Members and adult leadership of Explorer Post 2868 participated in the Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience (C.O.P.E.) at the Anthony Wayne Area Council Scout reservation over the weekend of October 19-21, 2001.
C.O.P.E. is a program that allows participants to build teamwork, organization, trust and self-esteem by presenting them with obstacles that must be overcome.
Members started out Saturday with several initiative events, and moved on to the low part of the ropes course, before training in belaying techniques. Sunday began the High C.O.P.E. activities, where members climb up to 40 feet to cross over different obstacles.
High C.O.P.E. obstacles include The Giant's Ladder (a ladder with 3-5 feet rung spacing); Crossed Wires (the participants work on moving along a cable with a handhold which lowers to a point only 6" off the foot wire); The Leap of Faith (participants jump from one platform to another approximately 4 feet away); Wire Traverse with Overhead Wires; The Rope Crossing (participants cross a foot wire using only ropes to support themselves); and The ZIP Line (returns participant to ground level).
"C.O.P.E. teaches the youth to trust in themselves and others. From the simple Trust Falls, where a member falls backwards into the hands of the other members only 4 feet below, to the High C.O.P.E. Course, nearly 40 feet from the ground, they all learn from this experience," said Staff Sergeant Tony Vining, the Post Advisor. "Many of these members are new, and only learned each others names on Friday night. By working together at building common bonds Friday and Saturday, they earned the trust it took to belay the others as they traversed the high C.O.P.E. course. At 40 feet, you have to know and trust your belay person."
Youth Commander Gary Goldsberry, Jr. stated that he most appreciated overcoming the 'Leap of Faith' where the member must jump from one platform to another. The event had been nicknamed after Goldsberry in jest after he failed to complete it on a previous course visit.
Post 2868 is the Air Force military career exploration program of the Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing. Youth ages 13 through 20 who are interested in the military as a career are invited to participate in the program.