The Leader Experience

The BOLT Leader community is a diverse and inclusive group dedicated to building community in outdoor settings (and everywhere!) BOLT Leaders are sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are committed to mentoring a group of BOLTers (rising sophomores and new transfer/RUE students) and supporting the BOLT community.

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 Leader receives 120-180 hours of training during the spring to prepare them to lead and facilitate a BOLTer group in the fall. Towards the end of that training, Leaders are matched with co-leaders. The groups of co-leads will work together closely thoughout the fall and continues to do so just for fun for the rest of their time at Brown.

In late August, co-leaders lead a five-day backpacking trip to the White Mountains. 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.

As a leader you will learn (and then teach) interpersonal and group facilitation skills as well as technical outdoor skills, which are outlined below.

All Leaders receive training for the following skills:

Facilitation skills:

  1. Understand and use effective listening skills.
  2. Understand and give appropriate and helpful feedback.
  3. Use open-ended questions to stimulate conversation.
  4. Paraphrase effectively.
  5. Use and understand the purpose of “I Statements.”
  6. Facilitate conversation effectively.
  7. Understand group development theory.
  8. Facilitate group problem solving and conflict resolution.
  9. Understand principles of inclusive, collaborative group leadership.
  10. Facilitate effective reflection to promote learning.
  11. Lead various group initiatives or discussion games.

Conceptual Skills:

  1. Assess risk and employ appropriate management strategies to mitigate risk.
  2. Problem  solve situations using critical thinking and good judgment.
  3. Employ and share an environmental awareness and ethic that supports “Leave No Trace (LNT)” principles for minimal impact camping.

Medical Certifications:

  1. CPR
  2. Wilderness First Aid
  3. Wilderness First Responder (optional, we need a little more than half the class certified.)

Outdoor/Technical Skills:

  1. Lead others at a comfortable pace over varying terrains
  2. Light and use a stove safely.
  3. Cook delicious food on a camp stove.
  4. Set up a sturdy tarp.
  5. Sanitize water.
  6. Read and use a map and compass.
  7. Tie a Bowline Knot, Taut-line Hitch, Square Knot, Figure-Eight Knot and Clove Hitch.
  8. Hang a proper bear bag and teach about bear encounters and encounter prevention.
  9. Pack and adjust a backpack properly.
  10. Manage stream and road crossings safely.
  11. Provide first aid and correctly use the contents of the first aid kit.
  12. Know how to seek assistance and employ the BOLT evacuation procedures.