The scouts and two adult leaders were lifted from Albert Pike Recreation Area early Tuesday, where rising waters had isolated them, and taken to meet their families waiting nearby.
"I was worried that my parents would freak out," said Ian Fuselier, 13.
Allen Miller, the father of 13-year-old Stephen Miller, was confident of a happy ending.
"I wasn't worried, not with that group," Miller said.
The boys considered an Easter-break camping trip to Mississippi, but selected Arkansas as because of last week's tornadoes in the South.
Arkansas weather was gloomy when they arrived last Thursday, and the heavy rain that started Saturday quickly swelled creeks and streams.
Scoutmaster Jeff Robinson said there were two planned river crossings on their hike. The first wasn't a problem as the Little Missouri River was only knee-high. The second crossing was chest-deep and 70 yards wide: the river deeper and wider than usual.
"I realized the water was too strong to cross the river with the boys," said Robinson, who waded into the stream to test its strength.
The leader said preparing for the unexpected is part of camping and that their only trouble was finding enough dry wood to start a fire. They packed in enough food and water that they could have stayed for another three or four days, he said.
The Scouts camped above the flood plain where 20 people died in an overnight flash flood last June 11.
The National Guard helicopter crew initially spotted the boys' campfire overnight Monday and tossed down ponchos, food, water and blankets - plus a radio that couldn't pick up a signal.
About 6:30 a.m., the pilot landed in a clearing about 300 yards from the campsite and ferried the eight out in two trips, delivering them to a camp supply store where parents and relatives applauded their arrival.
No one needed medical attention. All the Scouts wore red "Scouts of Lafayette" hooded sweatshirts.
Art Hawkins, executive director of the Evangeline Area Council of the Boy Scouts in Lafayette, said the boys from Troop 162 offered a "textbook" example of what to do when camping, including leaving a detailed plan with a Scout leader who didn't make the trip.
"I wish I could videotape the whole thing," Hawkins said. "This was the lesson of all the things you could do right. There was nothing that could have been done differently to change the outcome."
Montgomery County Sheriff David White agreed.
"As long as they stayed on high ground, we figured they were going to be in good shape," White said.
The parents waited Monday night at a local church, in a scene eerily similar to one nearly a year before. Families, miles away from home, waited with pastor Graig Cowart for news on whether their loved ones had survived the rising water.
"These people are really hurting," he said during the wait at his Pilgrim Rest Landmark Missionary Baptist Church. "They felt really alone and isolated."
Cowart led the families in prayer, calling out the names of the stranded boys and asking for their safety. Relatives joined hands. Some cried. Some held each other. Cowart recited the last verse of the 27th Psalm, which says: "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
Until Tuesday morning, no one had heard from the Scouts since Thursday, when they arrived in Arkansas' Ouachita Mountains. The search began Monday morning after the group didn't show up back in Louisiana as expected.
The Scouts were experienced backpackers for their age - 14 on average - and had previously camped in the recreation area. A park official found the group's van outside the Winding Staircase entrance to the Eagle Rock trail late Sunday night, Hawkins said. It was already dark and pouring rain, so search teams waited until early Monday to start the search.
Foul weather hindered the search Monday, but skies cleared overnight and the National Guard was able to put a helicopter up.
Creeks and streams rose quickly Saturday and Sunday after nearly 8 inches of rain fell. The Little Missouri stood at less than 4 feet at the Albert Pike campground when the Scouts arrived, but had reached 8 feet by Sunday morning and 11 feet early Monday, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Geological Survey. It was still running high Tuesday morning, prompting the rescue by air.