Episode 009 - Betty Mills explains how she mentors teens

Photo: Betty Mills, right, with her protégé, Maggie, and the horse that connected them, Legacy Danseur.

Welcome to Episode 9 of the Passionate Purpose podcast where we interview people over 50 who are pursuing new direction for their lives. It’s an opportunity for men and women to tell their stories, their way, in their own words.

This week, I’m interviewing Betty Mills, who left her job as a corporate human relations manager at age 52 to become a self-employed consultant advising auto and recreation vehicle dealers about human resources issues. She lives in the Norfolk, Va., area, but worked with companies across the country.

In the interview, Betty describes how she had to overcome fear and hesitation to leave the security of a monthly paycheck to jump into a business of her own six years after her husband died.

All her life, Betty has loved being around horses. She owned her first horse when she was 8 years old and has maintained her own stable most of her adult life. Over the years, she would board horses for others and even offer riding lessons.

When Betty retired in 2016, she kept herself busy by mentoring children and teenagers who expressed an interest in riding and caring for horses themselves. Some of her protégés became competitive riders.  

Betty describes what she does for kids and teens and how they have impacted her life as well.

I have known Betty Mills professionally from my days as a journalist covering the RV industry. She has a big heart and a strong desire to help other people.

As a DODO – Dad of Daughters Only – myself, I love how Betty desires to make a difference in the lives of young people, especially girls. These 100-pound young ladies feel empowered being able to control 1,400-pound horses. It gives them a lot of confidence that carries over into other things they do, such as school and relationships. Betty helps teenage girls learn to become assertive, but not in an aggressive way.

The youngsters Betty works with must earn their ability to ride horses by learning to care for the animals. They clean the horses, equipment and barn. Caring for such a large animal becomes a regular responsibility for her protégés. Responsibility is certainly missing from the lives of many children and teens today.

But the real magic of mentoring occurs with the one-on-one time Betty spends with the teens as they ready the horse for a lesson and clean up afterward. The kids often open their hearts to Betty and she can offer advice or just listen to their stories.

Horses aren’t the only way Betty mentors people. Sometimes a teen will come to her home to make dinner or put together a puzzle. Just having the ability to talk freely with another trusted adult about their fears, concerns and frustrations can have a tremendous impact on the youngster's life.

For people over 50, Betty recommends they get involve in Facebook groups where they can serve as wise sages to people of all ages who want to learn what the older folks already know.

I really appreciate Betty sharing her story with us today. You can connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/betty.c.mills.

If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit www.forwardfrom50.com.

That’s all for this week’s show. Next time I’ll be speaking with a man who served as a professional engineer for many years, but now his biggest joy comes from serving as a substitute teacher at a middle school. He’ll explain how he, as a 70-year-old, relates to teens and tweens in a way that impacts their lives and guides them toward the future. I’ll have that interview on the next episode of the Passionate Purpose podcast. Thanks for listening!