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The Night We Tied the Guy Up in the Tent

We all go through events in life we remember. Some of those occurrences may even change our life. I had one of those experiences. I remember it, and it changed my life.

The motto of Cubs and Scouts is, “Be Prepared.” Without realizing, the night we tied the guy up in the tent at a Cub Jamboree prepared me for the rest of my life.

A Long Time Ago

It happened more than 50 years ago. As a young pup, I was all set for my first Cub Jamboree. What excitement! Full of joy, I anticipated all we would learn and do for one whole week at Cub Jamboree.

The Excitement Came to a Screeching Halt

At the last Cub Meeting before heading to Jamboree, I was pulled aside and unceremoniously told I would be the tent leader of the “bad” bunch. That may not sound like much, but there would be competition for the Best Tent. I really wanted to win.

Going home in the dumps, I sadly told mom and dad about the injustice of it all. Somehow, I now think mom and dad knew all about it. They wanted to see how I could handle the situation and learn to be better prepared to “grow up.”

Off to the Cub Jamboree1278686815954447919ck7_boy6-hi

Cub Jamboree began, and I met the “bad” bunch. What a crew! I believed we were misfits. We were all in real trouble with no chance to win that competition.

The Night We Tied the Guy Up in the Tent

Putting the tent up was a disaster. The inside was in disarray. No one wanted to go to sleep when we were supposed to. As much as I tried to be a good tent leader, I couldn’t bring them under control.

Then the threats began, one after another. Most of them were from one small group of boys. The whole group grew quickly tired of the bullying. Finally, we tied the worst of the bunch up in the tent. We also included gagging him.

At first, he struggled. But because of Cubs, I was excellent at knots. He couldn’t save himself. He then whimpered and cried, until finally, he fell asleep. Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s so quiet you can hear a pin drop?” Well, that’s how quiet it was. Much later, the villain was untied and allowed into his bed.

Early the next morning, we all got up. There wasn’t much talking as we cleaned up. Here I was, a 12 year-old “Senior Sixer” and wondering what to do. Winning the competition was still important. What a feather in our caps if the “bad” bunch could win!

What to Do?

I started thinking about all we had learned in Cubs about working as a pack. That included setting goals and organizing tasks. That’s exactly what we did. Everyone worked together. To make a longer story short…..WE WON THE COMPETITION!

The Life-Long Lesson

It’s interesting how such a small event can be remembered through life. In fact, it can change a life. Tying that fellow up in the tent taught me three things:

Tying the guy up may have seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I learned quickly, however, that talking brings about fantastic results.

Goal setting by a group brings buy-in. Usually the group will manage the path because they’re all responsible for the outcome.

For a group of 12-year-old kids, winning that competition felt pretty good. We did it together.


The motto “Be Prepared” has always been a part of Cubs and Scouts. The lessons learned from tying the guy up in the tent, even today, keeps this “Old Cub” prepared. And the guy we tied up? He was my twin brother. When we get together, we sometimes talk about it, and just laugh.

© 2020 Troop 1, Est: 1916 - Boy Scouts of America | WordPress Admin
© 2020 Troop 1, Est: 1916 - Boy Scouts of America
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