Creative Cub Scouts

by Jun 30, 2020Education, North Brunswick

The Pinewood Derby might be a traditionally wholesome activity, but this year it’s gone high tech.

Four cars fashioned from blocks of pine shot down lanes in the 42-foot aluminum track, and within seconds the audience knew which car was fastest and which Cub Scout owned the car. The competitors got three more chances to prove their car was the fastest since each car had four heats with the slowest speed discarded.

This was the scene at the Pinewood Derby on February 22 at Leland Baptist Church, where 41 Scouts in Cub Pack 118 and others vied for the 24 trophies and more than 100 supporters were there to watch them.

In the past the pack’s track was wooden, and Cub Scout leaders used their accuracy skills to determine which cars crossed the finish line first, second, third and fourth. Now the computer displays that information in fractions of seconds, but the Scouts’ ingenuity is what actually determines the winners.

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Each Scout received a kit containing a block of pine, four plastic wheels and four nails. They transformed these into Indy-style race cars, sleek limo-like autos or whatever a Cub Scout imagines.

“It’s not hammering four nails into a block of wood,” said Pack 118 Cubmaster Jon Almasy as he oversaw the cars’ weigh-in. A car cannot weigh more than five ounces.

Scouts in each of the six dens received first, second and third place trophies. Another three trophies went to the overall winner for originality, craftsmanship and design. Judges’ category and People’s Choice category each received one trophy.

Caleb Pilon fashioned his car to mimic Pikachu, a Pokemon character. Caleb’s car won the People’s Choice trophy and won third place as the fastest car overall, reaching the finish line in 3.1484 seconds.

Myles Ballard said he secured weights on the underside of his car to provide speed. His car won first place in the Wolf Den with a speed of 3.2999 seconds. Henry Dobstaff painted his car pale blue with gold circles at the front. “The gold looks like headlights and looks cool,” he says. Henry won fastest car in the Webelos Den and fastest car overall, getting to the finish line in 3.1178 seconds.

Almasy’s kindergarten son, Andy, a Lion Scout in the Cub Scout divisions, fashioned a fire truck, painted it red and added a flashing light. The car won the Judges’ Choice trophy. “I wanted my car to be challenging,” he said. “I wanted to put decals on it.”

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Almasy’s third-grade son, Alex, a Bear Scout, painted his car white with a big blue circle on the back. The car won first place in the Bears Den with a speed of 3.1807 seconds. “I made it to go fast,” he said.

Ayden, Almasy’s daughter and Alex’s twin, entered the Outlaw category, which gives siblings and parents an opportunity to craft and race a car of their own. “I like cats and wanted a cat with purple whiskers,” she said. It cost $5 to enter this category. First place won 50 percent of the pot, second place won 30 percent and third place took 20 percent. Ayden won third place.

Natalie Caddell explained that she and her late-husband, Lawrence, organized Pack 118 in 2014 with three cubs participating: their son, Wesley, Cole Blagg and Chandler Hall. All three are now Boy Scouts. Her daughter, Kayleigh, entered the Outlaw Division with a car painted pink and covered with unicorn stickers.

Assistant Cubmaster Brian Pilon sat in front of the computer monitor and managed the data as the cars raced down the track. His son Jonathan is a Bear Scout, and his son Caleb is a Tiger Scout.
“I like working with kids and seeing their faces when they learn something new, especially when they are camping,” Pilon said.

Andrew Voll, co-Bear Den Leader, concentrated on placing the cars in the appropriate lanes. “The computer tells which cars go in which lane,” he said. Andrew was the winner in the Outlaw Division. His son, Kiptyn, won third place in the Bears Den with a speed of 3.2172 seconds.

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Other trophy winners:

Lions:
1st: Blake Dixon-Saxton
2nd: Garrett Faircloth
3rd: Carson Carpico

Tigers:
1st: Caleb Pilon
2nd: James Dobstaff
3rd: Grayson Ford

Wolves:
1st: Myles Ballard
2nd: Tristan Houston
3rd: Beckett Howell

Bears:
1st: Alex Almasy
2nd: Jonathan Pilon
3rd: Kiptyn Voll

Webelos:
1st: Henry Dobstaff
2nd: Jerod Smith
3rd: Andrew Williams

Webelos Arrow of Light:
1st: Jamison McLean
2nd: Bryan Batton
3rd: Kade Bamberger

All leaders in Cub Scouts are required to take youth protection training and have a background check.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for 15 years, and I have to take the training and have a background check,” Almasy said. “I wanted my kids to be involved with wholesome activities, and I want to ensure they have a safe environment and quality program.”

“I like the camaraderie the boys have,” added Audren Ford, leader of the Tigers Den. “We enjoy being in Scouts.”

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