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Backcountry Lessons for Today’s World: Tolerance for Adversity and Uncertainty

By Sophie Komornicki on Mar 26, 2020
Photo by Oscar Manguy

The term “uncertainty” has become a buzzword as we navigate a new normal—practicing social distancing, adjusting to working remotely, supporting our kids as they begin online classes, and searching stores for toilet paper or disinfecting wipes. However, enduring unexpected challenges is not a new concept, especially for those of us who regularly adventure outdoors. Almost every trip into the backcountry has some kind of uncertainty and adversity, and the skills you learned there can apply to today’s frontcounty.

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Topics: leadership, tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, Tolerance for Adversity, backcountry, leader-skills

How Outdoor Adventures Set Teens up for Life Success

By Brooke Ortel on Mar 2, 2020
Photo by Kirk Rasmussen

In today’s world, students find the idea of failure appalling, intolerable. It’s like standing on the edge of a looming precipice or swift-flowing river with no guarantee of a safe crossing. But in reality, the prospect of failure isn’t (usually) a looming gorge—it’s a botched exam, lower-than-desired SAT score, getting cut from the team, losing the race for class president.

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Topics: leadership, teens, Adventure Courses, research, education, NOLS Teton Valley, NOLS Expeditions, leader-skills

New Year, New Outdoor You

By NOLS on Jan 6, 2020
Photo by Rich Brame

It's a new year and 12 months stand before you with unlimited possibilities for adventure and learning. Alaskan summers have endless days to enjoy, the northern Rocky Mountains are yours to climb, and the refreshing ocean waters of Baja await your sea kayak. And have you been considering earning your Wilderness EMT? This can be the year to make it all happen.

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Topics: goal, skills, education, trip planning, #optoutside, leader-skills

The Top 3 Leadership Lessons You Won’t Learn in an Office or Classroom

By Liz Townsend on Jul 10, 2018
My rope team heading back to base camp. Photo by Liz Townsend.

You might think that seven years of working in the business world would have taught me about leadership. Yet the best lessons I’ve learned have come while climbing rocks and mountains and hiking miles into the wilderness, where traveling with companions over steep snowy passes and through thick forested valleys has forced me to face leadership challenges in ways that I rarely encounter inside.

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Topics: leadership, tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, skills, backpacking, MBAs, NOLS Custom Education, leader-skills

Lessons from the Alpine Pass: Columbia Business School Student Goes to Chile

By Sho Fujiwara on May 10, 2018
Classmate Oly looks at his feet and looks back on the alpine pass. Photo by Sho Fujiwara.

On the sixth day of our eight-day expedition in the Aysén Region of Chilean Patagonia, we traversed what we called the “alpine pass,” a rocky, snow-speckled valley a mile above sea level. The rain on the pass was cold, almost icy, and the wind blew it horizontally into our faces as we hiked. It was not unlike some winter storms I experienced growing up in Chicago, where the wind blows so cold and strong that a direct gust leaves you gasping for breath. My usual reaction to that kind of weather is to bundle up and steel myself to endure it until it mercifully goes away (or avoid it all together by moving away from Chicago).

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Topics: leadership, tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, NOLS Patagonia, Columbia Business School, backpacking, NOLS Custom Education, stories, student-stories, leader-skills