Tag Archives: mentoring

How Extension mentoring relates to sailing vessels

On Wednesday, March 30, I got the chance to meet our new Michigan State University Extension staff members at New Staff Onboarding. It was an interesting experience for me welcoming them to the organization, as I am just as new as they are to MSU Extension. As I reflect on their introduction to MSU Extension and my own, I think about the importance in having an organization program that provides guidance and help throughout an employee’s transition. I think that the new MSU Extension mentoring program is going to be the key element in ensuring that our new colleagues have the relationships, tools and resources that they need to have a successful transition.

On the March 7, 2016 all staff webinar, we talked about the importance of mentoring in our organization and ways that you can participate. Overall, we want to make sure that our new staff have a supportive onboarding experience. There is a need to help new staff understand Extension and our role within the university as well as our internal organizational structures such as district teams, institutes and work teams, and stakeholder relationships and interactions. Mentors will help new staff build an effective network of relationships between coworkers and clientele while helping them realize their potential. We also want to provide mentors for those that have been in the organization and are transitioning to a new role.

There are so many benefits to being a mentor. This is a wonderful opportunity to give back and build relationships and trust with others within our organization. Through mentoring, you will also learn from others as well as keep your skills and knowledge up to date. Ultimately, you will share in the success of a new employee and the organization as a whole.

Are you interested in learning more about the new staff mentoring program? The MSU Extension Mentor Work Team is hosting two information and training webinars on April 15 and June 7. I have added the training information at the end of the post, and if you have any other questions about them, please contact Dionardo Pizaña.

In thinking about the metaphor we use for our new staff “onboarding,” I am reminded of John F. Kennedy’s words, “. . . a rising tide lifts all boats.” To tie together both seafaring metaphors: we can lift our entire organization through mentoring and strengthening our new colleagues as we bring them on board.

MSU Extension Mentor Information and Training Webinar

Friday, April 15, 2016

10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

https://msu.zoom.us/j/967402776

or

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

https://msu.zoom.us/j/893431729

 

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Educator to receive Michigan State University Distinguished Academic Staff Award

We are pleased to announce that our very own Lisa Bottomley has been selected to receive the Michigan State University Distinguished Academic Staff Award. This annual award recognizes the outstanding achievements of academic professionals who have made extraordinary contributions to MSU and their communities. Lisa’s leadership in the mentoring side of Michigan 4-H is evidence of exactly that.

Lisa began her career with Michigan State University Extension in 2000 as an Extension educator in Ottawa County, providing leadership for the 4-H Journey Youth Mentoring Program. She currently serves as a senior Extension specialist with responsibilities for 4-H mentoring programs. Lisa provides training and support to mentoring professionals in MSU Extension and other partner organizations. She has designed and implemented statewide face-to-face and distance training opportunities that are valued by professionals across the state and nation.

Julie Chapin, director of MSU Extension’s Children and Youth Institute, nominated Lisa for the award, and many colleagues from MSU Extension and other organizations submitted letters of support.

“It’s an honor, but it’s also surreal to be honored with an individual recognition when we work in teams so much at MSU,” Lisa said. “We brainstorm and create with peers, so while I’m incredibly honored, everything I’ve accomplished has been through the help and support of my colleagues.”

Lisa will receive this prestigious award on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, during the Awards Convocation that will follow President Lou Anna K. Simon’s State of the University Address at Wharton Center.

Congratulations, Lisa!

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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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Mentors and mentees have fun and strengthen relationships at 4-H Mentoring Weekend

The 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend brought together mentors and mentees from throughout the state July 18‒20 at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan. The event boasted 73 participants representing both one-on-one and small group mentoring.

Staff and volunteers pose for a photo at the 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend

Staff and volunteers pose for a photo at the 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend that took place July 18‒20 at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan. Photo credit: Ronald Wells, 4-H Tech Wizards mentor

The theme of “Backpack to Adventure” allowed attendees to explore cultures throughout the world. Mentees included young people aged 11 to 19. The event provided a chance for mentors and mentees to participate together in various workshops and activities as well as enjoy the opportunities offered on the Kettunen Center grounds such as playing disc golf and exploring hiking trails.

Mentors and mentees chose from a wide variety of workshops including such activities as volleyball, looming, archery, basketball, solar model car building, fishing, swimming and canoeing. Attendees made their own salsa and healthy snacks, tie-dyed T-shirts, made superhero masks, edited their own videos and learned the basics of the Chinese Children’s Ribbon Dance. Some chose to test their skills and strength on “B’Onko’s Boot Camp Obstacle Course.” Some participated in “Messy Games” to develop life skills such as cooperation and problem solving. And of course, it wouldn’t be 4-H Mentoring Weekend without the popular Jell-O Wars.

A highlight of the weekend was Carnival Night, which included Nintendo Wii and board games, karaoke and a photo booth.

Participants also took part in a service project in which they made rubber band “Rainbow Loom” bracelets for military men and women. They also wrote short notes of thanks to them in appreciation for their service to our country.

Michigan State University senior Extension specialist Lisa Bottomley provided leadership for the event on behalf of the Capacity Building work group.

Staff, volunteers, mentors and mentees at the 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend

Staff, volunteers, mentors and mentees take a break from the fun at the 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend that took place July 18‒20 at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan. Photo credit: Lisa Bottomley

“The goal of the workshop is for mentees and mentors to have a fun weekend and strengthen their relationship while trying new things and learning together. We provide a mix of recreational and learning activities,” said Lisa.

Other members of the leadership team included program coordinator Susan Fenton (co-chair for the event), Extension educator Frank Cox (co-chair for the event), Extension educator Scott Lakin (past chair), program coordinator Dequindre Bell (past chair), and student worker Scott Victor, who worked on registration and other preparation for the event.

Extension educators Jan Brinn and Sara Keinath from the Leadership and Civic Engagement work group joined the Capacity Building work group to incorporate the world culture theme throughout the weekend and to lead small and large group sessions.

Other staff involved in planning and staffing the event included Extension educator Tom Long, and program coordinators Barb Brow, Lisa Kelley, Anetria Rhodes and Will Shemer as well as program worker Barb Steele and associate program leader B’Onko Sadler.

AmeriCorps members involved included Kerry Hochradel, LaTonya Terry, Joe Barczyk and MavaMarie Cooper.

Congratulations to all on a successful event!

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Mentors and mentees find community of peers at 4-H Mentoring Weekend

Many of us had parents or other adults in our lives who made a difference. We had someone we could count on for wise advice and a listening ear – maybe an older sibling, a teacher or a 4-H leader. Often kids may be searching for guidance and support but they lack strong role models. That’s where 4-H Youth Mentoring comes in. The program matches caring individuals with young people to provide support, friendship, reinforcement and constructive examples.

For the sixth year, an event took place that helps to strengthen the youth mentoring community across Michigan. More than 90 participants congregated at Kettunen Center in Tustin July 19‒21 to take part in 4-H Mentoring Weekend. Michigan State University Extension 4-H mentoring educator Scott Lakin and Extension program instructor Dequindre Bell co-chaired the event under the leadership of campus staff Lisa Bottomley, senior Extension specialist, and Molly Frendo, associate program leader.

Senior Extension educator Barb Duvall and Extension educator Frank Cox led mentors and mentees from around the state in activities focused on financial literacy at this camp-style weekend themed “Making Cents for Life.”

In addition, participants explored conservation education, science literacy, service learning and healthy living. Mentoring partners strengthened their relationships through fun and interactive activities both indoors and outdoors, taking advantage of Kettunen Center’s beautiful setting on Center Lake.

Other Extension staff members who helped out with the event included Danielle Abrams, Kea Boyd, Barb Brow, Jessica Cotton, Lizz Duran, Susan Fenton, Derrick Harrison, Lisa Kelley, Jennifer Lasslett, Aaron Lawrence, Kim Lewis, Anetria Rhodes, B’Onko Sadler, Edward Scott, Katie Sosin, Barb Steele and Scott Victor.

Besides the learning and the fun, 4-H Mentoring Weekend provides both mentors and mentored youth with a community of peers who share their experiences.

To get an idea of the exciting atmosphere at the event, watch the following kid-produced video from the 4-H Mentoring Weekend Press Corp: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-wnodtXCYg&feature=youtu.be

All I can say is “Jell-O Wars!”

Find photos of the event on Michigan 4-H Youth Mentoring’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/michigan4hyouthmentoring.

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Former staff member, now volunteer, receives mentoring honor

Many of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues not only do a terrific job while Extension employees, but they also often go on to contribute their expertise in retirement through volunteering. That’s the case with Ginger Kenney-Sweet, former MSU Extension Ingham County 4-H program coordinator.

The Capital Area Mentoring Partnership recognized Ginger as an outstanding adult mentor. Ginger received the recognition Jan. 14 at the Lansing City Council meeting as part of National Mentoring Awareness Month. She was one of seven people honored for their time, wisdom and support in impacting the lives of young people in Lansing and Ingham County.

Ginger acts as a mentor to high-school-age members of the Ingham County Youth Commission  (ICYC), a diverse group of young people who advises the Ingham County Board of Commissioners and others within county government on issues relating to young people. Members of the ICYC are all enrolled as 4-H members. Ginger coordinates this program, continuing work she did as an Extension staff member.

Laura Fuller, MSU Extension Ingham County 4-H program coordinator, nominated Ginger for the honor.

Laura said, “Her patient mentoring skills and commitment to developing youth has resulted in future generations of leadership who demonstrate civic engagement and motivated actions. Whether they come into 4-H programs as a volunteer or through court involvement, Ginger makes individuals feel welcome and lets them grow to fulfill their abilities.”

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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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Extension educator receives White House Champion of Change Award

Michigan State University Extension 4-H educator Kea Boyd received a White House Champion of Change Award Oct. 9 with 11 other leaders from 4-H and the FFA at an event in the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington D.C. Each week, the White House recognizes a different group of Americans who are making positive change in their communities.

Kea was the first staff member hired to coordinate the Wayne County 4-H Mentoring Program. In her role, Kea oversees day-to-day mentoring program activities and provides supervision and support to 4-H mentoring staff members working with mentor/mentee case management. She also oversees mentor and mentee pre-match and on-going training, and efforts to communicate with volunteers, parents and young people. She creates connections to support mentees and mentors.

Each Champion of Change writes a blog that appears on the Champions of Change website. Please make sure you take the time to read Kea’s blog, “Conquer the Unthinkable.” She does a tremendous job of explaining the role of 4-H and then more specifically the role of the Wayne County 4-H Mentoring Program.

Kea is quick to give credit to others in the program.

“I didn’t accept the award on my behalf but on the behalf of the whole Wayne County and statewide 4-H mentoring programs. I also accepted the award on behalf of all the mentors who have participated in the program and the youth who benefited from the program,” Kea said.

She found receiving the award a very humbling experience creating memories she will pass on to young people in the program.

Kea said, “I couldn’t believe that I was sitting in the White House and connecting with USDA and National 4-H staff members. I wish I could have met the president or first lady but they were busy campaigning.”

Read Kea’s biography on the White House Champions of Change website.

Read more in this Lansing State Journal article and this Detroit News article.

Congratulations, Kea!

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4-H Tech Wizards expand in Michigan

4-H Tech Wizards are up to new things in Michigan. Tech Wizards is a small-group mentoring program that matches professionals who work in the science, engineering and technology (SET) fields with youth.

4-H Tech Wizards strives to reduce and help prevent juvenile delinquency and school failure, and build supportive relationships as well as introduce mentees to opportunities within the SET fields. It also provides participants with meaningful opportunities to engage in service learning.

Michigan State University Extension in Macomb County will have three new 4-H Tech Wizards sites operating within a month of the start of the school year. The program began at Seminole Academy in June while meetings at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and the Detroit Arsenal in Warren will begin soon.

Extension educators Scott Lakin and Ed Scott and Extension program instructor Alex Boyd work together to make this a regional program.

“Functioning as a District 11 4-H Tech Wizards team has led to greater success in our mentor recruitment efforts. I have found that attending various events and specifically targeted organizational presentations is the most effective way to get individuals to start the volunteer application process,” Scott Lakin said.

Scott designed a display booth to showcase the project areas and technology available. Talking to the public at events led to contacts with numerous adults soon to be trained as 4-H Tech Wizards mentors in all three counties in the district – Macomb, Oakland and Wayne.

Extension program instructors Barb Brow and Susan Fenton continue to work to expand the program in Ottawa County. Kristy Oosterhouse, program aide,piloted the program in Eaton County and assists other counties in efforts to replicate this program. Extension educator Dorothy Munn has secured two AmeriCorps positions to start the program in northern Michigan.

Senior specialist Lisa Bottomley and associate program leader Molly Frendo provide support from the statewide perspective.

“We are really excited to see this program expand to serve new communities and reach new audiences,” said Lisa.

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Lloyd Carr speaks to 4-H group about importance of mentoring

I know in some corners of the land of Green and White, it’s hard to laud those associated with the University of Michigan, but when Michigan State University Extension is able to team up with a proven leader like Lloyd Carr on an issue as important as youth mentoring even I can put aside my Sparty pride (especially now that Coach Carr is no longer roaming the sidelines at The Big House).

 Carr, the longtime football coach for the Wolverines, is a Mentor Michigan spokesperson. He visited a Journey 4-H Youth Mentoring event in West Olive to help promote the new Journey 4‑H: The Outdoor Challenge, which pairs adults with youth interested in outdoor activities.

 Coach Carr spoke about the power that adult mentors have in the lives of their mentees, and said he was lucky to have so many people mentor him when he was growing up.

 I can say we are also lucky – lucky that we have great people like Carr working to make a difference and lucky to have dedicated staff members that could put such a wonderful, impactful program together.

 Susan Fenton, Muskegon County Extension program instructor, and Harold McDermed, Ottawa County Extension program instructor, were integral in the formation of The Outdoor Challenge. They put the event on with the help of team members Lisa Bottomley, Barb Brow, BettyBeth Johns and Anne Sullivan. Another big assist came from Amber Troupe from Mentor Michigan and Rob Renes, a Mentor Michigan Leadership Council member and former Wolverine All-American who was coached by Carr. The mentoring relationship was everywhere at the event, right down to the food. A Journey mentor and mentee catered the event.

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