January 31, 2020

Debuting Our Depth Mentoring Institute

Brendan Hill

Brendan is the National Marketing & Communications Manager at Summer Search.

It’s National Mentoring Month — a time when organizations across the country highlight the powerful and positive effects that mentoring relationships can have on young people’s lives.

It’s also a chance to shine the light on (and express our profound gratitude towards) Summer Search’s dedicated, professionally-trained mentors — the ones who take tremendous care to build and maintain those authentic and long-lasting relationships with our students!

And speaking of professionally-trained, above you’ll see the enthusiastic faces of a group of Summer Search staff during a week-long intensive workshop — what we’re calling our Depth Mentoring Institute!

Over the years, we have learned an enormous amount from students and staff about what best supports them both in their growth. We’ve also been investing in the development and well-being of our mentors and staff, thanks to the generous support of the Jolene McCaw Family Foundation.

In response we have evolved our mentoring approach to meet the realities faced by our young people. That approach is Depth Mentoring — a practice focusing on four integrated knowledge areas, including social/emotional intelligence and identity formation.

Our vision is to codify our Depth Mentoring practice through the creation of a Summer Search Institute. Initially the Institute will better serve current Summer Search mentors and students by strengthening our Depth Mentoring practice internally.


Summer Search mentors and program staff training on implementing Depth Mentoring.

So in December 2019, after years of development, collecting feedback, and codifying, we gathered a handful of staff from across our network for our first ever ‘train the trainer’ course on Depth Mentoring. Specifically, this learning space focused on:

  • Integrating Depth Mentoring into Summer Search’s program model.
  • Developing safety guidelines that are student-centric and trauma-informed.
  • ‘Training the trainer’ on group development and facilitation, so mentors can bring their learnings back to their local sites.

Our longer-term vision for the Institute is to offer similar trainings to a wide variety of outside partners and audiences, serving as an external resource center for other youth-serving professionals in the field.

Stay tuned for more on Summer Search’s Depth Mentoring Institute!


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