COPE is an acronym that stands for the Boy Scouts of America’s Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience project. The COPE Project emphasizes learning by doing through team games, and high and low r

ope courses and was originally designed for older scouts and young adults. Now, the program is also available to schools, professional and executive groups, as well as clubs, businesses, and government agencies. Anyone can benefit from a day on the COPE course.

The COPE experience will test your personal boundaries, challenge you to communicate in new ways, and surprise you. Some of the activities involve a group challenge while others test individual skills and agility. Most people accomplish much more than they imagined they could. Even groups who already know each other well become closer and learn new things about each other. All activities emphasize one or more of BSA’s COPE Project goals.

What is the benefit of a COPE experience?

COPE activities are not designed to be competitive or a race against time, but instead encourage everyone to do their best and have fun. The COPE experience emphasizes building self-esteem, developing leadership, and working as a team to accomplish tasks, and it provides for every person to succeed—both as an individual and as a member of their group. Some troops and crews routinely use the Durant COPE course as part of their annual leadership training activities. Corporations use COPE to bring newly formed teams together or to help existing groups of people work together in new ways.

Reasons why COPE will interest and challenge everyone:

Noncompetitive: COPE activities emphasize the importance of working together without creating the ‘winner-loser’ situation found in most team sports.

Nontraditional: People with underdeveloped coordination or strength can be discouraged by traditional sports and games, while experienced athletes might be overconfident in their physical abilities. COPE encourages the involvement of all team members in all activities and events.

Risk Taking: The actual risk of a properly conducted COPE program is lower than traditional sports programs, but the perceived risk can be very high. Facing that risk helps people build self-esteem and trust.

Performance versus Process: COPE instructors emphasize the process of decision making and problem solving, and how it can affect the outcome. This process helps people develop and reinforce skills needed to solve problems in the real world.

Adventurous and Exciting: COPE encourages spontaneity. The activities and events teach people (of all ages) how to have fun in a responsible manner and allow them to interact without being restricted by preconceived notions of group behavior.

Acceptance of Responsibility (Challenge by Choice): COPE participants are never coerced into doing any activity. Everyone is encouraged to take part, but staff members and group leaders respect the right of each individual to refrain from taking part in any or all activities or events.

Adaptable: By varying the goal or adjusting limitations, most COPE activities and events can be customized to challenge each team and each participant at an appropriate level.

Positive Reinforcement: COPE participants are encouraged to discuss, suggest, recommend, but never to insult each other through words or actions. No idea is a bad idea.

Types of activities that are part of a COPE experience:

Warm-up Games and Exercises: After a long trip or a night camping, bodies are stiff.  Warm-up games and exercises help limber bodies and get participants ready for a day of mental and physical activities, and fun.

Initiative Games: Initiative games help people in a group learn to work together through communication and trust in order to achieve their goals. Creative problem solving is rewarded!

Trust Events: These events cultivate trust in the between individuals and within the group as a whole.

Low-Course Events: Low-course events do not require people to be on a safety belay—instead they may be swinging from ropes, walking on wires, or balancing on beams and platforms. While individual coordination and strength are helpful, participants accomplish the low-course activities with the support and combined efforts of their groups.

High-Course Events: An activity is considered a high-course event if participants must be on a safety belay. High-course events at Durant are held 30 feet above the ground on challenging wire and rope elements. This challenge focuses on individual initiative rather than group problem solving.

Project COPE Usage Fees

The use of Project COPE requires an NCS COPE Director and minimum of 1 facilitator in a ratio of 1 facilitator to 12 participants.  

The overall cost of the COPE course varies based on the desired program.   BSA Units pay $75.00 for the use of the facility, plus $5.00 per person when scheduled in advance.  Please contact the Council Office or the Reservations Coordinator for more information.

What people say....

Our survey results are in and the response was an overwhelming "Hoorah" for the COPE program. On behalf of our staff and students, thank you so much for your time and energy.

-Southern Middle School