Helicopter pilot Kimberly Hutchings is an entrepreneur originally from the Los Angeles area who leads a helicopter flight training company in Australia. She’s also an involved mom who leads a weekly SUCCESS for Teens program for 14- to 15-year-old girls.
The program she facilitates in Shepparton, in the state of Victoria, includes her daughter and three of her daughter’s friends. Together they’ve been reading and talking about SUCCESS for Teens, the program’s central curriculum, which is teaching them smart ways to set and achieve goals.
Hutchings’ group uses iPads to read the e-book, a free download at SUCCESSFoundation.org. (The SUCCESS Foundation provides free hard copies of the book to qualifying school, church and nonprofit youth groups. The website also offers free downloadable facilitator’s guides and audiobooks, and it sells the hard-copy books for $6.) Hutchings learned about SUCCESS for Teens by reading about it as a subscriber to SUCCESS magazine. Teen participant Hannah Kulari says of the book, “I like how it has stories from other teenagers that we can relate to.”
As a parent, Hutchings says “I get a little more insight than if I were just having a conversation with my daughter, because teens share a little bit more” when prompted by the book. “They talk about some of the things that they go through and maybe some of the things they’re struggling with. Through the stories, because they’re written by teens, the teens do connect.” Hutchings supplements the book with outside experts, such as a nutrition specialist who discussed food choices, and a certified public accountant-financial adviser who outlined ideas for wise spending and saving.
Reagan Martin, a teenager in the group, says the book’s goal-setting tips are a key message for her. “I have learned to set and achieve goals by splitting them into bits and doing it bit by bit.” Kylee Orahoske, Hutchings’ daughter, agrees with Reagan and adds a second takeaway: “It has taught me to stay positive in negative situations, because good things can come out of them.”
Kylee has set a goal of learning to surf. Because the family lives about two hours from the beach, Hutchings encourages Kylee to make progress at home by reading about surfing, watching instructional videos and practicing on a skateboard. “For the girls who are into [other] sports, we work on setting goals, such as how many baskets they shoot,” Hutchings says.
Hutchings and her daughter both described the group as “comfortable,” which eased sharing in discussions. Group member Wendy Woodman says she enjoys “being able to learn about things that I am actually interested in with my friends.”
Would the girls recommend SUCCESS for Teens mentoring groups to other kids? “Definitely!” Hannah says. “It’s a really fun experience, and you learn and achieve lots.”