The Brown Outdoor Leadership Training program is designed to foster the exploration and practice of leadership while establishing a community of support for sophomore and new transfer students.
The BOLTer Experience
The fall program begins with a shared wilderness experience and continues on campus with small group gatherings, 1:1 mentorship and a calendar of events that includes leadership workshops and community social gatherings. Many groups continue to meet and friendships extend through graduation.
Students may apply to be participants (BOLTers) during the second semester of their freshman year or during the summer for an incoming fall transfer/RUE student. Those accepted return to campus at the end of August to participate in a 5 day backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. BOLTers are divided into groups of ten. Each group contains 7-8 sophomores or new transfers and 2-3 junior or senior leaders.
Upon returning to campus, BOLT offers many opportunities for community connection, support and personal growth. Along with a couple 1:1 check-ins with leaders in the fall, our BOLT groups plan events together and participate in BOLT "Family" events such as leadership workshops and social events. We also host BOLT wide events such as BOLT Wars (a field day), a slide show and a BOLT Thanksgiving event that is all-BOLT, all years and friends.
The Leader Experience
All sophomores, juniors, and .5ers - including previous program participants (BOLTers) - are encouraged to apply to be BOLT leaders. (You do not need to have been a BOLTer to lead.) Each year, we have a mix of past BOLTers and new community members are selected to be leaders.
Future leaders spend all of spring semester training to lead and mentor a group the following year. In the fall semester leaders facilitate activities for their groups and have several leader training and planning meetings. Leaders are encouraged to continue their connection to BOLT by serving on a Steering Committee that helps lead the program, recruits and trains new leaders and participants, plans program events, and positively shapes the program in various ways. Leaders can also apply to become one of our student managers. Student managers work closely with the director to oversee the operational and programmatic aspects of BOLT.
BOLT is truly a welcoming and supportive community that can lead to life long friendships and skills.
BOLTer: A BOLTer is a rising sophomore or new transfer/RUE student who seeks an opportunity for personal reflection, social support and community through a wilderness and on-campus experience.
BOLT Leader: A BOLT Leader is a sophomore, junior, or senior .5er who is committed to becoming proficient in the technical and facilitation skills necessary to lead a group both on campus and in the wilderness. A Leader receives 120-180 hours of training during the Spring to prepare them to lead and faciliate a BOLT group in the fall. As a BOLT Leader, they help guide their group through life at Brown and provide opportunities for community connection and personal growth throughout the fall semester at Brown.
Leaders provide the foundation for BOLT's sophomore and new transfer student advising and support network.
Mentor: A Mentor is a BOLT Leader who commits to expanding their understanding of leadership through continued trainings and the opportunity to teach. Mentors provide the core instruction and support during the Leader training in the Spring. Full time Mentors attend all Spring skills trainings, teach all BOLT technical and facilitation skills, and effectively communicate the philosophies and policies of BOLT. They are also responsible for observing and supporting the development of a small group of Leaders (a home group) throughout the Spring training. Part time Mentors help to facilitate some but not all spring trainings. Mentors are an essential part of BOLT's continuity and program development.
Manager: A Manager is a former BOLT Leader who works in partnership with co-managers and the director to oversee the operational and programmatic aspects of BOLT. Managers provide overall leadership and facilitation for the program. They run our fall events, steering committees, and spring training and the day-to-day logistics that go with the program's oversight.