Friday, April 23, 2021

Windham’s Cub Scout Troop 805 exhibits hard work, pride at Pinewood Derby

Benjamin Conant watches several racers speed toward the 
finish line at Cub Scout Troop's annual Pinewood Derby races 
on Saturday, April 17 at the Windham Veterans Center. The 
Pinewood Derby races give scouts a sense of accomplishment
in building and crafting tiny race cars. PHOTO BY
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Veterans Center buzzed with excitement the morning of Saturday April 17. The Pinewood Derby track was set up, and many eager Cub Scouts from Troop 805 and their families anxiously waited for the races to begin, with some putting the finishing touches on their cars.

The Pinewood Derby cars start out as just a block of wood and, in the end, can look like just about anything, as long as they stay within the guidelines for competing in the race. These Cub Scouts picked their own individual designs and painted their cars.

Scouts fashioned the tiny cars from blocks of pine and then attached plastic wheels and metal axles in an exercise designed to foster teamwork, ingenuity and sportsmanship. During the derby, the cars were placed on a wooden track and entered in races powered by inertia and gravity.

Win or lose, the scouts can take pride in having done their best and through the competition, they learn craft skills, the rules of fair play, and good sportsmanship, things they will remember for life.

A lot of hard work had gone into preparing for the races, but now, the time had come to see how these cars would perform against the other local Cub Scout dens.

“It builds a sense of accomplishment because they build their cars, they work on them with their parents; it gives them something to show for something that they worked hard on,” said Casey Melanson, den leader for Wolves and Tigers.

The Pinewood Derby teaches scouts valuable lessons, Melanson said, and the Cub Scout motto of ‘do your best’ is evident in the Pinewood Derby because regardless of what place the scouts come in, they can take pride in what they’ve built.

Fifth grader Matthew Melanson, who came in second place overall, said it took a few weeks to get his car how he wanted it. He said he liked that he won second place, it was fun competing in the race and he had a good time.

Along with the top five winners, the troop handed out three ‘best in show’ awards, for the best designed cars.

“Oh, it was awesome!” said second grader Ayden Swartzengruber, who designed a shark racer that won him third in best in show. He said it was fun to compete in the race. It took two and a half days to make his car that had a big fin and shark teeth.

The five fastest racers usually advance to the district race against all the top five winners in the Casco Bay area. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, that district race is not happening this year.

Results of the 2021 Pinewood Derby at the Windham Veterans Center are as follows:

Fifth place, Kaleb Spencer, Webelo

Fourth place, Andrew Hinse, Webelo

Third place, Brad Jorgensen, Wolf

Second place, Matthew Melanson, Arrow of Light

First place, Charlie Anthoine, Bears

Best in Show:

Third place, Ayden Swartzengruber, Wolf

Second place, Levi Kyle, Bear

First place, Landon Bacon, Tiger

In addition to the Cub Scout races, there was also a sibling race at the event where brothers and sisters raced against each other, without the scouts participating. First grader Clara Davis came in first in that race.

The Windham Den Leaders and Committee Members who helped put on this year's Pinewood Derby were Casey Melanson, Shane Spencer, Sarah DiDonato, Ben Beckwith, Tim Melanson, Carrie Rickett, and Amy Jorgensen. The Webelos den prepared the food for the event. 

Money raised at the 2021 Pinewood Derby will go toward the Windham Cub Scouts Annual Spring Fling event next month. <


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