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CIRCLE Mentoring Camp

August 16, 2013

	The mentors and mentees gathered together on Thursday afternoon before finishing their week of camp at the lake.  
 FULDA FREE PRESS/Carol Schrieber
FULDA FREE PRESS/Carol Schrieber
The mentors and mentees gathered together on Thursday afternoon before finishing their week of camp at the lake.
Mentors begin year with mentees
“Mentors are needed,” Jessica Velasco said as the CIRCLE mentoring camp was held last week in Worthington. High school mentors were becoming acquainted with elementary children in need of good role models at the camp sponsored by the Nobles County Integration Collaborative.

“The high school students had a training in mid-July, to let them know what is expected and what they may encounter,” Velasco said. Last week, the high school students met the youngsters in need of mentors, and began their program.

The camp began last Monday, and was held during the afternoons. Crafts, park and water activities and making new friends were among the activities during the week.

On Thursday, the high school and elementary students were paired off to be part of the CIRCLE mentoring program during this year. After the week’s activities, “we were able to find out who has made connections with others, and pair them off,” Velasco indicated.

Also on Thursday, CIRCLE of Courage awards were given to the youngsters “for doing something out of their comfort zone.” Children may have helped someone else to be more comfortable and to talk, or may have had a smile on their face all week. For many reasons, the youngsters were given awards.

Mentors are asked to have contact, with at least a phone call, one time per week, and plan an outing one time each month. “They can do more if desired,” Velasco encouraged. Additional large group activities will be scheduled, perhaps at Halloween and Christmas.

Elementary age students, first through fifth grade, are recommended by their teachers and/or counselors on the basis of attendance, self-esteem, grades and personal hygiene.

Mentors must be a junior or senior in high school and be a good role model. Mentors chose to do so for a variety of reasons. “To help someone,” “to meet people,” and “for the experience” were a few of those mentioned.

“We have to be able to connect with the child,” said Maggie Sanchez, a second year mentor from Worthington. Having come ‘full circle,’ as one who was mentored as a child, Maggie is glad to be able to help youngsters. “We have to look for ways to be connected,” she added.

Velasco has been an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow through the Minnesota Alliance with Youth. Jessica works with middle school and high school students at the Worthington Middle School and the Alternative Learning Center. She has been with the Nobles County Integration Collaborative (NCIC) for about two years.

NCIC is a collaborative effort between the schools in Nobles Country and the surrounding area. For more information about the CIRCLE mentoring program, contact Velasco.

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