Circle Up! A peer mentor circle story

Sometimes in the throes of life it’s all you can do to put your head down, put one foot in front of the other, and put some distance behind you. And then there are those halcyon days when the stroll seems easy breezy. You’re doing good things, or good things are happening to you. Regardless, goodness abounds with nothing but the sun at your back and Bob Ross clouds beckoning on.

We’ve all been on both these roads. But of course, they are the exception; the extremes of a route that requires you to both keep an eye on where you’re headed and watch where you take your next step. Navigating it all is a lot to ask of ourselves, which is why it’s often wise to ask someone else for help. But who do you ask? How do you ask? What do you ask? And what do you have to offer in return?

Questions like these shaped YNPN Twin Cities’ most recent event, Demystifying Mentoring: Building a support network. Cozied up at The Eat Street Social, attendees heard from an incredible panel of speakers (Kim Borton, Lynne Schuman, Beth Parkhill) moderated by our very own Alison Griffin. We learned different approaches to mentorship, models for structuring that relationship (or not), and some hot tips on how to be a dream mentee.

Following the panel discussion and some Q&A, we broke out into our newly formed peer mentoring circles. Elation mixed with trepidation as each group conversed a bit, set and managed some expectations for themselves, then went about laying plans for their first meetings as peer mentoring circles.

Our merry band came together for the first visit last week over lunch. It was a good start. We came together around the topic of nonprofit administration, but in no time the conversation went in every direction imaginable. We talked volunteer engagement, the role of an executive director, and the merits of Ambrosia Cafe's sandwich offerings. But as much as anything else, I think we all loved the chance to get out of the office and get to know some great people. I can honestly say I’m looking forward to our next meeting in a month’s time. Where we’ll go, oh no one knows. But it sounds real, real nice to be a part of a group that supports each other through tough times, challenges each other to grow, and comes together now and then on the road ahead.

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