Mentoring in the winter months

The cold weather offers a variety of fun activities for mentors and mentees.

The coldest time of the year is just around the corner, and for many of us this will include lots of snow. While the winter weather may eliminate some of your favorite mentoring activities, there are many things you can do with your mentee that will be fun and give you both a boost of energy. Here are some suggestions from Michigan State University Extension.

  1. Go outside! Many people spend most of the winter indoors and when we go outside, it is to shovel. Why not have some fun out there? You can go ice skating, make a snowman, cross country ski or go sledding—just make sure your mentee has proper winter hats and gloves. Any outdoor fun session should end with hot cocoa.
  2. Explore a local museum. When it’s too cold to play outside, museums offer a great indoor space for mentoring matches. Jump online together to see what exhibits are in the area and choose one together.
  3. Attend a theater event or local concert. Most communities have an online event list where you can find low cost or free performances. Plan some time to reflect on the experience.
  4. Check out Pinterest and find a project. Pinterest is full of ideas of things you can make together, perhaps some holiday gifts for family, friends or a teacher. Ideas include cooking, crafts, homemade spa products or refurbishing furniture. Some projects will keep you busy for weeks.
  5. Your local YMCA or gym has lots of options for indoor fun that will keep you both moving. Call ahead to find out the policy for minors—your mentee’s parent may need to fill out a permission form first. Once you are there, you can play basketball, racquetball, go for a run, try a group class like Zumba or go for a swim. If you are a member, some gyms will let your mentee in for free if you ask.
  6. Volunteer together. You can find local volunteer opportunities at Volunteer Match or by calling your local volunteer center. Include your mentee in the process because volunteering is the most rewarding for a person when they give time to something that is important to them. Be aware that some organizations have age requirements for volunteers.

Ask your mentee for ideas. You don’t have to do this alone—your mentee may have some great ideas to keep you both busy.

Don’t get too stressed about selecting activities. What you do is really not important when it comes to mentoring. Your time and presence are what make the difference.

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