BOLT is committed to leadership development, community, mentorship, the environment and education. Central to BOLT’s success is the emphasis we place on the interconnectedness of these core elements.


BOLT believes that effective leadership can be learned and practiced through the processes of group experience, conflict resolution, effective listening and reflection. We provide participants and leaders with opportunities to experience and experiment with different leadership styles in both wilderness and community settings. We affirm the belief that everyone is a leader, can be a leader, and at times, must be a leader.


We value diversity, integrity and individuality while recognizing that our strength lies in our ability to work together. We believe people who engage in a shared, successful outdoor group experience have the ability to create a strong and supportive community.


Through our relationships with one another, we develop friendships that encourage our hearts, influence our paths, and affirm our being as we move toward our goals and become our best authentic selves.


The challenges and unpredictability inherent in nature facilitate the emergence of responsibility for personal and group needs. We recognize the learning potential that exists in outdoor experiences and respect the dynamic relationship that humans have with the environment. BOLT encourages a positive environmental ethic and practices low impact camping.


We believe that education should be challenging, applicable, and fun. BOLT focuses on experiential learning through the development and practice of leadership, facilitation and outdoor skills.


BOLT is a program uniquely designed to bring together sophomores and new transfer/RUE students and provide them with a shared outdoor experience and continued group activities throughout the fall. For many Brown students, the sophomore year is a difficult period of transition from the camaraderie of the first year to the increasing independence of the next several years. As sophomores assume greater responsibility for the direction of their college experiences, they often struggle with significant personal and academic challenges. The beginning of the year is a good time for sophomores and new transfer/RUE students to reflect on their first year experience, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and formulate new personal and academic goals. The friendships, connections and peer mentorship continue beyond the fall semester, which offers a year-round aspect of BOLT that gives sophomores an opportunity for continued reflection and reassessment of themselves and their personal development at Brown.

Within each group, our BOLTers (participants) and leaders will also explore a new understanding of leadership; leadership as a process of empowering oneself and others to action. BOLT’s idea of leadership is based on the belief that everyone has the ability and potential to contribute immensely to the experiences had by the entire group. We hope to foster an atmosphere of collaborative leadership by emphasizing the importance of involving everyone in group decision-making.

Being a leader, however, is more than knowing how to work with other individuals. It also entails developing a sensitivity to the environment in which one is functioning. As participants reflect on different styles of leadership, they will also reflect on who has access to the wilderness, how different individuals conceive of their relationship to the wilderness, and ultimately what the implications of those differences are for leadership in a wilderness setting. This reflection will continue into the year, as participants interact in the campus environment and become sensitive to how these settings impact leadership and group dynamics.

Finally, we believe that what participants learn about themselves, others, and collaborative leadership is as applicable to their experiences with BOLT as it is to their experiences elsewhere. Our goal is to provide sophomores and new transfer/RUE students with an opportunity to reflect on the relationship between leadership and community and to help them identify ways in which the dynamics of a BOLT group are analogous to the dynamics of any group or community to which they belong.