The BOLTer Experience

BOLT is the only outdoor orientation program in the country specifically for college sophomores, transfer students and resumed undergraduate students. We call participants in the program ‘BOLTers’. The BOLTer experience begins with a five-day backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire before the fall semester, and continues back on campus with Fall Program. The goal of Fall Program is to provide support and mentoring, create opportunities for experiential learning and leadership and promote community and individual relationships for BOLT leaders and BOLTers.

The Fall Trip

The five-day backpacking trip provides BOLT groups with a shared wilderness experience. BOLTers learn valuable technical skills, including how to set up a shelter and cook on a camp stove. Individuals challenge themselves and learn to rely on one another within in a supportive group setting. BOLTers and their leaders get to know each other, bond and develop their leadership skills through this common experience. To learn more about our backpacking trip and what to expect, please read about A Day on the Trail.

This year, we are also planning to offer three special trips. These are:

  1. Women’s Group
    • An all-women’s group has been offered as an option for several years. Though there is no programmatic difference, Leaders and BOLTers have found backpacking experiences in all-women’s groups empowering.
  2. People of Color Group
    • This is a new initiative. Though there is no programmatic difference, we hope to provide Leaders and BOLTers of color who wish to have a more comfortable space in which to challenge themselves a unique and rewarding backpacking experience.
  3. Creative Group
    • This year, BOLT is piloting a Creative Group. Creative Groups will be focused on artistic expression in the outdoors, in areas such as (but not limited to) writing, painting, drawing, photography, and music. Creative Groups will be less physically strenuous. Instead of hiking a specific route, Creative Groups will be camping in one location and will have excursions/activities during the day.

Prospective BOLTers may express their interest in these trips on their application.

On Campus

We have four levels of support for our BOLTers: BOLT Community, Family Group, BOLTer Group and 1:1 Leader/BOLTer check-ins.

During the fall individual groups continue to meet. A strong component of our fall program is the weekly/bi-weekly gatherings and activities planned by individual groups. Most groups meet once a week or on alternating weeks for dinner or at the Ivy Room or Andrews Commons.

We host monthly “family group events,” which gathers a collection of four BOLT groups for social events along with skill workshops that support our goals and expands our connections within our BOLT community.

As a community, we also continue to enjoy some traditional full community events such as the Post Trip Banquet, Post Trip Slide Show, BOLT Wars and BOLT Thanksgiving when we invite all all member of the current and past BOLT community.

On weekends groups often strike out into the wilds of Providence for various adventures, including:

  1. Movie nights
  2. Trips to Lincoln Woods
  3. Trips to the rock climbing gym
  4. Brunches at Louie’s Diner
  5. Apple picking
  6. Pumpkin carving
  7. Ice skating at Kennedy plaza

Along with Individual Group gatherings, we host some All-BOLT traditional events that we love:

  1. BOLT Wars (field day)
  2. Our Annual Fall Slide Show
  3. BOLT Thanksgiving (open to anyone affiliated with BOLT)

We also host two workshops within Family Groups (4 groups):

  1. Leadership and Communication
  2. Engaging in Conversations on Privilege and Oppression in the Outdoors