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How the Pinewood Derby Should Be Run

Pinewood DerbyYou know I’m not much of a scouting enthusiast. But with two boys now in the throws of belt loops and merit badges — and a husband who has volunteered as an 11-year-old scout master — it’s hard to escape. So, here I am.

If you’re a Cub Scout parent, the Pinewood Derby — a series of races where scouts (ostensibly) build cars out of wood blocks and then spend a couple of hours racing them down a track — is a familiar event. All sorts of fabulous prizes and ribbons and trophies are awarded to the winners in various categories. It’s awesome sauce. At least in theory.

In reality, this is what we face every single year:

  1. Son comes home with kit.
  2. Dad shapes the block into something resembling a car body.
  3. Son sands it.
  4. Son paints it.
  5. Son adds decals to it.
  6. Son adds wheels.
  7. Dad and son take it to the church on race day.
  8. Son loses to the kid whose dad buys a super slick, aerodynamic, extra length, pre-cut car body with a skin, polished axels, and ultra-light wheels with graphite pads, lathed treads, and tapered rims.

Who knew an entire industry has been built around the bragging rights of scouting daddies?

Here’s my humble solution to the overly-invested-derby-parent problem in Cub Scouts:

  1. Den buys the same Pinewood Derby kit for all the boys.
  2. A volunteer cuts down the blocks either the same for each boy or within a given selection of shapes that all the boys can choose from.
  3. Den spends a couple of den meetings with the scouts building the cars. (Not to be confused with the parents coming in and building the cars for the scouts.)
  4. The den holds a special race day and awards are given based on how well the cars the boys built look and function.

Seems common sense to me. But the again, I’m not known to use scouting and common sense within a few thousand yards of each other.

{ 47 comments… add one }
  • Michele May 3, 2012, 1:54 pm

    When my dad was in charge, he required that the parents bring the scouts to his home, & he watch as the scout did at least 1 part of the building himself. A large number of the parents refused to participate in the entire event rather than do that.

  • larryco_ May 3, 2012, 2:09 pm

    or…

    cut the sham altogether and make it an elders quorum activity. This, then, would pit the best craftsmen in the ward against those without such skills who find the best craftsman at their work and pay him to design their car. A much more even playing field that could serve as a father-son activity.

  • Sandy Grant May 3, 2012, 2:26 pm

    In Reality Point 2b: Break out the package of bandaids.

  • lisalisa May 3, 2012, 3:58 pm

    I am SO glad you wrote this. The whole thing sucks. Parents competing, It’s like the school science fair. 😛

  • pandora May 3, 2012, 4:24 pm

    I’m not alone! I hate the Pinewood Derby for the same reason you mention. Whoever spends the most money on fancy stuff wins. Dumb thing to teach our boys! (And I have four!)

  • MartinSheen May 3, 2012, 4:30 pm

    If we’re going to complain about the PD (and I don’t mind if we do), then we should also be stomping around about the mother-earned-Eagle-Scout awards. Ya think?

  • barbj May 3, 2012, 4:50 pm

    We always remember the night before and have to dry the paint with a blow dryer. I think there should be an award for the quickest paint job. :/

  • rk May 3, 2012, 4:55 pm

    Our stake solves this problem by not announcing any winners. Everyone gets a participation ribbon. Nobody gets their feelings hurt nor do they get the satisfaction that they did a superior job.

    We have tried to make sure that our boys do as much as they can themselves. One year we didn’t go because my son didn’t get around to finishing his car. The next year he put in much more effort.

  • Justin May 3, 2012, 5:04 pm

    I am a closeted anti-Scouter. I have to be very careful what I say in public. Though I admire the aims and intentions of Scouting, there is much of the actual system that has always rubbed me the wrong way. The current problems all too common with the PD are just one of many symptoms of the overall problem.

  • Miriam May 3, 2012, 5:21 pm

    I am the cub committee chairperson in our ward—this is exactly how we did our derby.
    Our ward is quite transient and low income, and so we took the boys and their dads to a local carpentry shop.
    All the boys received the same certificate, I’ve never seen some the boys smile so wide.

  • Julie M. Smith May 3, 2012, 6:24 pm

    Just in case anyone did not already know this, there is no obligation whatsoever to have a Pinewood Derby–it is not essential for meeting any requirement at any rank. There are other projects that they can do.

    So just chuck the whole thing.

    Another option is the Raingutter Regatta–for some reason, that one doesn’t bring on the craziness in quite the same way but still has most of what you want in a Pinewood Derby.

  • jennifer Ruben May 3, 2012, 6:57 pm

    .It really is easier to just do it than it is to teach and lead plus you get bragging right if your boy wins and “after all that is the point of scouting isn’t it”this attitude is why our family never enjoyed scout functions and our boys lost all interest in participting. Which meant they also lost interest is YM.

  • Jax May 3, 2012, 7:12 pm

    We did a Pinewood Derby as an Elder’s Quorum activity. It was a blast and was very well attended. Very competitive and loads of fun even for the losers (me). I highly recommend it!

  • Anthony Marcello May 3, 2012, 8:44 pm

    I echo all of the comments above. It’s disturbing how we make such a trivial event the center of our scouting year. I suggest we abolish it forever…

  • Janiel Miller May 3, 2012, 11:15 pm

    I’m of two minds with P-Derb. My boys LOVE it. All the boys in our den do. My oldest son won every year because he spun the living shortcake out of his wheels. Like he did it in his sleep. He even won the year he painted his car too late and every time it got picked up during the derby its surface was sculpted and smooshed until it resembled a bright blue raisin on wheels. But he did the thing himself and won himself.

    The part I hate is what everyone else hates: That, like science fair, Eagle Scout projects, and most artistic assignments that go on display in elementary schools, it’s often done by the parents.

    I don’t see any need to scrap something the boys like so much. I see a need to scrap the parent’s involvement beyond the basics. So do as has been suggested above: Get everyone together one saturday and cut all the cars out at the same time. Then forbid the parents to take over. Leave it up to their integrity after that. Anybody who breaks that rule can spend eternity looking at their derby car where it sits on their Telestial mantle piece. (I’M TOTALLY KIDDING.)

    Also, we’ve had no luck with Raingutter Regata, bless its watery heart. Our boys must be pursed-lip-impaired; they can’t blow those things straight down the gutter to save their lives. Pitiful.

  • Harry May 3, 2012, 11:15 pm

    We have our Cub in the pack at the local Catholic Church. They let all the siblings and especially the dads race cars. This lets dad get his super slick stuff on the track and encourages having the boys do more of the project.

    The problem with Pinewood Derby, science fair, little league, and any other youth competition is not with the programs, rather the mess our generation (today’s parents) has become. The parents need to grow up and let kids fail so they can learn more and don’t grow up to act like our generation.

  • Mark Robbins May 4, 2012, 7:17 am

    In that case, I guess I am lucky to be dad to a really gifted, witty cub scout! My son wishes to do it all by himself and sometimes I am amazed by his remarkable resourcefulness that I drop my jaw everytime I watch him do that thing (note that I watch him still cause I want him to feel my presence even he does not want my participation in his craft. I envy the challenge. I like being a parent to a genius, but what dad does not want to help his little boy conquer the world, right?

    Thanks for the post!
    -Mark
    Mark Robbins recently posted…articleMy Profile

  • John Mansfield May 4, 2012, 7:50 am

    Oddly enough, we had one Pinewood Derby in Michigan that was one won by an eight-year-old boy with an uncut, painted block of wood, whose father was out of the country for work and had been for a few weeks. It was his first pack meeting. This happenned in Detroit’s western suburbs, and most of the fathers worked for Ford. Perhaps in that setting it would have been embarrassing for a man to be caught slumming in a child’s race.

  • Steph May 4, 2012, 7:51 am

    On our flier telling Cub families to use the kit provided with no substitutions, etc., we advertised a dads-only, no-holds-barred race at the end for dads “who need more scope for their car-making talents.” It was the first year we didn’t have any trouble. No one took us up on the dads’ race, though….

  • Dave K. May 4, 2012, 8:14 am

    Apart from making the cars, the way you structure the race can actually affect the boys’ experience greatly. I’ve ran the pinewood derby for our stake the past 4 years. We’ve found a method that really works well to give all the boys several (not just one) races, and the best chance for everyone to leave happy.

    Our basic concept is to follow the soccer world cup. Instead of the traditional single-elimination tournament, we run a two-stage race.

    In the first stage, we randomly places the boys into groups of 4. Each boy will race against each of the others in his group. This ensures at least 3 races for each boy rather than just one in the traditional method. It also means the majority of boys (around 70-80%) will end up winning, or at least tying, at least one of their three races. Compare this to the traditional method where 50% of the boys lose and are out in the first round. For each race, the winner is given 3 points, the loser 0, and both boys are given 1 point for a tie.

    For the second stage we take the top 2 boys from each group (judged by point total) and place them into a single elimination tournament (we seed all the 1s vs. 2s in the first heat). In this round there are no ties. Just traditional single-elimination.

  • Tanya May 4, 2012, 8:34 am

    While I agree with some of this, a lot of the comments made me sad for people. I have 3 sons, 15, 12, 9, and they have all really enjoyed the pinewood derby. My third is so excited about the entire thing. Our ward has all the kids go to a grandpa’s house to cut the cars. My sons all designed their own. I oversaw the sanding etc, but they each did the majority of the work. It is obvious that they also did the painting. The thing that helps the cars go faster is two fold, sanding the barbs off the axils and grafight. We did help them with those two parts but only as long as they stayed interested and involved. My 9 yr old LOVES it and stayed super involved. His cars have won the last two years and it was a great lesson for him, that if you work hard at something and put in the effort success happens. Neither my husband or I have any power tools other than a drill and yet working together we had a great bonding activity with our sons. In my opinion that is what scouting should be about, working hard to learn something new and to do it well.

  • Tracy Polyak May 4, 2012, 10:04 am

    I think that a lot of people miss the point of cub scouts–that it is a support to the family. It is easy to think that it is just an activity for the kids and that the point is to win the race. Rather, cub scouts is intended to be a tool that the parents can use to teach their sons valuable skills and foster family bonds. A boy who wins the race because his father did all the work hasn’t really won compared to the boy whose father spent time with him teaching him to use the tools and build the car himself. A 10yo boy in his last year of cub scouts ought to have the skills to build that car himself, along with years of great memories with his dad (or mom or grandpa, or whoever is there to be his mentor if dad is not available).

  • jks May 4, 2012, 11:20 am

    Aerodynamics has NOTHING to do with whether the car wins. It is too short a distance that wind resistance is an issue. That is just about learning skills and fun, just like painting.
    Winning the race is about axels being straight and smooth, etc.
    Some eight year olds do not have ANY skills to do this stuff. Some 10 year olds can do it all no problem.
    My ward there is never a problem. They all get the same kit. There are varied looks. The kids each have several official races and then a few unofficial. Everyone seems happy.

  • Rob Perkins May 4, 2012, 11:06 pm

    How to fix it? In no particular order, or requirement of completion:
    1 — arrange a “computer glitch” that destroys the chance of standings during the race (In two of the last three years, we suffered this without intending to; the boys still had fun)
    2 — invite the activity day girls to play too.
    3 — rely on a Primary president to insist that the races are for fun, not bragging. Watch her cheer when your computer breaks.
    4 — really abuse the metaphor and decorate the living daylights out of that gym.

    My group has not done all those things. (My son “won” with a block of wood one year, too. It was decorated like a Wii controller, but he and his mom followed some advice about where to put the wheels and how to pre-treat them. No kits!)

  • Fred May 5, 2012, 12:04 am

    I’ve been ward cubmaster for three years and organized three pinewood derby’s. It is the boy’s favorite pack meeting of the year, by far; we have virtually 100% participation, and folks who never come to church always come to the Derby to watch their cub scout.

    We have a short talk at the beginning about winning and losing with class. We give lots of awards–though not to everyone, the boys see through that–the over all fastest, the fastest in each den, and a “turtle” award for the slowest car (which comes with the biggest candy bar). The boys also vote themselves for the “coolest” and “most original” cars.

    We also have a great track guy–he likes kids, he’s not worried about them touching the track, etc., and he lets them warm up trying out their cars and then racing them after the official Derby is over. Most important, he has it worked out so that each boy races his car about 5 or 6 times, three at a time; it’s rare that someone doesn’t win or at least finish second in some race.

    Finally, I’d say the parents need to mellow out on the “bottom” end as well as the top. There’s a few cars every year that show little sign of cub participation in the making, but those boys are proud of their cars and proud that their dads worked so hard for them–that’s not nothing–and there’s no correlation between dad-cars and winning–as others have pointed out, it’s all about straight axles and round wheels.

    In short, if you don’t have the time, or want your cub to do all or most of the work, or don’t have the skill or the money, then make your choice, explain it to your boy, and live with it. It’s just a 30 minute model car race and your boys have forgotten about it by the afternoon because they are well on to the next thing.

  • Suleiman May 5, 2012, 5:37 pm

    The derby is about teaching kids how to compete. Do their best to prepare for a competition, participate in a sportsmanship-like manner, and win/lose gracefully.

    It really doesn’t matter if a parent/leader helps (I think they should a times), if your child wins or loses, or even if the refreshments are any good (although that is nice!). It only matters that your child learns these little lessons and how to handle life.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 5, 2012, 7:55 pm

    LOL Michele. And we can guess which parents refused!

    larryco, yes. Elder’s Quorum is a much better venue. Or better, EQ against HQ. 🙂

    Sandy, I did neglect the bandaids. Thank you. Safety first.

    MartinSheen, who knew you were a Mormon? 😉
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  • Alison Moore Smith May 5, 2012, 7:58 pm

    rk, I’m not advocating the “everyone gets a prize” method. Actually, I kind of hate that. I think competition is fine, as long as we’re clear about who is competing. And, actually, I don’t think anyone feels very rewarded by a universal award.

    Our pack rules actually say something about using the given kit and kids making the cars, but every year the same kids show up with pre made ones and it’s ignored. Why have rules if you don’t enforce them?

    Justin, a kindred spirit.
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  • Alison Moore Smith May 5, 2012, 8:08 pm

    Julie, good to know. I’ve heard of the RR, but never seen it implemented. Sounds really fun. I don’t mind the PD at all, just wish it was run more on the up and up.

    Harry wrote:

    The parents need to grow up and let kids fail so they can learn more and don’t grow up to act like our generation.

    That was worth repeating.

    John Mansfield, excellent story! Steph, I like that idea a great deal. Might actually shame some dads into holding back on their kids’ cars.
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  • Alison Moore Smith May 5, 2012, 8:11 pm

    Suleiman, this is how I look at it:

    You can “learns these little lessons and how to handle life” by dealing with tough times when they come up as a matter of course or by having your parents whack you around. I prefer the former.

    You can “learns these little lessons and how to handle life” through a real competition or a rigged one. Again, I prefer the former.
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  • Susan May 5, 2012, 9:59 pm

    Ah, the memories your post brings back! Only I got to be the one who helped – mostly providing moral support as first one son, and then the other, made their cars. Our den leader was death on too much help, and the boys had a more or less fair shake with the worst question being, “Is graphite allowed on the wheels?” Still, I like your solution to how it should be!

  • jpwllms May 6, 2012, 9:15 pm

    Just finished our 8th pinewood derby for our family. My husband wrote a program for the race and we keep it moving. We set the boys at the end and have volunteers place their cars on & someone else picks their cars up at the end and runs them back to the table as the next race is going on. We had 12 rounds so each boy (17) raced 12 times then we did a bracket. Done in an hour. The races happen so fast there is only time for cheering, no time for tears. It is high energy and lots of excitement.

    As for car building I told my pack the dads should be helping more the first year and less the last. This is an opportunity for dads to teach and each year relinquish more to their son. I do like the idea of a workshop though and alleviate some of the craziness. We are pretty strict on rules and illegal builds have to be altered before the race to fit in with the rules. Some ticked off daddies but the rules get posted 4 or 5 times!!!

  • Sarah Familia May 8, 2012, 6:58 am

    One year my dad helped my little brother whittle his car into the shape of a shark, because that’s what he really, really wanted. It didn’t come anywhere close to winning (I guess sharks are more aerodynamic in water?), but it definitely took the cake for awesomeness.

    I don’t know that my dad or brother intended it that way, but you could definitely do something like that as a form of protest. Even though he didn’t win, my brother got lots of positive reinforcement for his car, and sidestepped the whole issue of competition. I think he still has the car, twenty years later!
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  • Rob May 8, 2012, 1:36 pm

    I guess I can see both sides of the story here. I’m all for the conformity to keep the competition in check and the playing field level. Though, who wants restrictions? Isn’t that life?
    I agree that making the whole experience more about the Cub Scout is the best way to go here, 100%. I really like the idea that you everyone gets together and makes them all together. Then, it’s not about the Parent’s car vs. the other Scouts car. Though, again, my Dad helped me with my car and we had a fun time making it fast, together. (Nothing as crazy as it can get today, but how do you put a limit on that kind of thing?)
    Anyway, great ideas and I’m all for making the whole thing a little less competitive.

  • kruiser May 26, 2012, 12:33 pm

    I would like to mention that this subject was covered somewhat over at Mormon Mentality last year in about January of February. I was the “kruiser” that made some coments. I don’t have time now to to rehash them here. Perhaps I will in a day or two. If you look there, you will get some new ideas on how a race can be run as I have done it now for seven years at our local Boys and Girls Club. The cars are built at the Club without parent help. But it wouldn’t matter if they did because my race format requires maximum boy and yes girl participation. In fact, on several occasions the slowest cars have won the race. I know, someone called that “morally subversive” among other things. So go and see what you think.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 27, 2012, 1:29 pm

    kruiser, welcome and thanks for the heads up.

    I love your way of working the race. 🙂

  • kruiser May 30, 2012, 11:27 am

    Thanks Alison,

    What is most gratifying about the whole thing is to watch the kids learn something new continually. All of a sudden, something dawns on someone, and to see the change of expression and pride on their faces makes it all worthwhile. I like to bring as many new kids as I can in each year, but since we only race 30 new cars each Summer, it gets tight. However, we have two “used car” exhibition races in the Fall and Spring where they learn just as much. The veteran racers are fun to watch to see how they climb higher on the “learning curve” each year. They also help the new ones get their cars ready and give race advice.

    There are surprises aplenty. We have a Junior Division, ages 6 – 8 where we run a traditional pinewood derby. Then we have a Senior Division, ages 9 – 12 where we use my method and where the real action is. Over the last 2 years, 9 year olds have won that race, each without any prior experience in the Junior Division. Apparently they didn’t expect to do that as evidenced by their screaming, jumping up and down and turning cart wheels. Just a little bit of so much that happens.

  • DerbyDad4Hire June 4, 2012, 1:08 am

    Wow there are a lot of different opinions about the pinewood derby. That is one thing that makes it so much fun. If everyone is the “guru” then the excitement of the race is that much more. I am a Mormon and I make a living from pinewood derby. I have won Nationally for several years and counting and have thousands of customers all over the Country. I never would have believed that first little race would have led me here.

    I have come to realize a few facts and a few bad misconceptions that turn this event into such a mess.

    Fact#1- This is not an event for kids only. There are a lot of dangers in trying to make a car. Every child should have help from an adult and as soon as they do then it becomes “cheating” to one person or another. In my experience whoever wins the race is almost always called a cheater. This is very unfortunate and sickening at the same time. Most every child receives help in one way or the other and the winner is usually determined from where the help comes from. Is my child a cheater because I help him?

    Fact #2- The cub scout program across the nation would dimish drastically without the pinewood derby. It is the highlight of the year.

    Fact #3- I have raced every possible level there is and the worst cheating that goes on is in the cub scout races and the majority of that cheating is coming from the leaders who want their kids to win. Some people will stop at nothing to try and win. Teaching our kids about winning and losing is vital. Teaching them the value of winning honestly is even more valuable. From what I have seen the worst offense is when strict rules are made to intentionally slow the cars down but the leaders kids cars sail through the inspections without being judged for the violations. This is where I get my most enjoyment from watching my perfectly legal car still destroy their completely illegal car. The point of the activity is to make a fast car and have fun doing so. Winning is an added bonus. The kids love the race but they really do forget it by the next day.

    Fact #4- Help is just a google search away… or is it? This is what got me into the business. Pinewood Derby is a LARGE business and I found out quick that the majority of the information and help you find will lead you to a vendor trying to push a bunch of gimmick products. I wasted a lot of money trying all the products and most of them were a huge waste of money. There is good information but it is next to impossible for the average person to find it and know that it is what they should follow. I can teach you a few simple tips that will more than likely have you winning your races by car lengths and anyone can do them. Building a fast car is EASY if you know what you are doing. I get a laugh when I see people walking in with Ebay cars and then leave mad as heck that they wasted $100. My goal as a business was to make it possible for everyone to have the right information without having to learn the hard way. I do sell performance parts but they are not necessary to win scout races if you have the right knowledge.

    Fact #5- There is only 1 GURU. Just like the Church, there are a lot out there that have some of the truths but only 1 true church. I read a comment above that aerodynamics have nothing to do with it. WRONG! They are HUGE! If you want to build the best of anything then you better learn from the best.

    I could go on all night talking about this stuff. It has been my life for 5 years. I have won every race out there and have taught lots of people how to do the same. You can say this is just a business promotion and I will say YES it is. I can save you lots of trouble and allow you to help your son have a great pinewood derby experience. Visit my site for products or you can get all the FREE information you want on my message board from the top racers in the Country at http://www.pinewoodderbyonline.com. Winners aren’t always cheaters! The Pinewood Derby is supposed to be fun and winning is more fun than losing. It takes 1 hour to build a winning car even painted.

  • Kevin August 9, 2012, 9:46 pm

    I can relate. Just like your husband, I’m an 11 year old Scout Master and I understand. While the pinewood derby is a great bonding opportunity for fathers and sons, there’s usually some type of small problem every year. Some kids don’t have fathers, some have fathers who aren’t around, or some father’s get into it too much and don’t let the kids build their own car. I think most father’s get it, though. As for the others, they just need to find the right balance between helping & not-helping. I think you’ve got some great suggestions, though, so thanks for sharing them. It’s always nice to hear what other parents think.

  • Kris August 20, 2012, 12:20 pm

    I like the idea of making it an Elder’s Quorum competition. Pinewood derby cars are great for a hobby. I k now I find them fun and intriguing. Or maybe they could develop a pinewood derby race where everyone is given the options for the pinewood derby race cars they can purchase and the scouts get to pick from those options and then make their car from that.

  • orlando axie December 17, 2012, 9:31 pm

    Hi I am glad to come accross your site.
    I have a friend who is trying to set up a double elimination pinewood derby race for her boy scout troup.

    She is figuring on 29 racers, but dose not know how to set up a chart.
    She has a three lane race track that was donated to the troup.

    I have been trying to get info. on how, or where I can get this info. all I get is adds to sell me things. all she needs is a simple graft to tarck race progress…..can you help? or guide me to someone who can? thank you for your time

    orlando

  • Kristin March 14, 2014, 8:14 am

    Competition is NOT a bad thing. Why is it a current trend to villainize it? The car should be done scout and “dad” or other well-intending adult. We let everyone know from the beginning that this is a “Do your best,” and “scout honor” type of thing. If you look back at the history of the PWD, it was intended to be a father and son experience. So, YES, dads should be involved.
    As Tigers, fathers should definetly be more hands on. As the boys get older, ideally, the scout should be doing much more of the work with dad’s guidance. I believe in our pack, that is pretty much how it works. if a dad chooses to do the whole thing, even if he wins the race, they lose in the long run as to what they are teaching their son.
    My son has learned so much about science doing the PWD. I seriously dislike the ideas that “everyone gets a ribbon,” etc. We are preparing children for the real world. I am cubmaster and I happen to be a teacher as well. I can’t tell you how many kids lack drive and determination. I believe it is because they are a result of an era where everyone gets a trophy no matter how much effort you put forth.
    If your PAck truly emphasizes the 12 core values all of the time and outlines expectations from the beginning, it really minimizes the parents taking over.
    I think holding opportunities for kids to work on their cars toghether is great, but to require that everyone has the same shape, etc. is a little silly. Why not let the kids and parents look for tips and work to make a better car? This attitude of make everything equal creates a society in which the lack of competition results in people who don’t know how to work for anything or attempt to get better. Hence the reason why other countires are leaping ahead of us.
    You can also offer other awards to remove some of the focus on speed. We offer speed awards and design awards. Some kids have no interest in the speed component, but work really hard on design.
    People who don’t want the competition aspect are usually those who don’t put in the time and effort to make a better car, but still want the feeling of winning. That is not life. You work hard, you get rewarded. Simply, that is what it is all about.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 14, 2014, 10:06 am

    Kristin, thanks for your comment. Haven’t visited this thread in a while, but I’d like to point out a few erroneous assumptions.

    1. I don’t think competition is bad at all – two of my kids are professional performing artists (extremely competitive) and I just spent the entire day watching a third competing in DanceSport yesterday (standard, smooth, and latin competitions), my kids have competed in soccer, gymnastics, baseball, baksetball, karate, debate, drama, vocal performance, dance, engineering, leadership, academic, and other competitions.
    2. There is no villainization of competition here – which would be odd because I like competition and believe it can be a good motivator (plus BYU football über fan – kind of a competition)
    3. I have not promoted the idea that “everyone gets a ribbon” given that I’ve long argued against it – the post itself says “…awards are given based on how well the cars the boys built look and function”
    4. My proposal didn’t require everyone to have the same shape
    5. Ad hominem doesn’t actually prove a point
    6. I’m kind of a fan of hard work and compensatory reward

    With that out of the way, let’s talk about what’s left. Which is probably just this:

    This attitude of make everything equal creates a society in which the lack of competition results in people who don’t know how to work for anything or attempt to get better.

    Hopefully the post is clear that I’m not recommending some kind of Pinewood Derby justice. (In fact, the post itself suggests otherwise, as I’ve already pointed out.) Rather that the competition be between the boys themselves, not between fathers, not between technologies, and not between pocketbooks.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Career Inequality No More – Obama Will Pay You to Be a Super Model!!!My Profile

  • Dorothy January 30, 2015, 10:07 pm

    We cured the Pinewood competitiveness between Fathers by changing our Cub Scout event to a Mini Brick Derby. Pack buys the DerbyMagic Mini Brick wheel kits and Scouts are given 20 minutes to build a Lego car to race on the derby track. Same rules re: length, width, height and weight as the PWD cars, but Scouts get into the build and Dads back off because they don’t want to play with the bricks!

  • Alison Moore Smith January 30, 2015, 10:11 pm

    Dorothy, pure genius! 🙂
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Church Asks for Feeback on Temple GarmentsMy Profile

  • reality February 8, 2015, 12:59 pm

    You just need to realize your husband is a failure. If he can’t spend the time sanding the axles and putting graphite on them that’s his failure. You and your family should be ashamed of being such losers.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 8, 2015, 1:35 pm

    I had to post this comment because, first, of course the commenter is anonymous because s/he (likely he) is cowardly and, second, because it’s hilarious.

    reality, dear, why is it that you demand that the success of the Cub Scout (which last time I checked was for 7–11 year olds) Pinewood Derby is dependent upon parents—nay, specifically fathers—doing the bulk of the hard work?

    Oh, I know why. Your kids (if you actually have any) believe they are entitled to have daddy wake them up, do their homework, tell off the teachers/leaders who have high expectations, pay for all their toys and college, and make sure they are comfortable and get lots of trophies for doing nothing. Yea, I know those kids. (And I see them lying in the road after they get run over by…ironically…reality.)
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Church Supports Religious and LGBTTQQIAAPFPOC* Rights – Sort OfMy Profile

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