Position Description

Being a BOLT leader is a big challenge and responsibility, but it is also a lot of fun. A Leader’s goals include providing support to our BOLTers, providing opportunities to reflect on the relationship between leadership and community, to help our BOLTers identify ways in which the dynamics of a BOLT group are analogous to the dynamics of any group or community to which they belong. A Leader will ensure a safe, rewarding, and educational experience for their group of BOLTers.

A BOLT Leader is committed to becoming proficient in the technical and facilitation skills necessary to lead a group as a part of our Fall Program. A Leader receives 120-180 hours of training during the Spring, leads a five-day trip to the White Mountains in late August/early September then supports and creates opportunities throughout the Fall for BOLTer support and community development.

Leaders are matched with co-leaders. The groups of co-leads will work together for the rest of their time at Brown. When they return, they help to guide their group through life at Brown and provide opportunities for community connection and personal growth. Leaders provide the foundation for BOLT’s sophomore and new transfer student advising and support.

Essential Requirements/Eligibility:

  1. Must be a current, enrolled, Brown undergraduate: sophomore, junior or senior student for both the spring semester during training and for the fall semester to be a leader and to lead a fall trip. It is important in your planning to ensure that as a leader you will be enrolled at Brown in order to participate in leader training and to lead for the program in the fall. Please know that new leaders must participate in training in the spring immediately prior to leading a fall group. Leader’s are also offered the opportunity to lead more than one fall trip during their time at Brown.
  2. A Brown undergraduate senior may apply to be a BOLT Leader, if they will be enrolled as a senior continuing as a 5th year student or as a graduate student in the Fall.
  3. Must be able to lead a fall trip and fall activities to provide support to their group members through 1:1 check-ins, coordinating group events and supporting All-BOLT events during the fall semester.
  4. Must be able to arrive on time and to complete the training program in its entirety, including returning early to campus to participate in the pre-trip training review sessions prior to the fall trip.
  5. There is always an element of risk for a program to operate within a wilderness context; therefore, we ask our leaders to commit preparing themselves fully for facilitating and leading a group within this context.
  6. Leaders must read, understand, and abide by the BOLT leader handbook and all other training materials and will adhere to all BOLT and University policies. A Policy Agreement Form will be reviewed, signed and collected at the first meeting of training and kept on file to indicate a leaders understanding and commitment.
  7. Leaders must complete an assumption of risk and a release and waiver form to be placed on file to participate in BOLT trips and program activities.
  8. Must complete a medical information form and update it for each trip they are participating in. The BOLT program reviews all medical forms and consults with Health Services regarding the information provided to ensure that any and all medical conditions or physical disabilities that could interfere with or create a safety issue on a backpacking trip can be accommodated. Medical information will be kept confidential, but will be shared with Brown Health Services Staff, BOLT professional staff and student managers, student trip leaders and student base camp staff to for planning trips and to provide on-site medical care. If you need to take medication during the trip, you are required to have an ample supply and be responsible for proper storage and for taking them as directed by your prescribing physician.
  9. Must maintain confidentiality of student and staff health/medical information and of program personnel related issues or concerns.
  10. Must be able to serve as a leader/facilitator for our fall backpacking trips and participate in our spring training trip. We hike a distance in the range of 2-11 miles on a given day. Our leaders carry a backpack with personal and group gear that may weigh up to 40-50 lbs. We travel on trails with uneven terrain such as rocks, boulders, fallen logs, or slippery surfaces and we ascend and descend mountain slopes that can include changes of about 3,000 feet. All of our trails are located in a wilderness context where medical care and communication may be significantly delayed. BOLT has a long history of working with students to provide reasonable accommodations for special dietary needs, hearing impairments, mobility disablities and other medical conditions. There is some variability in the difficulty of the routes and the amount of evacuation options available, thus, we are able to accommodate a range of abilities. If you have any accommodation needs, please communicate these to the BOLT Director as soon as possible to discuss whether there are reasonable accommodations that can be made.
  11. Each leader must demonstrate the necessary outdoor skills, judgment, communication skills and ability to work with co-leaders in order to lead a BOLT sponsored trip. Each leader must also demonstrate a commitment to support BOLT’s mission, policies and procedures.
  12. Final approval must be given by the program director, to serve as a BOLT Leader or BOLT Mentor. This approval is based off a leaders demonstrated ability to support the mission, philosophies, diversity statement, policies and protocols of the program as well as a leaders demonstrated skills related to leadership, inclusive facilitation, problem-solving, judgment and outdoor/technical skills.

Training and Meeting Requirements:

  1. Complete all of the BOLT training sessions for the Spring semester and the August pre-trip training review sessions that are held in four days prior to the trip. Leaders return to campus on Wednesday prior to the Fall trip departure.
  2. Attendance is required for all training sessions and meetings. Arrangements can be made (if necessary) for one or two sessions with permission from the BOLT Director. The following sessions cannot be “made up” through a one-on-one meeting with a manager or home group leader: the leader training retreat, inclusive facilitation day and the pre-trip August training review and meetings. We also ask that leaders prioritize and make a strong effort to participate in the training trip at the regularly scheduled time, which is typically the week after spring break with the exception of years where the religious holiday falls during this time. In which case, we schedule the training trip for the second week after spring break.
  3. All Leaders must have a valid (non-expired) certified in CPR and at one of the following wilderness medicine levels: Wilderness First Aid (WFA), Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA), Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or Wilderness EMT (W-EMT). Copies of the certifications must be provided to our program coordinator to place on file with BOLT in order to lead a trip. We host the certification courses on campus in the spring for BOLT Leaders; the per student cost for enrolling in the national certification course is outlined in our training calendar.
  4. Leaders are required to complete a “pre-site trip” between their last final and no later than the end of July to support our risk management efforts and accreditation standards related to leader experience with the route and the terrain: 1) Every leader must have a familiarity with the terrain for which they will lead a group. Unfortunately, our training trip location does not equate to the terrain and elevation changes of the White Mountains. Leaders must have or gain experience backpacking in the White Mountains or a location that is similar in terrain (such as the Sierras) prior to leading a group. 2) At least one leader within each group must have familiarity with their exact route.
  5. A formal evaluation of each Leader will be completed near the end of the Spring Training Program by both the BOLT Mentors from the Training Trip and the Leaders.
  6. Final approval must be given by the program director, to serve as a BOLT Leader or BOLT Mentor. This approval is based off a leaders demonstrated ability to support the mission, philosophies, diversity statement, policies and protocols of the program as well as a leaders demonstrated skills related to leadership, inclusive facilitation, problem-solving, judgment and outdoor/technical skills.

The following list includes the major responsibilities of BOLT Leaders:


Pre-Trip Expectations:

 Complete a Route Itinerary Worksheet

 Meet with co-leader(s) to plan for first meeting, discuss goals for the trip, discuss leadership styles for group facilitation, and discuss goals for the fall.

 Inventory group gear, first aid kit, food provisions

 Review participant applications and medical forms

 Consult with the Director of BOLT if there are medical questions

 Review all participant gear to make sure they have appropriate equipment

 Brief participants on the following topics: route itinerary, emergency procedures, program policies, use and location of first aid kit, bear safety and bear bagging, Leave No Trace (LNT)practices, teach participants how to pack a pack and assist as necessary

During the Trip-Expectations:

 Supervise participants appropriately in support of our policies, practices and procedures
 Comply with National Forest regulations and all Appalachian Mountain Club and Randolph Mountain Club camping regulations.
 Keep receipts for any camping fees and turn them in to the program director
 Complete Accident/Incident/Near Miss Forms in full and in accordance with proper documentation protocols
 Complete a daily Route Log
 Notify Base Camp of any changes in route
 Assume leadership for any medical emergency or evacuation (unless you are injured)
 Notify Base Camp of any medical emergency or situation where evacuation is either definitely necessary based on Wilderness First Responder protocols, BOLT policies or protocols or a participants request.
 Conduct at least three group activities/discussions during the trip: a first night discussion, a mid-week de-brief and a closing activity/discussion.

 Teach participants the following skills:

o Safe stove use and cooking procedures
o “Leave Not Trace” (LNT) low-impact hiking and camping practices
o Knots, campsite selection, setting up tarps
o Bear bag use and Bear safety issues
o Hygiene practices
o Stream and road crossings (if relevant to the assigned hiking route)
o Water purification
o Hydration regulation, hike pacing, foot care
o Procedures for inclement weather

Post-Trip Expectations:

 Return all group gear and unused non-perishable food
 Turn in all BOLTer evaluation forms
 Complete leader evaluation forms
 Conduct a group de-brief
 Participate in two de-briefs: one with your Leader class and one with a mentor or the director
 Support fall programming efforts that are offered to BOLTers including two leadership workshops, family group events and our traditional events: BOLT Wars, BOLT slide show and BOLT Thanksgiving.
 Arrange for regular group meetings after the trip.
 Arrange at least two 1:1 check-ins with your BOLTers. The first at the end of shopping period and a second at the midpoint opf the semester. Check-ins are divided up by the Co-Lead Team.
 Serve as resource to the members of your group throughout the year
 Attend Leader meetings in the fall semester
 As much as you are able, continue to support the program through volunteer opportunities and our weekly steering committee meetings (Mondays at 5:30)


Certification Course Offerings:

The program arranges for Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities (SOLO) Schools to offer wilderness medicine certification courses on campus to our leaders, mentors and leader alums each year. SOLO Schools is a leader in wilderness medicine training in the United States.

The three courses are offered at a reduced rate to that which you will find elsewhere because the program provides funding towards the costs of the courses in order to lower its per student cost for our leaders.

We need to have a minimum of one Wilderness First Responder (WFR) trained leader on each route, with extra leaders available should we need to make adjustments in route assignments of leaders due to injuries or illnesses leading into the trip. For this reason we aim to have a minimum of 22 leaders WFR certified.

If you enroll in all three of the courses offered to become a Wilderness First Responder, the total per student cost is $425 (see individual prices, updated annually in our training calendar). Financial Assistance is available by talking 1:1 with our program director.

o The CPR (heartsaver) course is offered in the first weeks of March. This is a three-hour class on the Friday night of the scheduled WFA weekend. A valid CPR certification is required for both WFA and WFR level certifications to also be valid.
o The Wilderness First Responder (WFA) course is offered in the first weeks of March. The course requires two, full days (16 hours) of training over a weekend. The per student cost of this class is $85.

o The WFR Upgrade course is offered during senior week in May starting the day after the last final exam. The course requires seven, full days of training from 9am-5pm and an evening for simulated emergency response role plays. The WFR Upgrade course has a pre-requisite for enrollment. You must hold a valid CPR and WFA certification card from one of the schools that SOLO maintains a reciprocity agreement: NOLS/WMI, Wilderness Medical Associates, Desert Mountain Medicine in Colorado, The Wilderness Medicine Training Center in Washington.
o WFR Housing and meals are not provided, but if you live on campus, you could sign-up with our program director, who can submit your housing request under the departmental rate of $50 for consolidated commencement housing.

Financial Assistance:

Through gifts from our community, the program is able to offer financial assistance to leaders who need it. We are able to do this through our fundraising efforts each year. We ask that all who are able to pay for this training to the fullest extent possible, to please do so. We will gladly support leaders to enable them to participate in each of the certification opportunities and encourage our leaders to become Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certified, as this is the strongest training opportunity in first aid that we offer. If you need support from the program, simply meet with our program director (1:1 in her office). It is an informal process — no forms, just a conversation; so, don’t hesitate to pop by her office in the campus center for a private conversation.

Driver Requirements:

If serving as a driver for the program for BOLT retreats, trips or events you must submit and complete the following: a valid driver’s license on file with BOLT, a University Driver Authorization form.

If you are helping to drive a rental mini-can for one of our trips, you must be a minimum of 21 years old and complete the on-training program for the Office of Insurance and Risk, pass a RMV check, as well as complete a “behind the wheel” driving time with the BOLT director or a manager.