By Tim Cherry, Belvoir EagleFebruary 9, 2012
Creativity and Family bonding were on full display at Fort Belvoir's Cub Scout Pack 118's annual Pinewood Derby, Feb. 4.
Tiger, Wolf, Bear and Webelo Scouts flashed their clever car decorations and challenged each other in a friendly competition in the Pack's Scout Hut, located next to Belvoir's Thrift Shop.
The Pack competed in several heats racing their five ounce miniature vehicles down an elevated 35 foot track.
Scouts received awards recognizing qualities such as speed and car design.
The Pinewood Derby is a national Scouting event in which Scouts are given a block of pinewood, wheels and nails as raw materials to build miniature racing cars. Children use their creativity to decorate the car with various colors and logos.
Cars could weigh no more than five ounces and could be no more than seven inches long and three inches tall in Belvoir's competition.
Cub Scouting is the first stage of the Boy Scouts of America's program with boys ages ranging from 7 to 10 years old, or from first to fifth grade.
Pack 118 is currently comprised of about 100 boys in 12 dens.
Cub Scouting is a Family orientated program as parents are encouraged to sustain an active role in their child's development.
The derby is a great example of the Cub Scout's Family tradition parents helped their Scouts through every step of the crafting process, from sanding the wood to spray painting.
Sylvie Hess, director of Northern Virginia Academy, said the process encouraged her sons Joshua and Will to use their imagination while designing their vehicles.
Joshua gave his car tank-like qualities, painting it green with a small barrel attached. Will had an orange and black car with pipes on the side which gave it a race car vibe.
Other Scouts' car designs featured wings, flames and a variety of color schemes.
"It gives them somet ime with their Family and it gives them time to be an individual," Sylvie said of the derby.
Glenn Clubb, Cub Master of the Pack, said the event was a fun experience for the Scouts.
"They're accidentally learning," said Clubb who believes the children subconsciously learn incrementally throughout the process: from craftsmanship to sportsmanship.
"They're learning how to be a good citizens, how to be responsible and how to look out for other people but they don't realize it," Clubb said.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Himes, White House Communication Agency shift supervisor, said he spent more than a week helping his son, Andrew Charles, prepare his vehicle.
Himes said his son's self-confidence grew from the experience and Andrew Charles learned the value of patience.
"There isn't any instant gratification," Himes said. "He realized the more he worked on it the better it became."
Andrew Charles said his favorite part of the process was painting and he also learned the importance of teamwork.
"You can't do this by yourself," he said. "It's great because you get to be with your dad and sister while building this."
The pinewood derby was another successful event as Pack 118 continues its Scouting season, which started in September. Clubb said the Pack is progressing well.
He's very appreciative of the volunteers who operate the program and he urges parents to continue to be active in their children's Scouting development.
"It won't work unless the parents are helping the kids," Clubb said.