Instructor since: 1992
Courses taught: Sea Kayaking, Whitewater Paddling, Canoeing
son of a Brazilian diplomat and a German immigrant, Atila Rego-Monteiro
felt an unusual calling to go west. His chance finally arrived when
he graduated from high school and headed out to attend the University
California at Berkley. Rego-Monteiro's destiny seemed sealed, especially
after a river expedition sent him paddling down the Grand Canyon's
churning whitewater. His future on the water, however, was just beginning.
graduating from college, traveling throughout Africa and Europe, and
teaching in the California public school system, he took the final
plunge and enrolled on a NOLS Pacific Northwest water instructor's course
Since then, Atila has racked up more than 150 weeks in the field, taking
students into some of the world's most remote ocean environments. Sea-kayaking,
whitewater paddling, and canoeing courses in Alaska, Mexico and the Pacific
Northwest are his favorites, but he has a special love for sea kayaking
Patagonia's isolated coastal fjords. "Here," he says, "students
can expect a wet and windy adventure-hail, intense winds and cloudy coastal
haze that all of a sudden fades into a warm, intense sunshine. You stop
counting the rainbows after awhile."
It's a journey, he claims, similar to what the natives did so long ago. "I
like being on an expedition going into unexplored places like the really
wild regions in coastal Patagonia. As we walk around in our heavy-duty
rain gear, it makes you appreciate how the natives lived and traveled
way before we came along."
Rego-Monteiro notices how the NOLS experience sends students on a life-changing
journey of their own, teaching them a kind of humbleness and respect
in the presence of the outdoors. He loves watching students change during
a course: "They get a bit grimier, a bit hairier, and they start
to get a little more real. The Inuit word koviashuvik, describes this
transformation best-it means to live in the present moment with quiet
joy and happiness."
The students, says Atila, are really why he works at NOLS because they
are filled with passion, enthusiasm and a strong desire to explore. He
aims to channel this same motivation into a quality leadership experience. "I
try to model values of commitment and leadership for the group, and I
do so with actions rather than words. Anyone can become an effective
leader given the opportunity and leadership tools."
In fact, he believes everyone at NOLS, from students and instructors
to the behind-the-scenes administrative staff, demonstrates a strong
sense of commitment and leadership. NOLS is one of the best communities
Atila's ever been involved with. "I love the NOLS community," he
says. "Everyone strives for excellence, no matter what they do."