Mentorship, is it all about the warm fuzzy?

I have started this blog many times over the course of this last week; I’m not entirely sure why I am finding it so hard to write about mentorship from an adult’s perspective.

Mentorship has its listed outcomes that everyone is familiar with, and it is obvious that a youth that has a well matched mentor in their life that offers support and guidance can have a positive effect.

But what about the adults… why do so many in our community choose to mentor?

And that is where I have hit the wall every single time. I wanted to offer insight, pull others knowledge together and have a better answer then “adults mentor because of the warm fuzzy feeling they get. Turns out not a ton of research has been done on mentoring from the adult perspective.

I did a bit of digging and the term “subcultural capital” kept popping up. Thorton coined this term in 1995, it is understood to be “a degree of street wisdom and a set of social skills, which allow young people to negotiate and survive within different social worlds.”

So what does this mean for adults who choose to mentor?

Essentially, mentors provide a form of “subcultural capital” to those they mentor while forming their own “capital” by developing the skills needed to support, challenge and form friendships. Mentoring allows adults to learn from the youth and to attempt to understand the types of situations the youth might be facing. It also allows the opportunity to develop a reciprocal, cross-generational relationship that isn’t found in the office or at home, it’s quite an anomaly really.

For most people, mentoring means long term, 1-2 hours a week for an extended period of time. For some becoming a formal mentor just isn’t feasible, however, just one day can make an impact on a group of youth. A day full of positive interaction with a group of adults just like you.

The 4th annual UDODGE dodgeball tournament provides that 1 day opportunity to make an impact on and to be impacted by youth in our community.

It’s a day of dodgeball, teamwork, communication, fun and a little healthy competition.

It may not be your traditional model of mentorship but if it leaves a lasting positive impression on those involved, I would say it’s worth participating in.

There are many benefits to those who choose to mentor. But when it comes right down to it, and I’m sure many would agree, it is about the warm fuzzy, because it is a great feeling knowing you have impacted a life.