Northeast Region Conference-20170224


Attended Climbing/Rappelling and COPE conference at Hawk Mountain Scout Reservation (HMSR), PA.
Some photos are at:


  • Confirmation that the Council PM is authorized to define the processes for allowing staff trained outside of their council to be allowed to operate the course managed by the PM.
    • Camp Wall could allow visiting units to staff the operation of the climbing tower and attached high ropes course. Will need organic staff on-site to perform pre-use readiness assessment of staff from visiting unit. Need to work out who would be willing to provide that training. Would need to be registered with BSA as a member (Council members at large? Member of Crew?). Annual membership fees of $25 per member would need to be paid. What would be source of funds?
    • In order for the Vietnamese community to operate the course, if they were registered with BSA, and assessed as competent, they could operate the course without requiring support from members of the committee.
  • On-line training material and syllabi are suggestions, not rules or standards. For example, some attendees feel since the PM is responsible for the interpretation and recommendation about standards, discussion about standards is not necessary for Level 1 or Level 2 training.
  • Reference materials will be stored on the NER DropBox
  • The NER team needs to create and use on-line learning systems (e.g., Moodle)
  • Marketing that is effective results in cold calls from new customers
    • For all attendees, the most consistently effective form of marketing is word-of-mouth; someone trusted by the seeker tells them about the program
    • The Climbing/Rappelling instructor trainer trainers are being contacted by unit leaders who are compelled to get Level 2 training in order to deliver unit programs. Unit leaders will seek out training when they are compelled to get training (e.g., required to support their units).
    • Decades of research from B.F. Skinner to Robert Cialdini has shown:
      • the most compelling marketing reduces or removes a problem the customer perceives they have (the expert may know the root cause, but only the customer owns the problem and must be educated to understand the root cause before they will accept the solution).
      • the least compelling marketing promotes a solution that requires the customer to admit they are incompetent (e.g., offering basic training to a proclaimed subject matter expert)
      • In Climbing/Rappelling, new customers are compelled to seek training in order to comply with standards for receiving liability coverage when operating a unit, or standards related to satisfying merit badge requirements.
      • COPE is generally not promoted as satisfying any requirement which is not being satisfied by other programs. For example, leadership is taught in Wood Badge, NAYLE, etc. The high cost of the one-time achievement is typically widely recognized with standard totems and identity for the life of the participant (regardless of the participant demonstrating they did not learn).
  • The Climbing/Rappelling and COPE community must be promoted and managed.
    • It takes a village to establish and grow a community (notice that "village" is used vs "city")
    • The sense of "community" must be supported (e.g., define and promote shared values, encourage belonging, members know the other members, members are supportive of other members, members are willing to acknowledge their faults, authority is distributed and belongs to whoever owns the 'house" that is relevant to the task [e.g., the PM for the facility, the Director/Level 2 onsite, the Level 1 responsible for the group, the unit leader responsible for the participants, the designated leader (if one) for the initiative game], leadership is shared)
    • The community is composed of members of teams
      • Teams have a reason for being (a vision to accomplish, a mission to perform), members who know and accept other members (respect, but but not necessarily like), are aware of assets the team can influence, follow a set of shared values, and have processes that ensure all members are informed and have opportunity to communicate.
      • Community members collaborate. The focus of competition is for the community to achieve the goal. When members of a community compete against each other, effort and time can be wasted and the objective become one of undermining efforts of members instead of collectively accomplishing goals.