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New Courses for Winter & Spring 2019

By NOLS on 11/5/18 3:30 PM

Photo by Nikole Wohlmacher.

For winter and spring 2019, we’re excited to offer two new women-only courses, backpacking in the Southwest and backcountry skiing and snowboard touring in the Tetons, and a new service expedition.

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Topics: expedition, leadership, all-women, new courses, Behind the Scenes

Your Favorite Stories from 2017

By Molly Herber on 12/20/17 2:31 PM

The stories we tell reveal a piece of ourselves. This year, the stories you loved told of people changed by the mountains and steps to achieve goals; that busted myths and shared ways to care for each other in the wilderness, both in mind and body.

Looking at the stories you loved reading, you can see where this community’s values are: in people and the environment. We hope you enjoy taking a look back at the seven most-read stories from 2017.

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Topics: Live the Dream, first aid, leadership, tolerance for adversity and uncertainty

Learning a Helping Mindset While Camping

By Molly Herber on 10/12/17 10:27 AM

The start of a course, or any trip with new people, is usually a little bit messy. Setting up the tent just took 45 minutes and, when you finally finish, you realize that no one has started cooking dinner yet. On top of that, you don’t even have water to cook with yet.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, expedition behavior, leadership

Peter Metcalf: Living Big

By Casey Adams on 6/10/15 2:00 AM
Peter poses in front of Gannett Peak during his NOLS course. Photo courtesy of Peter Metcalf.
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Topics: Alumni, leadership, NOLS Rocky Mountain, Live the Dream, mountaineering

Peter Metcalf: The Dawn

By Casey Adams on 6/9/15 2:00 AM

“It was the cool gray dawn, and there was a delicious sense of repose and peace in the deep pervading calm and silence of the woods. Not a leaf stirred; not a sound obtruded upon great Nature's meditation ... Gradually the cool dim gray of the morning whitened, and as gradually sounds multiplied and life manifested itself. The marvel of Nature shaking off sleep and going to work unfolded itself to the musing boy ... All Nature was wide awake and stirring, now; long lances of sunlight pierced down through the dense foliage far and near, and a few butterflies came fluttering upon the scene.”

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Topics: Alumni, leadership, NOLS Rocky Mountain, Live the Dream, mountaineering, backcountry

Four Key Leadership Roles

By Casey Adams on 6/4/15 2:00 AM
Photo by Brent Day

Effective leaders need a variety of skills in order to confront the challenges that come up in day-to-day life, whether that's in the office, at school, or in the wilderness.

At NOLS, we focus on developing each individual's leadership skills with Four Key Leadership Roles. Which leadership style is most comfortable for you? Which could you practice more?

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Topics: leadership, Educators Notebook, education

Educator Expedition: Skills to Paddle the Great Blue Sea

By Molly Herber on 6/1/15 2:00 AM

By Faroe Des Roches, NOLS Instructor

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Topics: leadership, NOLS sea kayaking, Educators Notebook, instructor

From A Gap Year to Yahoo! Sustainability

By Karly Copeland on 5/27/15 2:00 AM

Chris Page is passionate about a lot of things, but when we started talking about her time as a student at NOLS Mexico, the delight in her voice was apparent.

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Topics: Alumni, leadership, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, Environmental Stewardship, NOLS Mexico, Baja, instructor

Prevention and Self-Awareness: Medicine and Leadership Intertwine

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 5/26/15 2:00 AM

I once heard lightning expert Mary Ann Cooper, M.D. say that the primary risk factor in lightning danger is not the lightning itself; it's the inconvenience of risk mitigation, the unwillingness to change plans in the face of inopportune weather. I've heard altitude illness expert David Shlim, M.D. say that to prevent altitude illness, ambition and schedules must be tamed.

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Topics: leadership, wilderness medicine, WMI, backcountry

Educator Expedition: Reading the Rapids on the Colorado River [Video]

By Molly Herber on 5/25/15 2:56 AM
Ledges camp. Photo by Michael Dooley.
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Topics: leadership, adventure, kayaking, Educators Notebook, instructor, expedition, education

Weathering Storms and Riding Waves: Interview with Jim Acee (Part 1)

By Molly Herber on 5/21/15 2:00 AM

Jim Acee, a Pittsburgh native, took the first NOLS semester course, a Semester in the Rockies in 1974. After that, he filled various positions: a NOLS instructor in the Rockies, Baja, and Utah, scrap metal salesman, corporate marketer, professor, director of Boise State’s Center for Executive Management Development, caregiver, dancer, whitewater rafter, and more. We caught up with him to hear the stories of his adventures (and he has many) with NOLS and beyond.

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Topics: Alumni, leadership, NOLS Mexico, NOLS Rocky Mountain, Wyoming, instructor, Live the Dream

Nepali Medics Perform in the Face of Disaster

By Molly Herber on 5/18/15 2:00 AM
Himalayan Medics practice spine stabilization in a scenario during their WFR course. Photo by Evan Horn, WMI instructor.
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Topics: leadership, wilderness medicine, WMI, education, backcountry

Adapting to Mother Nature: Interview with an AmeriCorps & NOLS Alum

By Molly Herber on 5/17/15 3:00 AM

Maureen Murphy is an alumna of both NOLS and AmeriCorps, and she used her AmeriCorps award to fund her NOLS Pacific Northwest Trip Leader Seminar in the Pasayten Wilderness in 2012. She found some time between running her dog walking business and playing with her family to ask a few questions about how NOLS and AmeriCorps worked together and helped her become the successful woman she is today.

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Topics: Alumni, leadership, NOLS Pacific Northwest, Live the Dream

Wyoming Legislators Congratulate NOLS

By Casey Adams on 5/16/15 2:00 AM

U.S. Senator John Barrasso and U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, both of Wyoming, spoke on the Senate and House floors celebrating the National Outdoor Leadership School’s (NOLS) 50th anniversary this month.

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Topics: leadership, Behind the Scenes, National Outdoor Leadership School, Wyoming

Future Global Leaders Thrive at NOLS Rocky Mountain

By Molly Herber on 5/12/15 2:00 AM

“This was an opportunity to learn from a diverse group of future leaders whose backgrounds reshaped my perspective of what true leadership is!” – Oghenefego Ahia, Future Global Leader

Students pause for a break in Bonneville Basin in the Wind River Range of the Rockies. Photo by NOLS Instructor Darcy Mullen.

By Michele Cantos, Program Manager for the Future Leaders Foundation

During the summer of 2014, our inaugural class of 2014 Future Global Leader (FGL) Fellows embarked on the first phase of the FGL Fellowship: The FGL Leadership Expedition with NOLS. For three weeks, these students from 12 different nationalities backpacked over 80 miles of rugged terrain through an (unseasonably) rainy August in Wyoming’s Rocky Mountains. Although previously strangers to the wilderness and one another, they united and overcame immense challenges, such as crossing an 800 ft-steep temple pass, walking miles uphill, suffering allergic reactions to insect bites, and adjusting to having no modern-day accommodations or technology (no cell phones allowed!). In the end, they shed their old selves and became a strong and wise team ready for any challenge.

One of these fellows, Cherline Bazile, shared that, “the most valuable lessons I learned is that the road to resilience does not have to be a lonely one. While climbing an 11,000 ft high mountain, I discovered I had a fear of heights but I made it to the top because of the support I had!”

Why did we choose NOLS?

Our main goal was to find a program that would strengthen our Fellows’ bond with one another, and to provide them with lifelong leadership skills and confidence needed to reach the highest levels of success. NOLS was the perfect match for us!

Our FGL Fellows are an elite group of resilient first-generation college students selected for their academic excellence, global ambition, and desire to give back to others through their success. Our newly elected 2015 FGL Fellows represent 17 nationalities, speak 19 languages, and all hail from top universities in the US, France, Singapore, and China. Among them: Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Brown University, Columbia University, Wellesley College, University of California, Berkeley, Yale-National University of Singapore, and Peking University.

They are aspiring leaders and change-makers acting on the simple premise that our world is increasingly interconnected and in need of strong and compassionate leadership – leadership which is not achieved without a strong network of support. It is our vision that through our programming – including NOLS, fully-funded internships abroad, mentorship, and a global network – they will have the tools necessary to help them reach their ambitions.

Where are they now?

Since NOLS, our 2014 FGL Fellows have achieved some incredible milestones, like securing summer internships in 17 different countries! Jeremiah will shadow his mentor in Paris and then intern with a German start-up. Emma and Louise will be interning in businesses in Dubai, while Hamidah will be in Lima. Heather and Justin will be interning for a major bank in London, and Jackie and Nabig will be interning in nearby Brussels and Geneva. The list goes on, but as our Fellows prepare for their next challenge they all keep the lessons learned at NOLS in their minds.

As one of our fellows said to me after the course, “If I can climb a mountain, I can succeed at anything!”

Meet our 2015 FGL Fellows

View pictures from last year’s FGL Leadership Expedition with NOLS on Flickr.

Learn more about how you can design a custom course for your club, team, or office on the NOLS Professional Training webpage.

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Topics: leadership, Behind the Scenes, NOLS Rocky Mountain, Backpacking, adventure, backcountry, NOLS Professional Training