MCBA has a strong mentoring tradition. Some things can be learned in a classroom but some things are best learned in the field. And it can help to have someone you can call with one-on-one questions.
The following beekeepers are willing to mentor new beekeepers, either by phone or in-person. Click thru their name to see what kind of beekeeper they are. More information (including email and physical address) is on the club roster.
|| Phone number
| Tracy Alarcon
|| (330) 396-1352
|| Phone, Email, or anyone willing to come to my bee yard in Diamond (Portage county)
| Jim Aylsworth
|| (330) 662-4040
|| Southern Medina County or Medina city
| Peggy Garnes
|| (330) 723-6265
|| Phone, Email or if you are willing to come to my bee yard in Medina
| Paul Kosmos
|| (330) 239-1379
|| Sharon, Wadsworth, Southeast Medina County. All by phone or email.
| Bobbi Pincus
|| (440) 247-2801
|| Chagrin Falls area or by phone
| Buzz Riopelle
|| (330) 483-3360
|| Will work with anyone willing to come to my beeyard in Valley City
| Mike Rossander
|| (216) 533-8294
|| Westlake and surrounding area (or Any by phone)
| Bruce Schneider
|| (330) 278-2260
|| Summit, Medina, South Cuyahoga
| click edit to add your name here
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If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please edit this page and add yourself to the list. If you are no longer able to serve as a mentor, please remove yourself from the list.
Expectations of a mentee
- Join the club - if not ours, someone's. Don't try to go it alone. And come to the meetings. We want you to learn, not merely to cough up some cash.
- Take a class. Again, ours or someone else's. Invest in your own education.
- Pick the right mentor.
- Mostly, that means finding a mentor whose philosophy and situation matches yours. If you need to ask for help on dealing with your urban neighbors, you might not want a mentor whose experience is strictly rural. Or if you have fundamental differences on the role of pesticides, it might not be a good fit.
- It also helps to find someone within reasonable driving distance. It's hard to drop in for a quick session when your mentor's bees are halfway across the state.
- Help your mentor. Beekeeping mentorship is an apprenticeship model. That means you're trading labor for learning. It's not going to be hard labor but it will be an opportunity to learn by doing.
- Take responsibility for the mentoring relationship.
- Remember that your mentor is an unpaid volunteer. Keep your expectations reasonable.
Expectations for mentors
- Be a member in good standing of MCBA and regularly attend meetings, field days and other events.
- Keep yourself educated on changes in bees, bee diseases and beekeeping. Subscribe to a major bee journal (BeeCulture or American Bee Journal) or BEE-L.
- Remember that the mentee's objective is to learn. Your task is to teach. That means teaching not just what you personally do and believe but what other theories about beekeeping say as well.
- Present the facts. It's okay to also share your opinions but make clear which are which.
- Open your beeyard to the mentee. Adults learn by doing. And while they can learn some in their own apiary, they can generally learn more in yours - you have more bees and more diverse situations to see.
- You have a right to some of their help while you're working the bees but it's not slave labor, either.
- Set reasonable expectations for yourself and your mentee.
- If you're not the right mentor, help the new beekeeper find someone who might be a better fit.