Girl Scouts hold first ever Pinewood Derby

By KEN GRABOWSKI, Associate Editor
Manistee News Advocate
Published: Monday, May 10, 2010

MANISTEE -- For many years, everyone has heard about the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby, but now that women are playing a more prominent role in the sport of auto racing, it seems only natural that the Girl Scouts hold one of their own like they did this past weekend at the Faith Covenant Church in Manistee.

 Excitement ran high among the girls, and the racing was just as intense as their Cub Scout counterparts.

Becky Feil who is leader of Onekama Cadet Troop 462 and leader of Troop 458 in Onekama said the concept of holding a Pinewood Derby is something they have thought about for quite some time. All of the pieces of the puzzle fell into place this year, and the girls were excited about the prospect of “going racing” for the first time.

“It is the first one that I know of ever being held in Manistee County,” said Feil.  “We opened it up to all of the Girl Scouts in the county, from Daisies to Senior Cadets, and they all made their own cars out of little blocks of wood.”

Feil said that just like the boys Pinewood Derby, they wanted to set it up in a manner where the project of building a Pinewood Derby car is much more than just entering a race. It is an activity that also helps build relationships between family members.

“It was a project that I wanted them to do with a parent, older brother, sister, aunt or uncle,” said Feil. “We felt it was something that would be a good learning experience for both the scout and their parents.”

Cars had to meet specific size and weight restrictions, and prior to the racing, all the cars were officially weighed in. They even held a “meeting of the drivers” where the scouts gathered to be reminded about things like good sportsmanship that are just as important in this competition.

Feil said they were uncertain of what the initial response would be to the derby when it was being planned, but they were pleasantly surprised at the interest that was shown. She says it shows good signs of growing even larger in the future.

Two cars race to a photo finish as they are cheered on by the crowd. (Ken Grabowski/News Advocate)

“We had a really good turnout, as 38 girls registered out of the over 100 Girl Scouts in the county,” said Feil. “The next time we hold one,  I would do it a little earlier in the year. May is such a busy time for so many people, and there is lots of things going on. I think if we hold it earlier during winter, there will be more participants.”

The Girl Scout Pine Wood Derby was a double-elimination race, as each car ran a two out of three race against the same car to determine which car would move on to the next level. Those who were defeated went into the loser’s bracket where they were given a second chance at the championship.

“Winners received trophies and certificates and everyone received a participation ribbon and fun patch that they can put on their vest or sash,” said Feil.

First place went to Angel Klein from Manistee Troop 3764, while second place was won by Kayla Feil from Onekama Troop 462 and third place went to Carlee Pepera from Onekama Troop 458. The most original design award was won by Emily Hippensteel of Onekama Troop 462 and most feminine car went to Anika Martell of Onekama Troop 3749

Onekama's very active Cadette Troup 462 sponsored this Pinewood Derby event. Cadettes include Louise Barnard, Katie Harrison, Emily Hippensteel, & Kayla Feil. Mrs. Feil is their leader. Emily Barnard, Kaylan Fitch, and Emily Bergren helped at the event

Junior Scouts and Daisy Scouts Learning about Animals and Earth Day

Kindergarten Daisy Scouts make Care Packages

High School Scouts at North Manitou Island

Links for 09-10 School year:  Main Elementary Page / Main Middle School Page / Main High School Page leads to all pages since 1997