query: mentoring organizers

colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Wed Jan 21 09:05:03 CST 2004

[ed:  thanks to James for the thoughts on Steve's query.]

From: James Whelan <james.whelan at griffith.edu.au>

Hi Comm-Org folk - and Steve in particular

I can also recall very clearly the rapid transition from being mentored to 
consciously mentoring. I didn't feel ready but was pushed in that 
direction. Social movements turn over so rapidly - after a year or two 
you can be seen as an old-timer.  

Since making the partial transition from front-line / fulltime organising to 
work in research, I've developed a six month course in environmental 
advocacy that includes an internship scheme. This provides an 
opportunity for participants to experience campaigns first-hand and 
analyse strategies and tactics, as well as mentoring with/from 
experienced advocates. I'm just starting the course for its second run. 
Feedback from the first cohort suggested the experience was 
challenging and powerful learning.  

I'd be pleased to share the guidelines/structure for this internship 


Dr James Whelan
Faculty of Environmental Science, Griffith University
Rm 0.28C Environment 1, Nathan Campus 4111 Queensland  Australia
T 07 3875 7457     F 07 3875 7459  M 0439 875 859 
James.Whelan at griffith.edu.au 

Theme Leader, Citizen Science
* CRC for Coastal Zone, Estuary and Waterway Management 

Environmental advocacy course @ Griffith Uni March-June 

> From: "Steve Taylor" <steve at miltoxproj.org>
> Hello all -
> At some point in my life and my career as an organizer, I seem to
> have changed from being someone who had mentors and was primarily
> focused on learning knowledge and skills into someone who also
> mentors others and tries to pass on knowledge and skills. This
> has naturally come as somewhat of a challenge for me, and I do
> struggle a bit with the balance between encouraging others and
> letting them make their own decisions and mistakes, but also
> trying to help things go well and offer my own suggestions when
> appropriate.  
> So I'm very interested in what other people's experiences have
> been as mentors and teachers of organizers (both paid and
> unpaid), as well as what people's experiences have been as
> learners and mentees (is that a word?). (And naturally I
> recognize that we all do learn from each other, regardless of our
> backgrounds, experience, etc.)  
> Any advice or perspectives about all this would be much
> appreciated and I think helpful to the list at large.  
> Steve Taylor
> National Organizer
> Military Toxics Project
> 207-783-5091 (phone)
> www.miltoxproj.org
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