By: Chace Vineski
AccelNow – Social Media Coordinator
Scott Fisher, owner and founder of Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute, has always been an outdoor enthusiast as is evident in the past several years of his life. It was only natural that he pursue a life centered around his life-long passion. Recently he decided to take the plunge and make his long-time dream a reality. In fact, the idea for Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute, or NOLI, was in the back of his mind for 20 years and had the name for it for 3 of those years. So it’s safe to say this wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment venture!
His passion for the outdoors began with his stint in the military as an Infantry officer. After his service, he held a couple corporate stints for IBM, for 5 years, and for Johnson & Johnson, for 15 years. For 10 of those years, Scott was involved in safety and education for Appalachian Paddle Enthusiasts, otherwise known as APEs, which is the premier paddling club in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and Northwest North Carolina. During that time he had taught hundreds of people, from recreational boaters, camp councilors, to rescuers, different outdoor disciplines. All arrows seemed to point towards starting his own outdoor training center and that’s just what he did after starting NOLI in March of this year. He hit the ground running by immediately filling for proper licensing, acquiring contract instructors and equipment, and setting up a website that met his specifications. Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute began their first set of outdoor classes this past June but their rate of growth doesn’t reflect a new company.
Some of the instructional classes they provide include: flat water and white water kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle-boarding, Wilderness First Aid, CPR, water safety and rescue, conservation, outdoor survival, and outdoor arts and crafts. This is, in fact, the regions first comprehensive outdoor school and, to date, Scott has yet to find another outdoor training center in the country that provides the scope of classes that NOLI has to offer. Though their scope is broad, their mission is short and precise. And that is to celebrate the outdoors and help others do the same. Every class they’ve enacted and every class they will enact is centered around their mission by providing outdoor learning opportunities for everybody. There is no reason to feel the least bit intimidated for first time customers. NOLI is there to make everyone feel enabled and empowered to thrive in the outdoor disciplines they offer, no matter their background.
Many of their customers come from inexperienced backgrounds and of varying ages. They’ve had individuals sign up for classes from ages 7 to at least 70 years old. And they come from all over too. They’ve had families travel from as far as Ohio just to experience what Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute has to offer. Companies even see the benefits of a place like NOLI by sending employees for team building exercises. They currently offer 25 classes so they needed several instructors. They went out and found 12 of the best, well-trained, experienced personnel to oversee every step of their customers journey. Classes do not take long to be filled either but NOLI is very receptive to expanding the dates of certain classes upon demand. Some of the more popular classes include water safety and rescue and flat and white water kayaking. Scott, being the outdoor enthusiast he is, doesn’t have a clear favorite. He sees the beauty and great landscape this region has to offer and wants to share it with everyone.
The bottom line is that Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute is set in one of the greatest, natural outdoor play-centers in the world. They want to get you out there and really experience it for all it’s beauty. The classes he provides so far already exploit a large range of outdoor disciplines and the next step is to broaden NOLI’s reach and expand the existing market. He already is making plans to provide more team building classes and start youth camps. NOLI has the potential to become one of the nations best outfitters and, for an outdoor training center that got its start just a few months ago, it’s well on its way to becoming one.
To learn more about Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute and to sign up for classes, check out their website NOLIlearn.org