What is a menslink Mentor?
Being able to give up a little bit of your time and then be prepared to go on with it. That’s the starting point. And to be fair dinkum, it’s two years of small commitments that could matter so much. We’re talking as little as 2 hours a fortnight – less time than you might spend watching a footy match.
One young bloke, aged 10-18, will have you as their mentor. You’re not his boss or someone with all the answers. You’re just 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 sharing your 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 a mentor as “lighthouse”:
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.
why be a mentor?
Obviously the main reason is to help out a young guy. Most of the young men that are nominated for the Menslink mentoring program do not have a good male role model in their lives. You undoubtedly know from your own childhood how important male role models are. That steady, mature influence can make all the difference for a young guy.
There’s plenty in it for you personally as well:
- 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.
Some quotes from past mentors
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.Will – Menslink Mentor
To be able to make some small difference to the wellbeing 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.Alex – Menslink Mentor
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.Brad – Menslink Mentor
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.
The initial application process involves a forms and a preliminary interview with the Menslink team. You will need to have completed:
After this, we provide proper training to help you on your mentoring journey. The training includes an evening information session and a residential training weekend (including an overnight stay). We then hold a 3-hour activities session – usually on a Saturday morning – where the young blokes can meet, and get to know potential mentors.
Once you’ve become a mentor to a young man, we encourage you to come to our Linkup events with other mentors and mentees. They’re a great way to socialise, talk with other mentors, and help your young bloke meet and make new friends.
We’re also in regular contact with you, your mentee and his parent (in-person and over the phone), to support everyone in the mentoring journey and ensure it all runs smoothly.