Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience (COPE) is an activity comprised of group initiatives, team building, problem solving, and physical challenge. COPE focuses your group on exercises to enhance team building and problem solving skills through physical challenge. COPE exercises add to the individual development of your team members in area of trust, communication, self-esteem, leadership, and decision making.
Project COPE is operated for any group inside or outside the BSA program. As a service to the community, we welcome any corporate group, community group, government agency, or school group. Participants must be a minimum of thirteen years of age, and the group must have at least eight individuals to operate properly.
The activities and challenges offered as part of the COPE program can be tailored to meet your group’s needs. You can choose the type of activities that best fit your current group dynamics and your intended outcomes:
Team-building & Initiative Games: The trail to forming an effective team starts with getting to know your group members. What makes them tick? How do they work with others? How do they react to challenges, frustrations, and successes? A series of fun and extremely participatory games will quickly help team members lean more about each other as they prepare for the future challenges on the course.
Low COPE: A series of physical obstacles are places through the woods of Camp Klaus. Your team’s mission, should they chose to accept it, is to work as a team to overcome these challenges. None of the obstacles can be completed by one person alone, so each team member must evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the others in order to succeed.
High COPE: After accomplishing the Low COPE course, it is time to utilize the new trust and team dynamic on the high ropes course. This consists of 15 elements that require participants to negotiate cables, swings, and nets high above the ground. An elaborate, redundant safety system protects participants at all times.
Climbing Tower: Aside from the COPE course, Camp C.S. Klaus also has a 60 foot tall climbing and rappelling tower with four climbing faces and multiple portals for rappelling. The tower is challenging for both those who are just beginning climbers, and for those with some experience. If the group is ready for the challenge, participants will get an outstanding view of camp and across Lake John Deere. An experience on the tower can be part of a COPE weekend or a separate event for an additional fee. Special arrangements can also be made for your group to be guided on a natural rock face at neighboring Backbone State Park.
COPE challenges participants to become more aware of themselves and others, their strengths and limitations. If your group is already familiar with each other well, COPE builds on this knowledge to improve communication and leadership skills. For newer groups, or even complete strangers, COPE is a great mechanism for rapidly developing a strong sense of team membership. Aside from enhancing your group’s dynamics and personal development, COPE is fun! Groups who have completed our course are regularly impressed by how much they have enjoyed the experience.
The COPE program begins your group with initiative activities and events on our low ropes course. A low ropes course is a series of structures which presents a problem intended for the group to solve. The last sequence of the COPE program is the high course. This course consists of elements which require participants to negotiate cables, swings, and nets high in the air. Your group has the option to participate partially in the low course only or the low and high course in one full day, or participate in the complete COPE experience in two full days.
Scout groups should select their desired dates from those listed on the reservation form, complete the form and mail it to the Scout Service Center with the appropriate fees.
Non-Scout groups should contact the Northeast Iowa Council to discuss your needs and desired dates for your COPE or climbing experience. Lodging is available at Camp C.S. Klaus for an additional cost.
After your group is scheduled, the leader will receive a packet of information. This includes an Element of Danger Statement, which must be signed by all participants or their parents/guardians. The leader will also be given information about the pre-course conditioning, health forms, clothing to wear, etc. Non-Scout groups will need to provide additional forms, including a certificate of insurance and a hold-harmless agreement.
Stephen Mayne, District Executive