My mentorship experience began very early in life – actually, the day I was born.
My first mentors were my dad and mom, and believe me, they took mentorship very seriously. My earliest training involved learning some of life’s most important lessons: “Suck, don’t bite;” “Cry, don’t scream;” “Swallow, don’t spit.”
Before long, I graduated to much higher levels of training and development in the areas of Organizational Hierarchy (obedience to parents), Process Efficiency (diligence), Interpersonal Communication (taming my tongue), and Public Relations (“Hi, my name is Danny, and I’m four and a half years old. How old are you…I mean…how are you?”). I’m not sure I always appreciated this sometimes intense mentorship process, but 20 years later, I realize mentorship is exactly what mom and dad were doing, and I’m extremely grateful.
In time, the Lord brought other mentors into my life – in upholstery, apologetics, sales, theology, and business.
And then, at the age of 20, we decided that it was time for me to receive additional musical training in composing, conducting, music theory, and vocal pedagogy. But as we considered our options, the only choice we could wrap our minds around was taking classes locally at Eastern Washington University.
After testing out of first year music theory, I was able to enroll in a full load of nothing but music classes. Nine months later, I had earned 60 credits between the on-site classes I completed (with a 3.9 GPA) and additional credits I earned through prior learning assessment. I also won the university solo voice performance competition and performed with the university symphony. By all accounts, it was an exceptional learning experience.
Except for the fact that…it really wasn’t.
As I took time to step back, reflect, and contrast my college learning experience with the more life-integrated mentorship experiences I had enjoyed up to that point, I realized I could have learned far more in a few months of private lessons from a local conductor than I did in a full school year of conducting classes waving my arms at an extremely gifted but frustrated professor, along with 18 other kids who couldn’t care less. It’s not that I didn’t learn anything. It’s simply that, at least with several subjects, I probably would have learned far more putting together my own mentorship-based music education program than I did in a classroom setting with little to no life application.
At the outset, we had considered more of a mentorship approach to musical studies, but we simply didn’t know how to piece it all together. I didn’t really know how to find a mentor (my mentors up to that point had really just landed in my lap), much less know what to do with a mentor once I found one. I needed a plan – a step-by-step approach that would walk me through the process of mentor-driven, life-integrated skill development.
And that’s why, four years later, I started LifeLaunch.
The mission of LifeLaunch is to empower the next generation to launch into life NOW with clear vision, through one-on-one mentoring relationships and real-life application.
In 2013, we created the break-through mentorship curriculum, Kickstart – an in-depth video training program designed to launch students through relationship-based, character-focused, and life-integrated process of preparation. With the step-by-step approach I wished I had for my musical studies, the Kickstart program walks students through the process of defining vision and goals for their life, then finding and engaging with mentors in their community who can help them move toward those goals.
Kickstart has been on the market for a brief time, but based on the great response we’ve already received from parents and young people alike, it seems to be addressing an urgent and important need. We’ve since created the Mentor’s Guide for Kickstart – a basic plan and set of tools to assist mature Christians in starting “Kickstart Study Groups” all across the country as a powerful way to impact, mentor, and invest in the next generation.
I hope you can personally benefit from the outreach of LifeLaunch, and we look forward to serving you in any way we can. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me.