BuShips:CO Manual/Mentorship

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Mentorship Program

There is a program dedicated to pairing inexperienced chapter COs with experienced current and former chapter COs, preferably within the same fleet. With this partnership, the experienced CO can teach the new CO some tips, procedures, and tools that they’ve used to make their own chapter work well. This is a new program available and we’re excited to have mentors ready to pass on their knowledge.

Being Assigned a Mentor

As a brand-new CO, you may request to be assigned a mentor for a minimum of six months. The mentor will monitor your progress and be there to answer questions or concerns arising from the goings on in your chapter. They can help you from everything from how to file a chapter report, to generating ideas for activities, how to navigate disputes between crew members, ship growth and recruiting. We will try our best to ensure your mentor is at least within the same fleet, as to provide someone more or less local to you to facilitate easier communications.

Less often, a chapter CO may be required to be paired up with a mentor if they fail to file chapter reports or make decisions affecting the chapter without consulting the crew. This is a step towards chapter and CO retention; we want you to do well, and we want to give you an opportunity to learn the process and keep your chapter. You may also request to retain a mentor if after six months you still feel unsure about operations. You may either ask your mentor to see if they would be willing to be retained, or you may request a different mentor to learn new things.

Send your request for a mentor to mentorship@buships.trmn.org.

Becoming a Mentor

Being a mentor can make a very real difference in the success of a new chapter and a new CO. Understanding what leadership is, in particular in relation to a fan group, is absolutely essential. There may be a time where you want to become a mentor yourself: you have come up with tools and procedures that you would like to share with others and have a good sense of leadership.

What the role involves:

  1. Be available to answer questions. This doesn’t mean hover over your FB messenger in the hopes a question is forthcoming, it does mean checking in every week or every other week with your mentee, or whatever schedule you have agreed upon, and making sure everything is going well. If a question is asked, try to get to it in a day, at least respond if you need to find out more information and can’t answer it right that second.
  2. Be patient, a mentee might ask a question you have already answered. Real life happens, people forget things, and honestly this is a fandom which means real life comes first, fandom comes second. Even so, still answer, this is a responsibility that is undertaken by being a mentor.
  3. Don’t give an answer when you do not know. You will have materials and resources to help you answer questions, utilize them. If you can’t find what you are looking for, ask and have your mentee watch you ask and search for the answer. We do not expect mentors to know everything, we do expect them to find out and give correct information to their mentees.

BuShips operates the mentorship program but works with fleet leadership on accepting mentors and pairing them with mentees. Those wishing to be a mentor should:

  1. Provide a letter of recommendation from a direct superior officer, or someone above the CO in their chain of command with plenty of detail to highlight consistency in submitting reports, punctual promotions, and frequent recognition of crew members, and examples of the potential mentor dealing with difficult situations/people. Email to mentorship@buships.trmn.org or attach to your application.
  2. Provide a letter of recommendation from a crew member who has served under the prospective mentor. This letter must highlight actual and detailed examples of good leadership. Email to mentorship@buships.trmn.org or attach to your application.
  3. At least 1 full year of experience as CO of a chapter.
  4. A completed application.

Program Outline

Mentors shall have no more than two new mentees at a time, however after the 6 month period they may remain on call for a mentee if both parties agree. In this case, a new third mentee could be added to the mentor’s workload. However, this arrangement will need to be approved by the Director of the Mentorship Program in advance.

Pairings of mentor and mentee will be made within 2 weeks from the mentee’s request. Should the mentee not hear back by the 15th day, please escalate your request to cos@buships.trmn.org.

Pairings will involve the fleet CO the Mentee is under, the fleet liaison, and the Director’s Office to best serve the Mentee. If a fleet does not have a mentor/BuShips liaison, then they should contact the mentorship office in order to be paired with a mentor. Fleet COs should be kept informed of each pairing and kept up to date of the new CO’s progress.

Ideally, a mentor should check in with their Mentee once a week. A mentee will get the most out of the program by keeping their mentor aware of what is going on in the chapter on everything from ideas for activities, recruitment, and exams to personality conflicts or crew difficulties. The mentor will need to assist the mentee in coming up with solutions to each challenge or help seek out solutions to a challenge that needs to be resolved. A meeting with the Director of Mentorship will be required at the end of the minimum 6 month period, so that mentors and mentees can give an assessment of the process. This is so that we can continue to improve the program and so that we can better pair our mentors in the future.

Should the mentor and mentee, on either side, not work well together they can request reassignment through the Director of Mentorship office. Should a reassignment be necessary it will not be seen negatively; it is well understood that there will be personalities that do not get along well. This program is meant to be a method of support and assistance to new COs, not a chore to suffer through. Reassignment requests will involve sending an email to the Director’s office with the other party carbon copied (cc’d) for record keeping and clarity purposes.

In situations where the mentee is in a task force or task group, the COs of the TF or TG, as appropriate, will also be kept abreast and have a voice in the mentorship pairing through the Director’s office, though not directly. A mentor must be given the freedom to mentor their charge without others stepping in. Each Change of Command CO will be kept informed as in accordance with CoC.

As part of the Director’s responsibilities, they will serve as a mentor to the mentors. While this means the Director will help mentors get through sticky situations they might not personally have run up against, it does not mean the Director will dictate how a mentor will do their job. Unless a mentor is abusing their position, a Director will allow the mentor to fulfill their duties as they see fit.