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Letter from the National Mentor Mentee Committee Chairman:
Eric Shelton

Greetings ABA Bridge Family

I have been overwhelmed by the scheduling and participation of the PRO/AM/HAM games across the country in all of the ABA Sections.   I want to personally thank the PRO players for mentoring us newer players and encouraging our growth in the game of bridge. 

I also would like to acknowledge the ABA Officers and Board,   Mentor/Mentee Committee members, Sectional Vice Presidents, Bridge Educators, Tournament Chairpersons, and Club Presidents for your efforts in supporting the Mentor/Mentee program, relationships and games. 
I also bring fantastic news with this message!  The 21012 Summer Nationals schedule in Indianapolis has been changed moving the PRO/AM/HAM game from 8/3 to 7/31.  This change provides an unopposed timeslot allowing all ABA members to participate (for the 1st time) demonstrating the commitment  to this very important program.   This should end up being the largest PRO/AM/HAM game ever!

This historic change also allows local Mentor/Mentee relationships to practice at your club in preparation to play in the Largest Pro/Am/Ham game to date without the possibility of the PRO having to back out to play in one of the knock-out  semi-finals or finals. 

This Summer Nationals should be one of the best for newer players and I encourage you to make plans to attend and find your PRO to play with if you don’t already have one.   Working with Bettie Harden, National New Player Chairman,  the schedule for new Players has many new features including this huge PRO/AM/Ham game.   Along with the very nice New Player Reception, bridge tips before each session, a new Swiss Team Game and possibly another team game if attendance allows,  new players are encouraged to play in the morning session games in the “Big Room”  including the AM Knockout and others.  No new player should miss this opportunity!
In closing, I asked permission to share a paragraph from the New York Metropolitan News letter ‘Consumer’ written by a new player who played in the big Pro/Am/HAM game in April: 
The Mentee’s Experience

Yesterday, I nervously entered the Queens Bridge House to participate in the Mentor/Mentee game.  If you haven’t figured it out already, I was the Mentee.   All of the encouragement and guidance that I received from my Mentor, Allen Morton, should have allayed those queasy feelings that I was experiencing.  But I was going to play with the “big guys” and was very nervous.
During the game, when those moments of my incorrect bidding occurred,  Allen reinforced and sent me encouragement.   And at those few moments of brilliance (when I remembered how to respond/initiate bidding), my Mentor looked upon me as if he were a proud parent.
Somehow I survived the experience.  After the final tally was posted, I stood looking at the board with amazement.  We had come in second!  I cannot describe the exhilaration I felt , nor the shot of confidence that went through my veins at that moment.
That achievement was so very extra special when my Triangle Bridge Club members gathered around me voicing congrats and praise with huge smiles on their faces.  They were witnesses to transformation from a “no nothing newbie” to the “I can hang with the big guys now” player.
I am so pleased that this type of program has been initiated.  It gives the novice players a chance to play with the seasoned players in a relaxed non-judgmental learning environment.   We are all learners of something and can reach our goals with the patience and guidance from the people who have come before us.  This program has helped me accomplish a goal which is, to me, priceless.   Thank-you
Wendy Branner