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It’s Not Your Dad’s Pinewood Derby Car


Cadets typically have opportunities to build many things, including at least one pinewood derby car and sometimes a table and chairs.

Under the guidance of head counselor Elvin Steensma, the Cadet club at Hollandale (Minn.) Christian Reformed Church took the experience to a new level by building an entire wooden replica train complete with engine, two cars, and a caboose.

Boys in all grades participated. “It was a team effort,” said Steensma.

Steensma had seen a similar train in Mason City, Iowa. He took pictures to show his fellow counselors and the cadets. He said, “We were all on board to build and share.”

The Cadets learned valuable lessons while building the train, Steensma said. “They learned to respect power tools and the usefulness of each tool. They learned how to read a blueprint, measure, copy the print, drill holes, and screw boards in the right place.”

Above all, Steensma said, the boys learned “to have a dream, watch it take shape, and share it with others.”

The Cadets shared not only a dream but the train itself, installing it the local Christian grade school. Doing so was “our way to say thanks to the school for letting us meet there for so many years,” Steensma said.

Steensma hopes that even when these Cadets are grown, “this train will remind the builders of their Cadet years and what they learned and shared with others.”

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