NOLS ED named White House Champion of Change

John Gans, National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) executive director, was named a White House Champion of Change last week. He is being honored for his commitment to youth, wilderness, and leadership.
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Lander, WY—John Gans, National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) executive director, was named a White House Champion of Change last week. He is being honored for his commitment to youth, wilderness, and leadership.

One of 11 selected from more than 1,500 nominees, Gans is being recognized on the White House blog and has been invited to the White House.

“All across the country, ordinary Americans are doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world,” the project website states, adding a set of these champions will be honored each week.

Gans has championed significant change in his time at NOLS, which started with a Semester in Kenya and blossomed into a career of over 30 years with the nonprofit, international, educational institution. His tenure is replete with positive changes to the school and, in turn, NOLS' students. He has now been executive director for 16 years.

“It has been an exciting 16 years, bringing the NOLS education to a diverse student population around the world, helping students discover their leadership capabilities, their physical capabilities, their public lands, their potential,” Gans wrote in a blog accepting the honor.

In that time, he has championed a leadership curriculum, incorporated the Wilderness Medicine Institute into NOLS, and created NOLS Professional Training. He has also overseen the growth of NOLS' financial aid program by more than 300 percent.

Gans doesn't limit his positive impact to that of his career. He is also involved with numerous community and national initiatives, including Little League Baseball, serving on the founding board of the Rotary Community Foundation, or holding a seat on the local hospital board. NOLS is fortunate to have him, as are America's future leaders.

Founded in 1965 by legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt, NOLS is the leader in wilderness education, providing awe-inspiring, transformative experiences to more than 15,000 students each year. These students, ages 14 to 70, learn in the wildest and most remote classrooms worldwide—from the Amazon rain forest, to rugged peaks in the Himalaya, to Alaskan glaciers and Arctic tundra. Graduates are active leaders with lifelong environmental ethics and outdoor skills. NOLS also offers customized courses through NOLS Professional Training, and the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS is the leading teacher of wilderness medicine worldwide. For more information, call (800) 710-NOLS (6657) or visit www.nols.edu.

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