Get out of that rut!

Even the most adventurous mentors and mentees can find themselves in an activity rut. Get some new ideas for mixing up your match meetings.

Most mentoring pairs find themselves in an activity rut at some point or another. Perhaps you are going to the movies every week or the staff at a local restaurant know you by name and can even guess what you will order. Ruts are particularly common during the winter when we are likely to seek shelter from the cold. Here are a few ideas to help you and your mentee break free from your usual routine.

1)      Get outside! Bundle up and go sledding, ice skating, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing or make a snowman.

2)      Find a website or social networking page that frequently updates community events and follow the page. There are many free and low cost events in communities if you take the time to look.

3)      Go to your local library and inquire about “checking out” tickets to events. Many libraries have season tickets to local sporting activities and community events. Patrons can “check out” the tickets for free. These can go fast, so inquire early.

4)      Take some pictures or make a movie. Photography can be a fun way to explore your community or to document your time together. Many smartphones have the ability to capture video as well as still photos and videos can be a great way to share some of your experiences with others. 4-H has some great resources for photography/videography. Volunteer together. There are many non-profits in need of assistance. Talk to your mentee and find a shared interest that you can devote some time to. Animal shelters can often use volunteers to play with or walk animals, food banks/shelters can use assistance in organizing or serving foods or you might write letters or make cards for military members. There are many ways to share your time and talent to help others.

5)      Play a board game. Bring your favorite games to a coffee shop (many local shops have some games available) and enjoy a warm beverage while you play.

To avoid future ruts, Michigan State University Extension advises to consider spending a visit with your mentee writing down a variety of activities you would like to do together in the future. You can make a list or write them on separate slips of paper and draw a slip every time you get together. With a little planning, you will be doing new things and having a great time with your mentee!

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