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By Chester Martin, Special to The Times
Spring is almost upon us and that means Scouting events for both Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. Each unit plans their own outings for every season, but spring brings a major event for each scouting program. It is also a time of preparation for the various summer activities but before that two widely anticipated events happen.
For Cub Scouts the big event is the Pinewood Derby. If you are not familiar with this activity it is where each Cub Scout takes a kit and builds a gravity-powered racecar. It is also a collaborative effort between the Scout and a parent in constructing the car. Each Cub Scout starts with a kit; a wooden block, four plastic wheels, and nails that become the axels. The specifications are the same for every scout. There are weight limits for the car. All materials that are used in building the car must be a part of the kit except for any paint, wheel lubricant, or any special decorative pieces used to really personalize the car.
On the designated date, place, and time each Cub Scout brings his car for the race. There is a “technical inspection” to ensure that each car meets the build specifications so as to make a competitive race. There are very seldom any cars ruled out. Most of the discrepancies are car total weight and any car over the maximum can be modified on the spot to bring it within the limits.
Before the “speed portion” of the competition begins an impartial judge or judges examine all of the entries and prizes are awarded for the best looking cars entered in the competition. If you have never been to a Pinewood Derby event you have missed a treat. Some really good work goes into making each car. It provides a scout and parent to spend some really quality time together in preparing the special racecar for each scout.
Most tracks are two lane thus only two cars race at one time. The competition continues until one car is left undefeated. Again, there is always spirited competition but at the conclusion of the race it is apparent that sportsmanship, fair competition, and just plain fun have prevailed. This year the David Crockett District Pinewood Derby will be held at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski.
For Boy Scout units the Spring Camporee will be one that emphasizes survival skills. This too is always a spirited and enjoyable event that does involve some competition between the troops. This event will be held in Giles County in April.
For both of these events please contact any Scouting unit leader or contact our District Executive, Nr Ray Robertson at email address firstname.lastname@example.org.