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Derby Made Easy!

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Chapter 2. Getting Started

The most exciting Pinewood Derbies require lots of planning and lots of volunteers to help with the event. It seems the best way to do this is with a Pinewood Derby committee. I suggest organizing a committee at the first pack meeting of the year and “drafting” as many parents as possible to help. Starting with a show of hands of “How many parents have seen a Pinewood Derby before?” will get you lots of help if you follow it with, “ How about a round of applause for this year’s Pinewood Derby committee!” I would then have them see you immediately after the meeting.

I usually use a sign up sheet to fill the different positions (see appendix for a sample pinewood derby committee sign-up sheet) and fill all the main spots that night. I also gather a list of names and phone numbers for people who may not be able to fill a key slot but would be glad to help. These people are assigned to each chairperson as required. The basic jobs that need to be filled are:

  • Chairman: Responsible for the overall event
  • Assistant Chair: assists the chair person and coordinates all “Day of” events
  • Rules: Produces and distributes the rules and tips for the Pinewood Derby.
  • Track: Responsible for setup and tear down of the race track
  • Publicity and Fundraising: Promotes the event in the pack and the community and solicits sponsors to underwrite the cost of the event.
  • Concessions and Diversions: coordinates food and drink sales, gathering, and between-race activities and games on race day.
  • Race Operations: Responsible for arranging and supervising the races including handling of cars after check in, starting, judging, reporting of winners, and car handling.
  • Race Announcer: Handles the announcing of heats, group communication, crowd control, etc. on race day
  • Set Up and Clean Up: Supervises the “before and after of the racing area”.

Once you have your committee you should hold a meeting and coordinate with each person exactly what duties they will have. In the Appendix you will find a timeline for a Pinewood Derby Race and most of the planning stages fall clearly into one person’s area of responsibility. At your first meeting you should also establish when and where you will hold the next meeting, a process for reporting progress, and address any concerns at that time. I suggest you give each person a series of dates that certain parts of their task needs to be complete. This will help everyone stay on track (no pun intended) and get the race ready to go on time.

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