Mentor a Young Guy
What being a mentor means
Being able to give up a little bit of your time and then being prepared to go on with it. That’s the starting point. And to be fair dinkum, it’s two years of tiny commitments that could matter so much. The time commitment is as little as 1-2 hours a fortnight – less time than you might spend watching a footy match.
One young bloke, aged 13-18, will have you as their mentor. You’re not his boss, or some bastard he doesn’t like. You’re his mate.
A Menslink mentor is someone who listens and shows by example how to handle daily life as a man in today’s world. You don’t have to be heroic – just genuine, responsible and open to learning and sharing your valuable time.
Menslink mentors don’t teach or preach. We tell stories – mostly our own – and let the young guys decide what they want to do with that information.
One of the best descriptions of a mentor comes from leading adolescent psychologist, Maggie Dent, who describes them as “lighthouses”:
“A lighthouse represents something that is strong, reliable and immovable, and shows a light showing safe passage. It does not tell you to do something, it simply shows you a safer way to go. A lighthouse says, if you want to do something really risky and smash on the rocks, then be my guest, but I won’t rescue you. I will keep the light shining so that next time you remember how painful your last choice was and maybe choose a better path where my light shines.”
“I also remember asking you how to be a good mentor and your simple response was to be myself, be honest and follow my best instincts. Well, it was in fact, that straightforward. There is no mentor guide book. There is no mentoring formulae. And you don’t attempt to mandate one. I believe the programme is so successful, because it encourages us to use life experience and our best instincts in providing a positive context, challenge and support for the young men in our charge.”
I have a high profile, highly paid job but it can be very thankless at times. Menslink has done wonders for my self-esteem. By feeling valued in the Menslink community, my confidence has increased and I feel I can tackle new challenges.
To be able to make some small difference to the well being and positive experience of this young man gives me untold satisfaction and a feeling of fulfilment. Through Menslink I have new purpose and challenge in my life. It helps me remain outward-looking and engaged with my community and I have the opportunity to make new friends amongst like-minded people.
What I didn’t expect was the personal satisfaction from being a mentor, nor the kinship I’ve found through being associated with a bunch of guys who have a common purpose in doing good for others. I’ve gained friends who have supported me through difficult times; some of whom will be lifelong mates.
Why be a Mentor?
Mentoring doesn’t just make a difference to the young bloke.
It can also help you:
- Connect with a community of like-minded, supportive men sharing a common goal
- Learn a lot about yourself
- Form lasting friendships
- Build your self-esteem
You don’t need any special skills or qualifications to be a mentor, just commitment, maturity and a willingness to support the next generation of young blokes.
Listen to an interview on ABC Radio with Brumby legend Clyde Rathbone and mentor Denis Sargent talking about what it’s like to be a Menslink volunteer mentor.
For more information on what it’s like to be a mentor, have a read through some of our Case Studies and Testimonials.
You’re also welcome to come to one of our Midweekers and meet a few…
Becoming a mentor
To keep our program safe, all Menslink staff and volunteers are rigorously screened and must undergo a police and other checks to get into and stay in the program. These checks protect our reputation and yours. Most importantly, they protect the young blokes.
Becoming a mentor is a simple process designed to ensure lasting, quality and safe relationships between our mentors and the young blokes.
The initial application process involves a few forms and a preliminary interview with the Menslink team. You will need to have completed:
- A Mentor Application Form (including contact details for referees)
- A Working with Vulnerable People check run by the ACT Government (free to volunteers)
- Your interview
After this, we provide proper training to help you on your mentoring journey. The training includes an evening session and a residential training weekend. We then hold two matching evenings where the young blokes can meet, and get to know, potential mentors.
Once you have become a mentor to a young man, we encourage you to come to our LinkUp events with other mentors and mentees. They are a great way to socialise, talk with other mentors, and help your young bloke meet and make new friends.
We are also in regular contact with you, your mentee and sometimes his parents (in-person and over the phone), to support everyone in the mentoring journey and ensure it all runs smoothly.
As a mentor, you may also like to be part of:
- Two annual camps in the bush (winter) and down the coast (summer)
- Mentors’ Retreat
- Annual General Meeting
- Christmas BBQ Gathering in December
Keen to get involved?
If you’re ready to share a little of your time and wisdom to make a big difference in a young man’s life, please apply online, and the Menslink team will get back to you, or if you have further questions, please contact us.
We understand some of the questions might be intrusive, but our screening processes need to be in order to safeguard the young guys in our program.