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COPE is an acronym for Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience. It is comprised of a series of outdoor challenges, beginning with basic group initiative games, and progressing to more complicated low-course and high-course activities. Some of these events involve a group effort, while others test individual skills and agility. Participants climb, swing, balance, jump, rappel and think through solutions to a variety of challenges.

The course provides an opportunity for each participant to achieve success as an individual and as a member of a group. The objectives of Project COPE include building confidence, developing leadership skills, and attaining a sense of common cooperation among group members. The course is designed to build more self-confidence in a shorter length of time than anything most people have experienced.

Participants work together as a group throughout the COPE experience, learning teamwork and trust. In addition, COPE participants develop leadership skills, improve their self-esteem, communications and problem solving skills. And even as they develop these important, participants say Project COPE is an absolute blast!

Who Uses COPE?

The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America developed Project COPE to meet the needs of today’s youth who are seeking greater challenges to their physical and mental abilities. The goals of Project COPE are consistent with the methods of Scouting. Group activities are ideal for emphasizing the patrol method and developing leadership. Individual activities help promote personal growth.

team building logBoy Scout participants must be a minimum of 14 years old and a First Class Scout at that time of participation.  There is a $20 COPE fee per participant (in addition to basic summer camp fee).  All participants must be prepared to bring jeans or long pants, tennis shoes, clean or new leather gloves and a bandanna or neckerchief with them each day when directed by the staff.

It is highly recommended that troop leaders pre-register their Scouts for Project COPE before arriving for their week at summer camp.  While the camp staff works to be as accommodating as possible, there are limits to the number of Scouts that can participate in COPE.

An unexpected dividend has been the use of Project COPE by youth and adults outside of Scouting. Schools, community groups, recreational groups, and businesses have found it an excellent tool for developing both team effort and individual achievement. Through the use of the COPE program, groups have the opportunity to use an outdoor setting, in a retreat-like atmosphere, to develop leadership potential, problem-solving skills, and teamwork among their members.

Tuckahoe’s COPE Course

COPE SignThe New Birth of Freedom Council of the Boy Scouts of America offers both summer camp (during Boy Scout weeks) and year-round COPE programs at Camp Tuckahoe. Twenty-five acres of this beautiful 1,300 acre camp has been set aside for Project COPE. Project COPE is staffed by National Camp School certified directors and instructors. The National Camp School is the highest level of training available in the Boy Scouts of America for this program.

Staff members are knowledgeable and personally skilled in the activities. They are effective teachers and are constantly vigilant to safety procedures and participants’ needs. Project COPE consists of a wide variety of activities which are adjusted and tailored to meet the needs of each group.  When not done during summer camp, the COPE experience can be offered as a one-day experience or as a full weekend course.

Project COPE Elements

Initiative activities are a series of adventure games, trust activities and cooperative problem solving used to teach participants to work together, through communication and trust, to achieve their goals. These activities are active and engaging and allow the participants the opportunity to have fun while trying something new. Participants learn to be at ease with reliance on others for their physical well being, and with the responsibility of providing for the safety of others.

team spider webLow-course activities present a series of challenging low activities. These activities require group cooperation and problem solving to succeed. Because many of the obstacles are elevated, group members work together to spot each other to prevent falls and injury. Individual agility and commitment are required to negotiate the events.

High-course activities include eight Aerial Challenge elements. Participants negotiate a series of log, rope, and cable obstacles 35 feet off the ground. These activities require effort beyond the routine and encourage participants to pursue new experiences and exercise sound risk taking. At all times while on the course, a participant is attached to a belay line to prevent accidents. Everyone within the high course area must wear a safety helmet. SAFETY IS MOST IMPORTANT FOR ALL ASPECTS OF COPE.

For further information on COPE during summer camp or year-round, please contact Todd Weidner at the Camping Services office at (717) 432-5232 or e-mail Todd at and request a conference with one of the COPE staff members. They will help plan your experience of a lifetime!