C.O.P.E. & Climbing

Welcome to the home page for Climbing and COPE in the National Capital Area Council!
Our staff will work with your leaders to tailor a session specifically to your needs and abilities.


NCAC Climbing ROCKS!

If you enjoy physical challenges and the outdoors our climbing program has something for you! Imagine standing at the bottom of a sheer cliff and thinking “That was a FUN climb! I’m going to do it again.” Climbing challenges a climber physically and mentally and strongly reinforces other Scouting outdoor activities including camping, geology, soil and water conservation and Leave No Trace.

The Climbing Committee provides training and support for units developing outdoor and indoor rock climbing activities. It’s easy to get started with climbing and the NCAC can support you through all interest and ability levels. We are here to help and mentor, learn together, and climb together.

Take Your Scouts Climbing

Make natural rock climbing a regular part of your outdoor program as half-day events or as part of larger unit or district activities. The Climbing Committee can provide trained instructors and gear for Scouts who want to enjoy top-roped climbs on local crags. Cub leaders can become Bouldering Facilitators to support close-to-the-ground climbing challenges. Contact NCAC.Climbing@gmail.com for more information.

Become a Climbing Instructor

Our climbing instructor training program provides youth and adults with training necessary to achieve the goals of the BSA climbing program. Our training fosters the same friendly, supportive environment we bring to youth programs, empowering qualified individuals to succeed and share the challenge, excitement and joy of rock climbing with BSA participants.

A Climbing Level 2 Instructor can organize and supervise unit, district and council climbing events and train Climbing Level 1 instructors. A Climbing Level 1 instructor can support a Climbing Level 2 instructor and provide ground-level training for Scouts and Scouters. Our climbing instructor training programs are offered in the spring and fall.

Become a Bouldering Facilitator

A Bouldering Facilitator helps Scouts enjoy the challenge of climbing close to the ground. Bouldering requires no specialized gear and is age-appropriate for all BSA members, Cubs included. The training usually takes about two hours and is offered on an as-needed basis. It is also a prerequisite for renting a council slackline kit.


For additional information about NCAC climbing programs contact NCAC.Climbing@gmail.com and
visit NCAC Climbing Committee Resources.

Recruiting with the Scouterhorn

Are you looking for a “hands-on” way to promote your programs? Consider using our 24′ mobile climbing tower, the Scouterhorn. Unit leaders can become trained tower operators, then rent the Scouterhorn for unit and district events. Contact NCAC.COPE@gmail.com for details. Please put “Scouterhorn” in the subject line.


Challenge Course (COPE) in NCAC:
Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience, or Project C.O.P.E., is the challenge course program of the Boy Scouts of America. It is a series of physical, mental and emotional challenges facilitated by trained and experienced staff directed at enhancing personal growth.

In a nutshell
C.O.P.E. is the laboratory for leadership training. In an NCAC C.O.P.E. session, participants have the opportunity to discover their personal leadership style, and experience group dynamics as we transition from Forming, Storming, Norming to Performing (and Adjourning/Reforming).

How is this done?
A COPE session typically is a sequence of five activities which are designed to enable a group of 6-12 youth, adults, or mixed ages to become a team:
1. Ice breakers
2. Initiative games
3. Trust games
4. Low elements
5. High elements (helmets, harnesses, ropes, and gear are used)
The facilitator presents the activity (objective, rules, safety boundaries), guides the activity, then leads a review of what happen. The facilitator is trained and experienced to know how to observe, how to get participants to discover their strengths and weaknesses, and how structure subsequent activities to build upon those discoveries. Progress through the sequence depends upon the ability of the group to become a team. For example, if the group cannot become a team, it may be too dangerous to use the high elements. None of our facilities can support individuals playing on high elements. Units who want that program should look elsewhere.

How long is a session?
At Camp Snyder, a typical session is from 9:00 am to noon, 1:00 pm to later. A high performing team may be able to accomplish the first four activities in the morning and spend the afternoon doing the last two. A low performing group may have difficulty accomplishing the first three activities.
At Camp Post, Goshen Scout Reservation (during our summer camp), sessions are two hours long. The sequence of activities are covered over successive days.

Discover who you are
Our staff is trained and experienced in using ice breakers, initiative games, trust training and exercises, low elements, and high elements to achieve the learning objectives of C.O.P.E.:

  • Self esteem
  • Communication
  • Decision Making
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Trust
  • Planning
  • Problem Solving

A week-long program at Camp Post can accomplish all objectives, if the team is willing and able. A single-day session at Camp Snyder is tailored for the group. Prior to the session, the COPE director will develop a plan based on input from the unit leader. That plan will evolve as the session progresses based on the group’s performance.

For additional information about our Challenge Course program, contact us at:
NCAC.COPE@gmail.com / (202) 810-5843
Click here for our 2019 C.O.P.E. schedule.


  • For more information about our Challenge Course/COPE program, please contact the COPE/Climbing PM/Chairman, Tony Waisanen at NCAC.COPE@gmail.com. Call or text (202) 810-5843 for details.


  • On this site
    • Climbing / COPE Program Manager page (has links to training certificates)
    • COPE Schedule
    • Mobile Climbing Tower
    • C.O.P.E and Climbing Blog
  • Remote
    • BSA COPE and Climbing website