Stretching to mush
“It’s going to be the most physically, mentally, exhausting thing you can do.” My week of mentoring began with all of us metamorphing from the caterpillar to mush …. flying out as butterflies.
Stretching ourselves beyond the comfort zone, far from the self help / coaching book pages. Mentors were encouraged to hold the space for attendants to grow and challenged to extend there personal growth. As days progressed we saw how our growth rippled to the groups we worked in.
Holding the space while the sands shift
People intuitively have the very answers they are seeking. Our job was to give permission to them to trust themselves and their internal wisdom. Camp was where it was safe to fail, be vulnerable, where feelings bubble and gush out.
Learning to mentor
Mentoring is the opposite of the leadership style I witnessed in the past. There was no directing, teaching, follow my way, with the technique as the answer. Peer lead exploring, discovery unfolded as we listened to guest speakers and took on camp challenges.
EGO – let go
As mentors our intentions were to provide the best camp experience. Hello EGO – this arose I would need to tell it “to heel, go back to the doghouse.” Heather Plett (2011) describes the trap of believing someone’s success is dependent on our intervention or how their failure reflects poorly on us.
“It’s not all about you.” reminded me to keep ego out of it, to foster opportunities to learn. When information or guidance was asked for I had to stop my thoughtless tendency to regurgitate all that I knew as an ‘expert”.
I admired how the youth mentors and participants pooled their knowledge and energy for everyone’s benefit. The camp was a like a university library with each person being a classic text pages of their life unfolding to let us learn together.
Power to the people
Camp participants were from 14 – 17 years of age the period in which rites of passage traditionally occur as childhood is left for adulthood. This transition can be disturbed by power plays and manipulation. Robbing people of their internal power leading to feelings of incompetence and inadequacy. Not what you want to generate when future leaders are developing.
Over a week I witnessed people take up their space on earth, physically moving from turning in on themselves like a bug to unfold chest expanded head up, voice resonant the majesty of a butterfly.
A Values Exchange
Mentors reflections on the kind of mentor they wished for as a teen inspired action. We had been touched by suicide and mental health in our lives. I am grateful that Zero2Hero Camp works to support mental health and prevent suicide through education. At graduation participants sung of being the new wave, the generation that will break taboo of mental health. This gives me hope. I am inspired by a quote from the Talmud.
“Every blade of grass has it’s own angel that bends over it and whispers grow, GROW”
May you be that angel.
Thank you to 2016 April Zero2 Hero Camp mentors, youth volunteers, participants and sponsors.
To Ashlee Harrison for creating Zero2Hero
Heather Plett, (2015) What it means to hold space for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well