What is C.O.P.E.?
Project C.O.P.E. is a national program of the Boy Scouts of America. C.O.P.E. which was launched in 1983 stands for "Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience. The program is composed of group initiative games, trust events, low course events, and high course events. Some activities involve a group challenge, while others develop individual skills and agility. Participants climb, swing, balance, jump, rappel, and devise solutions to a variety of problems. Most participants achieve much more than they imagined they could.
The stimulating activities and events of Project C.O.P.E. are designed to meet the needs of people of all ages who are seeking ways to challenge and expand their physical and mental abilities. As a noncompetitive program, Project C.O.P.E. permits every participant to be a winner, and the underlying goals of Project C.O.P.E. preserve the objectives of the Boy Scouts of America. The group activities are ideal for enhancing the leadership and teamwork of Scout units, and activities challenging individuals can be used to bolster self-esteem and promote personal growth.
Since its inception, the C.O.P.E. Program at Price-Sanders Scout Reservation has served thousands of participants, ranging from 13 (minimum age) to 73 years old. In addition to Scout units from the Council and beyond, the C.O.P.E. facilitators have worked with special needs groups, correctional institutions, school groups, corporate groups, and various other organizations and groups of individuals.
The Goals and Objectives of Project C.O.P.E.
The Project C.O.P.E. program is designed to enhance the Scouting experience and to promote Scouting values and objectives among its participants with fun and challenging activities. The events and activities of Project C.O.P.E. are not designed to be competitive or a race against time, but rather are intended to encourage participants to do their best. C.O.P.E. emphasizes building self-esteem, developing leadership, and working as a team to accomplish tasks, and it provides opportunities for every participant to succeed as an individual and as a member of a group.
While the goals and objectives of Project C.O.P.E. are intended for Scouting youth, the great scope and flexibility of the program make it appropriate for people of all ages and abilities. A properly run C.O.P.E. program can meet many needs of Scouting and the community. While each Project C.O.P.E. course is unique and each person who experiences it has individual objectives, the Project C.O.P.E. program emphasizes eight major goals:
Project C.O.P.E. encourages real learning of critical listening and discussion skills important for any group attempting to accomplish difficult tasks.
Project C.O.P.E. participants are encouraged to consider and/or develop goals for each activity and options for achieving those goals, utilizing the group’s strengths to devise and carry out a course of action. Nontraditional solutions that ore outside the box may be appropriate.
Teamwork is the key that allows a group to meet a C.O.P.E. challenge successfully. The C.O.P.E. experience makes it clear that each individual can accomplish more as a member of a team than by going it alone.
Participants completing difficult tasks on a C.O.P.E. course develop trust in C.O.P.E. staff members, the safety of the course, each other, and themselves.
Leadership is given and assumed naturally, and it can be expressed in many ways. Team members attempting to solve problems on a C.O.P.E. course have many opportunities to develop and exercise leadership skills.
6. Decision Making
Project C.O.P.E. requires groups to make decisions by developing one or more solutions to a problem, considering the available resources and alternatives, and evaluating the probable results.
7. Problem Solving
Project C.O.P.E. challenges groups and individuals to develop solutions to interesting problems. Participants can then test their solutions and evaluate the results.
Meeting the challenges of a C.O.P.E. course allows individuals and groups to develop self-esteem and encourages them to adopt challenging, attainable goals.
Group leaders and C.O.P.E. staff members must decide which activities to incorporate into a program for a particular group to achieve the desired results. While all eight goals can often be fulfilled in a single program, some groups may want to emphasize particular areas of concern. For example, if a youth leader training group’s objective includes developing leadership skills, it can select activities designed to enhance leadership and communication. On the other hand, a camp staff working together for the first time may want to focus on C.O.P.E. activities that emphasize teamwork and trust; a group of corporate leaders may want to stress decision making and problem solving. In short, the C.O.P.E. experience can be customized to fit the needs of most any group.