This is a letter of love, respect and admiration, and a request for help for an old tent that I have loved since I was a child in my hometown Boy Scout Troop.
Is there a retirement ceremony for old tents? I think there should be… I’ve become active in Boy Scouts again now as an Assistant Scoutmaster for the Troop where my two young boys have started Scouts. At a recent Boy Scout camping trip where we had a flag retirement ceremony, I listened to the words and got completely choked up when it crossed my mind that the flag material was similar to my tent material… as I walked back to my tent, I thought of all the places we’d been together… Through the North Carolina mountains… so many places from Linville Gorge and Buck Creek Gap, to Mt. Mitchell, out to Cades Cove in Tennesse and out to Myrtle Beach in SC.
Growing up in Boy Scout Troop 125 in Forest City, North Carolina, this Diamond Brand tent was the tent that we grew up in… We went on 10 camping trips each year and these Diamond Brand tents were the ones we packed with us. Advancing up through the ranks to finally reach the Leadership Corp of older Scouts, this specific tent was my favorite one and was reserved for the older Scouts. I helped protect it from the more rowdy guys… it was the one with the fervent protection of the zippers… After I received my Eagle Scout Award and went to college, I helped the Troop and camped in this tent a few more times before, as part of a fundraiser, the Troop sold older equipment and I jumped at the chance to purchase my beloved tent.
Since then I’ve been on a few trips with my young family and, this past Fall, have taken it on several outings with my new Troop, Troop 177 in Mooresville, NC. It has been fantastic to put up this tent that I could assemble with my eyes closed. 25+ years old and it’s still water tight. The seams are in excellent condition…
But as I came back to the tent that morning and thought of all the growing up that I’ve done since I was 12 (and am now 42) in this tent.. all the lessons learned and life-long friends made, I could see the age in my dear tent. I could see how the seams of the rain fly are a bit cracked… how that one thin spot needed a piece of Duct Tape to seal it… as I took it down, I paid close attention to the care I gave the aluminum poles which now needed gentle care folding with the age-old elastic cords inside.
So, I share with you today some pictures of me and my tent and say thank you. Thank you for making such an excellent campaign companion. This Diamond Brand tent has lasted longer than so many things of the 80’s. Who can say that they are still using almost anything from the 80’s?
Thank you again for helping produce such quality memories and adventures as we’ve had together. My Diamond Brand tent has been the best camping companion a Scout could as for.