Mentors Forge New Memories with Mentees at Retreat
For mentors who are often juggling work, family, and other elements of a busy schedule, Mercy Street does not take their commitment to mentoring lightly. We value each and every hour a mentor gives to their mentee, counting it as instrumental in the forging of a healthy relationship. One of our goals in supporting mentors is to offer spaces for relationships to thrive that are easy and fun for both mentors and mentees.
In February, that space was the annual Pine Cove Retreat! Over 50 mentors and mentees plus Mercy Street Mentor Coordinators piled into cars and headed to Pine Cove Ranch for 24 hours. The weekend commenced with several rounds of icebreakers that left everyone giggling, followed by skits and a compelling message from Curtis, Director of Leadership Institute, about conflict resolution. Mentee Alicia exclaimed, “One thing that I learned was that conflict can happen anywhere, and how to solve it!”
Nothing makes kids more enthused than some good old-fashioned “free time,” especially when their options include ziplining, horseback riding, rope swinging, canoeing, fishing, and basketball. We don’t underestimate the value of a group of kids and adults cheering on a fellow child who’s nervous about jumping off the zipline platform, or a mentor and mentee paddling a canoe across a picturesque lake. Shared experiences are a vital component of building trust.
Jayshun declares his favorite activity of the weekend was canoeing, and his mentor agrees. Cole, mentor, follows up with an affirmation for Jayshun from the weekend: “I learned how gifted Jayshun is with crowds - interacting with people, engaging people, and making sure to include everybody and think about others.”
Establishing connections with other mentors and mentees is another facet of the retreat. A trio of matches was formed at the 2018 retreat when they all stayed in the same cabin: Laura & Alicia, Savannah & I’Vryanna, and Kelsey & Dezaria. In the year that followed, these matches have done a number of activities together, including the creation of the legendary music video (right). We encourage mentors to make connections with other mentors, creating a tribe of like-minded disciples who can share suggestions, questions, and affirmation. Likewise, mentees have the benefit of experiencing a community of believers at a young age!
The retreat concluded on Sunday morning with a time for mentors and mentees to dive into deeper one-on-one conversations. Together they read the Word, began with a suggested topic, and let the Lord lead the conversation, allowing intimacy to flourish.
The patchwork that makes up a relationship consists of many different swaths, but at Mercy Street we believe shared experiences, community, and meaningful conversations are necessary in its construction. Not only does the weekend leave matches (and staff) feeling refreshed and encouraged, but it adds to the relationship’s foundation for years to come. Mentees are already chattering about next year’s retreat!