Local Outreach Program
This 14-day backpacking course is primarily for Indians in the 15-16 age group.
NOLS is the premier training program for leadership and wilderness education in the world, with eleven global locations including India.
A NOLS course is about having fun, learning about the outdoors, traveling from camp to camp, exploring, and achieving. Participants will not only learn outdoor living skills, but also how to get along with their group, and how to be a leader and an even better follower. NOLS has been teaching this type of leadership, in an expedition format, for 40 years. We believe that a NOLS course will not only prepare participants for the rigors of daily life, but also for a lifetime of enjoying the outdoors.
In true NOLS tradition, this course will trek approximately 80 km over a period of 12 days in the Kumaon Himalaya. This is a self-contained expedition where instructors and participants carry their tents, rations, and fuel and cook their own meals. There is one resupply of rations and fuel. Students are divided into tent groups and each tent group cooks their own food. Porter support is minimal and only at the resupply site.
Initially, classes will include basic camping (staying warm and dry), cooking, map reading, and hiking/travel techniques. As participants get comfortable with this, the topics that will be addressed include natural and human history of the area, Leave no Trace (minimum impact camping and traveling) techniques, judgment and decision-making, leadership, and group dynamics. There will be a few classes on wilderness first-aid and group discussions on environmental issues that are pertinent to the area you travel in.
Participants should be prepared for hard travel days, as your backpack will weigh at least 15-18 kilos. Being physically fit will dramatically enhance this experience. On hiking days, the route may involve between 5-8 hours of hiking. Non-hiking days are busy with classes, learning the finer aspects of cooking, baking, and catching up on rest.
Day 1 of the course is at Ranikhet at the NOLS base, where you will get equipment, pack food, and make other preparations. On day 2, you will leave by Jeep for the roadhead. On day 13, the course will return to Ranikhet in time for dinner. Day 14 involves cleaning up gear, evaluations, and graduation. We will take everyone down to Kathgodam railway station in time for the trains to Delhi.
On successful completion of the course, participants will receive a written evaluation and a NOLS diploma. It is possible to get college credit through the University of Utah for this course. More than 400 universities in the U.S. accept credit for a NOLS course. More details on college credit will be provided to those interested.