Summer Camp Kicks Off At Tiak

Hundreds of Boy Scouts are swarming to Camp Tiak this week. It's the opening of summer camp.

Over the next three weeks, some 700 young people will be making new friends, testing their endurance and building character.

"And this goes around you, like around your waist," said one youngster, while helping a fellow scout put on his safety gear.

Scouts gear up and prepare to test their "coping" skills.

"COPE stands for challenging, outdoor, personal experience," said instructor Steven Disbrow.

"Should have seen me trying to go over that wall," one teen bragged to his buddies.

Getting up and over a 12 foot wall is the opening obstacle.

"We'll start with you two," ordered the instructor.

Getting up and over the wooden barrier is easy enough, if you trust your team.

Ryan Vansittert sees COPE as a personal challenge.

"Everybody told me I couldn't do it. And I decided I wanted to do it," he said.

Teamwork definitely helps.

"That webbing can hold four thousand pounds. So trust it, go ahead and let go of the wall," the climbing instructor said, encouraging one of the heaviest boys over the wall.

Casspion Vanphrostla is climbing director for the troops.

"When they get up there, they're like king of the world. 'Cause they get that feeling in their gut that they could do anything," he said.

Because of damage from Hurricane Katrina, there was some doubt about whether there would be a summer camp this year. But thanks to the efforts of scout leaders and hundreds of volunteers, they managed to clear the downed trees and begin repairs on storm-damaged buildings.

Summer camp began this week and continues for the next three weeks at Camp Tiak.