What is a Level 2 COPE or Climbing Instructor?
By Rhonda Wright, National COPE & Climbing Subcommittee Chairman
A Level 2 COPE or Climbing Instructor is an instructor over 21 who has taken a course from a Program Manager or Program Trainer to be able to be the primary instructor of climbing or COPE events, depending on their training on that particular facility. They are assisted by another level 2 instructor or a level 1 instructor over age 18. They are capable of training Level 1 instructors to assist with COPE and Climbing events. A 6:1 ratio is necessary for participants actively participating with rope. Two instructors are required to run any event or program, so they can supervise up to 12 participants. Another instructor must be added for every 6 participants. The Level 2 instructor is proficient in the foundation skills of both COPE and Climbing, still up to date on their level 1 skills, and have taken a course in COPE or Climbing to expand their skills to Level 2 Instructor to those specific programs.
A Level 2 COPE or Climbing Instructor and his assisting level 2s or Level 1s can run a summer camp program if their Council and its Program Manager or Program Trainer wish to train summer camp staff. The Program Manager or Program Trainer is available to advise those who he or she trains and is responsible for vetting and monitoring the quality of that instructor’s operation; such that a Program Manager or Trainer’s training abilities can be reviewed or revoked if sub par training is discovered.
Many COPE and Climbing instructors both take a tower class. Some COPE instructors take a course from a council that may only have low COPE and then maybe a tower and a zip line. Some Climbing instructors may only take people climbing on local rock faces. Others may only operate their council’s indoor climbing wall. There are a variety of combinations, so in most councils (or at some times, collaborations of councils) that have a Program Manager or Program Trainer who teaches Level 2 instructors to run the programs for the facilities or rock in their council (or collaboration of councils) only.
This summer, we may see some councils for temporary or long standing collaborations with councils that have Program Managers or Program Trainers who teach on similar facilities due to the lack of availability of National Camping School courses because of Covid 19.
In this subcommittee chair’s opinion, becoming a COPE or Climbing Director at National Camping School often affords the Director the interaction with more than one out of council NCS Instructors, yielding a perspective possibly not available in a local council program, to his or her benefit, though I have seen many very strong Program Managers and Program Trainers’ training. To this end, councils that exclusively use the Program Manager or Program Trainer Program to train Level 2 COPE or Climbing Instructors have been informed of the new 2020 NCAP standard in SQ 409 that says as Program Manager’s cards expire, all who wish to continue to teach or develop Level 2 training programs within their councils will send someone back to National Camping School to get a COPE or Climbing Director card before they can take the Program Trainer card to train Level 2 Instructors; thus yielding the perspective of a return to National Camping School at least every 5 years to the Program Trainer who will pass his or her insight on to his Instructor candidates. Level 2 Instructors will no longer be allowed to become Program Trainers.
And as always, this sub-committee’s passion is to spread a love of climbing and challenge activities among units and the youth in them. Unit leaders who become Level 2 COPE or Climbing instructors will take youth climbing and out on challenge courses. They will foster growth, team building and challenging experiences for youth in many different types of units. Whether the unit leader or youth got his or her passion to teach or participate in climbing and COPE from attending a summer camp, or the unit members chose to further their instruction through a merit badge or instructor class at summer camp because they came from a troop who climbed, the Level 2 instructor trained by a Program Manager or Program Trainer can be the point where these passions begin to grow and expand. We love to see Units who take the Level 2 Instructor course who take youth climbing who grow up to be leaders who become Instructors to take youth climbing.
Continue to train safely.