May is around the corner which means it’s time for the Junior Solar Sprints Competition (JSS), TransOptions’ annual Environmental Education program where teams of middle school students race their solar-powered model cars.  If you have a few hours, enjoy seeing student creativity and wonder how solar energy works, we’re hoping you’ll be a JSS volunteer!

Volunteers are the “fuel” that helps JSS races run smoothly and a few opportunities are still available for Line Judges, Vehicle Judges and Fix-table Guru’s.  The Volunteer activities are easy and don’t require any physical activity or lifting.  TransOptions provides all the training in a short half hour (or less) session on race day.  Volunteers, age 18 and older, are needed from 8AM until around noon or 1PM at the latest.  
A snapshot of the volunteer roles follows and detailed descriptions can be found at
            Line Judge

Help the students at the start and finish lines of the race track; determine fair and false starts and the order of cars finishing the rate. Four cars race at a time so several line judges are needed at both the start and finish lines.
Vehicle Judge
Work closely with the TransOptions Head Judge to evaluate the student’s model racing cars and score points based on engineering, craftsmanship, best use of recycled materials and documentation portfolio.  Volunteers follow an established grading system and spend about two to three minutes with each team. The Vehicle Judge’s score sheet is given to the head judge who tallies them to determine the winners.
Fix-It Table Guru
Help the students repair any issues with their model cars and makes certain no one hurts themselves while using the tools.  A person who is handy with basic tools such as glue guns, soldering irons and small knives is ideal.
A Snapshot of JSS:
TransOptions annually hosts JSS free of charge for middle school students in northwest New Jersey.  Students spend months building their model racing cars that are powered by a solar panel.  At the JSS Competition, teams race their cars down a 66 foot long track in multiple rounds.  The winner of each round advances narrowing down the field to the two top fastest cars that compete for the speed title.  Additional information is available at See photos from prior events at: and watch a JSS video at TransOptions’ Video Library  Junior Solar Sprints 2010 Interview
Volunteers can choose one day to participate or be on-hand for multiple days.  The 2013 JSS Competition will be conducted at five locations: Great Meadows on May 13, Hardyston on May 14, Florham Park on May 15, New Providence on May 16 and Frenchtown on May 17.  Rain dates are schedules for the following week. 
If you’re able to volunteer at one or more of the race locations or have questions, please contact Cindy Reuther at (973) 267-7600 or by April 15, 2013.  Your time, interest and support would be greatly appreciated!