Of the Baker City Herald

As lunchtime approached Thursday, the smell of campfire smoke wafted through the air at Phillips Park west of Baker City, and hordes of hungry Cub Scouts began their cookout preparations.

While they had eaten sack-lunch food the first three days of the annual Cub Scout camp, Thursday was the day for them to test their camp cooking skills.

Menus ranged from foil dinners of meat and potatoes to hamburgers, hot dogs and burritos.

Forty-two Cub Scouts ages 7 to 10 were gathered at Camp Tatonka, (the American Indian word for buffalo).

Cindy Johanson has directed the camp for the past 16 years. She and her helpers have to count back from the time their own sons were small Scouts to determine how many years theyve participated.

Even though their own boys have grown up and left Cub Scouting, they continue to donate their time to the camp.

Karen Desimini said shes been at camp for nine years. Thats how long ago her 16-year-old started in the program.

And Becky Hansen has been volunteering for about 12 years, Johansen said. Sue Watson, who is in charge of the marble games, figures shes been at the camp for the past eight years.

During the week, the Cub Scouts qualified for two awards that can be worn on their belts while learning the rules involved in the Boy Scout way of playing marbles and what it takes to be a successful archer.

Randy Newman, who will travel to Alaska to hunt caribou with a bow and arrow later this summer, and Mark Still, who moved to Baker City from Alaska, are the volunteer instructors at the long arrow (archery) station. The boys took aim at the balloons and animal targets placed along hay bails in the forested park.

The two men have taught the Scouts about the different parts of their equipment and the rules for shooting.

Its the thing I always want to do, said Joseph Cotton, 10, a Webelo Scout. I like to hear the balloons pop. Ive popped two of course, theyre really hard to pop.

Eight-year-old Scott Nelson said he was enjoying his chance to walk across the monkey bridge, a suspended rope bridge that requires the watchful eye of two adult spotters.

And long arrow is really fun, he added.

Sean Jacobson, a 14-year-old Boy Scout den chief, made it unanimous in voting archery his favorite camp activity.

The boys honed their skills during the week in preparation for a tournament Friday.

The Cub Scouts reap many benefits from the camp, according to the adult leaders.

It teaches cooperation and the boys have fun in capital letters, Johanson said. And they actually learn some new skills.

In addition to the archery and marble playing, they also were taught compass and pacing, sign language, knot tying and first aid. Activities also included crafts, games and songs.

The boys donned feathered headbands and arrowhead-shaped name tags for this years Indian-themed camp, which began Tuesday and will conclude Saturday morning.

Scouts will eat a potluck dinner with parents Friday night and the older boys will spend the night at the camp. The overnighter includes an evening campfire and special games and skits

Fifteen Boy Scouts served as den chiefs during the week to help adult leaders with each group of boys.