. .   Mentorship - BIG .     .

Are you interested in developing new connections? Building a relationship with someone who is part of the LGBTQ community? Advancing your personal, athletic, and professional goals with the help of an experienced LGBTQ athlete? The GO! Athletes Mentorship Program offers support to current and former student athletes through the lens of the LGBTQ community.

Introduction   The GO! Athletes Mentorship Program will address the frequently made request for a mentorship program for LGBTQ-identified current and former student athletes. It will serve as a way to engage our former student athletes after graduation, and provide opportunities for new learning and growth of both mentors and mentees.

Mission   The mission of the GO! Athletes Mentorship Program is to serve the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, and Queer (LGBTQ) community by building productive and supportive professional relationships in college and recreational athletics, as well as community involvement between current and former LGBTQ athletes and coaches. Mentees and mentors are matched to support and connect with other LGBTQ athletes to provide a safe space and forum for open dialogue, support, and empowerment. Mentors and mentees represent a wide variety of athletic experiences and personal backgrounds. The Mentorship Program comfortably integrates sexual and gender identity into all facets of athletics, community activities, and roles. Mentors help mentees explore their personal interests, navigate being out or not out in particular spaces, share their story if so desired, learn leadership skills for working within the LGBTQ sports movement, and establish a sense of community.

 

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Do I have to be “out” to be a mentor? Do I have to be “out” to be a mentee?

Many LGBTQ folks navigate “outness” in multiple ways with their family, teammates and classmates, and community. If you believe you have life experience which may be helpful to athletes seeking mentors in LGBTQ issues, you should apply to be a mentor. If you have questions about your own journey in coming out in athletics where it may be helpful to seek mentors in LGBTQ issues, then you should apply to be a mentee.

What is the commitment?

Mentors and mentees should expect a two-contact commitment, meaning an initial conversation and a follow up. For some people, this will be enough. Commitments can be longer if the mentor and mentee mutually agree that it would be beneficial. If the mentor and mentee do not “click” mentors and mentees may seek out new connections by contacting the Mentorship Coordinator.

How do you pair mentors and mentees?

Applicants indicate their interests in an essay and share their demographic preferences on the application. The Mentorship Coordinator reviews applications and attempts to pair mentors/mentees based on shared interests. Matches will vary depending on a number of factors, which may include but aren’t limited to sport, level of play, sexual identity, gender identity, racial and ethnic identification and other relevant factors.  Matches are made on a rolling basis.

How do I know who I was assigned to/who is my mentor/mentee?

Mentors and mentees will receive correspondence from the Mentorship Coordinators introducing them to their pair, with contact information, demographics, and essays that were used to apply.

May I request a specific mentor/mentee?

Applicants may request a specific mentor/mentee or bring an existing mentorship relationship to the program if both the mentor and the mentee mutually request one another.

What are the responsibilities of a mentor/mentee?

Commit to reach out at least two times to discuss professional/personal goals, identify opportunities, and support each other across identities.  

I’m not out my team. Will my confidentiality be maintained?

When you apply to the program, only the GO! Athletes Mentorship Coordinators review your application. Only your assigned mentor will be aware that you are a part of the program. Because the program is a part of GO! Athletes, the organization will have awareness that you are participating, but this information will not be shared with anyone outside of the coordinators of the program.  

Are the interactions of mentors and mentees confidential?

Mentee(s) and mentor(s) will complete a confidentiality agreement form. Partners may accept the terms as they are, build upon them, or establish a completely new agreement.  

Will I ever meet my mentor/mentee face to face?

Mentors/mentees are encouraged to meet face-to-face if they are located near each other. GO! Athletes will host an exclusive reception for mentors/mentees once a year at the LGBT Sports Summit for them to meet each other. Information about the meet up will be communicated to the participants in advance.  

When do I apply to be a mentor/mentee? 

GO! Athletes will be accepting applications for both mentor and mentees starting November 2015 and will commence the pairing process immediately after. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and pairs will be made when there is a good match.  

How do I withdraw from the program or formally end the mentorship pairing? 

Contact the Mentorship Coordinator to report reasons for withdrawal. Correspondence will be sent to your assigned mentor/mentee informing them of the change in pairing and withdrawal from the program. Participants that withdraw must complete an evaluation form, which will assist in future matching processes.  

How is the program evaluated?

At the end of each mentoring term or when a mentor/mentee chooses to terminate the formal mentoring relationship, mentors/mentees will evaluate the program using an online evaluation process. If a participant chooses to withdraw from the program earlier, the evaluation will be sent at the time of withdrawal.  

What resources are available?

GO! Athletes provides resources to mentors to assist them in the mentorship process. Mentors will be trained prior to receiving a mentee. We also work to find credible and affirming local resources in the area which mentors/mentees reside.  

Why should I be a mentee/mentor?

Mentors/Mentees have the opportunity to develop a one-on-one relationship, network with others in the athletic community, and gather at the reception for mentors/mentees during the LGBT Sports Summit. Mentees get to learn the experiences of other athletes, coaches, and members of the LGBTQ community.    

   
Mentoring Arrow - Want Down
Mentoring Arrow- Need Down

What are the responsibilities of being a mentor?

1. Agree to serve as a mentor, which is a commitment to reach out to their mentee(s) at least two times through coaching, guiding, and training.

2. Accept mentor training and connections as appropriate.

3. Maintain confidentiality as expressed in the confidentiality agreement.

4. Act as a sounding board for the mentee’s ideas, goals and aspirations.

5. Offer options and resources to mentee(s) on GO! Athletes values and expectations as appropriate.

6. Provide opportunities for mentee(s) to reflect on the challenges and opportunities for athletes with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities in sports.

7. Provide openness to new discoveries and possibilities for the mentee as well as exploring the potential of mentee(s) in their athletic and educational aspirations.

8. Offer options and resources to mentee(s) on matters relating to their personal development

9. Work with mentee(s) to identify academic and professional opportunities.

10. Reach agreement with mentee(s) on a schedule of regular mentor/mentee meetings.

11. Be available to discuss the problems and concerns of mentee(s) as they occur.

12. Provide feedback to mentee(s) regarding their strengths and challenges.

13. Connect their mentee(s) to relevant sport, advocacy, and leadership opportunities.

14. Support mentee(s) in establishing a network of support and advising across identities, athletic interests and disciplines.

15. Maintain professional communication relevant to navigating identity.

16. Maintain an appropriate relationship. Avoid sexual contact of any kind, communication on sexual or dating apps and sites, and dating. Report any inappropriate advances, contact, or conversations to Mentorship Coordinator.

17. Report any mental health emergencies or content outside of the scope of your mentorship agreement.

 

What are the responsibilities of being a mentee?

1. Reach an agreement with your mentor on a schedule of regular mentor/mentee meetings.

2. Reach out to your mentor at least twice for encouragement, friendship, guidance and coaching.

3. Set reasonable expectations and goals and make every effort to achieve goals

4. Be prepared to ask for specific guidance and feedback on your goals, plans and strategic ideas. The more specific you can be, the more you will gain from your relationship with your mentor.

5. Take the initiative to ask for feedback. Demonstrate that you are open to hear new ideas and suggestions to bring out your best and overcome any blind spots.

6. Share with your mentor how you prefer to receive feedback (for example, direct, with humor, softened).

7. Respect your mentor’s wishes for confidentiality, and always be honest with your mentor.

8. Understand that your mentor may have a different style than you, and respect that.

9. Get to know your mentor – their achievements, strengths, weaknesses, and other information they share.

10. Prepare yourself to move beyond your mentoring connection, once it has served its purpose. Be sure to end on a positive note.

11. Keep the door open to return to your mentor for assistance or feedback at a future time.

12. Ask your mentor to help build your support network.

13. Be supportive of your mentor. At times, they may need you just as much as you need them. Offer to help.

14. Maintain an appropriate relationship. void sexual contact of any kind, communication on sexual or dating apps and sites, and dating. Report any inappropriate advances, contact, or conversations to Mentorship Coordinator.

15. Mentees under the age of 18 must obtain permission from parent/guardian in writing. Permission will be confirmed by phone.

GO! Panel Discussion at 2013 Nike Summit-BIG