Alaska Geographic is a proud “Gateway Partner” of NOLS, the National Outdoor Leadership School. This means that Alaska Geographic has the opportunity to nominate teens from our youth programs for full scholarships to participate in NOLS Courses, which take people on incredible expeditions to remote parts of Alaska and beyond where they learn leadership skills and outdoor skills like packrafting, mountaineering, and backpacking. This summer, three alumni from Alaska Geographic’s partnership program with the Chugach National Forest, the Chugach Children’s Forest participated in NOLS Courses. Reth (pictured on left) spent 30 days packrafting from the Denali Highway down to Talkeetna, Jamesy (middle) spent 30 days backpacking through the Northern Talkeetna Mountains, and Alejandro (right) spent 15 days whitewater rafting in Utah. The three had amazing experiences – all became more confident about their backcountry skills and ability to plan and execute their own trips, all learned more about navigating in remote and often trail-less terrain, and all improved their leadership skills. When asked, “Because of your experience on this trip, what do you want to do more of?” Reth responded, “I just want to get outdoors more, and help other youth get outdoors who don’t have the opportunity to go outdoors as much. I want to share this experience with them, especially disadvantaged youth. I want them to experience this and I want to teach them these leadership skills so they can use them in the backcountry—and in everyday life.”
Reth, Jamesy, and Alejandro at the NOLS 50th Anniversary Party. Pictured here with John Gans, NOLS Executive Director, and Terri Marceron, Forest Supervisor for the Chugach National Forest, and others!
Reth about to embark on his Alaska Packrafting Expedition
Jamesy on his Alaska Backpacking and Hiking Expedition
A beautiful shot from Alejandro’s Utah Whitewater Rafting Course