NRPA supports efforts to expand mentoring opportunities through parks and recreation by providing training, guidance, resources and professional development opportunities, which include in-person and virtual learning events, to the field. These opportunties help advance an agency and community-wide “mentoring mindset.” Park and recreation professionals are regularly interacting with youth in a variety of roles — youth sports coaches, afterschool and summer program leaders, employers of youth, environmental educators, etc. Applying a mentoring mindset and equipping park and recreation professionals with additional skills, competencies and confidence to serve as mentors in these roles provides another opportunity to advance social-emotional learning and positive youth development.
NRPA’s Youth Mentoring Framework helps local park and recreation agencies craft their own unique, individualized mentoring programs. It is designed to help your agency leverage local park and recreation assets that build protective factors around at-risk youth, while also forming strong social connections and positive relationships to address trauma, adversity and other challenges that youth experience.
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Mentoring in Parks and Recreation: A Best Practice Guide highlights the best practices for establishing effective mentoring practices that park and recreation professionals can use to implement programs at their agencies.
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The Mentor Training Resource provides park and recreation professionals who are implementing youth mentoring programs with the tools and skills necessary to successfully train additional staff and community members to serve as mentors.
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The Mentoring in Parks and Recreation: Strategies to Engage Families and Caregivers resource is designed to help park and recreation professionals and other youth mentoring service providers integrate family engagement components into youth mentoring programs. This resource explores the importance of family/caregiver engagement and relationships, highlights key considerations for planning and developing family engagement activities, explores family engagement strategies that can be integrated into mentoring, and identifies common challenges of family engagement and how to overcome them.
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The Closing the Mentoring Relationship: Guidance and Best Practices for Park and Recreation Programs guide helps prepare park and recreation staff to understand and implement best practices related to mentor/mentee closure, ensuring relationships end with positive outcomes for all.
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The Mentorship for Rural Youth Impacted by Opioids in the Appalachia Region brief discusses the impact of opioid misuse in the Appalachian region and explores the ongoing work of NRPA’s Youth Mentoring Initiative. This initiative addresses and mitigates the risks associated with opioid use disorder for children and adolescents through the implementation of a youth mentorship program.
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Please note: These resources are not a prescription. Each local park and recreation agency should ensure that their mentoring program reflects the needs of youth in the local community, the unique community culture and the assets at your organization’s disposal.