Cub cars – probably one of the longest standing traditions of every Cub Scout’s experience in the last 50 years or so. I love how a simple block of wood can be transformed into a hot rod or a banana – it all depends on how creative the Cub is (or, isn’t). My first group I was a Cub Scouter with spent 7 weeks making Cub Cars. From January into March it was nothing but Cub Cars. We always had to be prepared for the one youth that missed the last week’s meeting to catch up. The group didn’t see a point in sending the cars home as next to none of the families had the tools needed to transform the wood. Normally a kit would go home and never return.
When I went into my first role as Akela, I refused to do Cub Cars. I saw it as a giant waste of program and a constant pain. I only get to see the Cubs for approximately 40 meetings – why would I spend almost a fifth of it building the car? Especially when no one wanted to enter the area race?
Enter Cub Andrew – he was a third-year Cub and REALLY, I mean REALLY wanted to make a Cub Car. So, I thought about it and concluded there was a better solution – a camp. Enter the first Cub Car camp.
We held it at the hall we met at regularly, had 8 Cubs, and a great time learning about wood shop tools, painting, cleaning up the local park and having great eats. To think back to what the camp started as to where it is now – hard to believe.
In the second year, we improved the camp and moved it away from our regular meeting space as we had more kids coming out. The third year, we had a group carpentry camp. As great as it was, I felt it was far too much happening in different directions. Managing 18 Cubs and 8 Scouts on 1, yes, 1 bandsaw was a nightmare. Barely was able to finish before the end of camp. The band saw was going till well after 11 pm on Saturday.
That was my last year with that group. When I joined up with my next group, we did the wood cutting in our regular meeting space on a Saturday in about 8 hours (6 Cubs, included meals, no race). That’s how I continued to run Cub Car Camp (day camp edition) with this group.
When I joined my latest group, Elsie Roy, I was determined to return to my home roots and have Cub Car camp return to a full weekend event. I took us back to the camp that I held Cub Car camp at my second year and haven’t stopped. Mostly because I get along great with the ranger and know the site well enough to draw it out for others to see.
With Elsie, I invite 2 other Cub Packs to join us. Not only do we link, but we share resources and overall have made the camp my pride and joy in the past couple of years. From designing on Friday to dropping the bass on Sunday afternoon for the rally, Cub Car Camp is probably going to be a Scouting Career highlight.
When it comes to the schedule, it’s all milestone based. As in, before bed on Friday night, all Cubs must have their designs completed and signed off by the lead carpenter (about a half hour into designing some Cubs are already done so I’ll put on a movie). In the morning after breakfast, Cubs cut their designs out and trace it onto their cars. By 10 am, we enter the “When Machines Run, We Don’t Run” and break off into 3 rotations of an hour. There is only ever 1 rotation doing the cutting, the other two are off doing a different program such as a hike and emergency shelters in the backwoods of the site.
This wiggles a bit depending on how many saws and kids we have. Typically all Cubs get to make the first cut and make the choice to either keep cutting or have the Scouters take over. An hour or so out from dinner we all come back together, have a quick game and get to sanding. Post dinner, we start painting.
So long as painting is completed before bed on Saturday, the rest is cake. In recent years, we’ve been able to get painting done by 8 pm and have a campfire. Sunday is all about the weigh-ins and wheels. Once all Cubs are packed up, they break into two groups – one that are putting on their wheels and the other is doing weigh-ins. I have found that very rarely do Cubs need to have weight removed – normally it’s all about the add. We found that hot gluing the weights on helps make the process super fast (blasphemy to some, but we make the weights part of the design as much as we can).
Cubs that are done both then are kicked down onto the field to play a game as we set-up the track and transform the hall into a race den.
Once lunch is served and everyone is settled behind the rope, I play a song of choice (Eye of the Tiger, Are You Ready to Rumble, Kick Start my Heart) and cut it off before the lyrics start and move to a new playlist that is always playing softly to fill the void when I’m not on the mic.
Below you will see various resources including:
Schedule (Google Sheets, view only. You have to add to yours or download a copy)
Name Tag (PDF) (fill in the name and print, page 1 is Cubs and page 2 is for Scouters)
Template for Scouts Canada Cub Cars (wheels are in different position, blacked out space for no cutting)
Car theme playlist (link to YouTube playlist)
Car themed movie playlist (Google Doc, view only)
Cub Cars Rules and Regulations (Scouts Canada PDF)
Cub Car Camp Introduction Video (link to YouTube)
Image gallery from camps past – click on an image to see full image: