Carrying on for Kent: Pinewood car workshop honors late scoutmaster
WHITMAN — Cub Scout Pack 22 hosted a tri-town Pinewood Derby workshop Saturday at the Cardinal Spellman Center in Whitman. Dozens of volunteer carpenters and parents loaned and operated tools for the carving and building process of the wooden cars.
Going forward, the workshop will be named the Scott Kent Workshop for Pinewood Derby after the longtime scout leader and volunteer. Kent lost his battle with pancreatic cancer just days before Christmas less than six weeks ago.
He was a longtime Whitman resident — a volunteer for many years as well as a cabinet and furniture maker and a union tradesman. He was phenomenal with his hands, said Mike Warner Boy Scoutmaster and longtime leader and friend.
“He always organized the volunteers for the pinewood workshop,” Warner said. “The kids would draw what they wanted and he would work with them on how they could achieve the finished cars.”
Kent was strongly involved while his son was younger and then he often gave his time volunteering for events and racing his own pinewood car in the adult races.
“Something will be in the works to honor Scott we are working on that,” Warner said.
Kent’s son Hayden, who is in his early 20s completed his rank as Eagle Scout and is still very involved with the troop as an assistant scout master.
“Scott was one of those people who came to work behind the scenes,” Warner said. “At the pancake breakfast he would cook. He was the guy who would quietly make it happen. He was never concerned over recognition. He was just there for the boys.”
Warner’s own son, now 22, is also still a volunteer for the 11-18 years of age group.
“He was a friend to all,” Warner recalled about Kent. “He was the first guy to say, ‘What do you need and how can I help?’”
In Saturday’s workshop, which had been started by Kent in the early 2000s and ran for approximately four hours, Cub Scouts applied pictures of how their wooden cars would look in pencil for the upcoming derby, which is only a few weeks away. They were assisted with light direction but for the most part each Cub Scout finished his own project.
Gabe Newman, 11, of Whitman designed his car to look like an ant. It was black with a white eye on the side. Some scouts chose sports car designs, others the classics. Numerous designs lay to dry at the paint station with unique details such as lightning rods, flames, lucky numbers, as well as stripes and initials.
The Pinewood Derby is a long-standing tradition at the beginning of year for each age group of the scouts.
Building their own wooden car from start to finish and completing the project for the most part on their own is a great self-esteem builder, said volunteer and mom Crissy Pruitt.
She assisted her son in a few of the stations, mostly involving tools, but Tyler, 7, wanted to create everything himself.
“They can see they are a part of something,” said Pruitt who said her older son Jake, 10 won two years.
“It is a great project for them to be involved in,” she said.
Saturday was a day of completion carrying out their vision in a five-ounce piece of wood.
Cubmaster Robb Preskins and other volunteer den leaders and assistants took turns at the official weight center. Some of the boys held their breath as they eagerly watched to see if their car made the weight limit.
Each year the kids enthusiastically await the event, but believe it or not the parents have officially been entered into the “friendly competition”. It has long been a passion of many den leaders to have their own cars while evoking childhood memories of their own Pinewood Derbies.
Helen O’Reilly said she loves watching the kids make their “cool” cars. They understand the event is just for fun, but there is a bit of competition that arises, she said.
Growing up with brothers O’Reilly always wanted to be included. Throwing back to the good ole days she re-created an original 1970 midget car, which she unveiled to her son, Jon, 9, who had no idea his mom would be competing.
“I’m going to beat her,” he said after taking a nanosecond to gather his thoughts. Suddenly, the pair knew they had their own discreet competition he eyed her like a competitor and ran off to finish painting his car.
The practice track was open to competing siblings and families in the name of amusement.