One tree doesn’t offer the strength of a forest, just as one organization can’t lead an entire industry.
According to others, we here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) have distinguished ourselves as outdoor and adventure education industry leaders. But without collaborations, our ability to be creators and innovators would be difficult — if not impossible to achieve.
Since 2009, we have sought out ways to collaborate, learn, and lead with others. As a result, partnerships have taken us around the globe and helped us grow, and we happily play it forward, or backward or sideways to help our partners and others do the same.
As the calendar runs out in 2021 and we look ahead toward 2022, we see our biggest year yet on the horizon. On the agenda are courses, trainings, expeditions, and custom outdoor education programs that vary in length from three days to three months — all of which focus on technical outdoor and personal development skills. These include mountaineering, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, backpacking, surfing, sea kayaking, remote backcountry travel and camping, and of course… team building.
So, how exactly do partnership and collaborations with like-minded organizations help us grow? As we began working with public, private, and independent schools over 10 years ago, the word spread about our programming, curriculum, depth of instruction, and track record of facilitating programs that shifted students’ lives, school cultures, and even started to redefine communities.
For example, our collaboration with (more…)
Much like most educational institutions this past year, we find ourselves looking down the road toward new beginnings. And for us here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), that means new wilderness courses, upgraded emergency medicine education courses, and more wilderness medicine education programs. Long before 2020 faded into the rearview, we took a fresh and hard look at what we do, why we do it, and how we can do better by you — our students and client organizations.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we’ve designed courses that offer our participants more flexibility, greater breadth of instruction, and fresh course areas that will draw you deeper into the wild and yourself.
If your desire is to help yourself to adventure, here are a few of our offerings:
Emergency Medicine Education and Wilderness Medicine Education
We have worked hard to make Emergency Medicine Education and Wilderness Medicine Education easier to access and more flexible to participate in. Our hybrid medical courses enable you to start things off in your own home. That’s because one of the largest obstacles facing our students in the past was leaving home, quitting a job, or getting time off from work, and spending their savings on accommodations and food for extended periods of time. For some people, this trifecta of changes meant they had to abandon their dream of becoming part of the medical workforce.
Here at NCOAE, we design course that exceed industry standards, which means you will be a leader in knowledge and practice. Depth of instruction is not compromised by the hybrid format. In fact, our hybrid courses will prove to be a huge win for you, as studying from home only enhances the hands-on education that occurs once you’re on-site with us for the practical portion of your training.(more…)
Here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), we’re known nationally and around the world for our consistency in producing highly impactful backcountry climbing, backpacking, kayaking and other outdoor adventures of an educational and team-focused nature. Our highly trained and experienced outdoor educators, field guides — along with our wilderness medicine and EMT instructors — present hands on training and guidance that vastly improve our students’ technical outdoor and wilderness medical skills.
That’s because all of our instructors and guides are experts at adapting to every scenario — whether that’s in a wilderness or urban setting, presenting each of our students and participants with endless opportunities to not only succeed, but to excel at whatever obstacle confronts them on the trail or in the medical training field guides.
To that end, our business currently finds itself in the same situation faced by every other educational organization on the planet: managing our affairs at a time when the virus named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is impacting every single aspect of the world economy. How we’re handling the problem is much like what we do on the trail. We’ve chosen to look at this uncertainty and chaos as an opportunity by seeking out the best solutions and maneuvering around and past what is undoubtedly nothing short of a global health catastrophe. In particular, we want you to know how we’re meeting the challenges with regard to our educational training and programming.
For example: (more…)
It’s official. We’ve symbolically planted a National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) flag in the ground and established a basecamp for our South American operations in Southern Chile/Northern Patagonia. What does that mean to you?
It means that — as of the final days of last year — we officially have a base of operations from which we can now run our future trainings and outdoor courses when in South America. Fittingly, the basecamp was established at the outset of one of our Patagonia-based 24-day Outdoor Educator courses, witnessed by a group of students we took down from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
Located alongside a river, the basecamp offers unique accommodations that include a treehouse dormitory, hosteria (which is an inn-like facility), eco-friendly domes, a riverside group kitchen area, and quiet forested areas for camping.
Among the highlights of the property is a treehouse dormitorio offering sleeping quarters nestled within the forest trees. Constructed over, around, and in between the forest, the result is a building that incorporates reliable cool summer breezes, an abundance of shade, and neighbors that include (more…)
It’s not often that we derive inspiration while standing in the middle of an overcrowded parking lot, but for our co-founder and executive director Zac Adair, it was in just such an unlikely setting that the notion of opening a Pacific Northwest location for NCOAE took hold.
This idea came to mind during a recent trip to Oregon, where Zac was checking out the outdoor recreation and education scene. Accompanied by a friend who also works in the human-powered outdoor recreation and adventure education space, the two men found themselves in the parking lot of the historic Timberline Lodge, situated about halfway up the 11,239-foot-high Mount Hood — undoubtedly the most majestic mountain in the state.
Well known for more than a century for its outstanding outdoor recreational possibilities — available year-round and in every outdoor rec category imaginable — the Mount Hood area and the nearby Deschutes River are virtual meccas for wilderness enthusiasts of every outdoor sport persuasion. And as Zac and his friend were to witness in that hotel parking lot on that day last month, diversity is the key when it comes (more…)
As 2016 comes to an end, we’re honored to take a moment out from our end-of-year activities to say thank everyone for their continued support and encouragement of The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE).
When our founders Zac & Celine Adair started this organization in 2009, their mission then for NCOAE was as clear as it is today — improve people’s self-confidence and interpersonal relationships through the teaching of a core curriculum emphasizing teamwork, environmental stewardship and the acquisition of technical outdoor skills. We’ve come a long way since 2009, and guided by that same mission, 2016 has been another year of phenomenal growth.
A few key highlights: (more…)
Here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), we offer a wide range of outdoor education and adventure courses, ranging in length from a week to an entire semester. And what that does is offer our students a choice based on their particular circumstances, interests and needs.
By offering dozens of adventures from which to choose, students can easily find a course that fits their schedules, skill levels and price. I think it’s pretty well guaranteed that no matter the length of the adventure, you will have an incredible time. Further, you will be offered a great learning opportunity and most likely attain goals and outcomes that you never dreamed possible.
However, I have a bias. And as our staff development director and an instructor, I have every right to have an opinion, based on years of observation. And that bias is this: I believe the longer the course, the better the experience.
I base this assessment on a number of factors, not the least is an opportunity for me to (more…)
It’s been a while since Zac Adair and his wife, Celine, co-founded The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), and while it would be nice to think they jumped into this challenging not-for-profit enterprise with eyes wide open, that wouldn’t be completely accurate.
Yes, going into it they had a great game plan. They had previously founded and run two other outdoor education organizations — a not-for-profit named Panacea Adventures, and the Adventure Education Institute (AEI) — which they merged to create NCOAE. But these North Carolina-based outdoor educators — raising their infant child — were working under a disadvantage that certainly couldn’t be ignored in the planning stages of NCOAE. And while some would consider it a major hurdle to their career plans, Zac and Celine saw it more as a nuisance.
So much so, in fact, that they haven’t felt it necessary to bring up the fact that Zac — a veteran surfer, rock climber, whitewater river guide and outdoors program business manager — lost the majority of his vision when he was struck on his bicycle by an automobile back in 2003.
And now, more than a dozen years later, he has less than 2 percent vision left (in just one eye) and he describes that vision through his good eye as, “seeing the world through a soda straw.”
The accident happened in Nags Head, N.C., in the late summer of 2003 while Zac was riding home on his bicycle after a session in the surfline. He was struck by a taxi traveling at 59 miles per hour. Zac was on life support for a full week. His cervical spine was broken in four places, his right leg was broken, he suffered severe right scapula damage, and as a result of the trauma, a year later he lost 98 percent of his vision in one eye, and 100 percent of his vision in his other eye.
Not many people — even those closely associated with NCOAE — are aware of Zac’s blindness, nor is it something the couple really cares to have bandied about. In fact, few of the course and training participants who meet Zac at NCOAE headquarters in Wilmington prior to departing for a local trip have any notion that our co-founder is legally blind.(more…)
At first glance, our website might lead the casual observer to surmise that our organization, The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), is just another run-of-the-mill for-profit business. The kind of outfit where the owners get rich by running adventure-based trips for children from well-to-do families to exotic destinations around the globe. Truth is, nothing could be further from the truth.
While we welcome anyone — regardless of their socioeconomic standing or means — to enroll in our courses, we take great pride in making all of those courses affordable and accessible to those without means. Oh, and we might add at this juncture that we’re a not-for-profit organization. Which means we rely just as much on individual and foundation giving as we do on fees paid out of our participants’ wallets and pocketbooks.
Why are going to such lengths to point this out? Robert Balfanz, Ph.D., a research professor at the Center for the Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, said it best when he wrote:
“Poverty is a bear. Its impact on students is both obvious and subtle. The effects of food scarcity, housing instability, and insufficient access to medical and dental care are clear. Poverty also brings an increased exposure to violence, which further shapes student behavior directly and indirectly in complicated and often counter-productive ways. Another characteristic of poverty is living under constant stress, which research is beginning to show has a wide range of negative cognitive, physical, emotional, and mental health effects.”
The students who qualify for NCOAE scholarships often have not lived easy lives. A majority of these kids don’t have the luxury of living with both parents in the home. In many cases, if they’re living with even one biological parent, they’re considered the lucky ones. Some of the students who participate in our courses and programs live with a grandparent or an older sibling or are in the care of foster parents. (more…)
Months of planning and organizing have brought success! We recently completed our first program abroad — an expedition to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal with a group of South Korean high school teens.
South Korea-based Apex Global Leadership Center (AGLC) joined with us for this adventure-based spring break program that emphasized leadership education. Traveling in the Annapurna region of Nepalthe adventure included our very own Stephen Mullaney as lead instructor, Matt Seats as course director and assistant instructor, and Matt Evans, an assistant instructor who joined as expedition videographer. Sean Hill, founder of Apex, also participated and instructed. This NCOAE custom program delivered beginner-level leadership and outdoor technical skills training with world-class views and cultural sharing.
The students and our instructors flew in from around the globe and met in Kathmandu, where they were driven to a teahouse just in time for dinner. After a night of shopping the Kathmandu markets for backpacking food and breakfast the next morning, the team went back to the airport and on to Pokhara four hours to the north and west. Following a late lunch at a lakeside guesthouse, the students (more…)
We here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education are starting off the summer with some truly great news. Beginning in June, we’ll be offering students who successfully participate in any of our Teen Adventure courses the opportunity to earn high school credit.
This most excellent announcement is the result of the NCOAE curriculum having just now receiving the seal of approval from Blueprint Education — a private nonprofit accrediting body.
Founded in 1969, Blueprint is an accredited distance learning school for grades 7 through 12 with the primary mission of inspiring students to make better choices and to be champions of their own learning. Blueprint itself is accredited by AdvancED, the unified organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation & School Improvement (NCA CASI), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).
And as a result of this latest announcement, all NCOAE Teen Adventures are eligible for qualifying high school credit from Blueprint Education. Each and every one of these credits are elective and available in the following categories:
- Physical Education: For having learned about and shown proficiency in mountaineering, rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, surfing, stand up paddle boarding, alpine, or backpacking activities during an NCOAE Teen Adventure course
- Outdoor Leadership: For having learned about and shown proficiency in interpersonal development, small group dynamics, critical thinking, decision making, and more during an NCOAE Teen Adventure course.
- Environmental Studies: For having learned about and shown proficiency in water conservation, astronomy, environmental sustainability sustainability, Leave No Trace (LNT), cycle of rain clouds, oceanography and more during an NCOAE Teen Adventure course.
Students can earn .5 or 1.0 Carnegie Units (credit hours) for each topic depending on how many hours were put into teaching each one. Our staff has its pencils out, doing the math on how hours will be taught for each class and how that matches up with state and national standards. (more…)
You know us as The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), but after today’s news, we may need to change “National” to “International”. That’s because we just booked our first overseas program — a March 2015 custom outdoor education expedition in the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.
Sure, we’re still offering courses like our Alaska Teen Adventure (for grades 10-12), California Youth Adventure (for grades 8-9), and the always popular North Carolina Teen Adventure (for grades 10-12), but thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the good folks at Apex Global Leadership Center, NCOAE will be facilitating a spring break leadership program for South Korean teenagers traveling in the Annapurna region of Nepal.
If you’re unfamiliar with them, Apex is a Seoul, South Korea-based outdoor and adventure leadership program, and when their founder, Sean Hill — a Wharton School of Business graduate living and working in South Korea — contacted us last summer about running a trip in Nepal, we jumped at the opportunity. After seven months of planning and working out a myriad of details, we’re happy to report that our team will be (more…)
We have a formula here at the National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) and it reads like this: Self + Community + Action = Impact.
In fact, self is the backbone of what we do at NCOAE. It involves our esteem, self-actualization and the decisions we choose to make — all of which are important because we strive to establish a strong sense of esteem in everyone who participates in one of our outdoor education courses.
No matter what the outdoor activity, we provide course participants with countless opportunities to build and reinforce self-confidence. Take backpacking, for example. Here is an opportunity to look back on the trail and say, “I did this. It is an enormous feat in autonomy.” The same holds true for course participants who navigate whitewater for the first time in a raft, or scale up a vertical rock face, or successfully tuck into a tight tube on a surfboard.
Any of these human-powered outdoor activities, when approached with confidence and a good attitude, can’t help but establish a strong sense of self. And getting to know yourself and your limits — actually understanding what it takes to battle through discomfort and arrive successfully at the other end — is a priceless commodity.
Going solo in the wilderness in a controlled scenario is another example that sets you up for successfully establishing a good relationship with yourself that can last a lifetime. Assisted by journal writings, Educational Groups and evening Process Groups, our course participants learn to (more…)
If you look atop our website, you’ll see a unique diamond-shaped icon to the left of our organization’s name, and that new brand mark is, well, brand new to us. The name “brand mark,” by the way, is just another fancy way to say “logo,” and we’re really happy to tell you how we came up with the design.
And we say “we,” but what we mean is this: Most of the actual thinking, creativity, tweaking and artistry involved in the evolution of our new brand mark was accomplished by Juli Johnson from 360 Creative Vision, the company behind our new logo.
Most brand marks have an enormous amount of thought behind them and ours is certainly no exception.
Ask Juli and she’ll tell that our co-founders, Zac and Celine Adair, pretty much gave her free rein on the design, telling her they’d really like something that is simple and iconic. But in the same breath, Juli will also tell you that while talking with these two nature lovers, she sensed that both possess a Zen-like, spiritual attitude when it comes to anything that exists in nature.
For instance, Zac told Juli he certainly didn’t expect her to present an obligatory drawing of a pine tree on a hill. Not only would that be a reminder of a car freshener, but it seemed redundant to him in comparison to what the other businesses and organizations similar to The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) were using.
The seeds for Juli’s inspiration in the initial concept included a directional compass to illustrate adventure/outdoors, scaled back and simplified only showing the needle that points north. And an ancient symbol that represents knowledge.
Juli said her first choice was “Enso” — a simple circle shape that represents the Zen Buddhist symbol for enlightenment. In her research of this symbol — or a stylized version of it — Juli found the use of an Enso symbol had already been copyrighted by (more…)