“We let him pick all the paint and colors and decals and all the bells and whistles there but it is the father son time that you spend, not winning the race,” said Garrett. “As I told the Bear Cubs the effort that went into building the car with someone special, whether it be a grandparent, father, brother, mom or whomever, those are the winners of the day, the ones who got to spend that kind of time. But as you saw, there were the church was basically packed and it was just exciting from start to finish.”
Grant’s entry carried a Batman theme, Garrett said.
“We looked at a lot of pictures and carved it out and did a lot of sanding, a lot of painting and a lot of clearcoat went into it,” said Garrett. “But he couldn’t wait each day when we got home from school, especially when we were doing the painting and putting the clearcoat on. We would do a step at a time and have to let it dry. It wouldn’t take 10 minutes but we would work on it a few minutes each day. And he would make sure that he came and got me every afternoon to do a little work on the car.”
The Pinewood Derby has been a scouting tradition for many years, Garrett noted.
“I like to call it one of the highlights of Cub Scout experiences having a Pinewood Derby,” said Garrett. “A lot of credit goes to the leaders, Mr. Allen, and Matt Allen, those guys put in a lot of time. I would hate to call names and leave some people out but there were a lot of people that put a lot of work into that setting up the track and I thought it was a very positive experience for all the kids.”
Garrett said he still has the car he and his father built together, which is a red vehicle. “I have held on to it for a long time and am proud of it.”
According to Garrett, there are just as many lessons to be learned from building the cars the wrong way.
“My dad was probably a little better engineer than I was so it probably didn’t take him as long,” said Garrett. “I can still remember working on it. I remember when we got the pack and opened it up and I can remember the first one I got I ruined because I was so anxious to get started. I started without dad with a dull pocket knife and I started whittling away and by the time he got ready it was beyond repair. I wanted to get started and absolutely ruined it but he got me another one and I learned a lesson about following instructions at an early age and getting some help.”
Another father- son team participating in this year’s derby was Randall Crabtree and his son Levi, who is 9.
“He has been in Scouts about nine months,” said Crabtree. “He did most of it the work on the car. He enjoyed that part of it. We had a little race car. It was just something he drew off a piece of paper and we molded it into the piece of wood that he wanted.”
“It took about two days,” said Crabtree. “That is all he wanted to do was work on it. He cut it all one day and sanded it and it took the other day and a half to paint it.”
Crabtree said he would encourage other parents and children to become involved in Boy Scouts.
“Without a doubt,” said Crabtree. “I would encourage every kid and every dad to get involved in Boy Scouts and what they have to offer. It is a good program. They teach lot about character, a lot of life skills can be learned. It’s a good thing.”
“The overall product I saw I thought was incredible,” said Garrett. “The imagination of the kids and the fathers, the different paint schemes. I saw some had some cartoon characters worked into it, some had their favorite athletic team maybe as a team motto with colored paint. I think there were some Auburn cars and Alabama cars. “
“And just to see the pride in the kids,” said Garrett. “You could watch them hold their cars and there was a lot of pride in their car. Every kid was so proud of their product and it was because it was something they had done themselves or had a hand in with their parent, their mom or granddad, or significant other, and they accomplished something.”
“It wasn’t about who crossed the finish line first,” said Garrett. “The winners are the ones who participated with their parents because those skills were the lessons we learned on that particular Saturday.”
“I was kind of blown away because we brought all the different troops together and had great participation,” said Garrett. “They gym was packed and it was a very good day for it.”
Garrett shared some suggestions for getting more fathers and moms to do more activities with their children.
“I think it is organizations like the Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and getting involved in church,” said Garrett. “I think is absolutely imperative as far as a father-son or momdaughter relationship being involved in a group with your peers and having your parents a part of it. It may be Dixie Youth Baseball, Girls Softball, but any of those activities are going to bring parents and kids together and that will be time when they are not working on those devices.”
Those “devices” to which Garrett referred include smartphones and cellphones to which we all have trouble putting aside at times. And unfortunately the adults are often worse than the kids.
“That is where I got to know most of these kids is the ball field,” commented Crabtree.
The Scouts are now on hiatus, Garrett said, but plan to resume in August with an end of the season pool party to invigorate Scouts and leaders for another year.
“Just so everybody knows, I am winning that Derby next year!” said Garrett.
“I think next year could be even bigger and better and like I say, I don’t know how much better it could be but participation was out the roof and the quality of the cars were incredible!” said Garrett.