The ACLP Mentor Program

The Leadership Development Committee is pleased to announce that applications for the 2018 Mentor Program are now available. The Mentor Program provides ACLP members with a structured, six-month program designed to support the development and growth of child life specialists at multiple stages of their career. The program welcomes both mentors and mentees, and applicants are matched based on interests and experiences, creating the optimal foundation for joint learning. 

Certified Child Life Specialists at all clinical levels who are members of ACLP are welcome to participate. Mentorship opportunities are also available for academic child life professionals seeking opportunities to develop and enhance skills related to the academic setting. Mentors are eligible to receive 1 PDU for mentoring in the ACLP Mentor Program.

The mentor program will run from January through June, 2018. Mentees will work with their mentors to set goals at the beginning of the program, and mentors and mentees will communicate on a regular basis throughout the six months. All participants will also attend webinars about leadership development topics.

The ACLP Mentor Program application process is now closed. Current applicants will be contacted via email by late December.

 

The Mentor Program Sub-Committee welcomes questions at any time!  Please feel free to email mentorship@childlife.org.


Perceptions of Mentorship

By Jennifer Fieten

What does mentorship mean?
 
When discussing mentorship with a child life colleague recently, the conversation quickly turned to a conversation regarding professionals’ perceptions of mentorship; the ability of one to mentor. There seems to be a perception by many that to be a mentor one must have a predetermined amount of experience or a specific set of skills. The same appears to be true regarding perceptions of mentees; that to be a mentee, one must also somehow “qualify” according to some preconceived minimum experience or skill. This led me to question, “what is mentorship?” Does being a mentor somehow imply that an individual is an expert in all things, or that one must be, in order to mentor?  Or, that being a mentee somehow implies weakness? Nothing could be further from the truth. There is vulnerability in admitting a learning need, yet there is strength in recognizing and acknowledging this vulnerability.
 
Through engaging in mentorship, professionals develop and enhance skills, gain confidence, increase resilience, develop professional relationships, and focus their professional goals. While, individuals pursuing mentorship as a mentee must have a learning or development need and those pursing mentorship as a mentor must have a skill or talent that he is willing to share, the mentor relationship is far from one sided. According to Dortch (2000), mentorship “is the process of sharing personal knowledge and providing consistent reassurance” (p. 10).  Sharing being the imperative word. This changes the concept of mentorship to one where we, as child life professionals, as professionals providing support to children and families, also extend support to our fellow child lifers; investing in others’ successes. This is then something that every child life professional is capable of doing; an area where we all have a choice. As Dortch (2000) so eloquently states, “we all have the ability. The difference is how we use it” (p. 39).  
 
Are you interested in supporting a Child Life Specialist in defining and reaching their professional goals, while refining your own leadership skills? Are you seeking guidance and knowledge in a collaborative environment, as you further develop your talents as a Child Life Specialist? If you answered YES to either of these questions, the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) Mentor Program is the place to be!
 
As an integral component of the ACLP Leadership Development Committee, the Mentor Program provides both mentors and mentees with a structured, six-month program designed to support the development and growth of Child Life Specialists at multiple stages of their career. Selected mentors and mentees are matched based on interests and experiences, creating the optimal foundation for joint learning. Mentors are eligible to receive 1 PDU for mentoring in the ACLP Mentor Program.
  
Reference:
 
Dortch., Jr., T.W. (2000). The miracles of mentoring: How to encourage and lead future generations. New York, NY: Broadway Books.

Interested in Becoming a Mentor or Mentee?

By Hilary Woodward

As August begins, the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) Mentor Program Sub-Committee (part of the ACLP's Leadership Development Mega-Committee) is gearing up for another year of the ACLP Mentor Program.  Certified Child Life Specialists who are ACLP members are invited to apply as mentors or as mentees.  Mentees are child life specialists who would like support in reaching their professional goals, while mentors use their experience, knowledge, and leadership skills to provide this support.  All prospective participants fill out an application, and the mentor program sub-committee matches the mentor/mentee pairs.  
 
The mentor program will run from January-June 2018.  Mentees work with their mentors to set goals at the beginning of the program, and mentors and mentees communicate on a regular basis throughout the six months. All participants also attend webinars about leadership development topics.  
 
One of the best parts of working with the mentor program sub-committee is that I get to talk to lots of child life specialists about the benefits of becoming a mentor or a mentee.  It is wonderful to see child life specialists excited about this opportunity!  Questions often come up in these conversations, such as:
 
Q: I've only been in the field for three years, but I think I could be a good mentor.  Can I still apply?
 
A: Yes!  Mentee applicants are sometimes brand new to the field, and you might be a new child life specialist's perfect mentor match.
 
Q: I already have a terrific supervisor at my job.  Does the mentor program have anything to offer me?
 
A: Yes!  Working with a mentor is not meant to take the place of supervision.  Instead, it provides an additional opportunity to learn, grow, and problem solve with someone who likely has had similar experiences.  Past participants in the program report that they enjoy gaining an outside perspective and building a new connection within the field of child life.  Something else to consider: a CCLS who has experienced excellent supervision can benefit from being a mentee, but they might also have a lot to offer as a mentor!
 
Q: Can I be a mentor if I do not have a formal leadership role in my institution?  Can I be a mentee if a formal leadership role is not my career goal?
 
A: Yes and yes!  All child life specialists (whether in a clinical, managerial, academic, or alternative role) can utilize leadership skills to become advocates and role models for improving psychosocial care for children and families.  Mentor/mentee pairs will work together to set goals that are a good fit.  Regardless of the role you play at your current workplace, you are welcome to apply to the mentor program.
 
Mentoring


Frequently Asked Questions about the Mentor Program