Workshop Attendance

How to have useful construction workshops.
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gpraceman
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Workshop Attendance

Post by gpraceman » Fri Oct 24, 2003 1:48 am

Some people have told me that they've had trouble getting people to attend their workshops. Have you had the same problem?

We've never really had that problem and usually we get over half of our racers showing up for at least one of our workshops. These are some of the reasons that I attribute this to:
  • Providing at least 3 workshops. Two for cutting and sanding and one for finishing. We do ours on the Saturdays leading up to the race.
  • Keeping workshop times as wide open as possible. We run from 10am - 4pm since people have soccer, baseball and other things going on. They can at least come for a couple of hours during that time frame.
  • Providing tools that the average person does not have. A scroll saw or band saw, drill press, router, dremel tool, etc.
  • Providing some sample designs. I got some design templates from Pinewood Derby SuperSite that are great for helping the creative juices to start flowing.
  • Providing construction advise to the kids and parents.
  • Having the weigh scale available.
Does anyone have any other suggestions that may help other race coordinators improve workshop attendance?


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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by Mike Parrish » Fri Oct 24, 2003 7:34 am

Last year was the first year that we offered workshops for the children. We had workshops during their Awana activity period for 3 Wednesdays before the grand prix. This year, like you, we will offer Saturday workshops.

Hopefully, that will get more parent/guardian involvement.


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Darin McGrew
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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by Darin McGrew » Thu Nov 13, 2003 3:11 pm

gpraceman wrote:Providing tools that the average person does not have. A scroll saw or band saw, drill press, router, dremel tool, etc.
Bench sanders (drum, belt, or disk) make it easy for kids to shape their own cars.

We make sure there are several hand drills available for polishing axles. This is a good "filler" activity when they're painting their cars, since it can be done while they're waiting for one layer of paint to dry before applying another.

We also provide "spray paint booths" and a large assortment of paint colors. The booths are just large cardboard boxes. Make sure to have more than one can of the most popular colors (e.g., red, blue, black, although this varies somewhat from year to year).

And of course, scales and tools to add whatever cheap weights you're using.



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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by Da Graphite Kid » Fri Nov 14, 2003 7:13 am

I know the question was: "Does anyone have any other suggestions that may help other race coordinators improve workshop attendance?" but since you guys listed some tool suggestions, I felt that I had to chirp in a few.

Most young boys can't handle a spray can very well, they are just to big for those young hands. Not sure what they are called but we use the spray can trigger mechanism that snaps onto the top of a spray paint can. These are small enough that most young boys can reach and use the trigger that presses down on the spray can's paint nozzle.

The second really isn't a tool: decals. They can be any kind - water released, dry-transfer and even home made. Home made decals can simply be small pictures cut out from photo pictures, magazines and even images printed from a computer. There is a company or two that sells computer paper that you can make decals from but years before hearing of this we found our own way of making them: we print the picture or words onto some of the clear transparency paper that is used with an overhead projector. You have to be careful and print one sheet at a time, than let it dry overnight while making sure nothing gets on the image and ruins it. Than simply cut it out, spray the car with a coat of clear (gloss) coat, position your decal on the car and let dry. Follow this up with at least one more coat of clear coat and your decal is done. Just make sure that you have no air bubbles under the decal when you place it. The wet clear coat allows you to reposition your decal if it is not correctly positioned at first.


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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by Darin McGrew » Fri Nov 14, 2003 12:12 pm

Da Graphite Kid wrote:I know the question was: "Does anyone have any other suggestions that may help other race coordinators improve workshop attendance?" but since you guys listed some tool suggestions, I felt that I had to chirp in a few.
The topics are definitely related. One way to encourage workshop attendance is to make sure that there are tools available that make the job easier, and that most people don't have available at home.
Da Graphite Kid wrote:Most young boys can't handle a spray can very well, they are just to big for those young hands. Not sure what they are called but we use the spray can trigger mechanism that snaps onto the top of a spray paint can. These are small enough that most young boys can reach and use the trigger that presses down on the spray can's paint nozzle.
Ah, good point. I'd forgotten about those. We provide them too, and it's a big help. And they make it easier for everyone to paint their cars without getting paint all over themselves.
Da Graphite Kid wrote:There is a company or two that sells computer paper that you can make decals from but years before hearing of this we found our own way of making them: we print the picture or words onto some of the clear transparency paper that is used with an overhead projector.
That's a great idea! It would be easy to provide decals with your club's logo in various sizes, with appropriate local symbols, etc. You could even offer to take orders for custom decals, if anyone had a design that needed something unusual.

You could also make them with transparent address labels. They're a bit more of a hassle than true decals, because they're self-adhesive and are hard to reposition.

It also might be a good idea to ask people to donate their left-over decals. When you buy them, there are always more on the sheet than you use, and this way someone else might find what they need the next year, or the year after that.



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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by Darin McGrew » Fri Nov 14, 2003 12:39 pm

Da Graphite Kid wrote:I know the question was: "Does anyone have any other suggestions that may help other race coordinators improve workshop attendance?" but since you guys listed some tool suggestions, I felt that I had to chirp in a few.
After thinking about it, this really is a separate (albeit related) topic, so I created a separate Workshop Tools/Supplies thread.



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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by Jthompson » Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:46 am

In our first year of workshops and derby, we too have had mixed results with attendance. We advertised well in advance. We posted flyers. And we emailed the Pack.

We ran a Saturday Workshop for rough cutting cars, drilling axles, weighing cars, and creating pockets for weights. We had limited attendance at the first workshop. Only 5 cars were rough cut. We repeated the workshop on a Wednesday night and four cars were rough cut. 9/36 Scouts attended. We are running a special repeat for those who could not attend either session.

I am beginning to think that it is better to spread the workshops out for shorter durations so that all can participate. We are gaining momentum for our workshops via word of mouth in the Pack. ..but we still have problems getting Scouts to attend.

I am hoping that Scouts who attend all 3 of our workshops will fare well on race day.

Our last woekshop is going to be interesting. We intend to teach wheel alignment. Just to spice up the workshop, I think we will show the new release of Down and Derby as an incentive to get the Scouts to attend.


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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by sporty » Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:03 pm

I wanted to toss in one.


Sending out letters in the mail to the kids and the parents. Or even making phone calls.

I dont know how other packs do there work shop.

But here, it seemed to be held seperately from the weekly pack meeting.

I feel it should be during a regular weekly get together.


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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by rdeis » Tue Mar 14, 2006 2:53 pm

sporty wrote:I feel it should be during a regular weekly get together.
This seems sticky for some reason. I volunteered to host a couple of pinewood workshops during out Tiger den's regular meeting times, but the Den Leader resisted. I don't quite understand why, but that's what he wants to do. As a first year Tiger dad I have no reason argue. <shrug>

Instead, I'm spending a few minutes teasing the "fast car" techniques I've learned here during the "Gathering" phase of the meetings to get the boys thinking, and hosting workshops at other times.

We don't normall meet during school holidays (the race is after spring break) so we're also able to use the regular meeting time during break week.



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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by sporty » Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:22 pm

it feels sticky,


Right, I would agree that Some or most den leaders do not want some of these work shops done during the week.

My view point is that the kids our already coming once a week, Then not to mention the other activities they have scheduled with the pack.

The parents doing all the running back and forth.

I'm sorry the den leader did not agree. You have my support on it.


I wish the packs would take the same support level on the cubmobile compared to the PWD.

I am finding that alot of the kids, actually like the cubmobile race more than the PWD.

There just seems to be no consistant set of rules or lay out coming from the Main Cub Scout program.

Trying to discuss it, even at the district level seems to be a problem.


My thought for the day !

Sometimes the leaders should not be the leaders, But then who would step in and lead ?



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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by rdeis » Sun Mar 19, 2006 3:07 pm

Our committee chair hosted the first pack workshop yesterday. Only 6 kids came, but I think it went quite well.

He had a saw for rough cutting, and there were lots of files and sanding blocks.

Once some of the cars were painted I passed out my collection of DerbyWorx tools and explained to the parents and scouts what they were for and how to use them, and the kids went to work with their folks on wheel and axel prep while the paint dried.

I kibitzed about the speed secrets I've heard, and about what is and isn't allowed under our districts rules to anyone that would listen.

The day was capped off by pizza and roughhousing in the back yard- all in all a great success!



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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by Mr. Slick » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:41 pm

Well, it's that time of year to start getting ready for PwdRacing. :-)

A couple of things about workshop attendance:

1. More come each year if it is helpful

2. Invite everyone you can - too many is a nice problem

3. Have lots of dates available.

Hand out fliers at the District Round Table in September, October, November, December, . . . The word has to trickle through the adults to the boys. :-)

Here is a sample of last year's flier:

http://www.pwdracing.com/2006pwdws.html

Good Luck!


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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by gpraceman » Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:10 am

Mr. Slick wrote:Hand out fliers at the District Round Table in September, October, November, December, . . . The word has to trickle through the adults to the boys. :-)

Here is a sample of last year's flier:

http://www.pwdracing.com/2006pwdws.html
District wide workshops ... I like the idea.

The one thing I think is missing from the flier is that the cub should try bring their adult partner along. Otherwise, this may turn into a babysitting venture with less help being provided from their parent or other adult. It is a joint project afterall. Yes, I know there are some cases where the parent/adult that cannot help due to travel, work or other reasons, but most can.


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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by Mr. Slick » Sat Sep 09, 2006 10:11 pm

Luckily, the hard part is keeping the adults back and letting the kids build their own cars. I haven't had any "Baby Sitters of America" problems in the last several years!

This has gone beyond a District workshop, last year I had Cubs from 5 different districts and 2 councils! I also had Girl Scouts from 3 different Service Units(BSA District equivs) and 4 different church groups!

Some Dens have made it a meeting and then they have another one to do the painting and alignment.

Can you tell that I really look forward to PWD season? :lol:

My oldest, who is now out of her teens, likes to help out at the workshops too! I even get other leaders volunteering to help out with out being asked! They have even held the workshop when I had to be out of town!

Here is a picture of a couple of the adults and my oldest daughter in the back ground helping a son and his dad at the sign-in and sample design tables where I have lots of car samples for the kids to get ideas from. (donations are always welcome)

http://www.skypoint.com/~kalsowwp/workshop_design.JPG

Volunteer changing a broken blade on one of the saws:
http://www.skypoint.com/~kalsowwp/workshop_saws.JPG

One of the Girl Scouts doing some detail sanding:
http://www.skypoint.com/~kalsowwp/works ... anding.JPG

Doing wheel prep:
http://www.skypoint.com/~kalsowwp/workshop_wheels.JPG

The now LEAD FREE weight zone being run by my daughter: Can you find the Stan Pope Preview/Ad, the local supply of Tube-O-Lube from Max-V, the scale, the stack of Max V business cards, the Girl Scout Made Donation box(they got tired of my little card board box and made me one as a gift!) :)
http://www.skypoint.com/~kalsowwp/workshop_weights.JPG


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Re: Workshop Attendance

Post by Go Bubba Go » Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:04 pm

My Newby thoughts on encouraging attendance:

Every year at our November Pack meeting we hand out car kits to the boys to "kick off" the season. This year we will be including with the kits both a set of the Council rules (our pack sticks to them exactly :D) and a flyer for workshops (our first ever that I know of) that I will conduct in December.

Workshop may be a misnomer in that these events will be geared to adults that will be helping the boys build their cars, and no actual construction will be taking place at the workshop. From past experience, it seems most of our parents can gain access to tools through friends, relatives, etc. but could benefit from a "pinehead download".

I haven't figured out the file posting thing yet, but here is a description of the workshop flyer:

Pinewood Derby Workshop for Adults
Who: Adult Pinewood Derby “coaches” of Pack __ Cub Scouts
Where: Local School Facility
When: Saturday 10am to Noon, Dec __ and/or Dec __
Why: Improve cars, participation, and overall experience
What:
Review local and Council rules & race format
Review basic construction steps for sample car shown above (picture on flyer)
Discuss tools, supplies & where to obtain them
Identify resources for construction techniques and help
Share firsthand experiences – good and otherwise
Question & Answers – open forum


At the bottom I included a request for their contact information (in case dates change) and some questions about their experience level to give me a sense of where to begin.

If the need presents itself for a "working" workshop, I will probably end up converting my 2nd scheduled date to that format.

p.s. In case you're wondering, my boys did very well with their cars last year (1st and 2nd in pack, 1st at Council - thanks to stuff we learned from MaxV, Stan, etc...). After a couple of subtle "hints" from the other dads it occured to me that some workshops were in order. Wish me luck!



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