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Building and Rebuilding: What I Learned on an Alumni Service Trip

By Haley Cushing on 1/10/17 4:09 PM

On the first day of the 2016 Service Trip in the Adirondacks, I remember thinking that our motley crew of highly motivated yet enormously unskilled laborers had quite an impossible mission before us. It was our goal to revamp a bridge and, looking at the bridge spanning across Moose Creek, it looked like a daunting task.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes

Looking Back, Looking Ahead: The NOLS Logo

By Molly Herber on 12/13/16 9:04 AM

On the very first NOLS course, students walked into the mountains wearing the same outfit. A single patch decorated every shirt: the stars and shield logo that represented the National Outdoor Leadership School.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes

Climbing Higher: The New NOLS Look

By John Gans on 12/12/16 12:15 PM

NOLS looks a little different today.

For the past year, we've been developing a new look and logo for NOLS, and today I'm delighted to share the behind-the-scenes action that created this look and what's ahead.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes

22 Ways You Know You’re a NOLSie

By Rachel Dranoff on 11/8/16 6:54 AM

Reflections on returning to society after a NOLS course…

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Topics: Behind the Scenes

Pursuing a Passion: Choosing an Outdoor Gap Year

By Eugene Buchanan on 10/26/16 12:33 PM
Gap year parent Eugene Buchanan writes about his daughter's surprising decision to take a gap year.

The NOLS Decision

“You what?” I asked my 17-year-old daughter, Brooke.

“I’m going to graduate early, a semester, my senior year. I want that to be my gap semester. I want to do a NOLS course.”

Accepting the independence of a teenage daughter is hard enough; seeing it come at the sake of a promising soccer career—one making you a doting soccer parent for over a decade—was perhaps even harder.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, Gap Year

Blood, Sweat, and Cheese: An Epic Adventure

By Liz Blair on 10/18/16 12:30 PM

23 days, 12 students, 4 instructors, and 1 epic adventure. This fall, I participated in an Outdoor Educator course with NOLS in Lander, Wyoming.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, Outdoor Educator

Big Agnes Co-Owner Len Zanni: Finding His Way in the Outdoor Industry

By Molly Herber on 9/13/16 11:59 AM

At last summer's Outdoor Retailer event, we were able to connect with Len Zanni, co-owner of Big Agnes, Inc. and a NOLS grad! Len talked with us about what he’s learned from NOLS and from his years of working in the outdoor industry.

Len Zanni first found the outdoors when he headed to Colorado for college. Finding himself in one of the West's best places for the outdoors just after finishing a Wind River Wilderness course in Wyoming, he drank in everything he could.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, education, leadership

How to Create an Eye-Catching Resume by Talking about Your NOLS Course

By Kim Freitas on 9/1/16 9:33 AM

A resume is a tool to introduce yourself to a potential employer. It’s challenging to clearly and concisely articulate your work history on one page. Not to mention when you have to explain something like a NOLS course!

Whether you took a two-day Wilderness First Aid course or a three-month gap semester, you can use this experience to stand out on your next application.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, adventure, education, leadership

5 Things You Learn from Climbing (That Also Matter in Real Life)

By Molly Herber on 8/19/16 8:47 AM

Like with most sports, it's not just about getting to the top. Read on to see some of the best lessons you learn from rock climbing.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, climbing, adventure, education, leadership

3 Tips to Improve Your Outdoor Photography Game

By Will Harrison on 8/12/16 8:00 AM

Taking photos in the wilderness is a great way to capture memories you will hold for a lifetime. There’s nothing better than coming home with a camera full of your favorite moments—laughing around the campsite with friends, the delicious pizza you managed to perfect (albeit the third attempt), and the breathtaking vistas of the alpenglow on Bastion Peak in the Wind River Range.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, Backpacking, adventure, mountaineering, backcountry, photography

Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph on Leadership and How to Learn It

By Marc Randolph on 7/28/16 8:06 AM

We caught up with Netflix co-founder, executive mentor, and Chair of the NOLS Board of Trustees Marc Randolph to hear his thoughts on how learning resilience in the wilderness helped him build the grit to be a business leader.

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Topics: Alumni, NOLS, Behind the Scenes, education, leadership

Reasons to Take a Longer Trip

By Shelby Cranshaw on 7/12/16 1:47 PM

Spending an extended period of time in the backcountry can seem challenging even to the most experienced of wilderness travelers, but you can learn a lot of humorous and valuable lessons when you're removed from civilization for a long time.

Here are few reasons why you should go into the wild for more time than you think.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, cooking, adventure, Gap Year, education

Tips for Visiting 12 Iconic National Parks

By Molly Herber on 7/8/16 10:18 AM

We know you love to get down and dirty in the wilderness for weeks at a time—it's what you do.

Luckily, for the times in between when you have just one day to explore, our national parks have plenty of activities—and will spark your appetite for bigger trips in the future.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, climbing, Backpacking, adventure, education

When Urban Environments Go Wild: Wilderness Medicine in the Aftermath of Disaster

By Sarah Buer on 7/5/16 9:41 AM

“Wilderness has no handrails, no telephones, and no simple solutions for complex emergency situations. It does have dangers. Some are obvious: rock fall, moving water, stormy weather, avalanches, crevasses, and wild animals. Others are subtle: impure water, dehydration, cold and damp weather, altitude illness, and human judgment.” -Tod Schimelpfenig, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

The importance of wilderness medicine knowledge and protocols in disaster zones is tenfold. When resources are depleted, emergency access is delayed, and safely functioning environments become austere, an urban setting ultimately transforms into a modern-day wilderness.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, wilderness medicine, risk management, education, wilderness, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Putting Leadership into Practice: AmeriCorps and NOLS

By Travis Davis on 6/22/16 11:46 AM

Travis reflects on his experiences serving with AmeriCorps and his NOLS courses, thinking about how their intersection has helped him grow and develop as a leader.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, whitewater, AmeriCorps, education, leadership