What is the Mentor program?
WIAS is a network of skydiving women and men, committed to building the participation and retention of women, through skill-building and inclusion.
Mentoring is nothing new, particularly in sport. We’ve all turned to an experienced friend or colleague for advice, especially when we’re learning something new or facing a new challenge. The WIAS Mentor program follows this concept in a more structured way, to help guide skydivers through a challenging learning process.
Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship, in which an experienced skydiver helps a newer member on the pathway to achieve their goals. It’s confidential and it usually takes about one hour per month (in person or via phone/skype) over six months. The mentor focuses on the needs of the mentee and gives them options to help them find their own direction.
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”- John Crosby
AIMS OF THE PROGRAM
- To achieve a higher retention rate for women in skydiving.
- To ensure women of all experience levels feel they are part of a vibrant, inclusive culture that provides equal opportunities.
- To encourage women in skydiving to achieve respected roles in leadership, instruction, coaching and competition.
HOW WILL WE ACHIEVE OUR AIMS?
Using the WIAS Mentor program to inform and support newer skydivers
Using the WIAS Mentor program as a communication network between mentors and mentees
Identifying ways of upskilling women and developing leadership skills to take on leadership roles
Supporting events and projects that are directed to these goals
Using existing APF tools – website/ASM/email broadcast – to promote women doing great things in our sport.
WE AIM TO AVOID
Tokenism – This program is not just about pretty pictures of happy women waving around the pink logo. It is a genuine effort to improve women’s skills and sense of achievement in our sport, seeking tangible results for retaining women of all experience levels.
Reverse sexism – In working to be inclusive towards women, we must not be anti-men. Where practical, we’d encourage any female focussed events and projects to embrace any men in the sport who share our goals.
Free kicks – It is never necessary to lower standards of competition, instruction or any other standard expected in the APF merely to give a woman an opportunity.
Who needs a mentor?
Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship which involves a more experienced person helping a less experienced person to achieve their goals.
- Is a relationship that focuses on the needs of the mentee
- Encourages all mentees to develop to their fullest potential
“ Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”- John Crosby
Who will know that I’ve got a mentor?
Only the APF and those that you tell. The mentor relationship is strictly confidential unless you want it to be otherwise.
Can I choose my mentee/mentor?
If you have a person in mind for this, you may both apply to the APF for the program but you will need to fill in the questionnaire and follow the same process as others. We may find you a more suitable match.
Is there payment for my services as a mentor?
No, you’re doing it for the love of the sport! Good karma will pay dividends
Do I have to pay anything to be a mentee?
No, this is a benefit of your membership with the APF, as long as you’re a current financial member.
What happens if the mentor relationship doesn’t work out?
Mentoring relies on mutual respect. Although being similar types of people is not essential, valuing the characteristics that each brings to the relationship is. However, sometimes it doesn’t matter how much goodwill existed at the outset, clashing personalities can come to the fore. Opposing ways of doing things can be beneficial and a relationship where there are constant challenges and disagreements can have positive results. If your issues in the relationship are not resolvable, or you require assistance to resolve them, contact the APF for advice.
How do we meet?
You can meet at a location that is convenient to both of you. This can be face to face (Preferable) or over the phone, but it should be at a comfortable place without distractions. A bustling drop zone is probably not the best place to meet, unless you can find a private area.
Do we only meet once a month or will my mentor be available by phone and email when I need them?
Your mentor’s time is valuable, but if you ask nicely and with some notice she may agree to be available for ad hoc discussions as required.
Do I need to know my goals before I get a mentor?
No, but if you already have goals in mind – great! If you don’t have any specific goals before you start, this is all part of the discovery process.
What if I change my mind?
It’s natural to change your mind and decide that you have new goals or don’t need your mentor any more. You should include your mentor in these decisions as they are there to assist you objectively and won’t take it personally.
What if I can’t or don’t want to finish the mentoring program?
Let your mentor know as soon as possible and they will inform the APF. Your mentor will ask you questions and see if this is the right decision for you, so be prepared to be honest as all feedback is gratefully accepted. Be assured that your mentor won’t take this break-up personally!
Will my mentor encourage me not to do things that I want to do?
Your mentor’s role is to remain objective and not influence your choices, except to help you to analyse your options and opportunities. Your mentor doesn’t have a hidden agenda or ulterior motives but will probe you by asking the right questions to ensure your decisions are well thought out.
Do I have to be friends with my mentor/mentee?
While many people develop long-lasting friendships as a result of the mentoring partnership, it doesn't always happen naturally. Mentoring is a relationship between two people who mutually respect each other and there are professional boundaries. Participating in a mentorship does not mean that you have to offer or will receive special opportunities in the sport that others may not.
What can a mentor do for me?
- A mentor will share experiences and valuable lessons to help you deal with similar decisions that they encountered
- Will assist you to develop your progression and achievements in the sport with a range of advice and expertise
- Will build confidence, raise self-esteem and push you to find opportunities to succeed
- Be a sounding board for problem solving and discuss different approaches and narrow down the options
- Can help you integrate easily in the skydiving community – discuss experiences with fitting in at your DZ or breaking into a new group with confidence
- Provide support with whatever it is that is important to you in skydiving (or discovering what that is)