My NOLS experience was just what I needed at the time. I had just transferred colleges and needed to make up some lost credits. NOLS offered me those credits and I was able to fit in a semester during the summer break.
My course consisted of Backpacking (85 miles over the span of a month) Rock Climbing (Vedauwoo, Devil's Tower, and the Needles) and Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking (on the Green River).
I went into my semester with an open mind. I had dabbled in each of the sections prior to my course, but never before immersed myself so fully in a skill. I left each section with a confidence in the hard skills as well as a better understanding of how I function in a group setting.
There were 15 students on my semester from all over the country between the ages of 17 and 21. We learned how to work as a team over those three months and 10 years later I'm still in contact with a few of them.
I enjoyed learning from the instructors as they taught various classes in the middle of a field, in the middle of a mountain range, far from any typical classroom setting.