A parent helped build that Pinewood Derby car? Yes, that’s the point

Dalton had built the most beautiful Pinewood Derby car in Pack 123 history.

It looked like an expensive sports car — perfectly rounded edges, a high-gloss finish and a paint job that made it look even faster than it was. In a stunning display of craftsmanship, the rear wheels were set into the body of the car!

Some parents were suspicious. “There was no way that Cub Scout made that car all by himself,” they whispered.

So that Cub Scout brought over his mom’s phone. “See?” Dalton said, swiping through the visual evidence.

There’s Dalton watching his dad at the table saw. Swipe. There’s Dalton sanding the car’s edges while Dad looked on. Swipe. There’s Dalton’s dad showing the boy how to apply the first coat of paint. Swipe.

The protesting parents were right: Dalton hadn’t made the car alone. His dad had helped. A lot, in fact.

And isn’t that the point of Pinewood Derby?

Let’s set aside the fact that Cub Scouts shouldn’t be using some of the tools needed for Pinewood Derby car-making anyway. The point of the process is for a parent and child to bond over the shared experience of building something.

But too often when a photo of a cool-looking Pinewood Derby car gets posted online, commenters quickly point out that “it looks like that Scout had some help!”

Let’s hope they did!

The Dalton story — which was adapted from a true story — suggests you can’t assume that all nice-looking cars were the work of an adult alone.

Sure, occasionally a parent does all the work. I’ve heard of Cub Scouts not being able to identify their own car after the race. Not good.

But overall, we should encourage parental involvement in making Pinewood Derby cars. And we should give Cub Scouts the benefit of assuming they were involved in the process of building them.

What do you think?

Do you think we’re too quick to assume a nice-looking car was built solely by a parent? I’m interested to read your comments on this.

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.