Alternative advancement requirements bring the challenge within the capability of the Scout, but the Scout must still have the desire and willpower to meet the challenge. No Scout is asked to attempt an advancement challenge beyond his or her capability, if that capability can be objectively determined. A Scout is never set up for failure, but a Scout should expect to be challenged and leaders should prepare Scouts to be challenged and encourage them to overcome.
The COPE course was not the only focus of disability adaptations at Philmont Training Center last summer. Instructors and participants in the DIVERSEability and DisABILITY training course experienced several other adaptations. Long-time PTC instructor Scott Hellen (on left) was pleased to find the classrooms already prepared for individuals in wheelchairs. In a previous summer the PTC staff had produced wood blocks to raise table heights to better fit wheelchairs and the blocks were already installed when the course staff arrived. New picnic tables better accommodated people in wheelchairs as well as others with mobility problems.
Last summer, Scouter Angela Glunt participated in the Philmont training course DIVERSEability and DisABILITY. Here are her experiences in adapting the COPE Challenge for people with disabiilities.
Our class was approached by the COPE team and asked if we would be willing to participate in the COPE Course in order to help develop strategies for assisting Scouts with special needs. The goal was to show the struggles a Scout with special needs might encounter during the event.
Our group was very excited for the opportunity to engage in this adventure. We split our class in half. One group took the Lower Course and the other took the Upper Course. Each group member exhibited the characteristics of a different disability. By helping the staff, as if aiding a Scout with special needs, they were able to gain knowledge through the hands-on experience.