It takes a bunch of volunteers

Published 7:34 pm Tuesday, February 16, 2016

    It’s been more than 30 years since I helped a Cub Scout build a race car for the Pinewood Derby, so it frankly made me a bit nervous to help my grandson put his together for the Pack 7 race, which was held Saturday.

    His car did OK, so apparently and, as I told him, it was undoubtedly the “flames” he painted down either side that made it competitively fast.

    John Haakon had a good time and so did his family, including me, but what I came away with from Saturday’s event was a renewed appreciation for the volunteer labor that’s necessary to make youth organizations work.

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    More than 40 Cub Scouts raced cars Saturday, and there was an adult volunteer for every three or four of them. Four or five Cub leaders manned the registration desk, where each Cub checked in to have his car weighed, measured and logged into the racing schedule and turned his dream car over to a very careful adult who placed it in the starting queue.

    There are strict rules related to Derby cars, a primary one being that it can’t weigh more than 5 ounces. If it’s much below that, though, it won’t be terribly fast, so several adults manned a “pit stop” where they helped youngsters with lightweight cars bring them close to the maximum allowable by adding pennies as weights.

    Several other people manned the computer that calculates each race and averages the performance of each Cub’s car. (They all get to race three times and the fastest average wins. The whole thing is pretty sophisticated.)

    Other parents manned the kitchen, selling soft drinks and hotdogs to satisfy young appetites and make a few bucks for the Pack.

    Here’s the point. Whether it’s Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, soccer, little league baseball or some other organized activity for youngsters, it takes dedicate, that activity won’t work without adults who are willing to spend some time helping not only their children but others as well.

    And if there’s a better use of one’s time, doesn’t come readily to mind.


    By today, Hampton Roads’ daytime temperature was to be the 50s, normal or somewhat above normal for the third week of our shortest month. Whoopee! After last weekend, the best that I can find to say about this February is that it’s more than half over.

I can’t help but wonder, though, why we add a day to February every four years to keep the calendar in sync. Wouldn’t an extra day a the end of April or May be a lot more fun?