Some guides feel a call to support the growth of Forest Therapy by becoming a mentor or trainer with ANFT. Before embarking on this journey, we think it is important that applicants understand one essential idea:
This path is not about checking boxes, completing assignments, and earning credentials. This path embodies an incredible sense of mystery for those who choose to walk it. Like liminality, there is no knowing what will be found on the path or how long the path will be. It’s not about ‘getting there,’ it’s about ‘being here.’
Those who consider walking this path should first consider whether they genuinely love the experience of being on a training. Those who love the practice and love the work will experience this path as a never-ending adventure. Those whose core intention is to reach the end of the path may never see it. The most important qualification for becoming a mentor or trainer is that you genuinely love the work and are willing to show up embodying such love.
There are several other qualities that we look for when considering who to invite further along the path. These include:
The path begins with an application to assist at a training. Applicants will be interviewed and, if accepted, on-boarded by the Training Teams Coordinator. Accepted applicants may request to assist at one or several trainings. After each training, the trainers will forward their reflections on the candidate’s performance to the Trainer Council, comprised of the Training Team Coordinator, the Director of Training, and the Director of Practicum and Certification. So long as the candidate is not disrespectful or disruptive during a training, they are always welcome to request another opportunity to assist in perpetuity.
When there is an opening for mentors, the Trainer Council may invite candidates who have assisted to become mentors. At this point, a separate on-boarding process will take place to support new mentors, who are compensated for their work in this capacity and must comply with contractor requirements for employment. Mentors may continue to assist at trainings if they wish to deepen their skills and knowledge, although it is not a requirement to be considered for next steps on the path. Once candidates become mentors, they may acquire more headroom in leadership and facilitation by mentoring, continuing to assist and by attending the annual trainer-mentor gathering.
When there is an opening for apprentice trainers, the Trainer Council will invite feedback from trainers on potential candidates and may invite candidates who are currently mentors to become apprentice trainers. It is at this point that ANFT will begin to compensate and subsidize the development of candidates for their participation in trainings. Apprentice trainers may request to participate in as many trainings as they choose. Each training will support apprentice trainers in deepening and developing their skills in the field.
When there is an opening for senior trainers, the Trainer Council will invite feedback from trainers on potential candidates and may invite candidates who are currently apprentice trainers to become senior trainers.
Every step of the path is invitational. There are no guarantees that a candidate will ever move beyond any step of the path. This can be fundamentally challenging for people. Many among us have experienced professional development pathways where there is a predetermined mutual agreement of what happens between the beginning and the end of the process. This path is not like that. We have chosen this kind of non-linear system for a few reasons:
Before completing this application, we’d like to invite you to take a few days to consider this decision. If, after consideration, you feel that there is no place you would rather be than on an ANFT Forest Therapy guide training, please submit an application.
The path is long and challenging, and we encourage you to not take this as an ominous warning, but as an invitation to know what to expect. Within the long and challenging path, there are many beautiful experiences to savor along the way. On this path, you will find relationship with new places, cultivate relationships around the world with guides and training team members and explore new depths of your inner landscape. If you ask any trainer, they will tell you that the highest joy is in the work itself, and we hope that this is true for you as well.
Please be aware of the following requirements before submitting an application:
If you have questions about any part of the mentor’s path, please contact the Director of Practicum and Certification. If you have questions related to your participation on trainings as an aspect of your mentor-trainer pathway, please contact the Director of Training