Monday, July 7, 2008

Athletes as Mentors

For the last two weeks, the Olympic Track and Field Trials were held in my hometown of Eugene, OR. Over the course of a week, my college town of 140,000 people became the epicenter for all things track and field and track field permeated every aspect of life there. This included my mom's organization Committed Partners for Youth, where she is the development director. Over the course of the past two weeks, potential olympic athletes such as 100-meter silver medalist in the 2004 Athens Olympics, Lauryn Williams have come in to speak to the kids about growing up and how much mentoring has meant to them. This is great because kids need to know how important mentoring is to help them succeed. Olympic athletes are a wonderful example of the successes that are possible when people are there along the way to push you along.

What's just as great is when athletes act as mentors themselves. My mom met the winner of the men's 800, Nick Symmonds, who trains locally in Eugene, OR. Mr. Symmonds mentioned to my mom how he has been a mentor in the past and how mentoring at-risk kids has meant so much to him as a way of balancing out the rigors of training for the Olympics.

We need more athletes like Lauryn Williams and Nick Symmonds speaking out about the importance of being both a mentor and being mentored. The Olympics is a wonderful time to celebrate the accomplishments of individuals who have worked hard. I would bet that quite a few of them have benefitted in some way by being mentored along the way. Now is the time for them to speak out about the importance of mentoring as a way of being successful.

1 comment:

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

There are many roles for athletes to take as mentors, and leaders. Marilyn King, Two-Time Olympic Pentathlete and founder of Beyond Sports, , was a speaker at the May 2008 Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago.

Marilyn King is a two-time Olympian (Munich 1972 & Montreal 1976) in the grueling five event Pentathlon. Her 20-year athletic career includes five national titles and a world record. An automobile accident in 1979 rendered her unable to train physically for her third Olympic Team. Using only mental training techniques she placed second at the Olympic trials for the 1980 Moscow Games.

As athletes have their moments of glory and visibility, we hope they will point to places like your Mom's program, and Cabrini Connections, where other people can volunteer time, talent and dollars to help these programs reach more kids with more effective programs.

If they use their blogs to post links to different programs, or to blogs like yours, they are acting as intermediaries to connect the people they know to the information we share about where,why and how to become part of a tutor/mentor strategy.