Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pinewood Derby...what shall it be this year?

2010 Pinewood Derby- IPOD

My boys are 13 and 9. They have both been in cub/boy scouts since the first grade. The Boy Scouts of America offers a plethora of opportunities to learn values, good morals, and all that boy stuff I was not born with instinctively.

One of those activities the cub scouts enjoy every year is the Pinewood Derby. For Pack 621 in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, it usually takes place in January. And this year is no exception. It's always quite the project trying to decide what to turn this wonderfully, solid, block of wood into something super creative, aerodynamic and unbelievably so fast that it not only wins the race, but some sort of "award". Most creative, fastest, slowest, scariest, etc.

A tid bit of history...last year we bought our little Pinewood Derby kit from the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) office in Ontario, CA. And for weeks we googled our brains for some creative idea until finally deciding on a bottle of Tapatio...on wheels mind you. So I took an inventory of tools in my head and decided one day, it's time. My son, 8 years old at the time, and I, took that block of wood out of the BSA box, got my sandpaper out of the "big girl tool box" in the garage and started sanding away. Ha, ha, ha....30 minutes later and the block of wood still looked like a perfectly, rectangular, block of solid wood. I pulled my "big girl tool box" out and started scowering for "bigger tools". Used a hand saw...no luck. Not a significant dent. At that rate, the race would come and go and still no car for us. Hey, I wasn't a boy scout growing up. I don't know this stuff.

Hand in pain, we went back into the apartment and sat on the couch, googling (the internet this time), for a rectangular something we can turn this block of wood into. I finally concluded that I could get someone to at least cut this rectangle into a wedge for me. A rectangle can't possibly win us a race, we needed at least a wedge. Maybe my parents neighbor, a retired gentleman who spends hours upon end making rocking horses in his garage. Yes, a wedge should be pretty easy. Luckily, at work the next day I laughingly retold the above story to my assistant. Turns out her dad does woodworking, made some cabinets for their home, and is retired. She offered to take the block of wood to her dad and have him cut it. And cut it he did. Into a perfectly shaped...wedge.

And so, with lots of creativity, we settled on creating an IPOD. A green IPOD with a dial painted on it and a picture of Jack Johnson's Bubble Toes song on the screen.

My 8 year old won 3rd place for the Wolves category (2nd grade cub scouts). Even got a little ribbon pin which he proudly wears on his uniform. Yay!

I didn't have the heart to tell him there were only 3 Wolves racing last year. But he figured it out at some point during the year. My poor little guy :(

So, creative wheel is turning for some ideas for this year's race. Pinewood Derby kit in hand. We have some ideas in mind and started a pinewood derby mood board. Will make a decision tonight and will report soon enough.

2011 Pinewood Derby Wood Block

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