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Blog for members of the NCAC COPE group to discuss Project COPE (Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience).


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Top tags: COPE  belay  Climbing  good_practice  Training  Website  Adult  Education  Facilitation  Promotion  Session  technique  University of Scouting 

University of Scouting coming. COPE to be there!

Posted By Anthony Waisanen, Sunday, February 08, 2015

University of Scouting is coming. I'd like to get thoughts on the proposed presentation.

Please click here to download.

Send comments to

And please let me know if you would like to assist me.


Tags:  COPE  Education  Promotion  University of Scouting 

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New Climbing/COPE Manual!

Posted By Anthony Waisanen, Saturday, January 17, 2015
Hey EVERYBODY! There's a new manual for our climbing and COPE program. You can download a copy from It has a lot of great information. Check it out now!

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What must be done so a non-Scout group could use BSA property (e.g., attend a COPE session)?

Posted By Anthony Waisanen, Friday, September 12, 2014

BSA policy says [need citation]:
"The non-Scout group using the property must agree to repair, replace or pay for any and all damage attributable to their usage. The non-Scout group must sign an Organizational Hold Harmless/Indemnity Agreement and provide the Council with a Certificate of Insurance evidencing coverage in effect (including Contractual Liability, which will cover the Hold Harmless Agreement). This Certificate of Insurance must state that the limits of liability are at least $2,000,000 Combined Single Limit. The above coverage applies to General Liability."


The organization would need to fill out, and send copies to Council and the hosting camp:
-Organizational Hold-Harmless And Indemnity Agreement
-Letter of Agreement For Camp Use
-Certificate of Insurance Liability Coverage (must list Council as the holder)


National Capital Area Council, BSA
9190 Rockville Pike
Bethesda MD


Camp Snyder:
Camp William B. Snyder
6100 Antioch Rd
Haymarket VA,  20169

Download File (PDF)

 Attached Files:

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Catching up with good ideas

Posted By Anthony Waisanen, Sunday, August 24, 2014
Got an e-mail from the Colonial District training chairman regarding a posting by Mike Meenehan. Mike had posted a "last opportunity to get training" and the re-posting was a strong outreach to the CD scout leaders and to all the CD committees.  A real wake-up call. Once again, Mike is showing how a Council program organizer should do their job! I've been neglecting an easy "lift" to communicate the message about Climbing and COPE. Tell the District Training Chairs!
But how to get in the flow?
Found an e-mail dated 2013-09-18 from Dan Kurtenbach about Yahoo! groups, particularly Train82.
Another case where I'd not used the good stuff provided by the folks doing the heavy lifting for Council.
Thanks, Dan!

Tags:  Climbing  COPE  training 

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Changes to pages (needed!)

Posted By Anthony Waisanen, Sunday, August 24, 2014
Need the following changes made to the site:
1. Name change. James M. has volunteered to lead development of a Climbing program
a. Site name must change to reflect the new offering; need name changed from "COPE" to "Climbing / COPE".
b. James M. should be allowed permission to update the site.

2. Communication. There are separate e-mails for discussing Climbing and for discussing COPE:
a. Climbing:
b. COPE:

3. Event registration. If there are only two types of calendars to which to publish events (Council and Committee), the following events need to be published accordingly: 




COPE course / climbing tower post-season inspection; support Family Weekend

8/30/2014 – 8/31/2014


COPE Level 1 Instructor training



COPE Field Day



COPE Session



COPE Session



Committee meeting



COPE Session



COPE Field Day



COPE Session



Committee meeting



a. Sessions (9/27, 10/4, 10/18, 11/1) require two registration pages, one for staff (viewable only to staff) and a second for the unit. Ideally, all staff could view the unit registration. At least the director for the session should be able to view all registrations.
b. Training sessions (9/12-9/14) require two registration pages, one for staff (viewable only to staff) and a second for each student. Ideally, all staff could view the student registration. At least the lead instructor (staff) should be able to view all registrations.
c. Committee events (meetings and field days; 9/20, 10/25, 11/2) require a single registration page (for staff). All can view the description of the event, but only staff can view the registration.

Tags:  Climbing  COPE  Website 

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Changes to COPE pages

Posted By Anthony Waisanen, Friday, December 06, 2013

Attended the Webmaster training session on 2013-12-07.

  1. Upcoming events. Includes Council-wide events, not COPE events, which visitors to the COPE pages would expect to find. Can a filter be included?
  2. Blog. Moved to left (wider) side of page. Right side was too narrow. Blogs (IMHO) are for concise statements.
  3. Event signup. Need sign up for multiple types of events:
    1. Facilitation sessions. Maximum of 30 students per session (need the Committee to define a minimum per group). Typically one full day comprised of two half-day sessions. Requires non-refundable deposit for the group. Balance is due at start of session. Two staff required per group. Maximum of two adults allowed as observers. [Group committment, non-refundable down payment.]
    2. Instructor sessions. Minimum of 6 students, maximum of 20 students. Requires minimum of 3 fully qualified staff, prefer 5-7. Session is from Friday 1700 hrs to Sunday 1500 hrs. Following training, students must help facilitate at least two (2) sessions while being monitored by senior staff. [Individual committment, fee.]
    3. Committee sessions. Quarterly. Purpose is to review and approve the operation of COPE in NCAC. Attendance limited to committee members or COPE advocates interested in supporting the program. [Individual committment, no fee.]
    4. Field days. Limited to COPE-qualified individuals. Purpose of sessions is to maintain the course facilities or the competence of the individuals, both low element and high element. [Individual committment, no fee.]
  4. Forum. Maybe?
  5. Layout. Alternative? Can anyone suggest a page that has a more appropriate layout?

Tags:  COPE  Website 

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Safety Break

Posted By Anthony Waisanen, Saturday, September 21, 2013

Please go to the 2:23 point of the video on abseiling (aka rappelling); Notice how the climber uses a prussik as a protection; the break hand MUST be on the prussik or break is automatically applied.

I think the Committee should adopt the use of a break knot in the event the belayer slips, gets tripped, or otherwise has issues.

In other words, let the Powder Horn incident be the first and the LAST!

Tags:  belay  COPE  good_practice 

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Break-Under-Slide Belay Technique

Posted By Anthony Waisanen, Saturday, September 21, 2013
Currently, our lesson on Life Safety Systems (CCF1-9) includes a discussion of three belay techniques:
  • Break Under Slide (BUS) (NOT Pull-Break-Under-Slide, PBUS, because "P" allows a hand on the rope to the climber, not on the break side)
  • Chop
  • Slip-slap-slide 

Why more than one?

Not a good idea.We should discuss, teach, practice one!

Why BUS?

  1. The BUS belay method has been adopted by the American Mountain Guide Association, Most climbing gyms and Most Recrecational programs as the safest belay technique.
  2. It is described in the current BSA Merit Badge booklet and the BSA Topping Out climbing program guide.
  3. The BUS method is seen as the most reliable because the rope is locked in the BRAKE position in the belay device while your hands are repositioned on the rope to take more slack.

Take a look at these online resources and practice the technique to use and to teach:

-Climbing Magazine web site:

-Video from Aiderondack Community College: (but do not take non-dominant hand off the break-side of the rope)

Tags:  belay  COPE  good_practice  technique 

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Posted By Anthony Waisanen, Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Attention all qualified COPE Instructors!

Shannon H. and Tony W. (Level II Instructors) will open the COPE course at Camp WB Snyder on Saturday, 24 Aug 2013, from 0900 to 1600 hrs.  Powderhorn Training has requested two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The purpose of the sessions is to help the attendees develop an appreciation and understanding of Project COPE. The objectives are:

  • Experience the range of a COPE session: ice breaker, initiative games, trust games, low elements, high element, reflections;
  • Understand the 5 stages of group development (the extended Tuckman model of group development; forming, storming, norming, performing, adjourning) by experiencing the stages;
  • Be able to explain how Project COPE is able to help unit leaders with team building and leadership training for youth and adults (COPE is the "lab" session for training);
  • Be able to explain how Project COPE enables youth and adults do self discovery. 

Since the COPE course is open, certified Instructors may use the facilities, but will be responsible for providing their own food and arrange with the staff supporting Powderhorn for use of gear. Instructors may use any/all elements not being used for Powderhorn. All security and safety protocols will be followed.

Instructors are requested to use their own best judgement during practice. For example, blood-curdling screaming while practicing rescues is discouraged (but check with the COPE Level II instructors).

If you use it, inspect it going out and inspect checking in (and update the logs).

If you break it, donate funds to replace it.

Finally, all participation is Challenge by Choice; your choice to take the challenge and the Level II Instructor's choice to let you.

Contact Tony W. or Shannon H. if you plan to attend or if you have questions.

Tags:  Adult  Facilitation  Session  Training 

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