Art of Mentoring Leadership: Foundations of Cultural Mentoring

Photo May 05, 6 43 56 PM

Learn and apply skills from the Art of Mentoring toolkit

that will support your village, team, or learning community to thrive.

Experience dynamic group mentoring calls with Jon Young and the 8 Shields Team, and online learning materials in between calls. Go beyond theory through practical applications in your local setting.

  • Training is delivered through 16 group calls over 9 months, with additional at home study materials.
  • Options also available for additional in-person workshop trainings, personal mentoring calls, and Village Talk weekly calls.

Begins September 2016. 

8-shields-sketch-for-web-300x263Focal Skills include:

  • Embodied understanding of the Acorn team mentoring model
  • Designing and supporting events with the Natural Learning Cycle
  • Applying Cultural Elements for connection-building
  • And more.

Who is this For?

If you are a teacher, mentor, therapist, outdoor instructor, elder/uncle/auntie or “extended family” member, or part of a larger learning community or team environment, you will gain skills that build connection and enhance learning for yourself and others. These community facilitation skills are also part of the Bird Language Leaders Layer 3 training.

 Program Details

Mentoring – A “Social Technology” for Connection

Learning isn’t just about imparting information. It’s also about creating opportunities for dynamic, engaging connections to form. Before there were the formalized schools and institutions as we know them in the modern era, how did people learn? How is the “human operating system” already hardwired and optimized to absorb experiences and lessons?

The 8 Shields Art of Mentoring model was developed through the exploration of these questions. We searched worldwide for universal principles that generate connection-based experiential learning for all ages and stages of life. For over 30 years, we have tested these processes and honed our understanding of the principles that develop connection. These tools enhance team-building, group resiliency and greatly support group facilitation processes.

The Invisible School

Much experiential learning actually happens “invisibly” – through role modeling, storytelling, and the art of questioning, to name just a few of the universal elements we’ve identified. In this way, the Art of Mentoring approach is different than primarily didactic, lecture-based learning models. We go out of our way to intentionally create “sideways learning” processes that impart information and experiences in engaging – and often unexpected – ways.

Photo by Roberto Monge

Photo by Roberto Monge

At our in-person programs, we utilize a powerful team-based facilitation model that weaves behind the scenes to amplify the learning and connections at each event.  We call this team model the “Acorn,” based on the amazing invisible potential of an oak tree hidden within the smaller form of the acorn. The Acorn team creates a vibrant tapestry of experiential learning and connection that adds many layers of depth to an event. The Acorn model is part of the “secret sauce” that makes Art of Mentoring events so engaging. The 8 Shields Acorn model can be applied in many team settings, from educational classes to community-based events and more.

Learn the foundational theory and tools of the Acorn methodology in a step-by-step approach through monthly group training calls and online course material in between calls. Additional options are available on a limited basis to apprentice as a “shadow” with a skilled Acorn member at live events throughout the year at selected 8 Shields California events.

Course content is taught in a layered approach that gives participants time each month to embody the mentoring principles through personal reflection and activities, applied community projects, and group discussion. 

Time commitment:  
Besides the weekly 90-minute Village Talk calls and 90-minute two times a month group calls, this course involves listening to recordings on a monthly basis (transcripts provided for reading) and responding to questions.  Typically the recordings total an hour a month with an hour’s worth of reflection questions and integration activities.  (Some folks invest more time with the reflection questions but an hour is recommended).

You will also be asked to go out to regular sit spot time in nature at least twice a week for 20-30 minutes.  

And you will be asked to organize 4 different gatherings applying the Acorn model.    These gatherings will range in size according to your level of experience and your learning edge.  The amount of time needed will varying according to your experience and how small or large a gathering or event you decide to organize.

You will probably average 15-20 hours/month for full participation.  More time invested will result in more potential learning.  Less time invested, less potential learning.  You can adjust to what feels appropriate to you at this time in your life.  

(Note:  If you are just getting started with the Acorn model, it is quite possible that the full richness of learning for you at this point is participating on the calls, listening to the recordings, doing the questions and going to sit spot…and dreaming about events.  If that is where your edge is and you are getting all you can at this time, by all means, that is good.)

Topics Include:

Learn and practice applying foundational tools for Connection, Learning & Engagement for community and team settings:

  • Goals, Theory and Practice of the Art of Mentoring through the Acorn experiential model
  • Expressing Natural Archetypes in a Team Setting
  • Foundations of Peacemaking & Community Facilitation skills
  • Introduction to Applied Cultural Elements



Click here to see registration options and costs