Category Archives: Digital Mentoring

McKean Minute: When Mentoring, Any Amount Will Do

We talked a couple weeks ago that one of the main attributes of being a mentor is simply showing up, being available to someone who has questions and needs guidance.

The second great attribute is to give that guidance in any amount. Many of us get intimidated by the idea that in order to be a good teacher, we need to give all of ourselves. While some of us have a bottomless reservoir of outreach, most of us simply don’t have the time, energy, or enthusiasm to answer every question that comes around or to be available around the clock.

If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Powderhook, the mobile app that promises to connect mentors with what we’re calling “mentees,” or beginning hunters. That connection happens in custom “camps,” which are basically virtual classrooms, places where that education exchange can happen.

A number of these camps have multiple mentees all seeking advice and direction from a single mentor. When I first heard about this disproportionate balance, I fretted just a little. How could a single mentor adequately serve all the people thirsty for their perspective? I was stuck on a notion of mentoring that told me that it’s a one-on-one relationship.

But the deeper I dive into Powderhook and its potential as that classroom, the more I understand that a single mentor can serve any number of mentees, simply by being available to answer a single question, or offer a single insight. Mentoring doesn’t have to be onerous, exhausting, or draining. In fact, it can be the opposite, as long as you show up, and are available to answer just a question or two.

I just got feedback from a mentee who is curious about bowhunting. They’re in the initial stages of what can be a steep climb to acquire the correct gear, and there are so many choices that they reached out to me for advice. It’s an easy gift to give, my perspectives on the right type of bow, broadhead, and release for the hunting they’ll be doing. And it turns out that the question one mentee had was shared by the other members of the camp, so my answers had a compounding effect.

Instead of feeling depleted by giving myself, I feel energized. And now I can’t wait to hear the follow-up questions. Doing this a couple times quickly compounds into a half-dozen, then a score. This is how we build new hunters and outdoorsfolks, by being available, answering questions, giving our perspectives. And it’s a method that can quickly grow the ranks of knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and engaged hunters.

– Andrew McKean

ANDREW MCKEAN JOINS POWDERHOOK, WILL LEAD HUNTER-ENGAGEMENT EFFORTS

Former Outdoor Life editor-in-chief and longtime outdoor communicator Andrew McKean has joined Powderhook as its brand director.

McKean will primarily be responsible for content across Powderhook’s multiple digital platforms, its website, and its hunter-recruitment app, available at Google Play and the App Store. The app is designed to serve as a digital mentoring tool, connecting experienced hunters and their knowledge with beginning hunters looking for guidance.

Powderhook is at the forefront of the movement to recruit, retain, and reactivate hunters in America. The Lincoln-based company’s ambition, momentum, and potential to scale appeals to McKean, who has been a vocal advocate for lowering barriers to hunting participation.

“Connectivity is the key to creating and conserving hunters, which I’d argue is the most endangered population in America right now,” says McKean. “Powderhook’s ability to use technology to connect hunters with each other is a huge advantage in the effort to perpetuate the American tradition of citizen-hunters as the engine of wildlife management and conservation.

“I’m excited to take my background in creating and packaging content that speaks to a wide range of people, and use it to help ensure that hunters remain the best example of American values of self-reliance, respect for the land and its contents, sustainability, and community organizing. Look to Powderhook for a mix of stories of people who lead by example, but also informational and aspirational content to help beginning hunters, anglers, and people interested in the outdoors get on the right track.”

Powderhook exists to create and measure 3 million new hunters in the next 5 years by helping people, regardless of experience level, have a great day in the field. The company works with the nation’s leading hunting brands, organizations, and agencies to ensure that each can benefit from their role in increasing hunting participation.

“If a person alive today better personifies what Powderhook is about, I don’t know of them,” says Dinger. “Andrew’s clear-eyed storytelling talent has earned him a wide and trusting audience, but it’s his heart for our mission that truly sets him apart. Through our work together, we hope to welcome more people into the fight to ensure hunting thrives for generations to come.”

A Missouri native, McKean got his start in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor across the West before freelancing for a number of national publications. He’s the former Rocky Mountain editor for Fishing & Hunting News and worked for Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks before joining Outdoor Life as its hunting editor. He served as Outdoor Life’s editor-in-chief for 6 years before leaving earlier this year; he continues to serve as the magazine’s editor-at-large. McKean is a longtime hunter and bowhunter education instructor, past president of the Montana chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, is a member of the Arachnid Sportsmen’s Society, and serves on the national board of the Mule Deer Foundation. He lives in eastern Montana with his spouse and three teenaged children.

An Open Letter to Hunters

Fellow Hunters,

It’s never been more clear that now is the time to act. The hunter numbers are in, and they’re not good.  Preliminary findings of U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation indicate a 5-year fall-off of over 2 million hunters. Since 1980, hunter numbers have fallen from nearly 18 million to the current count of 10.5 million. The preliminary findings are summarized well here. The future of conservation in this country relies heavily on our collective ability to reverse a devastating trend in hunter participation.

But what can we do about it? Continue reading An Open Letter to Hunters

10 Things You Can Do to Ensure the Future of Hunting

We live in an extremely fluid world where public perceptions and opinions on issues can change by the hour.

Just because hunting has been around for 90 percent of human history doesn’t mean that it will be around for the next 50 years. We cannot take our rights for granted. Preaching to the choir will not save hunting; we must influence others outside our circle to further our message.

ensure-hunting-for-future-generations

If we want to preserve the proud traditions of hunting for future generations, we must expose and mentor those generations to the most basic of human behaviors. Here are a few places to start.

1. Become a Hunting Mentor
Though I spent lots of time at the shooting range as a kid, I grew up without exposure to hunting because there was no one to take me out and teach me the ropes. Not every child has a parent who hunts or has the time to be a good mentor.

Whether you mentor your own children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews, or just a family friend or neighbor, you can do your part in passing along your knowledge and enthusiasm to another generation of hunters. Taking someone hunting just once could be life-changing for that individual—and you’ll never know whether they’re interested if you don’t ask.

preserve-hunting-rights-for-our-kids

My own kids are too young to take hunting at this time, but I still bring them along when I’m scouting for sign or checking trail cameras. They enjoy the time spent with Dad and are gaining an understanding of the connection between the outdoors and the food on their plates.

Can’t find a kid in your area to mentor? You can become a digital mentor through an app called “Powderhook.” The app allows new hunters to ask questions and gain insight through anonymous interactions with more-experienced mentors. In just a few minutes per week, you can help guide the next generation. Continue reading 10 Things You Can Do to Ensure the Future of Hunting

5 Things You Can Do to Grow Digital Mentoring

Digital Mentoring is in its infancy. If you’re reading this article you’re one of about 400 people nationwide who have jumped on board early in the process. There’s much to be done, but our work is just, and we’re already making a real difference. Here are 5 things you can do right now to grow the impact of Digital Mentoring. Continue reading 5 Things You Can Do to Grow Digital Mentoring