Planning Ahead to Share in the Fall
June 3, 2024

Like most endeavors, mentoring works best with a bit of preparation. With just a few minutes of forethought as you head into summer, you can set yourself up for a positive bonding experience with your mentee when you reunite in the fall. After a long absence, it’s natural for friends to ask each other how they’ve been and catch up on each other’s lives. Part of our job as mentors is to role model what a caring, supportive and attentive friendship dynamic looks like – engaging in a conversation like this helps strengthen those social-emotional skills in your mentee.

What can you do now to create the opportunity for fantastic sharing with your mentee in the fall? Take a few minutes and think about your favorite summer activities. They do not need to be fancy, expensive, or exotic. It could be making a meal with friends, going to your local park or Barton Springs, hanging out at the library, or visiting family members. Make a list of 3-4 activities you think you realistically will do this summer and put it somewhere you’ll see it regularly (a notes app or sticky note works great). Then when you are doing one of these activities, take a picture of it that you can share with your mentee when you reunite.

A small, age-appropriate glimpse into what your summer looked like can help spark conversation with your mentee – “You visited your cousin? I visited my cousin this summer, too!” – and these are great opportunities for building connections. It can be very exciting as a child to see a photo of your mentor’s new pet or sibling, and learn a little about their life. Taking a few simple, well-thought-out steps can make mentees feel even more valued in your relationship because you took the time to think about them and share a personal experience. Never underestimate the power of a silly or joyful photo to bring friends together!

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