LEADER IDEASA few weeks ago at our March Pack meeting they made shadow boxes and placed all their cub scout awards and insignia in them. We had them on display at the pack meeting. They really did look impressive. My son's shadow box has the Webelos colors with his activity pins, beltloops/pins and letter, rank badges and arrows, compass emblem and tiger cub graduate patch. Some boys put in other related scout patches but my son had two many to fit, probably about 20. This can be a high cost item to do, but I was blessed with very talented den parents. One mother used her sewing machine and made each boy a patch with their name, Cub Scout Pack 133, Six Mile S.C. to be placed in their box. Her talented parents were able to take scrap wood to make the frames. Since their Cub Scout insignia was placed safely away in their shadow boxes, their bridging took on more meaning because they only crossed with was their arrow of light and then a BS troop neckerchief was placed on them after crossing. Each boy turned and saluted the Cub master while on the bridge and the last boy posted our den flag before crossing. I used bits and pieces of ceremonies posted on the Web for their arrow-of-light and bridging ceremony. It was really touching.
Daphne Nessler firstname.lastname@example.org
A Pinewood Derby Reflection
THE WINNER THIS YEAR, a bear who had joined in December, came to the den meeting two weeks before the race with the block of wood still in its original package. That night he used a coping saw and left with a *very* coarse and roughly cut car. But he was beaming at what he had accomplished that night. The next week, the week before the race, the pack qualifies the cars. They are weighed, evaluated and then put in a specially constructed case where they are secured until next weeks race. Our young man came to the meeting with his car held proudly. It was VERY badly sanded and due to the time limitations it was stained rather than painted. The stain had settled in some of the deeper cuts from the coping saw that could not been sanded out. He didn't comprehend what it meant when the man told him and his Dad that it didn't qualify. He just had the boyish faith that Dad would make it all right. Dad was overwhelmed. But there were many tool boxes in attendance, just in case. He got a drill from this one, a wood chisel from that a few other tools and set to work feverishly. All cars *must* be turned in by the end of the meeting. Dad hacked a bunch of wood out of the bottom and recessed the metal plate they had used for extra weight. He drilled out the lead in the side of the car to reduce the weight. He was intent on just getting the car to qualify. We stayed a little late to give him extra time. You could have guessed the Dads emotions, "why didn't we know more about this?", "why didn't they tell us about the clearance the car needs?" And most of all, "why didn't we start sooner?" He had to feel like a failure waiting to be exposed the next week when this jimmy-rigged car would race. Well you can guess that this homely car went on to win. It advanced to District along with another success story. A little boy, a wolf, whose car last year had not even made it across the finish line. The pack leadership was thrilled. Everyone had great expectations for the District race. By our timing, these both were awesome cars. (We timed them against a winner from last year that had advanced to district). As our homely car sat there on the table waiting to race we couldn't but compare it to its neighbor, also stained wood but that is where the similarity ended. It gleamed as if from a thousand coats of a clear and glossy finish. This other car looked like it came from a fine piece of fine furniture and had sprouted wheels. Other cars were precision cut, air-brushed, and machine tooled. We marveled at the exotic shapes, the creativity, the workmanship and most of all the time that went into these masterpieces. Our eyes skipped over the other homely cars in attendance, fixing on the beautiful. Yet when our eyes returned to our pack's representatives it was with pride. We looked again at the familiar shape and the "satin" finish of the wood stained car and knew that it was true to the intent of what a pinewood derby should be. This car had been boy built with the guidance and counsel of Dad. No matter where he finished he was a winner.
The track was a huge affair, running 6 lanes at a time. The homely car advanced heat after heat. The boy didn't quite know the miracle that was being wrought. He had not grasped the extreme measures that were taken to get the car to qualify and to this point. There was a brief break when it came near the end. Just 20 remained from the 160 cars that had shown up that day. This would be a real rags to riches story if he went all the way. An ugly duckling turned into a swan...but it was not to be, he was eliminated in the next heat. Eliminated by the car that went on to win the event, he finished 16th. I suggested to him and his Dad that they preserve the car so we could use it as a pace car next year. Dad just said firmly, "he wants to play with it, he's earned it." And so the boy lay on his stomach on the gym floor and did what boys do with little cars.
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