Seven Islands


Not a friend. Not a teacher. Not a parent. Not an advisor. A mentor is one whose sole concern is the bringing forth of the unique genius in a young person. Acting on behalf of the larger community, the mentor’s task is to guide the young person on an inner journey of self-discovery, wherein one’s unique gifts can be discovered, claimed, and brought forth into the world. The mentor is a midwife of sorts, assisting in the birth of character in a young person. Further, the mentor creates a bond of mutual benefit and appreciation between a young person and the community that will receive his or her gifts.

It is precisely this bond between young people and their communities that is lacking in modern societies. Too many of our young remain isolated and uninitiated, possessing only
an economic connection—as job holders and consumers—to the larger society in which they live. Craving what they lack, young people may turn to whatever means available to fill their need for identity, personal power, and a sense of participation in something larger than
themselves: a gang, a cult, pregnancy, antisocial behavior. Having spent twenty years working with disenfranchised youth, I am convinced that they alone will not be able to create a healthy, mutually satisfying and productive relationship with their communities. It is the community itself that must take responsibility to reconnect meaningfully with young people. This reconnection happens through mentoring. And there are many who are willing to play the role. But how?

Seven Islands is a game designed to create meaningful dialog, active engagement, and directed growth between generations. The game is played on a map of seven islands; each island represents an area of life that requires attention and calls for growth and development if a young person is to develop into a well rounded adult. The islands are:

  • The Island of Behavior
  • The Island of Emotion
  • The Island of Family and Tradition
  • The Island of Community, Work, and Service
  • The Physical Island
  • The Island of Intellect and Learning
  • The Island of Purpose and Meaning

Seven Islands begins as a dialog game, with young people and their mentors traveling between islands, answering challenging questions to determine which areas of development are most pressing or alluring for the young person. Together, the mentor and mentee then construct growth and development challenges appropriate to the young person’s interest and level of functioning. Challenge sheets assist mentors in designing learning goals with
measurable results. Scorecards keep track of progress.

Seven Islands is a terrific tool for any person or group interested in dynamic, creative
mentoring with concrete, measurable results.

Call 202-296-2299