Teaching Student Leadership through Disney Program (2)

IRMO, SC (WIS) - A program offered through Walt Disney World teaches kids how to become future leaders while they're riding Pirates of the Caribbean or Space Mountain.

Kids from throughout the Midlands and throughout the world are invited to participate in the BOLT program, or Building Leaders for Tomorrow. It's offered through Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence.

The invitation is open for students rising 4th - 12th grades. This summer the kids will attend from July 14-17. The goal is to teach kids the skills they need to be good community leaders.

"You've learned about teamwork. You've learned about communication." said Pollyanna Buff, Irmo Elementary School 4th grade teacher and coordinator of the BOLT program."Let's reinforce this and then what are you going to do now that you go back to your community? We want to instill these tings to the kids, so that when they get back, they'll feel the power and the self worth of, you know, 'I can do this,' and 'I can make a difference.'"

Buff said kids come home inspired.

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"There have been some kids who have come back and asked for grant money in Chapin and they have built a garden," she said. "It's not just the big things. But it's the tiny things that, you know, start out as, 'This is what I feel is needed in my school or in my community' and they take it from there."

"It was really awesome because I got to meet new people and I got to figure out how other people are like, not just at the school," said 5th grader Jessica King, who attended the BOLT program two years ago.

"I learned how to be a great leader and I learned how to work with a team and how to listen to other people's ideas before I decided that whoever's was the best," she said.

King said the program helped her prepare for a career, which she said would be "probably a lawyer."

"It will help me get a good job," she said. "It will help me with job interviews and it will help me with, like, my career."

Kids are responsible for paying for their participation in the program, which comes at a cost, but Buff said grant money may be available. Kids also can do their own fundraisers. Buff said some parents make the program part of their family vacation to Disney World.

Click here for more information on the program. Schools interested in participating can find information here, too. Students in the Lexington-Richland 5 School District qualify for a discount.


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