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.

Marketing with the Scouterhorn:
Are you looking for a way to promote our programs in a “hands-on” way? Consider using our 24′ mobile climbing tower, the Scouterhorn. What is the Scouterhorn? It’s the 24′ “Drop-a-Rock” mobile tower by Spectrum Sports, International. Use your favorite search engine to see how groups all around the US are using it, talk to your DE about it, and check out details for using it at Mobile Climbing Tower. Check the schedule at Scouterhorn Training and COPE Schedule and enroll in a session. But wait! There’s MORE!! Operators who are trained at Level 2 Climbing or Level 2 COPE have options for doing really fun stuff on the Scouterhorn!

Climbing in NCAC:
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.”

NCAC Climbing ROCKS!
The Climbing Committee is focused on providing training and support for Units developing outdoor and indoor rock climbing activities.   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.   It’s easy to get started with climbing and NCAC can support you through all interest and ability levels.  We are here to help and mentor, learn together, sweat together, and climb together!

NCAC Climbing Instructor Training Programs
The NCAC Climbing Training program provides interested youth and adults training necessary to achieve the goals of the BSA climbing program.  Our year-long and ad-hoc climbing instructor 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.  Climbing Instructor Level 2 (provisional) programs are offers in Fall, Spring and Summer, with Climbing Instructor Level 1 programs offered on an ad-hoc rolling basis.  Visit the NCAC Climbing Instruction Portal (https://climbncac.gnomio.com/) to get started.

Skills Workshops and Team-building / Mentoring Opportunities
The Committee offers monthly team-building and mentoring as well as equipment support to respond to every need.  If you’re a committee member with no climbing experience hoping to incorporate climbing in their next yearly program, or an experienced traditional climber hoping to bring a patrol to the summit of Seneca Rocks we’re here to help.  Check the blog and calendar for our monthly knot and belay skills workshops, Climbing Campouts and other activities to get started.

For additional information about Climbing, contact us at:
NCAC.Climbing@gmail.com / (202) 681-2474
Click here to read James’ notes on how to get your unit climbing.

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.


  • If you want to know more about our new climbing program, please send a message to James Miller at NCAC.Climbing@gmail.com Call (202) 681-2474 for details.
  • 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