Fueled by their successes in the water and their new identities as environmentally conscious surfers, our students get stoked on life. They begin to see brighter possible futures and set higher goals for themselves. They aspire to become good citizens, role models, and potential community leaders. Becoming a Junior Mentor is one of the first goals many of them set.

Junior Mentors are former Spirit Sessions students who demonstrate strong leadership potential and are positive role models for their peers. Junior Mentors are paid staff members who help run Spirit Sessions and are in charge of managing all materials, distributing rash guards, recording attendance, taking photos and leading beach cleanups. They play a crucial role, serving as liaisons between staff members, mentors and youth. According to our youth, the title itself represents highly desirable status among our students, and the pay is considered a secondary bonus.

Becoming a Junior Mentor

To become a Junior Mentor, students are usually nominated by current Junior Mentors and mentors and approved by staff. Candidates are invited to return to Spirit Sessions as unpaid Junior Mentor Interns to complete a 40-hour internship where they are trained by Junior Mentors. Junior Mentor Interns must learn the job and be consistently responsible and prove they can be depended on before they are promoted to Junior Mentor.

Junior Mentors and Interns also participate in program development, fundraising activities, and community outreach and speaking opportunities. Junior Mentors and Interns are first-tier candidates for job referrals to other employers.

Junior Mentors “Champions in Training” Speakers Bureau

Our youth are rich in experience in overcoming challenges. Many have survived homelessness, poverty, have battled and overcome addictions, and are in the throes of substantial changes. They learn that their experiences make them strong and that they can teach and inspire others.

Spirit Sessions youth are sometimes invited to share their personal stories about learning to redirect their lives despite extreme challenges and tragic obstacles that average people rarely face and many youth are sheltered from. Audiences gain a greater appreciation for their blessings and begin to reconsider how they view others.

Junior Mentors speak to potential students and parents about their experiences in the program as role models and leaders. They also attend community outreach events, representing Surfrider Spirit Sessions as champions of positive change. Most importantly they tell their story at fundraisers, speaking engagements with donors or potential supporters, and represent our youth at special events.

Job Experience and Employment Skills

The Junior Mentor program builds youth confidence and provides them with essential employment skills and experience they can use in finding employment resources and opportunities. Spirit Sessions provide a practice ground for learning how to communicate effectively and appropriately, asking for help and accepting guidance, following rules, behaving responsibly, and following schedules. More importantly, youth are exposed to a larger world of job possibilities and a new network of contacts. Mentors often refer youth to potential job opportunities and guide them through job hunting.

For questions regarding our Junior Mentor Program contact Connie Sizemore at 593-1718 or connie@surferspirit.org

“After the session was completed, our daughter asked if she could become a Junior Mentor, which after training and completing her internship, she did. Her life has changed. Yes, she had a negative beginning on her teenager life, however, because of the Surfrider Spirit Sessions her life is more fulfilling, she is more responsible, and her grades went back up again. She is now working with the program as a Junior Mentor and helping other young teenagers by sharing her story.”

Michael and Magali Brownfiel

Our 2019 Junior Mentors Samantha and Alex!