Challenge, Climbing/Rappelling, and Ropes Courses


Purpose of book:

Discuss the BSA challenge, climbing, and general ropes courses. ["Challenge Course" refers to the Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience (C.O.P.E.) Project]


Facilitate adult and youth training that results in the ability to do critical thinking in making ethical decisions based on shared values.

Problem being addressed:

Our youth and adults need experiences that (safely) push them outside their comfort zone, into the learning zone, and prepare them for surprises in life. They need the opportunity to objectively determine their personal style of leadership, their strengths, and their weaknesses. They need the opportunity to practice skills that leverage their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses. Venues for these experiences should maximize opportunity for participation, minimize travel distance, minimize use of vacation time, and minimize out of pocket expenses. In short, we must reduce reasons for not getting involved in this program. Life is too short to waste on activities which do not serve a useful purpose.


Units view climbing and challenge courses as their program of choice for practicing and implementing leadership development, team building and individual self-esteem.

Critical Success Factors:

  • Location. Be within 60 to 90 minutes driving time (Saturday morning) of any district roundtable location in the National Capital Area Council (NCAC) [presuming roundtables are generally central to the units in each district)]
  • Cost. A maximum course or activity fee of $50 per participant
  • Exportable. It must be possible for Scouts and Scouters, with training and experience, to offer meaningful programs to other units (i.e., programs which meet a need)
  • Extensible. The results must provide value to all involved, participants and facilitators

Strategic Elements