“Try your best and be proud of what you create,” says Ryan Klos, 8
by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (January 29, 2019) – On a cold, bright Saturday morning, in the basement of St. Ann Catholic School, Cub Scout Pack 247 gathered for a classic scouting tradition—the Pinewood Derby.
They had begun arriving at 7:30am for the official weigh-in. The weight limit for derby cars is 5 ounces, and experienced racers know that the closer you can get to that limit, the faster your car will go. Still, some prefer to focus on other possible awards—Most Humorous, Most Unique, Most Original, People’s Choice, Scouts’ Choice, and Safest Driver are all trophies worth competing for.
Today’s Pinewood Derbies are aided by technology; a computer is hooked up to the track, and a sensor clocks the cars as they pass, feeding data into a program that displays the results on a screen for the audience to see. But the manual and mental skills are still paramount—carving, sanding, painting, and experimenting with body shapes to achieve efficient aerodynamics. Or just being creative.
While each race lasts only a few seconds, the derby takes several hours to complete. It’s a complicated system that ensures each entry races in all three lanes against a variety of competitors.
By the end of the day, every Cub Scout is a winner—if not in speed, then in sportsmanship, or creativity, or participation, or new knowledge gained.
Cub Scouts Pack 247 meets on Tuesdays at St Ann Catholic School, 3010 Ridge Road in Lansing, Illinois.