Australian Navy Begins Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program


Long before ‘mentoring’ became a buzz word in the business-world, Big Brothers Big Sisters program has been providing a valuable community service in youth mentoring.

HMAS Stirling (Captain Brett Wolski) recently hosted a ship and submarine tour for the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program run by YMCA Perth.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters program is Australia’s leading mentoring program for youth aged 7-17years, who need additional support away from their family life.

The mentoring program revolves around weekly meetings between the ‘little’ (the mentoree) and the ‘big’ (the mentor) with an initial period of 12 months to allow the mentoring relationship to develop.

The ‘little’ and ‘big’ are able to decide on the type of activities they wish to do together and are encouraged by the program to undertake fun and simple activities that they both enjoy.

This Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program is designed to encourage ‘littles’ to reach their potential, develop positive self esteem, confidence and life skills with adult volunteer mentors.

Volunteer mentors come from all walks of life with the only requirement being that mentors need to be someone to trust, talk to and have fun with.

The young people and their mentors visited Fleet Base West and toured HMAS Warramunga (Commander Michael Turner) and finished off the visit with a picnic lunch in the tranquil surrounds of Camp Markham.

The warship tour was the highlight for the young people and is an experience they will talk about for some time.

The fire-fighting demonstration proved particularly popular, with many ‘littles’ experiencing it first hand by getting behind a fire-fighting nozzle.

LSET Janarthan Sri Kantha of FSU Perth at HMAS Stirling benefitted from unofficial mentoring as he was growing up and is now a volunteer mentor with the YMCA program.

LS Sri Kantha said that it is rewarding for both the ‘little’ and ‘big’ involved in mentoring.

Being involved in this program is a two-way street. I am able to hang out with my ‘little’ and pass on some of my life experience, but he also has to commit to our regular meetings to get the most out of it,” he said.

LS Sri Kantha said that he had been looking for a way to be involved in a community program to give back and was told about Big Brothers Big Sisters by a friend.

“My mentor had such a big influence on the direction and success of my teen years that I knew I wanted to give something back. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of the positive influence I am having on my ‘little’,” he said.
Source: navy, July 1, 2011;