Home / News / Last lap at Winnetka Pinewood Derby for some Boy Scouts – Chicago Tribune

Last lap at Winnetka Pinewood Derby for some Boy Scouts – Chicago Tribune

At the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby in Winnetka at the Winnetka Presbyterian Church on Jan. 31, it took about 30 minutes for about 30 hand-built cars to line up down the nearly 50-foot aluminum track.

“It’s a decent turnout for us, pretty good,” said Cubmaster Khalid Ghantous of Winnetka. “We have a lot of great vehicles and good designs. This is one of my favorite events.”

Cars cross the finish line in the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) on January 31, 2024 in Winnetka.

The Pinewood Derby, a popular part of the scouting program, features derby cars that use gravity to move. The cars have a five-ounce weight limit and are built from kits.

Each kit has a small block of wood. Wood is cut and often sanded and stained, with formal axles and wheels added.

Some cars are designed for speed, others for looks, and often both. The winners of Pack 18 are known for their speed and design.

Makers add details like LEGO drivers and follow animated pop culture themes like Minions. Some craftsmen add lights, like a car seen in a camping environment at the Winnetka derby. Pack 18 Scouts received their kits in mid-December.

No, not Taylor Swift in the derby car parked next to the Kansas City Chiefs car.  This is a mermaid among the creative creatures decorating the cars, seen at the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby at the Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) in Winnetka on January 31, 2024.
No, not Taylor Swift in the derby car parked next to the Kansas City Chiefs car. This is a mermaid among the creative creatures decorating the cars, seen at the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby at the Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) in Winnetka on January 31, 2024.

STEM or STEAM principles enter a derby cart that includes science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

Despite the artistic direction the participants took, Ghantus said the design direction was based more on physics.

“What we’re looking for is, as they (cars) go down the track, they want to gain kinetic energy here, so that energy turns into energy here (at the end of the track) that pushes it forward,” Ghantus said. aforementioned.

Far right, Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 18, Khalid Ghantous of Winnetka, checks the cars before the race in the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) on Jan. 31, 2024 in Winnetka.
Far right, Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 18, Khalid Ghantous of Winnetka, checks the cars before the race in the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) on Jan. 31, 2024 in Winnetka.

Weights such as coins or putty are added to increase the cart’s weight to 5 ounces. Sometimes decorations need to be removed. This might frustrate a kid who built the car for looks, but the 5-ounce weight limit is necessary for fit and competition fairness.

“So their key is to learn how to properly place the extra weight on their car to make the car go down the track and accelerate as it goes down the track,” Ghantus said. said.

Allyson Jacobson of Winnetka took a photo to commemorate the last derby car her son, 10-year-old fifth-grader Daniel Albrecht, built.

“This is my favorite activity in Cub Scouts,” Daniel said.

Allyson Jacobson of Winnetka takes a photo to remember the car built by her son, Daniel Albrecht, 10, a fifth-grader, at the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) on Jan. 31, 2024, in Winnetka .
Allyson Jacobson of Winnetka takes a photo to remember the car built by her son, Daniel Albrecht, 10, a fifth-grader, at the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) on Jan. 31, 2024, in Winnetka .

Den 5’s girls have a fleet of cars again this year, but 2024 may be the last Pinewood Derby when Den 5’s fifth-graders move on to Troop 20 in Winnetka.

“We have a really strong group of girls graduating,” said Den 5 leader Jennifer McDill of Winnetka. “They have built great relationships over the last year.”

So who will replace Jennifer McDill to keep the girls’ Den 5 as a pack den?

“We don’t know,” McDill said. “It makes me sad. He might stay still.”

First row, second to right from left, Den 5 Scouts, 11-year-old fifth-grader Emme McDill, 10-year-old fifth-grader Tatum McCauley, and fifth-grader Clara Lang (11) in Cub, all from Winnetka Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby, Jan. 31 in 2024 at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) in Winnetka.
First row, second to right from left, Den 5 Scouts, 11-year-old fifth-grader Emme McDill, 10-year-old fifth-grader Tatum McCauley, and fifth-grader Clara Lang (11) in Cub, all from Winnetka Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby, Jan. 31 in 2024 at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) in Winnetka.

Since the girls have all reached fifth grade and are moving on, the study room cannot continue unless the younger girls join, McDill said.

“We need more girls, we need more parents, we need to revamp this group,” McDill said, adding that some young girls who were interested went to the Evanston group instead.

Fifth grade is the last year the Boy Scouts compete in the Pinewood Derby, which means it’s the last derby for McDill’s 11-year-old daughter Emme, a fifth-grader who said she felt “a little sad.” Emme built a derby car designed in the shape of an ice cream sundae.

“It’s a little bit bittersweet,” Jennifer McDill said of the last Pinewood Derby shared between mother and daughter.

Clara Lang, 11, a fifth grader, created a car with a mermaid and beach view.

Far right, Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 18, Khalid Ghantous of Winnetka, is part of the action at the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) on Jan. 31, 2024 in Winnetka.
Far right, Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 18, Khalid Ghantous of Winnetka, is part of the action at the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) on Jan. 31, 2024 in Winnetka.

“I’m sad, but I’m excited to be a Scout with all these great people,” Clara said of Clara’s last Pinewood Derby, pointing to her Den 5 friends.

Anders Wick of Winnetka, parent of fifth-grader Anya Wick, 10, also said he was sad this was Anya’s last Pinewood Derby.

Anders Wick added from Den 5: “I’m proud of the whole group.” “It’s a really nice group of girls, and you read about all these issues about bullying and self-esteem and social media. And this feels like the antidote to this whole thing to me.”

This cart with sushi on it was driven by 11-year-old Wyatt Ghantous, a Winnetka fifth-grader at Skokie School, son of Winnetka native Khalid Ghantous, Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 18, at the Jan. 18 Pinewood Derby. Designed for.  31, 2024 at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) in Winnetka.  Yes, Wyatt eats sushi.  Green wasabi was worn in honor of my father's taste.
This cart with sushi on it was driven by 11-year-old Wyatt Ghantous, a Winnetka fifth-grader at Skokie School, son of Winnetka native Khalid Ghantous, Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 18, at the Jan. 18 Pinewood Derby. Designed for. 31, 2024 at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) in Winnetka. Yes, Wyatt eats sushi. Green wasabi was worn in honor of my father’s taste.

Anya Wick said she was building a car for speeding and said, “It’s really sad because this will be the last year we’ll be able to do the Pinewood Derby.”

New to the Pinewood Derby circuit was 10-year-old fifth-grader Tatum McCauley. This year was Tatum’s first and last year participating in the Pinewood Derby.

“I’m excited but also sad,” said Tatum, who built a “cartoon-like” race car. “I’m going for speed.”

Cheering for racing action at the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby on Jan. 31 are, from left, Laila Dearth, 10, a fifth-grader from Winnetka, and Nora Ryadi, 11, also a fifth-grader from Winnetka.  2024 at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) in Winnetka.
Cheering for racing action at the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby on Jan. 31 are, from left, Laila Dearth, 10, a fifth-grader from Winnetka, and Nora Ryadi, 11, also a fifth-grader from Winnetka. 2024 at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) in Winnetka.

Of the learning opportunity, Tatum said: “I kind of learned how to build a car. Girls can do anything.”

Tatum’s mother, Julie McCauley, stated that Tatum wanted to be an engineer. Tatum collaborated with his father, Mike McCauley, on the construction.

“It was so much fun watching him and his dad build the car,” Julie McCauley said. “It was fun to watch them work together.”

Tatum’s father, Mike McCauley, said his daughter did a lot of research on vectors, speed and weight distribution.

Mike McCauley of Winnetka, top right, on the stage shelf, looking at the cars with other derby fans before the race, at the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) on Jan. 31, 2024 in Winnetka.
Mike McCauley of Winnetka, top right, on the stage shelf, looking at the cars with other derby fans before the race, at the Cub Scout Pack 18 Pinewood Derby at Winnetka Presbyterian Church (1255 Willow Road) on Jan. 31, 2024 in Winnetka.

“We specifically designed our car to make it faster, based on weight distribution, shape, all that stuff, and the condition of the wheels,” Mike McCauley said, recalling this memory with a smile. “There was an explosion.”

Pack 18 aims to maintain and grow the herd, as well as recruit girls to keep Den 5 active for a new cycle.

To express interest in participating in Pack 18, email neicpack18@gmail.com.

Karie Angell Luc is a freelance reporter for the Pioneer Press.

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