Personal trainer/teen mentor?

This is a long shot, but I figure if anyone has a recommendation, it'll be on BPN :) Our 17-year-old son struggles a lot with social anxiety and low self-esteem. He's not open to traditional therapy right now (has done a lot of that in the past). His psychologist suggested the idea of a mentor, ideally a younger male-identifying figure who can give him some support and guidance in a less "therapeutic" type setting. And a bonus would be if it could be done through personal training or basketball training, as those are two things our son is really enthusiastic about.

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You might want to check into East Gate Mentoring and/or Team Wonder

My teen daughter worked with a mentor from Team Wonder but I also spoke with East Gate Mentoring and they seemed great.  The mentor match is the most important thing.

My daughter's mentor picked her up once a week and they did an activity together based on my daughter's interests.  

My other thought is the Trackers apprenticeship programs for high school aged kids.  It's a group program but the mentors my kids had were very attuned to social emotional challenges and group dynamics.  The physical activity helped too!

Best of luck!


I highly, highly recommend Surf Circle. My son was dealing with similar issues and would not do therapy either (and I get it - it can be hard for children and teens). Surf Circle is led by a group of amazing male therapists who are also surfers. When my son did it a few years ago, they would take the teens out on the water, teach them how to surf and then come back to the beach and talk as a group while eating burritos. (and my son would most certainly never, ever! do group therapy). My son actually liked Surf Circle a lot and liked the other teens. I think the way they run the group doesn’t make it feel like therapy and it especially acknowledges the unique experiences of boys. And coincidentally, my son developed a passion for surfing and at now at 19 surfs pretty much every day and it has increased his confidence 100-fold. Surf Circle now also offers groups for girls too and neurodivergent boys.


We looked into something similar for our son and interviewed a few therapists from Psychology Today to inquire about a more informal approach. This therapist seemed excellent and offered more mentoring than therapy while playing basketball or similar activities your kid would be into. We didn’t move forward for other reasons but really liked this man’s approach.