I just had a great meeting with a new friend, Ben Bost. Ben is a pro golfer who works with FCA in Phoenix, Arizona, and focuses on mentoring young golfers. We met in Tulsa, as Ben was meeting with a community of student golfers (all seniors in high school) and investing in these athletes, helping them not only with their golf game, but in the game of life.
I was not only intrigued by the niche he has chosen, but by the intuitive changes he’s made in how he draws and connects with young people today. Ben believes, as we do at Growing Leaders, that leaders must do things differently than we once did:
1. Students are transformed through mentoring relationships not big meetings.
2. Athletes are naturally influential and must be developed in their character.
3. We must go about this development differently than we did ten years ago.
Ben told me, “We used to host a regular breakfast meeting, serve pancakes and get a professional athlete to talk to the students afterwards. It was good, but not great. Today, it just doesn’t draw young people they way it used to.”
So Ben has mixed it up. He now has a cluster of high school golfers join him at a PGA tournament. With the influence of PGA golfer, Tom Lehman, these teens get to slip under the ropes, meet and get close to the professionals, caddy for them and interact with them before and after the match to learn how they got to where they are. It’s an experience of a lifetime not a pancake breakfast for an hour. In the words of Leonard Sweet—it’s EPIC mentoring for today’s student:
E – Experiential
P – Participatory
I – Image rich
C – Connected
Parents get to come along and watch. They often talk to Ben after tournaments and say, “Whatever impact you think you have on these students—multiply it by ten and you are closer to reality.” Their lives are changed.
Ben doesn’t claim to have a corner on the market on connecting with the next generation. He just knows, with a little more effort—any mentor relationship can be an unforgettable experience that is interactive and engaging to the “mentee.”
What are you doing that’s different and engaging for students? How are you providing a memorable experience for them? How deeply are you impacting their lives by going deeper with them in their own growth? How are you meeting both felt needs and real needs in their journey?
I’ve just been challenged myself to take it to the next level.