Co-mentorship: It Goes Both Ways

Last September, I began my Minnesota GreenCorps service year with Climate Generation, excited to take on a new project and meet new people.

After months of Zoom video calls, event planning, organizing meetings, and travelling across the state I’ve found that working with young people through the Youth Convening Minnesota project and Youth Environmental Activists of MN (YEA! MN) has been an eye-opening experience for me. One of my main roles at Climate Generation has been to support young people in taking action on climate change.

This year, I’ve come across  the idea of co-mentorship. In the climate movement, I think that this term really captures the value and hard work that youth bring to the table. Co-mentorship, rather than just mentorship, also implies that the relationship you are building is based on an exchange of ideas and learnings that goes both ways. As staff members of Climate Generation, there is a lot we can learn from the experiences, ideas, and creativity of young people.

Moments that have stood out to me from this year include when young people were recognized among their own community as leaders; whether it was getting a handshake from the mayor for putting on a successful event, coverage in the media, or support from important community partners. Their leadership and initiative is inspiring to me as both a staff member of Climate Generation and a young professional, who is still trying to find her place in this movement.

They push me to be more committed to taking action, and to be someone who doesn’t just enjoy the environment but who actively utilizes and fosters leadership to create change.

This summer I had the opportunity to support two high school interns in our office through the YWCA’s Girls Inc. Eureka! Internship — a program focused on supporting girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). These students completed a four-week internship in our office, creating an amazing StoryMap using ArcGIS software to create a narrative about the Greenway Building and the organizations housed within (including Climate Generation’s office!) To complete their project, the interns conducted interviews with most of the organizations in our building, asking questions about their work and how they interact with the surrounding community. It was great to see these students take leadership in and ownership of this project and step out of their comfort zones just a little. While many organizations in our building know of one another, this StoryMap was a chance to foster our building’s community and showcase the amazing work that each organization is doing.

I’m excited to continue my work with these amazing young people as Climate Generation’s Youth Programs Specialist, and look forward to continually being inspired to strive for a better, more resilient, and more just future.

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