The First Match Meeting

Because you will be using the group mentoring time at the beginning of each cycle to set the stage for one-to-one matching, the first meeting between the pair takes on far less significance than it does in some mentoring programs. Ideally, the pair should already know a bit about each other, be comfortable interacting, and have a bit of a spark that suggested they would be compatible.

That being said, the transition to a one-to-one relationship can be intimidating. The pair might be meeting away from the YouthBuild site for the first time. They could be trying a new activity or simply feel uncomfortable coming up with conversation topics the first time.

You may choose to have an initial one-on-one meeting between the mentor and student that is facilitated by the mentoring coordinator. This allows for all parties to get the ball rolling in a controlled and structured environment, while allowing the coordinator to reiterate program goals, rules, and expectations. The pair can discuss their own personal hopes for the relationship, share more about their values and beliefs, and set some initial plans. This also can serve as one last opportunity for the mentor or student to back out of the potential match if either of them has serious concerns.

You may want to offer icebreakers or “getting to know you” activities to help stimulate discussion and get the mentor, student (and parent if they are involved) engaged with one another. See this sample icebreaker activity (DOC) for ideas.

If the initial meeting goes well, and the match agrees to move forward, publicly recognize the commitment they have made with a matching ceremony (DOC). This can be done individually, or as part of a program-wide celebration where all mentors and mentees go through the ceremony together. You might want to base your commitment ceremony on the program principles and guidelines articulated in the sample Match Commitment Agreement (DOC).