Everybody Wins at This Year’s Pinewood Derby

For the first time, the AWR Girl Scouts were invited to the annual Boy Scout Pine Wood Derby. Credits: Mary Carlomagno
Credits: Mary Carlomagno
Credits: Mary Carlomagno
Credits: Mary Carlomagno
Credits: Mary Carlomagno
Credits: Mary Carlomagno
Credits: Mary Carlomagno

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - A standing room only crowd turned out this year for the annual Pinewood Derby at Allen W Roberts elementary school on Saturday. Traditionally an event just for the Cub Scouts, the AWR Girl Scouts were invited to join in on the fun.

Discussions began a few months ago between Scoutmaster of Pack 363 Andy Holmes and NP Girl Scout Service Manager, Maria DeLuca, who were looking for ways to have their active scout groups work on an event together.   The Pinewood Derby seemed like a natural event to invite the Girl Scouts to since “many of the Girl Scouts have watched from the sidelines as their siblings and classmates took the track.” Holmes explained. This year, the Girl Scouts had their chance to show just what they could do. And they did, in major numbers, tripling the enrollment for the event. One hundred twenty cars were registered at the mandatory check in, where cars are weighed, measured, and inspected before they head to the impound area where they are held overnight in anticipation of the big event.

Like most scout events, the parental support is big and often unsung which includes the “behind the scenes” team which sets up the track and runs the elaborate computer system that makes for fair competition.  After cars are approved for the race, they are logged into a computer system for lane assignments for each of four heats.  All cars are raced four times in all four lanes to ensure that no one lane has any advantage. Calculating the race times is precise. In some races, the difference can come down to as little as 1/100th of a second to determine the top three finishers in each scout group. 

Sign Up for E-News

For the first time, speed was not only the parameter for success, this year creative design awards were added. Notable designs like “Sponge Bob,” an Artists’ Palette complete with paints, Star Wars and formula one inspired cars were crowd favorites. Third grader Will Bramwell designed an orange car to cheer on his dad’s home state of Tennessee. As the event’s master of ceremonies, Brahim Ardolic, a four-year veteran of the race commented, with a smile, “I have never seen a pink pinewood derby car and this year I saw at least twenty.” Bear Scout, Davis Stassfurth designed his car as a sinking Titanic. When asked about his design, he admitted to being a life-long “Titaniac” which was inspired by his families’ trip to the Titanic Museum last year. Also of note was a particularly speedy car that looked like a pizza made by Talitha Kwok which not only won first place, but also “yummiest.”  

The event was enjoyed by newcomers and veterans alike, like Chris Gilbertson, a father of three girls who jumped at the chance to make a car with his daughter, Peyton, a Daisy Scout.  “I never thought I would have this opportunity!” he said.  The same sentiment was shared by Brian Coniglio, whose daughter Lily participated in the fifth grade girls race. “I had such great memories making the car as a kid and I was thrilled to come out of retirement to take part in the race, this year.”

Veteran scouts like Karthik Mallya, in his third pinewood derby expressed his enthusiasm about his chances with his “limo” inspired car. “I am missing all my practices to be here.  Some things are more important than sports.” He said.

Among the other veteran scouts who took home trophies this year was Ethan Ocwieja, who two years ago placed second in his pack, first in districts and third at world championships, but did not place last year. Nervous at the beginning of the race, was all smiles at race’s end when he placed third in his Bear group which was one of the fastest and most competitive group of the day.  When asked how he felt to be back in the winner’s circle, he sighed and said, “relieved.” 

Pinewood 2018 was a very special family event for all the scout families, but especially sweet for the Bradfords who celebrated two winners, Michael won first place for third grade boys while sister Arianna took third place in the fifth grade girls division.  Other amazing finishes came from Logan Buntin who boasted the fastest time of the day and along with the first, second and third place cub scout winners will head to district championships where if he is successful could secure a chance to compete in the Pinewood World Championships which will be held in New York’s Times Square.  Right now, the girl scouts do not have a district competition, but if Pinewood 2018 is any indication, there might be one to see in the future. Girl Scout Service manager, Shannan Arnold was so happy with the partnership between the scouts, that she is already thinking of ideas for next year’s event.  “It was wonderful that the cub scouts welcomed us into this event. It was a great day for our scouts and for New Providence families.” 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

New Providence

Giving Back: Learn How to Help Victims of Sexual Violence

February 24, 2018

Every year since 1984, trained volunteers with the Union County Rape Crisis Center have helped victims of sexual violence through the emotional, medical and legal aftermath of trauma. New volunteers are welcome to join the next series of training classes beginning on Thursday, March 22.

No previous experience in crisis counseling is necessary.

“Over the years our Rape Crisis Center ...

New Providence High School Presents The Addams Family -Tickets are Now On Sale

The Addams Family, who first came to life in the 1960s television series, will come back to life and take the stage at New Providence High School in March in a comedic musical twist on the classic story and characters.  Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday, Grandma, Fester, and Lurch, along with new characters and a full cast of Addams Ancestors will bring the creepy, kooky, all together ooky ...

Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains Prepares Gift Bags for Purim

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Volunteers from the Sisterhood of Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains prepared gift bags with masks, noisemakers, treats and traditional hamentashen cookies on Wednesday, Feb. 21. The gift bags will be delivered to the entire congregation before the Jewish holiday of Purim. 

Sixth and seventh-grade students in Congregation Beth Israel’s Religious ...

WFP Tax Partners Walks You Through 4 Step Tax Return Process

Over 80% of Tax Returns Have Errors or Missed Deductions. You're Probably Paying More Than Your Fair Share in Taxes

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Tax returns certainly give a clear picture of the past year, but WFP Tax Partners believes it's wise to strategize for the current year to have a plan for moving forward. 

At your tax appointment, they ...

Reminder: Free Wellness Program for Union County Military Women

All Union County women with military service – veterans, active duty and reserve – are invited to join “Boots 2 Heels,” a free event designed to foster wellness and connect women with resources and guidance for empowerment. Boots 2 Heels will be held on Saturday, February 24 at the Westfield Armory, located at 500 Rahway Avenue in Westfield.

The event is free but ...

CSA's 5th Annual Pasta Dinner Fundraiser Set for Sunday

Is everyone ready to come together as a community and break bread to support the CSA? It's time for The Community Service Association of New Providence's 5th Annual Pasta & Meatball Dinner! This fun, family-friendly event will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25, at the DeCorso Community Center, 15 East Fourth Street, New Providence. Pasta, meatballs, and dessert will be served from 3-7 ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...

We Need More Women Like Colleen Mahr in Municipal, County and State Government

Dear Editor:

I’m proud to support Colleen Mahr for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee  (UCDC) and am encouraging my Scotch Plains peers to join me.

I was a first time candidate wanting to make a difference in my hometown of Scotch Plains, when Mayor Mahr of neighboring Fanwood stepped in to help me campaign and win my election to be Councilwoman three years ago.

Local Advisor Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Roth IRA

February 23, 2018

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Roth IRA. First made available to American investors in 1998, a Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that is funded with after-tax dollars and provides tax-free growth and income for retirement.

In honor of this significant milestone, Walter Pardo, CEO/Certified Wealth Strategist at Wealth ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, February 24

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green


Sat, February 24, 8:15 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Barre Intensity with Kathy

Health & Wellness


Sat, February 24, 8:45 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Alignment based VInyasa

Health & Wellness


Sat, February 24, 11:00 AM

New Providence

Zumba with Paola

Health & Wellness

Sat, February 24, 3:00 PM

White Tiger Dojo, Berkeley Heights

White Tiger Dojo Hosts Trauma Response Seminar: ...

Health & Wellness

Sun, February 25

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

I've Always Wanted to be a Doctor...Or an English Teacher

Think about the impossibility of the task we lay in front of high school students.  In addition to getting good grades, filling up a resume, finding the right colleges and writing countless admissions essays they also need to decide on their life’s passion at 17 years old...or do they?

As a college admissions representative the first question most students would ask me was whether ...