Climbing saved Stacy Bare’s life. He was finding life after two tours with the U.S. Army to be a rough, drawn-out transition when a friend offered to take him out for a day on the wall. The experience was exactly what he needed, putting his life and the world around him into perspective and, ultimately, giving him a mission.
The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) believes deeply in the power of positive, ethical leaders and is pleased and honored to be collaborating with Bare and the Sierra Club on the Sierra Club Military Families Outdoor Program. The project is inspired by the The project is inspired by the impact that engaging with the backcountry can have and, in turn, the impact that trained outdoors-people can have on their communities.
Through this program, NOLS Professional Training will teach veterans to be leaders in the wilderness and in their communities. In a weeklong technical training expedition, veterans will progress through the NOLS outdoor leadership curriculum and develop various outdoor skills to share with others. NOLS Professional Training will also maintain contact with and provide ongoing trainings for these veterans as they become outdoor leaders in their communities.
NOLS and the military branches both value leadership and service, which shine through in the long-term and widespread benefits this program will afford.
“There are many opportunities for leadership and employment, as well as recreation outside. Who better to fill those roles than the men and women who defended the land?” Bare wrote in a blog entry.
NOLS is proud to foster its relationship with military forces. Helping make the outdoors, and its restorative powers, accessible to communities across the nation by playing a role in the Sierra Club’s veteran program can only strengthen this relationship.
“We work to prepare people to be better leaders, and they usually haven’t gone to war yet,” said Marcio Paes Barreto, NOLS Professional Training Program Coordinator, noting in particular the eight-year U.S. Naval Academy–NOLS Pro relationship. “Now we have the chance to work with more people upon their return.”
NOLS Professional Training will not provide therapy, but the emotional and psychological benefits of spending time in the outdoors are intrinsic, as Bare found them to be.
“The military has great programs for veterans [rehabilitation],” said Paes Barreto. “Our business is outdoors, leadership, and technical skills.”
The Sierra Club and NOLS share the belief that positive, ethical leaders change the world and that a healthy community and the wellbeing of the outdoors are connected. Both organizations are dedicated to the environment and protection of wild spaces. By encouraging veterans to rediscover the many benefits of wilderness, enabling them to lead others to those same places, and engaging entire communities, all involved are certain this program will improve lives and protect the future of America’s wild places.
Find more information at http://www.nols.edu/nolspro/custom_courses/Sierra_Club.shtml
Founded in 1965 by legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt, NOLS is the leader in wilderness education, providing awe-inspiring, transformative experiences to more than 15,000 students each year. These students, ages 14 to 70, learn in the wildest and most remote classrooms worldwide—from the Amazon rain forest, to rugged peaks in the Himalaya, to Alaskan glaciers and Arctic tundra. Graduates are active leaders with lifelong environmental ethics and outdoor skills. NOLS also offers customized courses through NOLS Professional Training, and the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS is the leading teacher of wilderness medicine worldwide. For more information, call (800) 710-NOLS (6657) or visit www.nols.edu.