The Leadership Project: Communication


Aug 3, 2020

NOLS Instructor Jesse Quillian introduces us to communication, and why it gets deeper—and simpler—in the wilderness.

How does communication evolve throughout a course?

I think most courses start out with folks being incredibly friendly and polite, and communication tends to be really superficial. And pretty quickly, I think groups evolve into greater honesty, greater transparency. I think being on an expedition with people forces, I think, a level of intimacy that takes a long time in the frontcountry. And I think people are willing to be more honest more quickly. I think both because of really close shared spaces, but also because the expedition requires it.

The things that we do on most courses are really hard. And I think individuals often need a ton of support and are able to provide a ton of support to other people, and I think that accelerates communication going from being very superficial to actually having a whole lot of depth.

Subscribe to the NOLSie News to follow along our series exploring the 7 NOLS leadership skills.

Written By


NOLS is a nonprofit global wilderness school that seeks to help you step forward boldly as a leader.

Up Next

orange and grey tent lit up with solar light on a starry night

A Can of Calm: Applying Wilderness Medicine in Disaster Zones

orange and grey tent lit up with solar light on a starry night
A ShelterBox tent lit up with solar lights on the island of Barbuda after hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Caribbean. Photo by Ned Morris.

NOLS Wilderness First Responder grad Ned Morris is a volunteer ShelterBox Response Team member (SRT). SRT members deploy to areas of natural disaster or conflict-based migration, and help families who have lost everything due to natural disaster or violence. ShelterBox provides shelter solutions, including tents or house repair kits, as well as water purification systems, solar lighting, cooking sets, and much more. There are just over 100 active Response Team members in the world; less than 40 in the U.S. Read the following Q&A to learn more about Ned's humanitarian work with ShelterBox and how his WFR helped prepare him for this role.

Read More