Make an Impact by Leading with a Mentoring Mindset — Episode 150

By Cort Jones and Christina High | Posted on January 23, 2024

Episode 150 410

Pictured (left to right): Char Barnes, Kent Hunt and Katlin Okamoto

As you may know, January is National Mentoring Month, and all month long, NRPA has been sharing content around how mentoring through parks and recreation is helping youth develop positive connections with trusted and caring adults, which we know can support their long-term success.

National Mentoring Month is an annual opportunity to spread awareness of the power of mentoring. It serves as a reminder of the critical role park and recreation professionals play in providing youth development and youth mentoring services in local communities across the country.

We were thrilled to have a conversation with three individuals who have a lot of experience when it comes to the power of mentoring: Katlin Okamoto, director of Coach-Mentor Training at U.S. Soccer Foundation; Char Barnes, a park and recreation professional who previously worked in Columbus, Ohio; and Kent Hunt, NRPA’s program manager of health.

These three shared some wonderful insight on mentoring, and while they all shared from different perspectives, it all boiled down to one thing: Mentoring is essential, and park and recreation professionals are likely already serving as mentors in their communities, whether they realize it or not.

Tune in to our full conversation below to hear from Katlin, Char and Kent. You’ll also learn:

  • How mentoring changes the lives of youth and adults
  • What it means to have a “mentoring mindset”
  • How to embrace and implement a mentoring mindset approach in your programs
  • Advice for starting a mentoring program in your community
  • Resources available to support your mentoring programs
  • And much more!

Listen to the episode for the full story.

Have feedback about this episode or Open Space Radio overall? Share it with us!

If you enjoyed this episode or learned something that might help you make a positive impact in your community, please consider donating to NRPA to support not only our storytelling efforts but also our mission to advance parks, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all at

Donate Today