The Benefits of Mentorship

Last fall, one of Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s students was connected with one of SPRA’s Field Consultants in a mentorship placement as a part of an assignment in their Recreation and Tourism Management diploma program.

The goal of the mentorship placement program is to give first year students the opportunity to gain industry experience through a mentorship process.

Here is how the process went for both the student and the mentor:  

(Pictured above: Clint McConnell, below: Robin Mkangwana)

Robin Mkangwana
First Year Student,
Recreation and Tourism Management program

"One of the main reasons I became interested in the Recreation and Tourism Management program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic was because of the opportunities presented to network with those in the industry. I was pleasantly surprised for the opportunity to begin to build a relationship with a highly regarded individual in the industry within the first two months of the program.

One of our first assignments was to gain experience in the recreation and tourism field through volunteerism or enter a mentorship relationship. I was connected with Clint McConnell as a suitable match for the mentorship program. Admittedly, there were some nerves heading into our first meeting. However, the nerves quickly disappeared upon meeting him. We were able to form a connection quickly through the fact that I grew up in Lanigan, which is only about 45 minutes away from where he lives in Wynyard.

We connected regularly through email and virtual meetings. As well, I was able to attend the 2021 SPRA Conference with Clint. This experience was special because I was able to learn from highly regarded professionals within the industry, learning about the current state of the recreation, community development, and tourism landscape around the province.

I was able to make the most of our interactions for my professional growth and to further gain an understanding of the recreation industry. Clint’s irrefutable willingness to share allowed for this growth and education to occur. He continuously showed that he has a care and a desire to help future recreation and community development providers grow the industry. Clint often emphasized that the recreation industry is made up of phenomenal people, and these people are similar to him, in that they want to help and collaborate with those entering the field. In fact, he mentioned that the willingness of these people to help was impactful and beneficial for his career development.

My experience thus far with Clint has been incredibly informative, as well as encouraging. Informative because I am able to hear about Clint’s experiences and learn about the inner workings of our communities. And encouraging because future educated practitioners are wanted and the leaders within are willing to help. Clint’s help has definitely been impactful in my development so far, and I hope others would be open to doing the same moving forward."

Clint McConnell,
20+ years experience in the recreation industry
SPRA Field Consultant

"Having been in the recreation industry for over 20 years, I’ve experienced the positive impact mentorship can have to both new practitioners entering the recreation industry and seasoned veterans alike. When I started in the industry in the late 1990s in southeast Saskatchewan, people like Darcy McLeod in Yorkton and Mike Schwean in Moosomin were a huge resource to me. They were accessible and willing to provide me, a brand new practitioner, with any resources they had available to them to make my life easier. As the years went on these professionals inspired me, were great sounding boards, and became good friends. Regardless of how long I have been in the industry, there are always new experiences and new things to learn. I am thankful for the mentorship, guidance and assistance shared with me along my career journey.  

When the Recreation and Tourism Management diploma program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic introduced a mentorship program in the Fall of 2021, I was happy to be involved. I was partnered with Robin Mkangwana, a first-year student in the program. Over the next few months, Robin and I had several email conversations and virtual meetings. Robin was also able to virtually attend the 2021 SPRA Conference with me.

My time with Robin was informative, interesting and thought provoking. Very quickly after meeting Robin I learned that he spent much of his youth in Lanigan, which is less than an hour east of where I live. This connection set the stage for the rest of our conversations. Robin is an inquisitive young man who entered this program to learn, and he always had a flurry of questions for me. Many of the questions focused on my career path, the jobs I’ve had, the education and training I obtained, and the challenges I faced. Robin challenged me and asked questions about diversity and inclusion, the challenges and benefits of working for municipal governments, and so much more.

I was very happy to be apart of the Recreation and Tourism Management mentorship program and felt fortunate be paired up with Robin. I would strongly encourage others to become a mentor. The time commitment is manageable and the benefits, for both yourself and your mentee, have the potential to be huge."

Want to learn more about our mentorship program?

The Recreation and Tourism Management program is always looking for individuals that are passionate about parks, recreation and the tourism industry.

If you are interested in joining the mentorship program please contact Stephanie Cross, Sask Polytech at, or Kerry Bailey, SPRA’s Field Services Manager, at for inquiries about next year’s mentorship placements.