After someone staffs their first NYLT course, as either a Troop/Team Guide or as an Instructor, they have one very important task as staff development and preparation for the next course begin. That responsibly, that should be valued above all others as a returning staffer, is to pass on the knowledge and skills that you picked up as you yourself grew and developed throughout previous your previous experiences staffing NYLT. Seems pretty simple right? Well, there is a lot more to the process of imparting information to new staffers than one might think, its not as easy as just telling them, “this is what you do, and this is how you do it”. Just doing that won’t make make what you are trying to say resonate with in them to make these new staffers buy into what you are saying, whether it works or not. What you have to do, and this is guaranteed to be more difficult than anything you have faced as a staffer, and that is to be a mentor to the new staffers.
To describe the role of returning staffer’s job as mentor, without going into too much depth on what exactly mentoring is, as it is such a complex topic, we will sum up meeting with this description. Mentoring is a method of teaching in which the mentor provides the mentee with advice and guidance, and anything the mentee needs to be successful, while a significant degree of independence is kept. Mentoring is a difficult skill to master, but in the end, it is by far the most beneficial teaching method for both the mentor and the mentee.
Now the reason why the job of the returning staffer is to be a mentor for the new staff, is that regardless of what position you served in your previous years, you have a vast amount of knowledge that you gained through your experiences in that position, so it will be no trouble to impart that on the new staffers. If you think back to your first year on staff, do you remember how challenging it was to learn the ropes? Was there anyone who helped you through? If your answers to these questions are similar to mine, then you know how important those experienced staffers were to your success in your first year on staff, or in a new position on staff. The reason why NYLT is such a successful program is because everything that is done builds upon itself, and as new staffers come in and old staffer leave, information and skills are passed down, and each year the program gets better and better. If the cycle were to be broken, and returning staffers did not act as mentors to new staffer, then the course would go stagnant and development could not occur. Thus the role of the returning staffer is instrumental to the success of the course’s present and future, and no matter what position you find yourself in as a returning staffer, you job is to be a mentor, friend and leader.