at NOLS: NOLS Instructor
NOLS Course: Wind River Mountaineering ’85,
Advanced Mountaineering Course ‘86
Besides the obvious enjoyments with NOLS – the environment, adventures,
wild lands and places – Missy White has always been fascinated
by how groups function. White calls it “The Human Element.” And
when she saw a chance to work in NOLS Professional Training and focus
on how teams function, the now-17-year veteran NOLS Instructor grabbed
As a program coordinator for NOLS Professional Training, White custom
designs courses for groups and then leads and watches them develop into
higher functioning teams. “It’s a way for people who otherwise
wouldn’t go on a NOLS course to get a NOLS education,” says
the experienced instructor who believes that every segment of the population
would benefit from leadership training.
Her own Wind River Mountaineering course provided an eye-opening experience. “I’d
never seen mountains like I did in the West,” the one-time New
Orleans resident remembers. “I loved it.” White went on to
co-chair Davidson Outdoors at Davidson College, and soon after became
a NOLS Instructor.
“It’s just been this great, adventurous learning curve,” White
says of her NOLS career. Over the years, in addition to instructing throughout
the Winds, Pacific Northwest, Alaska and South America, White has program
supervised, participated in a special project examining the effects of
different group sizes, and most recently has started teaching WMI courses.
She also keeps busy skate skiing, knitting (avidly), biking, hiking,
gardening, remodeling her house and making preserves.
And her favorite part of NOLS? The people. “This school is full
of interesting characters,” she says. “They’re funny,
compassionate, talented, incredibly bright, hardworking. You just can’t
pigeonhole who a NOLS staff person is.”
Within the NOLS Professional Training office, White loves the constant
sense of adventure. “It’s so fun when the phone rings and
it’s an outside call. I have no clue who could be calling.”