Clip Into Adventure

COPE, or BSA’s Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience project, will test your personal boundaries, challenge you to communicate in new ways…and all-around 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 of people who already know each other well become closer and learn new things about each other. All activities emphasize one or more of the eight goals of COPE:

  1. Communication
  2. Planning
  3. Teamwork
  4. Trust
  5. Problem Solving
  6. Decision Making
  7. Leadership
  8. Self-Esteem

"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."


COPE activities are not designed to be competitive or a race against time—they are designed to 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 allows for every person to succeed as an individual and as a member of their group. Scouts often use the Camp Durant COPE course as part of their annual leadership training activities, and businesses use the course to bring newly formed teams together or help existing groups of people work together in new ways.


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 vs. Process: COPE instructors emphasize the process of decision making and problem solving and how those things can affect the outcome. This process helps people develop and reinforce skills needed to solve problems in all aspects of life.

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 and recommend but never to insult each other through words or actions. No idea is a bad idea.

The 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, as well as a whole lot of 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: Trust events cultivate trust between individuals and within the group as a whole.

Low-Course Events: Low-course events do not require participants to be on a safety belay. Instead, people 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: High-course events do require participants to be on a safety belay. High-course events at Camp Durant are held 30 feet above the ground on exciting wire and rope elements. This challenge focuses on individual initiative rather than group problem solving.