Powder Puff Pinewood Derby 2019

Every year, Girl Scout members all across America participate and sponsor events to develop leadership skills. To further those leadership roles and engage in a friendly competition, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri held their third annual “Powder Puff Derby” on Jan. 5 at Immanuel Lutheran.

The idea spawned from the traditional Boy Scouts’ pinewood derby that seems to incorporate every father and son in Washington.

“We’ve had girls do the (Boy Scouts) pinewood derby and love it, so we wanted to give an opportunity for all the girls to participate,” stated Dorothy Willming, one of the head leaders of the event.

This year, 133 Girl Scout members from neighborhood six competed in the fun-filled races. The races are organized by the different levels in Girl Scouts and include many heats within each level.

There were seven groups that raced on Saturday: Cadettes, Daisy 1, Daisy 2, Brownie 1, Brownie 2, Brownie 3 and Junior.

For each level there are multiple awards regarding the design, function and overall presentation of the car, along with medals for the top three fastest cars that are awarded to the girls. A special trophy is given to the fastest car overall, and of course, all of the girl scouts receive a patch to put on their vests for partaking in the event.

The event usually takes place in the Washington West Elementary gymnasium, but this year, Immanuel Lutheran’s gymnasium became the ultimate racing arena. Aside from the racing track, the gym included a “pit-stop” where participants could weigh and measure their cars and a “refuel” station where snacks and drinks were available.

At the derby, no two cars were the same; each one displayed its own unique traits. Many participants agreed the process of building the car was the best part.

“It is a bonding experience between a father and daughter because you’re spending so much time together, working to make a car that goes with what you like,” said Allison Will-ming, a Girl Scout Cadette participant.

However race day doesn’t just focus on the derby itself. It’s a time for the older Girl Scouts to gain hands-on experience.

After the Cadettes race in the morning, they are in charge of the event. Checking in participants, announcing names and judging cars are only a few tasks the busy Cadettes encounter.

“We are the ones running the show, and it really helps (us) learn how to lead,” said Allison Willming.

The race also marks the start of every Girls Scouts’ favorite time: cookie sale season. The derby doubles as “Cookie-Go-Day” so members can begin their sales while having enjoying time with each other.

“It’s almost like a last hoorah for the girls before it’s time to get down to business because selling cookies is one of our main goals,” said Dorothy Willming.

The future of the “Powder Puff Derby” looks promising due to the event’s success and likability in the community.

“(The event) gives more opportunity for girls, and I think it will become bigger because of that,” said Claire Nappier, a Cadette participant.

Win or lose, each participant gained a valuable experience from the derby as young leaders and will use that knowledge in other upcoming Girl Scout events.