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 fall program begins with a shared wilderness experience and continues on campus with a calendar of planned and activities and small group gatherings. Many groups and friendships continue to meet through graduation. Our spring semester is focused on leader training and development of group facilitation and wilderness technical skills.
Students apply to participate in BOLT during the second semester of their freshman year or as a new transfer 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. The participants (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 each group maintains connection year long through frequent meetings as well as regular all-BOLT events.
All sophomores, juniors, and .5ers - including previous program participants (BOLTers) - are encouraged to apply to be BOLT leaders. 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 a group the following year. In the fall semester leaders facilitate activities for their groups and have several training meetings. Leaders are encourgaged to continue their connection to BOLT by serving on a Steering Committee that recruits and trains new leaders and participants, plans year round program events, and positively shapes the program in various ways. Leaders can apply to become one of the five 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 transfer 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 and creates opportunities for continued BOLTer and BOLT community development throughout the Fall at Brown. Leaders provide the foundation for BOLT's sophomore 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 run fall events, steering committees, and spring training and the day-to-day logistics that go with the program's oversight.