Tag Archives: jillian tremonti

National Mentoring Resource Center website to feature MSU Extension Mentor Training Toolkit

Our Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development educators recently created Ready to Go: Mentor Training Toolkit to assist mentoring program staff in delivering interactive, evidence-based training. The Capacity Building team is responsible for pulling together this curriculum, specifically Lisa Bottomley, senior mentoring specialist; Christine (Sisung) Heverly, 4-H program coordinator; Jillian Tremonti, Extension program worker; Anna Elden Brady, Extension program worker; and Molly Frendo, who was an associate program leader during her time at MSU Extension.

While releasing the curriculum is already a success on its own, the curriculum is also going to be featured as a recommended resource on the National Mentoring Resource Center website, after Lisa and Molly successfully presented it at the 2014 National Mentoring Summit and it passed the Board’s review.

Michael Garringer, director of knowledge management at the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC), welcomed the contributions, saying, “I want to express my appreciation for your submission of this great resource. I’m really impressed with the quality and design of the training content and am happy that listing it on the NMRC will help practitioners around the country learn about and access the materials.”

The entire curriculum contains 56 activities divided into five modules: Cultural Competency; Building the Mentoring Relationship; Communication; Setting Boundaries and Youth Development.

The following Ready to Go units are available individually through University Stores:

Congratulations to the Capacity Building team on finishing this curriculum and making an important connection with the National Mentoring Resource Center!

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New mentoring curriculum is ready to go

One of the things that people in our organization do best is to realize there’s a need and then take the steps to fill that need.

Back in 2009, Michigan State University Extension 4-H staff realized that they lacked existing processes to help new mentoring staff and AmeriCorps members gain skills and resources for mentor training. A search for current hands-on mentoring training materials came up empty. The team decided to create a curriculum to meet the need.

The result, Ready to Go: Mentor Training Toolkit (4H1642PDF),provides mentoring professionals with a customizable mentor-training curriculum, support for using the curriculum and a toolkit to ensure that all mentors in planned youth mentoring programs have access to evidence-based training.

Led by MSU Extension 4-H senior mentoring specialist Lisa Bottomley, project director for the curriculum, the team includes project managers Molly Frendo, 4-H associate program leader; Anna EldenBrady, former 4-H program worker; Christine Sisung, 4-H program coordinator; and Jillian Tremonti, former 4-H program worker.

Numerous lead authors and contributors made the curriculum possible. They include MSU Extension professionals as well as partners from other organizations such as the Department of Human Services and Alma College.

The team piloted the curriculum at professional development trainings in 2010 and 2011. Peer reviewers made up of mentoring and other youth development professionals with related content-area expertise critiqued the activities. Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications staff edited and designed the final product, completed in October.

Lisa and Molly recently attended the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference Oct. 21-25 in Orlando, Fla. They had the opportunity to share one of the five modules of the curriculum with attendees.

Lisa said, “The new mentoring curriculum was very well received and participants showed enthusiasm for utilizing it as both a volunteer and staff training development tool. Though we designed it to train mentors, it’s proven to be an effective tool to train any youth-serving volunteers.”
Extension educator Scott Lakin found the curriculum to be an excellent resource.

Scott said, “As a new educator, I was able to easily plan a complete, two-evening training for volunteers wanting to become 4-H Tech Wizards Mentors. The training menu examples gave me a framework to adjust for our local needs and the organization of activities by modules ensured I covered all the basics with the new group. Each activity was thoroughly explained in a consistent format, making them easy to refer to during the training and giving me plenty of ways to extend the activity if there was extra time.”

Scott recognizes the versatility of the product.

“I can see this training curriculum being an excellent resource for our mentoring programs, a supplement to our other volunteer training programs and a great product for other organizations to take advantage of for their programs,” Scott said.

You can find the toolkit in the MSU Extension Bookstore as a downloadable PDF. View the free introduction and cover pages to get an idea of the scope of the curriculum.

MSU Extension staff members can purchase a PDF file of the entire curriculum at half price. To make this purchase, you must first log in to the MSUE Bookstore site and create a user profile (if you don’t already have one). You can also log in using a county email and password. Please note, this special offer is only for the full curriculum, not the individual unit modules. The product number for the half-price item is 4H1642PDFMSUE. You can find it by searching for that number or by entering the title.

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The face of Extension, online and off

I was pleased to learn that our first virtual conference encouraged several people to become active on Facebook for the first time. Social media is an outstanding way to deliver information to people in a new way. However, it’s important that we take a close look at how we mix our personal lives and professional lives online. “Personal” does not equal “private.” What we say as Joe or Jill Resident is interpreted by many as an official recommendation from Michigan State University.

 So how do we ensure that our personal opinions are not misconstrued as our professional views? Molly Frendo and Jillian Tremonti gave an excellent presentation during FEC10 about Social Networking Boundaries and Professionalism. I encourage you to watch it and learn from their examples. A few highlights: 

  • It is against Facebook’s terms of use (TOS) to have more than one profile. Therefore, DO NOT create one profile to communicate with close friends and family and another one to communicate with colleagues and clients. If discovered, Facebook will remove both.
  • Use your privacy settings to ensure you are not sharing your personal views with Facebook “friends” you only relate to on a professional level.
  • If you have a lot of information you want to share about programming, consider creating a Facebook fan page and concentrate on that as a place to share professional information. Phil Durst’s Young Savvy and Into Dairy page is an excellent example.

Another suggestion you may consider is to use one social media site as your “personal” site, and another for your “professional” site. For example, you may use your Facebook site for keeping in touch with family members, former classmates and friends, and a LinkedIn site for remaining connected professionally. If you’re a relative newcomer to social media, you may want to check out Intro to Social Networking and The Ins and Outs (and Ups and Downs) of Social Media. If you’re a veteran, take a gander at Advanced Social Networking.

Regardless of how you connect, if you want to use social media as a way to express your political thoughts and advocacy for a candidate or a cause, it’s a good idea to remind folks

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4-H Mentoring Weekend involves learning, fun for mentoring matches

July 16–18, 55 people that included mentoring matches and a team of volunteer staff members got together for 4-H Mentoring Weekend at Kettunen Center. Participants took part in outdoor leisure activities while strengthening their mentoring relationships. They were able to experience first-hand some of the new activities from the 4-H Guided Adventures project, including fishing, canoeing, kite building, archery and geocaching. Participants also climbed the MAX, Kettunen Center’s new rock wall, created crafts, and explored theater and drama.

 Three hours of the weekend allowed mentors to focus on skill building, using new curriculum from the Michigan 4-H Mentor Training curriculum project, while mentees performed science experiments and got to know each other through a series of team-building activities.

 During free time, mentor matches worked together on a service project to benefit the Ingham County Capital Area Humane Society, explored tie-dyeing, participated in a talent show and took part in a Jell-O fight.

 Programs from around the state were represented at this event made possible with support from an MSUE 4-H Participation Fee Grant and by donations from the Lansing Jaycees and the organizations that covered registration fees for their matches.

 Jillian Tremonti, AmeriCorps member, coordinated the weekend. Lisa Bottomley, Michigan State University Extension 4-H mentoring specialist; Molly Frendo, MSU Extension associate program leader; and Dale Elshoff, conservation education specialist for MSU Extension and the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies; provided the staff oversight of the event.

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