Mentoring Guiders - The Essentials

>>  Sunday, November 17, 2013

Each Guiding unit is only as 'good' or as 'active' or as 'vibrant' or as 'friendly' or as 'add positive word here' as the Guiders running it. So the role of mentor is hugely important, mentors up and down the Guiding highway are regularly supporting new leaders to help them become great leaders.

Oddly, there is no recognition for it at all. Not even a badge.  In the Guiding world, that is really unusual.  Even more strangely, as we sign off new leaders and turn them out into the grand world of guiding we don't even get a thank you from anywhere.  Maybe the satisfaction of growing guiding is thanks enough!

GuidingUK has a program for each section to follow, standard forms, procedures and rules.  We are all commited to our common standard.  There are trainings available in every county that leaders new and old can go on that help us learn about new resources, how to apply the program in a practical and fun way.  To the layman that means learning lots of new games, crafts, activities or how to run a residential, how to take girls out and about safely, that kind of thing.

But to become a new Guider, these trainings alone aren't enough.  To get through the qualification every new Guider has a mentor to help her along the way. To point her in the direction of the resources, forms, account packages, roles and responsibilities, about the essentials of guiding, about what the promise means.  The mentor isn't the only person to help a new Guider, help comes from all over, no ones guides alone. But the mentor is the person that makes sure she knows how to find the help and makes sure she covers all the criteria of the qualification before saying she has passed.

It's a responsibility, but as with so many things that need a bit of effort, it is very rewarding.  It actually promotes a greater awareness of yourself.  I've learnt about myself and also learnt much more about guiding whilst signposting other people.

Mentors must promote the guiding standards, share good knowledge and good practise.  A unit could be very active and doing lots of stuff but is it Guiding?  And more importantly is it Good Guiding (resource available to Guiding members only). 

Mentors need to be positive, they need to have a positive attitude about guiding with the new Guider.  We all have the bits of guiding that irritate the nellies off us.  The design of a form, or the quirks of JoinUs, or a particular leader that insists time after time on trying to force a by-law (a rule that isn't really a rule or maybe was in the past but isn't now) but there is no benefit to be had in spending time moaning about it to a new leader, it'll only serve to drag them down with you.  Better to show a way to 'work that quirk' and if you can, show a way to give feedback about a problem area to someone that can help fix it.

And at the end of it all, if you really need to just moan for a while, then it's better to go and have a cup of tea with your commissioner or BFF Guider and get it off your chest with someone who has heard it all before, seen it often and can listen with wide shoulders (I'm lucky my BFF Guider is my commissioner - win-win!). 

It can be hard though to maintain the positive attitude, to stay up to date with resources.  It can be hard to be a good mentor, it's hard enough sometimes just being a good Guider!

I was really lucky to get invited on a training course for mentors.  Plenty of good guiding food for thought.

I'm left thinking now about how I can share back some of this new motivation to other mentors.

It was also really uplifting to be mixing with Guiders from other counties.  We often think 'our way' is 'the' way.  It's really interesting to hear how others are doing it, it's healthy to get a bit of a self shake up once in a while.

Sometimes it may seem, we Guiders can be all about cake and chocolate (I may have mentioned them occassionally) but times they are a changing.  Look:

Yes!  That's fruit on that pudding plate at my mentor training day.  And what with cocoa beans being a vegetable (shhhhh now people, no arguing) that's a plate of 4 of the 5 a day.

5 a day:  5 squares of cho....just kidding

5 Guiding Essentials:

Working together in small groups.
Encouraging self-government and decision making
A balanced and varied programme.
Caring for the individual.
Sharing a commitment to a common standard.

I always used to think of the 5 a day as eat a rainbow, I try not to these days, well not a whole one anyway!


Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009

Back to TOP