NOLS Summer Adirondack Backpack Adventure for Teens Builds Confidence, Leadership and Outdoor Skills

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NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) announces an Adirondack Backpack Adventure to help 14- and 15-year-olds gain invaluable leadership skills to aid in high school and beyond through wilderness experience in the hills and lakes of New York state’s Adirondack Forest Preserve. Offered in two-week trips June 20 – August 18, 2019, the adventure is one of a variety of summer NOLS expeditions designed specifically for teens and ranging from 14 to 21 days that explore U.S. wildlands including in Wyoming, Idaho and Alaska.

Students enjoy a panoramic view of the landscape from a rocky outcropping while backpacking on NOLS Adirondack Expedition (Photo by Kirk Rasmussen/NOLS).

NOLS has a long history of preparing students to step boldly into all new challenges, be it the wilderness or their everyday lives.

The school year is coming to an end, and for many teens that means a summer filled with preparation as they begin their high school career. With higher expectations, increasing team sport demands and new social situations, some teens may be cautious and lack the confidence to tackle the new setting. Fortunately, the forests, hills and lakes of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York are the perfect place to escape the stress of upcoming responsibilities and dive into learning leadership and outdoor skills that can aid in navigating through the challenges of high school and beyond.

Stepping out of their comfort zone and into the New England wilderness, students will explore the Adirondack Forest Preserve with their cohorts on an Adirondack Backpack Adventure offered by Wyoming-based NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School). This two-week expedition, offered on specific dates June 20 – August 18, 2019, is geared specifically towards 14- and 15-year-olds – giving current and incoming high school freshman a chance to collaborate with a group of their peers. The survival skills learned while backpacking – whether it’s deciding where to camp or resolving an argument between campers – teaches students good judgment and communication skills. These experiences will help them understand what their leadership style is and how they can support their group. And at the end of this course, they’ll walk away with real experiences that will help them be a leader for the rest of their lives.

“Before I went on this trip I was more of a follower. Instead of voicing my ideas or opinions I went along with the crowd,” says Isabella Willard, NOLS Adventure grad. “With NOLS I learned to be a delegated leader, an active follower, and consensus member. This new ability of being a leader has helped me in my school, social life and family life.”

Parents can rest assured their children are in good hands. Like the majority of NOLS instructors, Taylor Huntley, program manager of NOLS Northeast, has over 10 years of experience facilitating human-powered outdoor pursuits. The school sets up all Adventure course instructors for success through stringent training that prepares them not only to teach technical skills at the highest level, but also to develop leadership attributes by connecting with teens on a personal level.

“NOLS has a long history of preparing students to step boldly into all new challenges, be it the wilderness or their everyday lives,” says Huntley. “Our goal with teen-focused courses is to expose students to problem-solving and communications skills, growing their self-confidence as they begin to shape and understand their own leadership style.”

In addition to the 14-day Adirondack Adventure course, NOLS offers 10 Adventure Courses in the summer in Idaho, Wyoming and Washington State, including options for all-girls expeditions. Whether traveling in the Wyoming Range, the Palisades, the Beaverheads, the Beartooths, the Lemhis or the Absarokas, students will get the famous NOLS curriculum taught by the same experienced instructors who teach for NOLS worldwide.

NOLS recently introduced dedicated courses for the 16- and 17-year-old age range. Canoeing through ancient waterways and climbing the peaks of New England, students will learn about the area’s ecology as well as earn the opportunity to practice in peer leadership. In total, there are seven expeditions for high school juniors and seniors featuring backpacking, sea kayaking and rock climbing skills. Students have the opportunity to learn these technical skills in some of the U.S.’s most scenic locations including Alaska, Wyoming and Utah. Tuition ranges from $3,725 to $5,850 per person for the 14- to 21-day courses, with the Adirondack Backpack Adventure trip priced at $3,725.

About NOLS
NOLS is the world’s leading wilderness school. A nonprofit based in Lander, WY, the school provides students the opportunity to step forward – whether on an expedition, wilderness medicine or custom course. Students of all ages graduate from their courses prepared to lead their communities in a changing world. Graduates have a lifelong desire for leadership, commitment to continued skills development, and ongoing education. Since 1965, NOLS has embraced and explored the unknown through outdoor and classroom-based experiences. To learn more about NOLS, call 800.710.6657 or visit

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