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The Leader

Alumni Chapter Update:
The PNW Alumni and Friends Chapter

By Dan Dundon, PNW Chapter Member
Reprinted from The Leader, Fall 2002, Vol. 18, No. 1

  Hakai Fundraising Kayak Trip
  The one that got away: Washington Govenor Gary Locke (center) with Dave and Deborah Jones on the NOLS 2002 Hakai Fundraising Kayak Trip.
The NOLS PNW Alumni and Friends Chapter has been active now for three years and has taken a unique approach to its organization and programs. Initially, the group formed in association with an effort to endow a scholarship for a local person to attend a NOLS course, but the group has grown well beyond that to include three main focuses: membership, events and fundraising. Our overall goal is to develop and strengthen the local NOLS community.

A PNW Chapter Board leads the overall organization and is made up of Dave Jones, the chapter board chairman, George Newbury, NOLS PNW director and the active members of each of the three committees. The board also has a Chapter Advisory Board, a strong group of Seattle business leaders including Scott Oki, Dan Nordstrom, Bruce Hosford, Bruce Jacobson and Doug Walker. This group has generously lent their names and financial support to the PNW Chapter’s ongoing efforts.

Membership & Communications
I lead the membership and communications committee, which works to identify and communicate with local grads and friends of NOLS. We’re contacting alumni in the area and identifying friends of NOLS in the local community. We mail postcards from Lander announcing our activities, call area grads, and spread the word about NOLS to people and organizations that would be interested in NOLS’s mission. We have also created a local e-mail list-serve to enable fast and efficient communication with Chapter membership and leadership. We maintain two list serves to facilitate that communication, one to assist communication within the PNW Advisory Group and its committees, and one for the whole Chapter that’s primarily used to communicate about events happening here in the PNW. This winter the membership group did a call down of as many grads and friends of NOLS in the Northwest as we could reach. This allowed us to contact a number of people in the area that had not previously known about our local group.

Headed up by Tim Vanderhoof, this committee plans outdoor-related events in order to build our community. These are trips that members have expressed an interest in, or that committee members are interested in planning and coordinating. The NOLS Alumni office has assisted us with promoting some of our events, and the local Chapter and NOLS PNW have supported NOLS’s efforts here in the PNW by locating alumni and friends and communicating with the membership.

We’ve held a number of events over the last two years, including a well-attended 2002 Kickoff at REI’s world headquarters, slide shows with NOLS notable Steve Goryl on his Sagarmatha Environmental expedition, and events with Chris Boskoff, the current owner of Scott Fisher’s Mountain Madness adventure travel operation. Other events include a hike up Tiger Mountain, a dinner and sea kayak event at the Agua Verde restaurant on Lake Union (this has been a sellout event for the last two years), and a snowshoe and ski day at Snoqualmie Pass. We’ve also hosted pub nights at several local watering holes.

This September, we also had our Annual Reunion Potluck, hosted by NOLS PNW. The festivities included volleyball games, fun on the climbing wall, a silent auction of NOLS items (including a full three-day ration and several pair of the ubiquitous NOLS wind pants), as well as lots of talking and eating. A group of about fifty folks enjoyed the event at the branch.

This committee currently under the leadership of Paul Calver and Dave Jones, has had two successful fundraising events, the 2001 Mt. Baker Climb and the 2002 Hakai Kayak Trip (see sidebar for details of the trip). The committee’s goal is to compliment NOLS’ national efforts and to specifically benefit the PNW scholarship endowment.

We are also working to pull together our PNW event schedule for 2003. If you’re interested in participating, please sign up for our announcements by sending an e-mail to, and you’ll be automatically added to our announcement list. If you’d be interested in playing a more active role in the PNW Chapter, we’d love to hear from you. Please e-mail us at

Dan Dundon, a NOLS Instructor since 1988, has most recently worked in the NOLS Information Systems Department. He lives in Bellevue, Washington.



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