NOLS is the best outdoor educator in the country. NOLS teaches leadership, teamwork, wilderness skills, and stewardship to the land and each otherin everything they do. I completed the month long Wind River Mountaineering course in 200 and climbed Denali with NOLS in 2006. Even today, I realize new ways in which these courses changed me forever. The NOLS structure teaches you lessons that you will remember for a lifetime. For example, leadership. You talk about leadership and then the next day you actually lead the group for a day of hiking and practice your leadership skills. You make mistakes and learn from them in a supportive community. ... NOLS is also a community of amazing people. While many have done unique things, my amazement with NOLS faculty, staff, and alumni are that they are passionate about what they do, care deeply about other people, and exhibit leadership in everything they do. I would recommend NOLS to anyone that not only whats to have a fantastic wilderness experience, but also build the leadership skills to face all of life's challenges.
I completed a Wind River Mountaineering course and a Wilderness EMT course through NOLS and WMI. NOLS generates active and concerned citizens who are not only
proficient in wild places, but who care for the environment, leave a
small footprint, and know how to effectively collaborate with others.
I believe NOLS graduates go out into the world and show others how
to live similarly. I see this very clearly among fellow graduates and lifelong friends from NOLS and WMI, who all embody good leadership, passion, and self-responsibility among
On day three of our mountaineering course, the first day we traveled off-trail, a
massive snowstorm hit. We quickly learned about “post-holing”,
route finding in zero visibility, and what to do if you can’t find
the “x”. I am so grateful that one of the worst weather days came
early in the course. There were so many challenges at one time, it
did me absolutely no good to complain or cry. I could only focus on
learning how to light my MSR stove and properly set up the tent. I
learned to cope by controlling what I could about the situation and
accepting what I couldn’t. It does not serve any purpose to point out
the hailstones pummeling you in the face, because everyone else has
clearly noticed them as well.
My instructors set great examples to keep a positive attitude, and
optimism remains my main strategy towards overcoming challenges
in the front-country. Cold conditions were fun because they meant we
constantly did the Tazmanian Toe Tap or held Push-Up Contests to
keep warm. After four weeks I came to view
adversity as a natural part of the process. I looked forward to arduous
moving days—now, I think short on-trail hikes are even a bit boring!
Today, when I face
stressful times, I recognize that dwelling on the problems prevents
me from solving them. Life will always throw us challenges, but NOLS
taught me how to enjoy the opportunity to grow and learn.
I took two courses from NOLS in the mid 70's - summer wilderness and winter mountaineering. To this day, I consider those experiences to be one of the defining moments of my life and one of the few things I've done that I'm truly proud of. The leadership lessons I learned I still use; the devotion to environmental issues is still strong with me, and I can still read a map. :) I encourage everyone I know to send their kids or grandkids to NOLS.
NOLS gives one the opportunity to challenge yourself in areas outside of your comfort zone. I really feel I’ve grown a lot from the back-country experiences I've had with NOLS and have been able to leverage them in my personal life.
NOLS is an amazing organization and the experince and lessons learned through one of their courses will last a lifetime. The lessons I learned from my NOLS experience 23 years ago are still with me today and impact my life in many ways. As a leader my NOLS experience taught me how to deal with adversity, uncertainty, and managing people with different attitudes and abilities. I also learned the importance of focusing on details to make sure jobs are completed accurately and safely. As an outdoor enthusiast NOLS taught me invaluable skills that I use on outdoor adventures to this very day.
The National Outdoor Leadership School is simply the best. Through hard work, learning, and real experience, NOLS Students improve themselves, and go on to improve their world. I went into this program a confused teenager: unfocused, disorganized, and unmotivated. I emerged a confident, competent, and capable leader in any setting i find myself in. Not only was my experience at NOLS outstanding, but experiences I have had following NOLS continue to amaze me. Taking into account that NOLS creates exemplary individuals, it should come to me at no surprise that i find myself frequently meeting other NOLS graduates and have come to understand that I am now part of a very beneficial NOLS Graduate Community. So reviewing NOLS... It seems pointless to me because only someone who has been through NOLS can know what it really means to have done so, and those people already know.
NOLS is not what meets the eye. It is so much more!!! it taught me to be patient and to be a independent and mature into the adult i am now. Those 7 leaderships skills that we have been taught, memorized have not left me. I live by those skills. NOLS as changed my life for the better and i think all my family and friend know it. I came back stronger, maturer, simply a better person than i left. I have told so many people all the experiences i have been through. I learned from NOLS that pain is temporary, and wilderness is mandatory. As much as i love being home I know my true calling is out west where NOLS has changed my life.
I wouldn't give NOLS anything less than 5 stars. They are great at encourage vast amounts of growth in their students in so many ways. NOLS has helped me gain the ability to be more intentional about my life and to be a great leader, which ultimately also means being an active follower at times. But beyond all of that, I was given an even greater appreciation for the wilderness and a perspective on my life that I don't think many other groups can give.
NOLS changed the direction of my life. It taught me how to be independent, how to speak up and how to ultimately be a leader in my life and at work. I went on my first student course when I was 22 and I went on my next course by getting a scholarship. I was the only female on a 30 day mountaineering course, it was during this time I learned how to face fear and still meet your goals. I learned how to speak up when I felt timid and shy, but I knew it was important to speak. I learn to trust my gut and make decisions that would create good outcomes. I then went on to teach for NOLS. I eventually went back to school to become a nurse, I now work in one of the best trauma hospitals on the west coast. I use all the skills that NOLS taught me to save the lives of my patients everyday. NOLS is a fantastic nonprofit which shapes the leaders of tomorrow.
Of my 8 semesters during my undergraduate college career, the semester I spent at NOLS was far and away the most valuable. NOLS builds leaders. The course work helps students deepen an understanding of themselves and their capabilities. It gives them a depth of character to rely upon for the rest of their lives. Strangely, this is not accomplished through direct focus on esoteric ideas of leadership. Rather, the school challenges students with a curriculum focused on wilderness safety training and camping and traveling in the outdoors with minimal impact on the environment. The combination of those two concepts and working through them with a new small group of strangers creates an amazing environment. It allows people to learn, change and grow, and broadly become better people, able to interact with more different people in more challenging situations than most had originally conceived.
When I enrolled in a NOLS semester, I knew that the experience would be life-changing, but I never expected to gain so much from the course. I gained maturity, leadership skills and confidence that will serve me well for the rest of my life. I can honestly say that not a day goes by where I don't use the skills gained from my NOLS course. I would recommend NOLS without hesitation to anyone who is looking for a truly challenging and life-changing experience.
NOLS has changed my life in more ways than I ever imagined. It has provided me with technical skills that I can use back at home, but more than that it has presented me with a new way to look at the way I live, and the way others live. My NOLS semester gives me a beautiful, hopeful picture of the future. I found the importance of simplicity and minimalism, and compassion and respect. It is my greatest wish that everyone could be fortunate enough to experience what I experienced with NOLS.