Mentor program trains helpers
Mentoring is a relationship established for the purpose of transferring wisdom and knowledge of experienced officers to newly commissioned officers. The program provides support and structure for second year cadets to choose officer-mentors who make a commitment to work with the cadets through training and the first five years of officership. We have just completed our second year of establishing these valuable relationships.
A day of training and preparation was held recently for all of the new officer-mentors and their respective cadets. The concept of the program is that the seasoned officers will have monthly contacts with their mentorees, and that they will have personal visits twice every year over the next five years. During the morning sessions of training, Colonel Donald Sather welcomed the group and emphasized the important impact that mentoring can have on shaping the lives of newly commissioned officers. Major Linda Markiewicz also spoke to the group of 27 officers of the great need of mentoring from the perspective of needs that are evident during the early years of ministry.
The training sessions were a team effort. Captain Joe Posillico, who became an officer-mentor last year, spoke on the topic of the mentor as role-model. The mentor’s personal, spiritual and family life must resemble that which they are trying to teach to newer officers. Major Steve Owen from the Intermountain Division also spoke on mentoring roles, and how effective teaching and instruction is a crucial aspect of the relationship. Major Gordon Helms from the Pastoral Care Department then provided insight on how the mentor can be a pastor and spiritual guide to the new officer. Major Cindy Lowcock, Senior Counselor at the CFOT, talked to the group of officers about their role as counselor and encourager. To complete the instructions for mentor-officers, Dr. Jack Anderson spoke about the crucial need for establishing solid connections with the new officers. A greater number of cadets are coming into the CFOT without a long history and foundation with the Army and its culture of ministry. The conduit of support and connection by mentors provides a sense of belonging to the new officer which will help tremendously during the difficult early days of officership.
The second year cadets joined the team of officer-mentors for the afternoon sessions. They were exposed to both the structure and spirit of this vital new program from the same set of presenters. Also speaking to the entire group was Colonel Robert Tobin (R). He convincingly presented the need for mentoring by contrasting the issues facing officers in times past with our contemporary culture. After a time of sharing between cadets and officers, Major Peggy Helms led a time of prayer and commitment. The day concluded with a banquet, after which Major Doug O’Brien gave a message, challenging the cadets to make the most of the opportunities of mentoring.
It should be noted that this “official” program is not intended to supplant existing mentoring relationships that have spontaneously developed. In fact, it is hoped that more such relationships will occur at the initiative of newer officers because of the tremendous aid and encouragement that can take place. Please be in prayer for all of our cadets and lieutenants.