- Signed up to attend our District Recognition dinner
- Emailed the den to advise there was no meeting this week as it’s the 5th Tuesday
- Received and read emails from a couple of parents/leaders with feedback on our District Pinewood derby
So you are probably wondering from the title where I may be going with this today. For those of you that may follow NASCAR or Open Wheel Racing (Indy Cars) you certainly know that there is not a lot of compassion in racing. You could probably tell from this article, that compassion was not on Danica’s or Ryan’s mind. But as they say, “that’s Bristol, baby!!”
This weekend was had a full slate of scouting activities. Friday night was our March pack meeting. The Webelos were in charge of the skit or song. Because we have been working on Showman activity badge, they decided to do both a skit and a song. Their skit was the paper bag puppet show they wrote a few weeks back on the founding fathers of Scouting. The song they sang (and actually taught to the rest of the pack) was “Road Kill Stew.”
Our activity at the pack meeting was to make lap blankets to be delivered Saturday to a local nursing/seniors home. We have blue and gold fleece that had 2 inch tabs cut around the edges. The boys put a blue and gold piece together and tied all the tabs with square knots to keep the pieces together. The Webelos helped some of the younger scouts with their knots it was great to see them take a leadership role. After the blankets were completed, we told the boys some head scratcher riddles and wrapped up with a compassion Cubmaster minute.
Saturday morning was our district’s Pinewood derby. In our district, the top two racers from each rank in each pack may qualify to race at the district race. We had about 275 boys from all four ranks register to race. Being on the district committee for program, not only was I there as a proud papa, I was observing the action based on how things transpired with this year’s rules as decided upon by Cub leaders at Roundtable. Overall most boys seemed engaged and the cars looked good. However, it was a very long day. Check-in started at 9:30 and was to last until 10:30 with races beginning at 11. However, due to the sheer number of boys in each rank (about 85 on average) one hour (or even 90 minutes) is just not enough time. We normally run four tracks simultaneously, one for each rank. Once the boys are checked in the volunteers running that rank’s cars can start racing. Due to an issue with one of the tracks (a wooded one that kept jumping cars) the decision was made to run the Wolfs on the Tiger track once the Tigers raced. Because of the track timing software, all boys needed to be registered on the same computer. So the Wolfs had to wait until the Tigers were finished registering to even register. Then the Tigers had to wait until the Wolfs registered to even race. Given that the Tigers did not start racing until close to 12:30. Meanwhile, the Webelos and Bears didn’t start racing until close to 12 noon because of a long check-in and then the volunteers fiddling with the computers and tracks. Even once the races began, there was little excitement. The computer lists what cars are set to race on which lane so an adult grabs the car places it on the lane and another then releases them once all are set, two more adults bring the cars back, then wash, rinse, repeat. No announcement, no commentary, nothing. The boys and families need to pay attention to what car is being placed to know if their car is racing. For the Webelos, the cars raced in order 1-84 on each lanes (1-4) consecutively so at least once a boys car came up, they had four heats in a row. For the Tigers, Wolfs and Bears, there was a randomizer that picked cars at random but kept track how many races a car had and on what lane to ensure one heat on each of the four lanes. Again at each of those tracks, no announcing, no engagement. In past years there has at least been someone chattering about camp, checking out each track and occasionally announcing a particular heat just to be talking. For some reason, no one was asked to do that this year. Generally speaking after about 3/4 of the cars had raced (especially with the Webelos since they raced in order), most boys were glued to a Nintendo DS or other game, or just not paying attention. I know it is not easy putting on that kind of event for that many boys and equally care for the logistics of racing 80-90 cars, but it was very sterile. I guess I (along with help from our professional staff and Roundtable staff) will need to recruit some more engaging volunteers for next years event and try to guide them in a way to make it a better product. On a good note, the oldest with his Cheese Racer (second from the left in this heat), came in 19th place out of 84 cars in the Webelos den. Despite my observations and comments, he said he had a good time, but said the racing took too long.
Not long after finishing up at the Pinewood Derby race, we headed to the nursing home to deliver the lap blankets for our Compassion service project to keep with the March core value theme. The boys had made 15 so each boy who was there took a blanket, they lined up and we walked the hallways and checked room to room for residents who were in their room and awake. Our committee chair and 1-2 boys went in offered their blanket and talked with the residents for a couple of minutes. They even came across a resident who had recently celebrated her 94th birthday. So all the boys gathered in her room and sang Happy Birthday to her. She was so touched, she cried. It was a touching moment. Once we handed out all of the blankets we discussed again the impact of their actions and how it made them and the residents feel. We’ve not done too many service projects in the past, but over the past year or so, we have tried to have one a few times a year. This year, we’ll have at least four so that we qualify for the Gold level for Journey to Excellence award.
There were ups and downs, good things and opportunities for improvement. All in all the boys had fun, learned some things and shared with others and isn’t that what we’d like them to be getting out of Scouting?