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A Journey of Growth and Adventure

Updated: Jun 3

The relationship between a mentor and a mentee is powerful. I recently chatted with Angel and Deb, who are part of our program at Bolder Options. They told me about the impact of mentorship on their lives and how the YMCA has been a big part of it.

Bolder Options has a decades-long partnership with the YMCA, a relationship built on a shared commitment to supporting the well-being of our community's youth. The YMCA provides our matches in the Twin Cities with a free gym membership, which is a great way for mentors and mentees to spend time together, work towards goals, and build their relationships. 

This year, Bolder Options pairs are also encouraged to participate in the Y’s Adventure Lab, a unique program of the Y that “creates new and original outdoor experiences that instill confidence and build community.” The program includes seasonal challenges including a kid-friendly triathlon, a Resilinator adventure race,  a “Kidarod” challenge inspired by the Iditarod, and most recently, Mess Fest. Through this program, mentors and mentees can bond over shared experiences and develop important skills like cooperation, communication, and trust.

For Angel and Deb, their experience with Y Adventure Lab events has been the highlight of their mentorship journey, so far.  This past winter, they raced on kick sleds to complete the Kidarod together. One person had to push and the other had to steer which meant they had to communicate well. By observing her mentee at this event, Deb got to know Angel better. 

“I saw how determined and competitive Angel can be. I saw everything she’s got inside her.”

This spring the pair participated in Mess Fest, where participants “walk or run through all kinds of nature-made and human-made messes like dirt, mud, goop, shaving cream, and even biodegradable glitter.” Deb and Angel had to work together, shifting who would take the lead and who would follow, often taking turns depending on the other person’s comfort level with the activity. Also, Deb learned she does not like crawling through Jello - but she did it for Angel! 

"I used to be shy and wouldn't try new things," Angel said. "But Deb encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things."

As Angel grew more confident and self-assured, she formed a strong bond with her mentor, Deb. They shared how they learned to trust each other, support each other's strengths and weaknesses, and become more comfortable with each other's company.

Angel & Deb had some advice for new mentees and mentors. Angel encouraged mentees to:

"Trust the process, get out of your comfort zone, and don't give up."

And Deb urged mentors to:

"Be patient and don't expect immediate results," Deb said. "Trust your mentee and give them space to grow. And most importantly, be willing to listen and learn from them."

Angel and Deb's story is a testament to the power of mentorship and its positive impact on young people's lives. Through their experiences with Bolder Options and the Y Adventure Lab, they have developed important skills like teamwork and communication. They also strengthened their relationship by engaging in activities that built their trust in one another and their self-confidence.

Would you like to become a mentor?

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