Mentorship project

From 2013 to 2014, an intergenerational group of Friends, under the care of the YAF Working Group, worked towards the developing a mentorship program for young adult Friends. The vision was to build connections across generations, which leads to deeper, stronger bonds between the different parts of our community, resulting in a more connected, more vital Yearly Meeting Community. The group adopted this Guide for Mentors/Mentees, and we hope it will be of use in building connections in your monthly meeting community!


Looking for ideas of how to create a Quaker mentorship relationship with someone in your life?

A YAF Mentorship Program could pair young adults with mentors – either older YAFs or Friends with more life experience*.  For our purposes, a mentorship is an ongoing relationship of support, listening, learning, dialog, and challenge. Another model might be a “spiritual nurturer” relationship, where the YAF is nurtured in the growth and development of listening to their inner guide.


Goals

  • To strengthen relationships between individual Friends across generations
  • To strengthen relationships across the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting region
  • support in ministry and Quaker Process occurs
  • skill-sharing and skill development occurs
  • career & vocational support occurs
  • connections to the Yearly Meeting and to Monthly Meetings occur

*Note: While discussions we’ve had have mostly focused on the younger friend being the mentee and the older friend being a mentor, we affirm that young people have every capacity to be elders, and are able to bring gifts to relationships.


Background

At our January 2013 Winter Retreat, Young Adult Friends affirmed the desire to create a mentorship program within Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. After some seasoning, the YAF Working Group decided to host an intergenerational listening session at PYM Annual Sessions in July 2013. The listening session brought together a balanced group of younger and older Friends. (Read more about the Listening Session!) From the listening session emerged an intergenerational group of volunteers interested in further developing a mentorship program. The group worked over the course of a year, trying to gain clarity on what such a program would look like, and how to bring it to fruition with only volunteer support.

After Annual Sessions in July 2014, several key members of the group were drawn in other directions.  Simultaneously, the priorities of the Young Adult Friends Working Group were re-envisioned using different projects to move toward similar goals of building connections and supporting the spiritual development of YAFs.  In the fall of 2014, the mentorship project was laid down, with gratitude for the Friends who were a part of that work.