Organizing A Pinewood Derby For Your Pack
Start the organization process by appointing or selecting a team of adults called the Pinewood Derby Committee. A fun and successful Pinewood Derby is highly dependent on the work of the "Pinewood Derby Committee." Begin to assemble this group of volunteers early in the Scouting year. It is important to try to bring in Pinewood Derby 'veterans', if possible, to maintain the continuity you get from 'experienced people' who know what works and what doesn't. Conversely, it is also very important to recruit 'first-timers'. They will be running the Derby in a couple of years!
Due to frequent turnover and storage limitations, most Packs will rent a Pinewood Derby package which includes the track and a Caller (Master of Ceremony). This person can also provide ribbons and trophies at a reasonable price. Of course, if your Pack has the resources to do any of the above, shoot for the stars! Some Packs in the District have beaten the obstacles, constructing their own race track and developing a Pinewood Derby circuit over the years. The Cub Scout How-To-Do Book has a derby track diagram. Electronic add ons can be purchased separately.
The following duties assume that your Pack has opted to rent a track along with the event's Master of Ceremonies (the person that will Call the race). Each category, except Master of Ceremony, must be considered in forming a Pinewood Derby Committee.
The Pinewood Derby Chairperson is responsible for all Committee coordination activities. The Chairman will consult with all of the derby committee members several times in the months prior to the Derby to collect and coordinate the status of all of the other Committee members, and to assign/coordinate additional tasks. During the races, the Chairman will also act as the behind the scenes coordinator of the event, coordinating solutions to all unforeseen 'emergencies' should (when) they arise.
Rules-Construction and Inspection Team
The Rules and Construction team is responsible for the distribution of the "Official Pinewood Derby Rules" published by the Districts Committee. This team should also plan at least one car construction clinic 2 to 3 weeks prior to the Derby. The workshop is hosted by individuals that understand woodworking, tool safety, and derby car construction techniques. This Team is responsible for identifying, inspecting and weighing each Derby Car. On Race Day, Rules & Construction Team members are to be present at registration to inspect each car according to the "Official Pinewood Derby Rules". Do not under estimate the importance of doing a quality job here. Enforcing the car construction rules at the Pack level will assure that the cub scout does not get disqualified at a District Race. This crew may also register the Pinewood Derby cars on the day of the race by issuing labels and completing the Race Log. A Pit Crew area should also be setup for parents to revise or repair cars is necessary.
Master of Ceremony (Caller)
The Master of Ceremony (MC) is the Committee 'mouth' during the Derby. He/she announces all races and racers, all results, and all other race related communications during the race. The MC may also present the trophies, certificates, and medals to event winners during and after the Derby. Sometimes, the Cubmaster or Chairperson will work together with the Master of Ceremony to award the scouts.
The list of committee members above is the minimum to organize a race. Each Pinewood Derby race event must have an organizer, a person to inspect each car and a person to registrator each car and scout upon qualifying, and a master of ceremony (track rental, caller and awards). The following is a list of possibilities that I have seen at various Pack races. Ultimately, the Committee Chair or Cubmaster needs to encourage as much participation as possible. Who knows, your Pack’s future may be in the hands of that certain volunteer who for the first time took on a little responsibility; but had a great experience.
Some Packs choose to purchase awards separately or combine additional awards (trophies, ribbons, certificates) available from the MC. Most Pack Units award 1st/2nd/3rd place trophies for speed and one or two best design trophies. Each scout usually receives a participation ribbon. Some Packs can fund additional awards given to each rank's winners (Tigers, Wolves, Bears or Webelos). Decorative ribbons, certificates, patches or pins are appropriate.
Do not forget to recognize the combined talents of your cub & partner team. Homemade Certificates can be presented for several categories; such as, Best Design (Traditional "Boy made"), Best Unique Design (Most Unusual), Wackiest, Coolest, Most Colorful, Best Reptile, Best Food Item, or a "What Is It?" award. The award's decisions should be made by the derby committee, approved by the Pack Committee and the Pack Treasurer. However, one individual will usually be responsible for ordering the awards for the race. If your Pack choose to award these extras, be sure to assign someone the duty to Judge the cars before the race begins. Otherwise, time will get away form you and boys will take there cars home instead of returning them to the table.