practice. You never know how an eager dad will try to bypass the plan.


My back up to this is to welcome families to participate in the district PWD, where they can go to town on their own car plans if they wish.


The district PWD DOES have an "unlimited" class for the participation of Boy Scouts or adults.


(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...