Went to the Community for Youth mentor training tonight. I think the training was a little lacking. Not that it was all that bad as far as it went. But they have a specific coaching checklist,
code of the mentor, coaching strategy, 30 moves for success, and the mistake process (for taking accountability). And that's just the stuff on the two reminder cards. There's a 104 page manual. We went over three pages in the book, and touched briefly on three of the five card sections.
What we did get into in depth was an exercise on putting ourselves into the shoes of the kids. And one on how to interact with parents. And I got a lot out of those.
Now, in some respects it was really great, but not so much as training. Part of the idea of this is too create a community of mentors. The gist of Community for Youth's program is that they don't just sign you up with a kid and then you take it from there. There are frequent events together. Next week I have one meeting to meet the kids as a group for three hours. And then from Thursday afternoon to Sunday afternoon I'll be at Camp something or the other on Vashon Island with the other mentors and the kids. And I won't even have been matched up with a kid at that point. That will happen during the following week. It's not so much that it's rigid in form (though it's a bit more rigid than some others I've seen), it's that they don't leave you on your own.
So this training was a good start for that, getting to know the other people who I will see for the next eight months, and possibly for the next three years if I continue on into the Steps Beyond program.
Anyway, in the exercise on parents, we broke into groups and each group had to come up with a scenario for dealing with parents with which we wouldn't be comfortable dealing. One group had the family feeling like it was in competition with the mentor. Another group had where the mother abuses the kid. My group had one where the father tried to enlist the mentor in showing the student the
right way. I.e., kid screws something up and the father says
Phil will tell you I'm right, you gotta shape up!. You don't want to go against the parents (right or wrong, cause they'll pull the kids out of the program), and you don't want to side with the parents cause that makes you an adult authority figure rather than an adult friend. The solution we came up with was to back out of the situation.
Dude, you gotta work this out between yourselves.
We'll see how it goes.