Offering three new LGBTQ+ courses and four courses for People of Color teaching wilderness skills, Leave No Trace™ principles and leadership development
Lander, Wyoming – August 6, 2019 –Beginning this fall, NOLS, the leader in wilderness education, will launch seven new affinity courses for a total of 20 offerings. These new expeditions are designed for People of Color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
These courses will provide members of both affinity groups the opportunity to grow leadership and outdoor skills in a community of their peers.
NOLS is committed to building a diverse community that is inclusive of people from all backgrounds. Recently, the school worked with a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) consulting firm to better understand the needs of the LGBTQ+ community in regards to the school’s enrollment process. Among other takeaways, this initiative resulted in NOLS offering non-binary gender options throughout the course application process.
As an early supporter, the school introduced women-only courses in 1988. NOLS currently offers 11 courses for teens and adults who self-identify as women. By creating these types of shared experiences within affinity groups, NOLS can be a catalyst for meaningful self-reflection - helping students explore their potential for independence and strength in a supportive environment.
“With these new offerings, we seek to empower students through their connection to the outdoors. We believe wilderness is an ideal place to explore identity and how to lead from your signature style,” explains Liz Tuohy, Education Director. “Our goal for these courses is to provide an opportunity to develop leadership styles in a setting that celebrates all identities and recognizes each person can lead effectively in their own way.”
The entire suite of affinity courses NOLS will introduce between now and 2021 include:
LGBTQ+ Canyonlands Backpacking Expedition - While on this nine-day expedition, Nov. 2-10, 2019, students will travel 50 miles through the unique landscape of the Colorado Plateau in southeastern Utah learning Leave No Trace practices and techniques for hiking and camping in fragile canyon country.
LGBTQ+ Southwest Climbing Expedition - This course, which runs Jan. 31- Feb. 7, 2020, sets participants up to develop a solid understanding of the fundamentals of technical rock climbing through experiential learning in a world-famous climbing destination. The curriculum also focuses on developing leadership and risk management skills and building an inclusive community.
Southwest Leaders of Color course - Introduced in the summer of 2019, this 9-day course offers trip leaders an opportunity to learn new teaching strategies and hone risk management skills. While exploring canyons and ponderosa pine forests of New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, located on Apache ancestral lands, students will grow as leaders and educators through a guided leadership progression. This course will run again Apr. 24- May 2, 2020.
People of Color Climbing Expedition - Starting November 16-24, 2019, students can pursue their climbing goals in Arizona’s Cochise Stronghold during a nine-day adventure. This immersive learning experience begins with an introduction to climbing equipment and evolves into more advanced techniques of moving on rock. Students will practice problem-solving as they develop their personal leadership style and build community in a POC affinity space.
The remaining courses will launch in the spring of 2020 and fall of 2021. Students can learn sea kayaking skills while paddling between densely forested islands of British Columbia on the LGBTQ+ Pacific Northwest Sea Kayaking course and master sailing skills while cruising Marlborough Sounds in the upper South Island of New Zealand on the People of Color New Zealand Sailing expedition. In summer 2020, the school will introduce the People of Color Alaska Backpacking and Sea Kayaking and the People of Color Adirondack Backpacking expeditions - both courses will be offered to students 16 years and older. The fifth course to be introduced is the People of Color Baja Coastal Sailing where students will explore the coastal waters of the Sea of Cortez in the spring of 2021. To view all course offerings visit www.nols.edu.
By providing these new courses, NOLS aims to help wilderness adventure education become a more equitable and inclusive community.
Established in 1965, NOLS is the leader in wilderness education. What began in a small cabin in Wyoming’s Wind River mountain range has evolved into a global, multifaceted nonprofit school offering a proven leadership curriculum through expedition courses, wilderness medicine certifications, risk management training, and custom education solutions for organizations. Today, NOLS operates 16 campuses worldwide and provides classroom instruction in over 40 countries. The NOLS community includes over 800 active instructors who teach a variety of outdoor skills from mountaineering and sailing to wilderness medicine that empower students to step forward in their lives. To learn more about NOLS or to apply for a course, visit www.nols.edu or call 800.710.6657 to speak to an advisor.