Any tips on youth mentoring?

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    Hi there everyone, I’d love to hear any top tips from volunteers on encouraging youth mentoring and what impact that has had on your Dojo. These can be successes or failures or even some stories about one or two Ninjas in your Dojo!

    Just very interested to hear what you have learned in your Dojo :D

  • We’ve not officially done anything in terms of having Youth Mentors but I’m very keen on getting this rolling when we return in September. I’m thinking of asking for some of our ninjas to volunteer to aid new kids who join as a starting point.

    So really interested in this topic and want to make sure I get pinged with any of the great tips and pit falls that come in!

    I think it will give some of them a real boost to help others. A lot of them do this already without even thinking about it, but hopefully this will encourage some of them to be even more proactive.

  • During the last year, we experimented to let our oldest ninjas (12-14 years) give some help as Youth Mentors.

    First, we started by making them just freely move around the tables giving peer help, without any “official” recognition of their role.

    Later, we let them feel a little more “official mentors” during some special events.

    At CoderDojo Como this year we participated to a fair by providing a large number of free labs and this summer we also organised a full week summer camp (so we needed a lot of volunteer help!)
    We gave them an official t-shirt and a badge with their names, and let them work “full steam”, by teaching the youngest the topics they knew better.

    Results were really interesting: they not only helped in the training activities (and they were appreciated by their peers), but they were also acting really as part of the team.
    They were alway active, by helping (spontaneously!) in the setup and disassembling phases, assembling tools and devices, fixing issues, cleaning the rooms… and they were proud of their role and still happy… :-)

  • I am not sure if i am qualified enough to reply here as i AM a youth mentor but here we go:

    In our dojo, we have a system in place with arm bracelets that works as follows:
    White: attended 3 dojo’s
    Yellow: create an outstanding project, complete an hour of code, …
    Blue: Kid mentor: other members can ask these ninja’s for help during the dojo when they have a simple question or do not really want to take their issues to a busy mentor.

    I used to be a kid mentor but when I turned 16, they asked me if I wanted to become a mentor (with a coderdojo T-shirt)
    I feel like ninja’s (especially the “older ones”) are more likely to talk to someone younger when they have a question.
    As a youth mentor I find it so satisfying to see my little AppInventor group growing sooo fast. My group is relatively small wich means I can work togheter with with them and we can all work on one project but I wouldn’t want to lose the abbility to work togheter with my ninja’s. I still learn every dojo and most of that i do by just listening to their conversations about their project.

    To conclude: I think Youth mentors are a great thing but they should be given the opportunity to keep coding alongside other ninja’s if they wish to do so.

    Bye 😜

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    @Fabrizio-Sala This is awesome. I think official recognition is really important to encourage young people to continue to mentor. Do the youth mentors in your Dojo also continue to learn to code in the Dojo when they aren’t mentoring?

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    @Maarten-Magits It’s great to hear your story about becoming a youth mentor - you are definitely very qualified to respond :) . I love that you started running the App Inventor group and enjoy seeing it grow. I would love to write a blog on your experience if that’s ok? If you would be ok with this just send me an email on

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    @KramKroc I also cross posted this in our facebook group and one responder in Australia had asked some long term ninjas to come back as mentors when they moved on to secondary schools.

    Similar to this post I have heard a lot of Dojos who use t-shirts for mentors or lanyards to encourage stepping up to be a mentor.

    Additionally, we have heard lots of stories of Dojos which do beginner sessions earlier to encourage youth mentoring and so that youth mentors can still take part later on!

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