Being the Leader Adolescents Want to Follow
Do you have the heart to reach the youth in your city or county? Whether you are already working with adolescents or desire to start soon, you will need to understand some of the challenges you can expect, and you must be willing to commit enough time and energy to the cause.
It may not always be easy, but helping adolescents develop into strong and effective leaders is always rewarding! Consider these practical leadership tips from Lucy Reed tailored specifically for youth organization volunteers:
Be a Role Model
Charisma definitely helps when it comes to leading. But to develop meaningful relationships with adolescents in your community, you will need to live as leaders live.
Take care of your physical health each day by eating well, exercising, and getting sleep.
Show your mentees the importance of fostering mental health by teaching them to de-stress with activities and habits that don’t involve substances.
Demonstrate hard work and persistence by pursuing the advanced degree you’ve always wanted. Online programs make this easier when you're juggling so many responsibilities.
Own up to your mistakes to show your mentees the importance of humility.
If you are going to work with a youth organization, then you must commit to being available when a mentee needs you. It’s all about reliability and consistency!
Above all, ground your relationship with mentees in trust and mutual respect.
Make sure your mentees know they are free to share any personal information they want with you, but that they can take their time.
Allow your mentees to vent their emotions and thoughts, and focus on providing solutions when they ask for advice.
Regularly get input from your mentee on what types of activities they would like to do together.
Hold Fast to the Rewards
As challenging as it is, helping adolescents grow into leaders is a rewarding mission. Remember the benefits when you meet obstacles along the way.
Mentoring an adolescent is one of the most direct ways that you can help them through difficult circumstances and succeed in life.
You can teach your mentees how to take the hand they have been dealt and use it to grow into a strong, caring leader.
Mentoring also provides opportunities to form meaningful relationships that last a lifetime!
And let’s not forget—working with youth can also reveal areas of growth in your own life!
If you are considering working with a youth organization in your community, then you are up for an adventure. The benefits far outweigh the challenges, but to be an effective mentor, you must model the behaviors and attitudes you wish to see in your mentees. And you must leave an open line of communication so that your mentees can reach you when they most need to!
This article is brought to you by Lucy Reed—I’ve been starting businesses since I was a kid, from the lemonade stand I opened in my parent’s driveway at age 10 to the dog walking business I started while in college. I created Gig Mine because I was inspired by the growth of the sharing economy and wanted to make it easier for entrepreneurial individuals like myself to find the gig opportunities in different areas.