Michelle Crismore is the Outdoor Program Director for the Midnight Sun Council, a local Boy Scouts of America organization. As part of that position, she oversees a program that provides opportunities for people of all ages to build connections with each other through inventive mental and physical activities.
In 1983, the Boy Scouts of American started the COPE program. The letters stand for Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience. The Boy Scout facility at Lost Lake has a facility that provides an assortment of activities to teach a variety of personal and group skills to both young and old.

The guiding principles for the program are: Communication, Planning, Teamwork, Self-Esteem, Leadership, Trust, Problem-Solving and Decision-Making. Michelle had four of our members come to the front and demonstrate one of the activities that they use in the program. Cynthia, Patty, Glenn and Sven were asked to arrange themselves in a line, and arrange themselves by birthdays (not including the year). They had to do this without any verbal speech. This activity forced them to come up with a new way to communicate, and each had to participate to get it done. The activity required both imagination and group interaction where they were all equals. It appeared to be a good metaphor for the entire COPE program. Perhaps not as good a metaphor for the shuttling-across cables strung 40 feet in the air like, which is another COPE activity, though.

The program is available not only to Boy Scouts, but, subject to availability, to the general public as well. There is even a corporate rate. Personal growth and group camraderie are the specialty of this program, and the photos that Michelle provided were equal parts intriguing and humorous.

For more information on the program, Michelle Crismore can be reached at 907-452-1976 and michelle.crismore@scouting.org.