(Senate - April 30, 2015)

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[Page S2562]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, this year we commemorate the 50th 
anniversary of NOLS, the National Outdoor Leadership School. What 
started in Wyoming has now grown to 14 locations worldwide on six 
continents. NOLS locations stretch from the fjords of Norway and the 
Indian Himalayas to the Yukon and east Africa.
  In the last 50 years there have been over 250,000 graduates ranging 
in ages from 14 to over 70 years old. They come from all walks of life, 
from all 50 States, and numerous countries around the world. They come 
to learn mountaineering, kayaking, horse packing, sailing, backcountry 
skiing, caving, and wilderness medicine skills, just to name a few.
  As a doctor, I appreciate the importance NOLS places on outdoor 
medicine. The Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus was designed and located 
to create an optimal learning environment for students of wilderness 
medicine. At the campus, classroom experience extends to the outdoors 
with real-life simulations in wild and realistic terrain.
  I find it very appropriate NOLS has its beginning in Wyoming. Like 
Wyoming, NOLS supports a diverse economic portfolio that benefits from 
energy, agriculture, hunting and fishing, tourism, and outdoor 
recreation and education. Wyoming and NOLS both work towards a balanced 
approach to natural resource management that provides opportunities for 
a diversified energy portfolio while caring for Wyoming's world-class 
wildlife and wild places.
  One need not look any further than Lander, WY, for an example of 
balanced natural resource management. Lander is home to NOLS and 
gateway to the Wind River Range. At times, Lander has been a steel town 
and a supply hub during the gold boom. Today, Lander continues to be 
rich with energy and agricultural production.
  Wyoming and NOLS have shared strong leaders who work to find 
pragmatic and inclusive solutions to land management challenges. John 
Gans is one of those leaders. John has successfully carried on the 
tradition established by Paul Petzoldt, the founder of NOLS. After 20 
years at the helm, he is the longest serving executive director of 
NOLS. Under John Gans' leadership, NOLS has been recognized nine times 
as one of the best places to work for. In 2012, he was recognized as a 
White House Champion of Change for his commitment to youth, wilderness 
and leadership.
  While NOLS' international programs have grown immensely during his 
time, John values the connections that exist between the town of 
Lander, NOLS staff, and graduates. Phil Nicholas, Marc Randolph, and 
Tori McClure are just a few examples of many graduates who have gone on 
to become successful businesspeople, educators, and leaders in the 
community and the Nation. Phil Nicholas is the current Wyoming Senate 
president and a former NOLS instructor. Tori McClure was the first 
woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean and the first woman to ski 
to the South Pole. Marc Randolph is a Cofounder of Netflix.
  One of the things that make NOLS alumni so successful is they have 
learned how to make decisions and face adversity. NOLS students suffer 
through extreme heat and cold and all types of weather conditions. NOLS 
students make decisions with consequences, and they apply these lessons 
to their lives. They come home with a new perspective on the world 
around them and their role within it.
  In this day and age of selfies and instant gratification, we need 
more people--and especially the youth--to realize they may not be the 
center of the universe. A perspective of hard work, sacrifice, and an 
appreciation and respect for nature needs to be taught and needs to be 
learned. In previous generations, this perspective was provided on 
family farms and ranches across the country. Gratefully, thanks to all 
the hard work and dedication of the NOLS staff, NOLS courses continue 
to provide this perspective to future leaders. I am confident in the 
future leadership of our communities and Nation because I know 
tomorrow's leaders are receiving NOLS instruction and experience today.
  Mr. President, I ask my colleagues to join me in congratulating the 
National Outdoor Leadership School on their 50th anniversary. We are 
looking forward to another 50 years of success.