Is mentoring something “you take on” or?

Many times volunteers tell me they are skeptical of mentoring due to the time commitment and ask themselves “how can I fit it in”?  This is a valid question.  Taking on mentoring is a commitment.  Our youth depend on mentors who are committed to their time together.  However, mentoring doesn’t have to be something you “take on”, its something that “you take with you”. What do I mean? Mentors sometimes feel like they need to carve out extra time for mentoring, when it is about including someone into your regular activities.  Recently, I had a mentor state that her family went to the beach for the day.  She didn’t squeeze in an activity with her mentee, before joining her family at the beach.  She didn’t cut her time short with her family, to fit in another outing with her mentee.  They went to the beach together!  The day was spent at the beach as a family.  On the way home, her mentee noted that it was the best day ever!  Mentors often feel like they are not doing anything special(they are just taking the mentee with them).  However, our youth may feel like it was something exceptional! Think about how you feel when someone takes the extra time to stop by with a card or a small gift to say thank you for something you did.  The person delivering the card or gift may feel like they are not doing enough.  Yet, the person receiving the gift thought it was wonderful (the gift just made their day!).  After hearing a comment like this from a child, it now turns out to be something exceptional for the mentor too!  It starts creating a domino effect.  The mentor then shares the experience with the program, who shares this information with the board, donors, and stakeholders-see where this is going?  Comments like these seem to stick with you, years down the road.  Comments like these, help remind us all why mentoring is so important.  Mentoring is something that “you take with you” it no longer feels like something “you take on”.

 

 

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