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Learn Your Habits to Make Better Decisions

By Molly Herber on 9/20/17 8:56 AM

Humans’ ability to use patterns helps us make decisions faster, but can also lead us into what NOLS teaches in our leadership curriculum as decision-making traps.

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Topics: decision making, Live the Dream, leadership

Teaching Leadership Through Storytelling on Wilderness Expeditions

By Eric Boggs on 7/19/17 1:00 PM

Instructor, University of Oregon faculty member, and speaker at the 2017 NOLS Summit Eric Boggs talks with us about how to use storytelling as a powerful way to teach leadership.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, leadership, storytelling

Make Leadership the Focus of Your Gap Year

By Katherine Boehrer on 3/23/17 9:42 AM

Backpacking in Alaska. Photo by Tara Pesman.

I took my first NOLS course, Alaska Backpacking, the summer before my senior year of high school. Many things I learned in the backcountry made me better prepared for my final year of high school and starting college.

If you're thinking about taking a gap year, that's a perfect time to hone your leadership skills. The value of travel, work experience, or service during a gap year isn't just in activities—it's also in the intangible skills like teamwork and self-reliance.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, Gap Year, leadership

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

Growing Your Comfort Zone in the Wilderness

By Molly Herber on 9/2/16 9:47 AM

We read in plenty of places that getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing—it seems these days that everyone wants us to step outside of it and push its boundaries.

You can imagine the comfort zone place as a big pile of cozy pillows, with the temperature set at about 75 degrees Fahrenheit and with fuzzy socks on your feet. You’re safe. You know what to say and how to behave. You can complete tasks without even thinking. In all probability, you like your comfort zone.

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Topics: risk management, Educators Notebook, 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


Photo by Aaron Burden.

It can be challenging to clearly and concisely articulate your school and work history on just one page. Not to mention when you have to explain something like a NOLS course!

Luckily for you, a NOLS course gives you a competitive edge—it's unique, valued across industries, and gives you an opportunity to set yourself apart on an application.

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

Intro to Federal Public Lands in the U.S.

By Katherine Boehrer on 8/30/16 10:32 AM

America’s federal public lands are an amazing resource for all kinds of recreation—but how much do you know about the different kinds of public land?

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Topics: adventure, Environmental Stewardship, stewardship, education, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, leadership

My Playground, My Dad, My Leadership Voice

By Brette Brickel on 8/23/16 11:09 AM

I have always loved being outside, being in the mountains; however, my road since college had taken me from that lifestyle. In the past few years I made it a priority to bring it back to the forefront, which is why I was so excited to show my dad my New Hampshire playground.

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Topics: Alumni, adventure, Live the Dream, 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 Months in the Rockies to 30 Countries in a Year: How a NOLS Alum Went Worldwide

By Erica Levine Weber on 8/18/16 9:46 AM

My choice of going on a NOLS Semester in the Rockies was as absurd as traveling to 30 countries with a baby before their first birthday. Apparently, I have a flare for the ridiculous!

I had never been canyoneering, kayaking, rock climbing, ridden a horse, or even camped before. Now, add to that dumbfounded look you're starting to picture, a 17-year-old girl who was still mastering a command of her limbs (think a few clicks past klutzy), and not exactly an Olympic athlete. I'm pretty sure my parents cried when they dropped me off at the airport, not because they'd miss me, but because they weren't totally confident I'd survive.

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Topics: Alumni, travel, Family, adventure, Live the Dream, education, leadership

6 Reasons Wilderness First Aid Is for Everyone

By Sarah Buer on 7/29/16 1:35 PM

I refused to wear anything other than dresses until I was 7 …and even then it was only because my family moved to a small country town in northeast Wyoming and I wanted to fit in.

I’ve been a “girly girl” my entire life, and I had no interest in playing in the backcountry until about three years ago when I transferred to a university in the Black Hills of South Dakota and was lured out by their beauty and the exercise (plus, I got invited to go hiking with an attractive guy who has now been my partner in all adventures and in life for the past three years).

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Topics: Alumni, wilderness medicine, education, backcountry, leadership, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, snowboarding, Wilderness Medicine

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

Test Your Medical Skills: Scenario Near Yellowstone Park

By Sarah Buer on 7/26/16 9:03 AM

What would you do in this situation? Test your medical knowledge and decision-making skills with this scenario from Tod Schimelpfenig!

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Topics: wilderness medicine, case study, education, backcountry, leadership, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine

Educator Expedition: Assistant Overnight Guide Course - Learning the Ways of the Ocean

By Genevieve Bartlam on 7/22/16 9:55 AM

Where did you go for your trip and how long was it?

For this 9 day course we explored two different areas around Vancouver Island off of the west coast of British Columbia. We spent the first 3 days working on skills base camped on the south part of Gabriola Island, one of the Southern Gulf Islands then drove across Vancouver Island to the west coast and spent the next 5 days in Clayquot Sound just north of Tofino.

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Topics: Sea Kayaking, NOLS Pacific Northwest, Educators Notebook, education, leadership

Educator Expedition: Paddling at the South Pacific Sea Kayak Symposium

By Jonny Hepburn on 7/21/16 10:46 AM

Southern Chile offers world class sea kayaking. In northern Patagonia, where NOLS is based, the Pacific Coast of South America fragments into a network of islands and fjords that offer some of the most remote, challenging, and beautiful paddling in the world. I had the chance to spend almost five months travelling and working for NOLS in Chile this past winter, and was grateful to receive an IDF grant to attend the South Pacific Sea Kayak Symposium in December.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, Sea Kayaking, Educators Notebook, instructors, education, IDF, Instructor Development Fund, leadership