Reprinted from The Leader, Summer 2000, Vol. 16, No. 3
While Pip Coe was manager of the NOLS base in Vernal, Utah, she took the level of programming to new heights. Now, as Coe begins her new position as alumni relations manager, she is working with NOLS in a different way but she has equally high expectations.
Coe came to NOLS in 1991 when she took the professional instructor's course. Since then, she has acquired a great deal of experience both in the field and the office. In addition to working at the base in Utah, she spent a little more than a year as operations manager at the NOLS branch in Kenya. Today Coe is back at the headquarters in Lander, Wyo., dividing her time between the office and field work. As an instructor, she primarily works paddling courses, which include whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing. Her area of expertise is in canoeing, as 25 of the 31 weeks she spent in the field last year were on canoeing courses.
She isn't leaving her field work behind, by any means, but Coe's focus is changing as she settles in to her new position. As Coe sees it, the alumni department has a lot of room to grow as the entire operation of NOLS continues to expand. "The number of alumni grows tremendously each year and I'd like to see the programs that support them continue to expand accordingly," she says. For Coe and her support staff that means enhancing the alumni programs that are already up and running and continuing to look at ways in which to add more. Offering seminars, reunions and maintaining the alumni portion of the web site are just a few elements of the NOLS alumni department.
One of the most important ways in which graduates can stay connected with NOLS is through alumni trips. "It's a great way to introduce family and friends to the NOLS experience," says Coe. "It's also a chance for alumni to reconnect with each other and to continue the educational process that NOLS instilled on their first course." A number of alumni courses are already being offered and Coe would like to add to that list in order reach out to more people. The snowboarding course, for example, was new in the winter of 1999 and has been received well. In addition, Coe would like to add international course options to alumni experiences of the future. Possibly a kayaking course in Baja, perhaps even a trekking trip in India. Although these are far down the road and still in the works they are clear examples of Coe's vision for NOLS and alumni.