Derby brings lessons, tradition for Scouts

Examples of teamwork and dedication will be on display this weekend at the Fort Steuben Mall when the Two Chiefs District of the Cub Scouts holds it annual Pinewood Derby.

The derby is a tradition that goes back nearly 70 years. Some people might think it nothing more than an attempt to show that one person’s block of wheeled wood can use gravity to go down a track faster than another person’s block of wheeled wood, but they would be missing the point.

There are engineering skills at work, as well as knowledge of aerodynamics, drag and friction. Woodworking skills will be on display, and if you take a close look at the decals and paint on each vehicle, you’ll discover something about the personality of its creator.

Behind all of that work is a bonding experience between a youngster and a father, a brother, a mother or another adult who was willing to invest a little of their time and knowledge.

Action will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, when the family Pinewood Derby races are held. In addition to competition among cars that are built to Scouting specifications, racing also will take place in a hot rod division, which will allow special equipment, including wheels and axles, to be used.

Saturday’s competition will begin at 9 a.m., when Scouts from around our area will put their cars to the test.

By the time the event comes to a close, winners will have been determined, trophies, ribbons and gift certificates will have been presented and countless photographs will have been taken.

While all of that is important, those who participate will take away lessons that will stay with them the rest of their lives.