Meeting Minutes, February 16, 2014

Shelley is drafting a pilot mentoring plan.  She will be in further touch with those of you who expressed an interest in being a mentor or a student by signing up at the meeting.  If you’d like to sign up and haven’t yet, please let one of the officers know.

In short, the club is starting a pilot program, in which first-year beekeepers are partnered with members who have more experience and who can help them install their bees and make a few follow-up visits.  We will match people who can get acquainted and talk about equipment, etc. before the bees arrive. Feel free share your comments and ideas on the listserv, so that we can collectively build the program.

*Mentors* – we hope to provide a checklist for you as a resource.  Please keep track of what works and how much time you spend doing this, so we can continue to improve the program in the years to come.

*Students/newbees* – think about how you can acknowledge the work of your mentor.  Consider helping out with your mentor’s hives or making other kinds of fair trade arrangements.

The club’s mentoring program is intended to keep just a few experts from fielding all the calls, and to reveal our own wealth of expertise on a range of topics – so, for example, if you want to ask someone about rearing queens, you can find a list of people to call about it.  In the discussion that followed Monika’s presentation, members discussed how we might match mentors and students/newbees based on skill/experience levels and geographic proximity.  The sense of the group seemed to crystallize around the idea of having a password-protected (members only) page on the website with little profiles that include members’ names, contact info, and relevant expertise (what they do, what they can provide advice on, what they might want advice on.  This would create a library of both ‘expertise’ and ‘help wanted’.  This information could be linked to a (Google?) map, so
that members can find mentors who are based nearby (the little pins on the map could have these profiles linked to them).  Geographic proximity is important.  Some folks suggested that the club could help organize smaller groups than usually attend the meetings at the club hives, drawn from a smaller area.  This might look like the hive tour that was organized a few years back.

Monika suggested that we seemed to be discussing three different ‘tracks’ of mentoring: 1) helping first-year beekeepers get set up, 2) helping less (and more!) experienced beekeepers manage crises, and 3) sharing information about particular interests, e.g., rearing queens.  Her presentation focused on how to institutionalize a mentoring program: formal applications, possible fees for students/newbees, and formal agreements that plan for scheduled check-ins and site visits (with time limits) and clear statements about how mentors and students/newbees are going to communicate.

Other ideas and comments:

– We need to distinguish between what the mailing list does and what a mentor can do.

– The officers could scour YouTube and put together a list of recommended videos.

– Mentoring in whatever form should start well ahead of time – before the bees arrive!


Bryan Danforth is looking for citizen scientists in May to collect data.

Honey Rock Farm will be selling nucs for $130, with Italian queens.

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