Growing up I never participated in the Girl Scouts. And my brother never did Boy Scouts (that I can remember). I'm not sure why neither of us was involved, but it left me with very little knowledge of the whole culture.
It's amazing to me what a great culture they both have. Right now my senior students in my multimedia course are doing their entire semester-long project on the Girl Scouts and I'm learning so much interesting information.
This year Matthew entered first grade and was invited to join the Cub Scouts. He did so enthusiastically and Mike somehow got wrangled into being the Den Leader (more on that later). They've been having meetings, earing beads and badges and doing such fun things together all fall. Yesterday was the exciting race of the season - the Pinewood Derby.
Mike and Matthew spent about five days working on their car. Matthew did the "designing", Mike did the cutting and painting, I did the sanding. It was a realy family affair. He nicknamed his car "Blue Fireball" and off we went to the races.
As luck would have it, Matthew's car won first place in his age division! He ended up going to the Pack finals later in the day and placed 9th overall (out of a total of 40something cars). Not bad for not having any idea what we were doing.
That means now we go on to some regional finals at the Pittsburgh Mills Mall in a few weeks.
Here's my takeaway from the Pinewood Derby:
1. Total fun for the kids
2. Good experience with some engineering/building concepts for kids and parents
3. Pinewood Derby parents are about as nuts as soccer/football/dance parents....While most of the parents were perfectly wonderful and supportive, there were a select few that were pretty darn competitive. I mean...it's a wooden car race for little kids. But yet, there were the a copule of parents snickering under their breath that they knew more than the leaders, questioning every result and even complaining that their kid got "shafted". It was a shame. I can only hope that they said it all out of earshot of their kids.
This was just our little local pack, and most of the parents were perfectly behaved. Even the bad ones weren't too over the top. But I've heard that the next event at the mall is really crazy. I've heard parents hover over the cars, inspecting each one, questioning the judges, etc. I'm so not looking forward to that part of the event.
Let's just agree to let kids be kids and have fun building silly wooden cars, can we?