Despite her enthusiasm for traditional summer camp experiences, Georgie Stanley believes that the NOLS expedition model offers something more meaningful. She explains that a two-week backpacking adventure provides teenage girls like her daughter an unmatched opportunity to develop leadership skills while tackling real-world challenges in the wilderness.
Florida native and self-identified city kid Reza Darvish recently joined 10 fellow Whitman College students on a week-long NOLS expedition in Utah's Canyonlands. For Reza, the trip was a transformative experience--the rapport he formed with his coursemates taught him important lessons in community-building and helped him successfully navigate the challenges of canyoneering for the first time.
This past March, 12 students from UVA’s Darden School of Business embarked on a six-day backpacking trip in Patagonia. Professor Bobby Parmar notes that while some students were initially hesitant, by the end of the course, they were ready to “go out into business with the confidence that they can succeed in even the most uncertain and difficult circumstances.”
After a year of service at City Year Boston, Brenna Eaton used her AmeriCorps education award to fund her NOLS course in Tanzania. In addition to gaining confidence in her outdoors skills, Brenna enjoyed learning about Tanzanian culture and history from the local communities her group visited.
NOLS President John Gans speaks up in support of protecting Wyoming’s public lands from development, pointing out that Wilderness Study Areas have lasting economic relevance as well as value for local communities. These wilderness lands attract visitors with active lifestyles, contributing to Wyoming’s burgeoning outdoor recreation industry and boosting local economies.
When her 14-year-old son went on a two-week backpacking course in the Wind River Range, Robin Noble realized something: in a world of constant communication, there’s value in disconnecting. Temporarily unable to call, email, or text his family and friends at home, her son developed greater self-reliance--and Robin learned the importance of letting go.
A leader at school and in her community, high school senior Eleanor Asma of Lake Bluff, Illinois, says she is happiest “anywhere near a mountain.” Reflecting on her Wind River Wilderness course, she highlights the importance of teamwork to her group’s success in the face of adverse weather conditions. Eleanor plans to continue her outdoor education with a Wilderness First Responder course this summer.
Lander, Wyoming—NOLS and Saybrook University have partnered to launch an innovative new Master’s in Leadership program that balances online study with outdoor education. A 32-credit, three-semester program beginning in January 2019, the NOLS Saybrook MA in Leadership includes three wilderness expeditions led by NOLS and several residential conferences.
In a recent Washington Post article, writer David Brown shares his experiences as a 65-year-old student on a challenging 14-day New Zealand sailing course. Impressed by the awe-inspiring Marlborough Sounds and the excellent instruction he received, Brown also reflects on how the range of ages and life experiences of his fellow students enhanced the course.
After a guided backcountry ski trip in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, former NOLS instructor Molly Absolon reflects on the concept of active followership. An experienced backcountry skier, she sometimes found the guides’ decisions limiting, especially since the trip’s structure didn’t encourage clients to take an active role in the decision-making process.