First off, I've been to maybe 10-15 bee club meetings in my life, and did not learn through an organized mentorship, for better or worse.
In the last few days I've talked with several people from one of the larger clubs in TN about how to keep their mentorship program alive, what may need to change etc. As I understand it:
- people sign up for the program
- the club purchases the initial equipment (no idea whether this cost is recouped from mentees / proteges / students)
- club buys packages
- bees are kept in a central yard from Mar-Aug
- students (whatever they are called) take classes, attend meetings and have dedicated time in the central yard (either 1 on 1 or with the group?) where they receive hands-on training with their individual hive(s)
- bees are taken to their "forever" home in Aug, with perhaps some follow-up, as-needed support from mentors over time
At issue is having enough experienced people to mentor ~20 people over the course of this season (and beyond).
I'm usually looking for a way to innovate / streamline / modernize most practices, but I don't know enough about this to offer much in the way of suggestions. I'm personally evaluating whether bee clubs have any place in my life, but in the meantime I've volunteered for some website stuff, as I already have the skill set.
I thought about a helpdesk where student's calls, texts, or emails are switch-boarded to whichever mentor is "on-call" for a given time period. Also having a few Zoom meetings/classes during the process might help. I'm completely spit-balling at this point.
Most experienced beeks I know are running their own unofficial mentorship programs by fielding calls, texts, and such throughout the season. But a structured program is out of my wheelhouse.
I welcome any input. What worked, didn't work, etc.?