Applications for our 2019-20 mentor program are now open! For those applying in September, meetings will begin in October and last through June, although applications will remain open all year round! Sound cool? Here is the link to apply.
The idea behind our Mentor Program is to provide positive role models for younger people in debate in order to decrease the number of marginalized dropping out of speech and debate as a whole. Many teams have large disparities between the number of, for example, womxn competing and the number of men competing. When you are in an atmosphere where you are subject to discrimination and excluded, with no one to help out, it sucks. We know firsthand how demoralizing it all can be, but we promise you aren’t in it alone. We hope that this program will give people across the nation access to positive role models to help them progress as speechies and debaters and offer them the support that they might not have on their teams.
The bottom line is that debate is a lot more fun with friends, and we aspire to help people from all backgrounds connect with each other, and more importantly, with people like themselves.
Note: This is not a free coaching service. The primary purpose is to create a support system for marginalized groups in debate. If specific mentees want help with drills, case edits, or any other debate skills, we will do our best to provide them a mentor who meets those needs.
Who can be mentors?
Mentors are people who are somewhere between junior year of high school and senior year of college, who have at least three years of experience in debate. Mentors MUST be able to commit to messaging their mentee at least once every week and calling (over skype) their mentee at least every other week. If we feel a mentor applicant is not ready to be a mentor, we may suggest for them to participate as a mentee for one cycle of the program before becoming a mentor.
*We will still evaluate applications of those who are outside of the age perimeters but will not tolerate any falsification of information on this, or any, section of the application.
What do mentors do?
The mentor’s role is to provide support for their mentee by advising them in debate matters from things as small as helping choose outfits before tournaments or checking up on them between rounds to discussing what it means to stay in debate or how to cope with demoralizing or even dangerous experiences. While mentors are not required to provide coaching, they can teach or facilitate practices with their mentee if they choose.
Who can be a mentee?
Absolutely anyone can be a mentee as long as we can find a mentor for them! Given that our mentor:mentee ratio remains roughly 60:40, this is hardly ever a problem. Mentors will be more experienced than their mentee and matches are tailored to the specific goals of the mentee (ex: if a mentee wants to do well at national circuit tournaments, we will pair them with someone who has experienced that. If you want a mentor who has dealt with similar issues from teammates, we will find someone who is prepared to help).
How does the program work?
Mentors and mentees will be paired up by the two heads of the mentor program. The data shared on these forms will remain 100% confidential, even within the organization (e.g. If you are LGBT+ and want a mentor who you can confide in without risking being outed, we will guarantee that we match you up with someone). We will ask mentors and mentees to send in monthly progress reports so we can make sure all is running smoothly, and will always be available to troubleshoot issues. Periodically, we will have group calls with multiple partnerships to check-in.
PF Only (for now): If both the mentor and the mentee want, they can contribute a to a shared block file. The mentee gets experience answering arguments and also gets a fair deal of prep out of it. We will also host weekly opportunities for people to work on drills together, and a slack channel dedicated to practice rounds.
How are mentors and mentees paired up?
We will use a survey down below to pair up mentors and mentees. The perfection of the match obviously depends on the pool of applicants, but we will try our best to set up mentees with mentors that fit their specific needs!