Current efforts to increase mentorship in hunting have not proven effective enough to move the regional or national needle. Most states have several hundred thousand active hunters, yet a lack of coaches, mentors, and instructors was noted as one of 16 key threats facing hunting and shooting sports that must be addressed if R3 efforts are to be successful. Additionally, research suggests that a large cohort of potential mentors and mentees exists, but little is understood as to their motivations, barriers, and needs. A better understanding and implementation of effective mentoring programs and communication measures to motivate these two groups would potentially reverse downward hunting participation trends. The goal of this assessment is to gain an understanding of the elements of successful mentoring programs, as well as current mentor/mentee motivations, and apply that knowledge to expand and promote effective mentoring efforts from the current hunting and recreational shooting base that will increase hunting and recreational shooting participation.
The Wildlife Management Institute, Southwick Associates, and DJ Case conducted a research project titled, “The Missing Link in R3: Making Mentorship Work,” which included a universal definition of mentoring: “One-on-one interaction, either in-person or otherwise, that occurs more than once between the same parties. This would include one-on-one long-term teaching relationships, youth clubs with an education element, summer camps with multiple hands-on opportunities, in-field programs that bring the same students back more than once, electronic mentoring, etc. It would not include one-time fishing derbies, one-day seminars, instructional videos and marketing campaigns, etc.”
The experts who served on the Mentoring IWG group identified that there are fundamental differences between “mentorship” and “effective mentorship,” and added two key points of clarification to the definition to reflect those differences: “Interaction by one instructor with three or less students (or with a family), either in-person or otherwise, that occurs more than once between the same parties on at least two different days.” In addition, several other elements were considered parts of effective mentorship including identifying a target audience, collecting and utilizing data from evaluations, and providing structure for mentorship, communication, and social support. These qualifying characteristics were put into a questionnaire format and a series of demographic and programmatic questions were added for data management purposes.
You are invited to participate in the National R3 Implementation Workgroup’s Mentoring Program Self-assessment. The purpose of this self-assessment is to serve as a tool that R3 practitioners can use to improve their programs. This self-assessment can be taken as many times as needed. If your organization runs more than one mentoring program, please take a separate assessment for each program.
Definitions of Interest Used in the Assessment
Agency – federal or state fish and wildlife management governmental organizations.
Curriculum – strategic plan of content to be offered during a program or effort.
Evaluations – a method of collecting data using pre, post, and follow-up surveys.
Event – a planned occasion, a part of an overall program.
Guidelines – general rules or a set of best practices.
License Database – a place where demographic information on license purchases is stored.
Long- term – more than one day.
Mentee – a person who does not currently hunt or shoot, but is interested in learning and is advised. A prospective new hunter.
Mentor – An advisor. In this instance a more experienced hunter who is advising a new hunter.
Mentor Trainings – sessions held ahead of events to familiarize mentors with best practices prior to an event or program.
Mentor Screening – selection process designed to ensure proper candidates are selected to serve as mentors in a program.
Opportunity – mentoring efforts that provide training or education efforts to a particular person or group; multiple opportunities are better than single opportunities for long-term success.
Outdoor Recreation Adoption Model (ORAM) – a model used to described the process an individual progresses through as they begin participating in a new activity.
Participant – an attendee, mentor, or mentee who engage in hunting and/or the shooting sports.
Partners – individuals or complete organizations which help to administer and execute a program or effort, often which complement a larger R3 strategy.
Program – a set of activities or events with a coordinated aim. A learn-to-hunt intuitive.
R3 – Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation.
Recruitment – attainment of a self-perception that one is a hunter and is a member of a broader hunting and shooting culture. Participant initiates a first time participation in hunting.
Retention – continued perception of oneself as a hunter/shooter and a member of a broader hunting and shooting culture. Participant initiates a second participation in hunting.
Short-term – day or less.
Standards – a required level of quality and components.
Social Support- a network that encourages an individual’s participation in an activity and that provides a positive reinforcing environment.
Targeted – programs that select for a specific type of participant, fitting a goal or objective of R3.
Target Audience – programs need to focus on efficient and diverse new audiences with the intentions of creating new hunters and license buyers.