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amg4814

Scandal at Pinewood Derby

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Your story really reminds of the time we had a boy "join" our den, just a week or two prior to the derby.  He had moved from out of town, came to like one meeting, maybe two.  I think mom had filled out the application, but had not paid dues yet.... seems like they were still in moving madness, dad wasn't even in town yet....something like that

so anyway, he enters a car in the derby.

based on the level of completion, and the look of it....and maybe something that was said.... I just had this gut feeling that the car was last years car....maybe even older brother's car.

so he won some award, most creative or some such thing.... took a trophy.

and then a week or two later they backed out and decided to not join, and never paid dues.

I've had a hard time letting that one go.

 

We got tired of the PWD drama. So we did this:

  • Everyone got their cars the same day.
  • We got a few "shop dads" to donate their gear and we set up a workshop.
  • All boys got a few hours to design their cars, then build, then paint. 
  • The "shop dads" would supervise and make sure hands weren't being cut off, etc.
  • Cars when done -- and the boys said when they were done -- they were inspected to make sure they worked and met specs. They were "impounded" for the race the next day.
  • Everyone shows up and watched their cars race. Winners won and losers lost, but the playing field was even.

 

I have often thought that this would be a great way to do it.

The only real down side that I can think of...and it's not much of one.... is that the pack wouldn't have a chance under the sun of placing in the district or council level races.

 

For us, I did more than I should have for son's derby cars.... but I do feel there was some benefit.  I dusted off my engineering degree, and even bought that video "physics and the pinewood derby"  really tried to use it as a teaching moment for science.  Son had a hand in everything, creating the design, making every cut, etc.. (even his little sister did a lot of it with him...), but I pushed him along more than i should have and did more of the work than I should have.  His last car was all him except I did a little work on the wheels and axles for him.  He really made too little effort on it, but he got the weight right, and with smooth running wheels he placed way higher than he should have for the effort, if memory serves went all the way to the council race.  I'd like to think the teaching paid off a little bit....

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The only real down side that I can think of...and it's not much of one.... is that the pack wouldn't have a chance under the sun of placing in the district or council level races.

 

Why worry?

 

Do the kids really care? Are these races even worth entering when you know Pack 0000 has all the parents doing their kids' cars?

 

We did races, awards, then a HUGE Blue Bell ice cream party. There wasn't a kid who gave a darn what place they came in when they had the chance to build an ice cream sundae four times the size of their car! :D

 

EDIT: Almost forgot. First, if you got a trophy for racing you could not be part of the "superlative awards" like best design, etc. Second, the non-trophy finishers got to put a pie in the CM's face.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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We got tired of the PWD drama. So we did this:

  • Everyone got their cars the same day.
  • We got a few "shop dads" to donate their gear and we set up a workshop.
  • All boys got a few hours to design their cars, then build, then paint. 
  • The "shop dads" would supervise and make sure hands weren't being cut off, etc.
  • Cars when done -- and the boys said when they were done -- they were inspected to make sure they worked and met specs. They were "impounded" for the race the next day.
  • Everyone shows up and watched their cars race. Winners won and losers lost, but the playing field was even.

 

 

I like the idea, but it would only work if the cars could not leave the build location.  Come to the location to get your car, build, paint, etc.  Then race it.  

 

Once a car goes home, it's a parent project.  

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I like the idea, but it would only work if the cars could not leave the build location.  Come to the location to get your car, build, paint, etc.  Then race it.  

 

Once a car goes home, it's a parent project.  

 

 

oh, and no kits

 

Yup, that's what we did. Had to use the "stock" parts that came in the kit from BSA. No special wheels or axles. Weights WERE allowed to be added and we allowed parents to help BUT they used "stock" weights too.

 

All cars were inspected, weighed and locked down. The race was the next day due to paint drying. One dad got tired of waiting and built a paint deck that could dry 10 cars at a time. ;)

 

The way to neutralize the DIY parent was to 1) have them bring their tools (bragging rights) and 2) challenge them to think of ways ALL kids could benefit from any tech (car dryer).

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My understanding is that the PWD is supposed to be a parent and child working together effort.

 

For my son's cars ...

He chose the shape and design and draws in on the block

We use the pack's pinewood debry cutting event, most years and adult would cut to the lines and/or use the belt sander.  His Webelos year, he did some of the cutting and most of the sanding.

I operated the tools to cut into what remained of the car for adding weight

He did the painting, although I did help put down tape so the paint went where he wanted it.

We both sanded the axle nails to remove the barbs

I usually applied the graphite (I didn't want that stuff all over my house)

I held the axle nail and wheel spacer while he hammered it in.

 

He never won his den, but he did have some stiff competition.

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My understanding is that the PWD is supposed to be a parent and child working together effort.

 

PWD is what ever the individuals want to make it.  Pack leaders can structure it as they want to serve their objectives.  

 

PWD is a traditional activity and not a formal program element.  For all the formality, you could go to a forest looking for downed pine trees and cut six inch segments and kids can figure out how to put wheels on them and race'em. ... to be honest, that might be fun.

Edited by fred johnson

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