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karunamom3

PW Derby Car from past year

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On 2/11/2019 at 3:58 PM, SouthernTierScouter said:

We have a few rules like this, including you can't use kits bought at the store. We've had a few families do that, buy a kit, we've had a scout borrow a last year car from another scout, we've had someone try and race their winning car from the year before. What we have decided to do is to allow the scout to race their car, they can sit and watch, cheer it on, but it will never win. We simply disqualify it from being eligible to win the race. So far its never been an issue.

That sounds like what the Pack in the original post did, essentially add time to the cars so that it becomes difficult for them to win. Cars still run, kids still get to see their car on the track and cheer on the races, and the only difference is that the end results will basically eliminate those cars either through disqualification or penalty time added. 

Interesting that it seems to have 2 entirely different effects between Packs. Yours seems fine with it, while for @karunamom3 it caused a lot of distress. 

What else I'd suggest beside what I already posted earlier here is just what I intend to do next year in my Den (and possibly Pack-wide): Make it abundantly clear that there are rules, they must be adhered to, and that there are some key things that could lead to absolute disqualification. I get feeling (from this forum and from what I observe in my own Pack) that far too many parents are aware of the rules but seem to think that they won't be enforced. This is something I want to make sure is clarified; there are rules, and ignoring them means your scout's car will be disqualified, without exception.

In the case of karunamom3, I'd make it clear that a new car must be built every year. Not a disassembled car from last year. You have to open a new kit and use those new car parts to make the car.

One of the things I'll say here that I definitely wouldn't say to the parents in my den or pack is that in reality, there's little chance we'll know if someone uses a pre-bought kit. If the parts are official BSA parts, how would we know that some guy on eBay made the car? But that doesn't mean I wouldn't still try to make people wonder if we can figure it out somehow. 😁

A parent's fear of getting their scout disqualified is often enough to keep them from doing something that is against the rules, even when they think they might be able to get away with it. As long as it is plain and clear that there are strict rules, and they will be enforced. 

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We have made it clear ahead of time that the consequences for breaking the rules are such. Knowing ahead of time what the situation is always help, having it be a surprise is never good.

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On 2/11/2019 at 2:58 PM, SouthernTierScouter said:

We have a few rules like this, including you can't use kits bought at the store. We've had a few families do that, buy a kit, we've had a scout borrow a last year car from another scout, we've had someone try and race their winning car from the year before. What we have decided to do is to allow the scout to race their car, they can sit and watch, cheer it on, but it will never win. We simply disqualify it from being eligible to win the race. So far its never been an issue.

That sounds like a good approach.

The point isn't to have a car built to precision specs, it's to develop some pride in workmanship and to build a stronger relationship with a parent by working together. How good the car looks or how fast it runs is secondary to the experience of making something yourself. When my son was a Cub, the pack had a rule that whoever won the race --- that parent would be the PWD chair next year.  It was a good rule.

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2 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

That sounds like a good approach.

The point isn't to have a car built to precision specs, it's to develop some pride in workmanship and to build a stronger relationship with a parent by working together. How good the car looks or how fast it runs is secondary to the experience of making something yourself. When my son was a Cub, the pack had a rule that whoever won the race --- that parent would be the PWD chair next year.  It was a good rule.

Diabolical. :laugh:

Edited by Saltface

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I would simple state rules are rule....and if the scout wasn't present then the scout doesn't run period.

 

I had the similar situation, however I was lucky enough that they did indeed make another car but that it "sucked" and they wanted to use last years car.  Told them last year cars wont pass inspection.

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I really appreciate all these that say they greatly simplified the rules.  I struggle every year with parents interpreting the rules in different ways and trying to call out other cars as "breaking" the rules.  This year, a family member helped with my son's car.  I kept getting questions about whether his was legal or not (it was legal), but it made me a nervous wreck that people were thinking my son (and me!) a cheater.  I really did not like that feeling and would hate to put someone else in that situation. 

During a previous year, the race administrator caught that one of the cars had an illegal extended wheel base.  He called all the kids over away from the parents (parents could hear, but could not provide input).  He explained the situation.  He said that the family worked hard on the car.  He told them that it might make the car go faster (or it might not), but he bet that the family did not know that they were doing something illegal.  (They didn't.)  He let the kids vote and of course all the kids voted to let it race.  He said, "and that is the last I want to hear about it".  It worked out. 

Of course, though, I don't think you did anything wrong in enforcing the rules.  I would imagine that the other kids would have been very disgruntled that someone broke the rules and got away with it.  Certainly following the rules is an important lesson and the District Derby would be much more strict! 

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41 minutes ago, Pixie said:

Of course, though, I don't think you did anything wrong in enforcing the rules.  I would imagine that the other kids would have been very disgruntled that someone broke the rules and got away with it.  Certainly following the rules is an important lesson and the District Derby would be much more strict! 

IMHO, the best way to handle these situations is to let the kid race his car, but quietly, disqualify it from moving past round 1. 

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We purchased the kits for the scouts and asked them to use the materials provided. About the only other guideline is the maximum weight. The cars are checked in the night before the race where they are be weighed, inspected and modified to be race ready. Typically the cars that require the most time at inspection are from scouts who didn't have any help building it. The dads doing the inspection are more than willing to help the scout get the car race ready. I can't remember the word cheating being used after the race. 

Barry

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18 hours ago, Pixie said:

...This year, a family member helped with my son's car.  I kept getting questions about whether his was legal or not (it was legal), but it made me a nervous wreck that people were thinking my son (and me!) a cheater...

Why would there be a rule that disallowed family members from helping? The whole intent of the derby is that it is a collaborative project, it's not supposed to be done entirely by just a scout, nor is it supposed to be done by just a parent/guardian. I would think that a car build should have as many people involved as the scout wants.

I'm struggling to figure out what reason someone would have for opposing a scout getting help from wherever they can. I've had scouts whose parents are just not handy, or in their first year just don't have the understanding of the event to confidently attempt to even build the car. So I help if I can. I had a scout and his mom come over my house, work in the wood shop, and build a car in about an hour that actually did pretty well. Mom was more hands-on with the build than I was, sometimes people just need some guidance. Is that cheating? Heck no.

So what reason would someone have for being opposed to me helping that scout? Using that particular scout as an example, he ended up winning the bronze medal in our den, so I have to wonder if someone would be opposed to him getting help since without the help he wouldn't have even entered a car in the race and the 4th place scout would have been standing on the podium instead. But that's not what this is about, and I really hope that it isn't a bit of parents thinking, "The fewer cars on the track, the better chance my kid will win."

But it could be.

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Oh, our wonderful PWD.  It always seems to bring out the worst in some.  I was back participating in the PWD again after a long break.  The local pack has a "siblings" category and "masters" category.  Only the scouts' present year car was able to complete at the scout level.  I really like the two categories for non-scouts. 

As for assisting in the build of the car, if there wasn't any help, we would probably be racing blocks of wood with finger paints.  We tend to assist scouts in other areas, even setting up a tent, so not much issue with scouts getting help.

One option I like is for the PWD to also be a "car show".  Any car of any era was put on display and raced as time permits.  This brought out cars from over 20years back and some of the themed cars were interesting. 

Bottom line, PWD should be a fun event and not cause anyone to lose sleep. 

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1 hour ago, FireStone said:

Why would there be a rule that disallowed family members from helping? The whole intent of the derby is that it is a collaborative project, it's not supposed to be done entirely by just a scout, nor is it supposed to be done by just a parent/guardian. I would think that a car build should have as many people involved as the scout wants.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to say they were questioning the legality of getting help from a relative.   They were questioning something else on the car, but I didn’t think it relevant to get into the specifics.  The point I meant was that I am the leader and one of the people checking in cars.  I found myself in the uncomfortable position of trying to defend my son’s car (that I didn’t even actually build).  My point was that it gave me a look into what it is like to be on the other side of it.

 I appreciated the comments here that said they greatly simplified the Derby rules and tried to remove the focus off the rules.  

I have been doing this a long time.  Most every year has been great and fun, but occasionally there is a bad apple that get too competitive.  The comments here have helped me to form a “policy” going forward when there is a questioning of the rules.

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Our pack does the following. The Pack provides a kit to every scout at the annual Christmas party and keeps a few in reserve. In January, a week or two before the race, there's a pack meeting where parents bring in tools and the cub scouts that need assistance bring in there blocks of wood, and everyone works for a couple of hours to design, cut, sand, etc. (everything but paint and apply graphite) to help anyone in the Pack that needs it. This really helped a couple of scouts that didn't have that help available at home.

Rules of the race are pretty simple: you can check in the night before or the morning of. It must be a newly constructed car. No pre-built kits permitted. If you want to use a vehicle from a previous year, if adults or siblings want to race, if you want to violate the weight restrictions, no problem! There's an Outlaw race that occurs afterwards. Our schedule is: race, eat lunch, give awards, run outlaw races.

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