President's Pen

Fall 2017

Dear IASWG Members and Group Work Advocates,
Our IASWG Group News is an opportunity to share news, and as usual we have much IASWG news to share. It has been a complicated past month worldwide, with various disturbing global events impacting many lives and locations; IASWG shares great concern for those impacted, and hopes you and your loved ones are safe. During this summer many of us in our association gathered together joyfully to learn about and celebrate group work at various IASWG events. Some news about: our IASWG 2018 South Africa Symposium; our IASWG 2017 New York Symposium; our 2017 IASWG Group Work Camp in Wisconsin (US); our IASWG 2017 Francophone Chapter Group Work Camp in Montreal, Quebec (CA); and our IASWG Chapter and IASWG Committee activity.

IASWG 2018 South Africa Symposium this June:
I am so pleased by the many emails and phone calls from IASWG members sharing: "I am going to South Africa"! Reineth Prinsloo (IASWG 2018 South Africa Symposium Chair), and her planning team in South Africa, are hoping for lots of IASWG attendees who are from South Africa and from across the globe will be attending this June. As reported on our IASWG website, the symposium will be at the magical site of Kruger National Park; we will be in a Kruger National Park Conference Center with housing for everyone at the Conference Center on the grounds of Kruger National Park. This is an exciting endeavor for our IASWG organization that speaks to our IASWG mission and supports global group work; it will be recognized as a major conference for social group work in South Africa and globally. Reineth is already working very hard with her team in South Africa, and also with Emily Wilk (our IASWG Symposium Conference Planner), to make sure all the planning tasks are being finalized for the symposium that is only nine months away! Reineth is a great organizer, and with the support of many of us in IASWG, it is going to be a great four day event at Kruger National Park in South Africa.  Emily should be posting soon on our IASWG website some general information on examples of plane costs and housing/registration costs (the housing costs at the symposium site, as well as the meal costs at the site, will be every affordable!) I am very hopeful that IASWG members, including many IASWG Chapter members, will start communicating with one another soon to connect about planning/traveling together. Hearing from many of you that you plan to attend suggests this symposium will be well attended and a big success!

2017 New York Symposium:
Following a very successful IASWG 2016 New York Symposium at the New York University (NYU) Global Center, IASWG recently celebrated an equally successful IASWG 2017 New York Symposium held once again at the New York University (NYU) Global Center. The 2017 symposium was a lovely event, with many presenters and attendees participating in the symposium on June 7-10. The event was creatively and financially successful, with many hundreds of group work practitioners, academics, and students from across the globe presenting and participating. Many thanks to Emily Wilk for her outstanding efforts in making the event run very smoothly, and also to the IASWG 2018 New York Symposium Local Planning Committee (Alexis Howard, John Genke, and Sari Skolnik), our IASWG Board Symposium Representative (Christine Wilkins), and our IASWG Symposium Planning Committee Chair (Dana Leeman), for their helpful efforts.  

2017 Group Work Camp in Wisconsin (US):
The 2017 IASWG Group Work Camp in Wisconsin (US) was an enormous success. It is the fifth time this event has been held on the shores of Lake Geneva; this past summer it was held on Thursday, July 27, through Sunday, July 30, with many IASWG members in attendance, including a large number of social work school students and recent social work school graduates. Rose Jacques, a Barry University (Florida, US) student, shared after the event:  "Thank you very much for such a wonderful experience this past July. What a pleasure to meet all of you and learn so much from you! I am truly thankful for the founders of the group work camp and everyone who made this event possible. Your hard work is appreciated and is transforming lives. I look forward to seeing you in South Africa in 2018 and in Wisconsin in 2019." Kudos to the IASWG Wisconsin Group Work Camp organizers (Jen Clements, John Genke, and Ann Bergart)  for their organizing/fundraising efforts that welcomed many existing and new IASWG members. Additional thanks to Natalie Hock, Brandon Hayden, Jon Habegger, and Danelle Wagner who generously assisted with the event's tasks.

2017 Francophone Chapter Group Work Camp:
A wonderful time was had by all who attended the IASWG 2017 Francophone Chapter Group Work Camp event held in Montreal, Quebec (CA) this past July. The event ran for three days, and included many creative and educational group work presentations/activities; it was a great triumph for everyone in the planning group, including several Francophone Chapter members (Eric Gascon, Ginette Berteau, Cynthia Martiny, Isabelle Masse (a former professional circus performer), and Annick Bujold (a former adventure camping expert) Over 60 attendees (Francophone Chapter members and others from across the globe) attended and celebrated group work practice. The fact that the participants at the Groupwork Camp came from different provinces of Canada (Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec), from the United States (Ohio, New York, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania), and from Europe (France- Association Nationale pour le Travail Social de Groupe, and Belgium) brought an international mark largely appreciated by all. Congratulations to Ginette Berteau, and the Francophone Chapter members, for planning and producing a beautiful IASWG 2017 Francophone Chapter Group Work Camp.

Chapter and Committee Activity:
Throughout the years IASWG has advocated for group work recognition and celebration globally through our IASWG Chapter and IASWG Committee work. Our six IASWG chapters outside of the U.S., and our 12 IASWG Chapter in the U.S., continue to make contributions in various ways to the IASWG mission to support group workers globally. Our IASWG German Chapter, IASWG European Chapter, IASWG Francophone Chapter, IASWG South Africa Chapter, IASWG Lithuania Chapter, IASWG Toronto Chapter, IASWG Massachusetts Chapter,  IASWG Florida Chapter, IASWG Illinois Chapter, IASWG Tennessee Chapter, IASWG North Carolina Chapter, IASWG NYC-Red Apple Chapter, IASWG NY- Long Island Chapter, IASWG Northeast Ohio Chapter, IASWG Southern California Chapter, IASWG Central Florida Chapter, IASWG Minnesota Chapter, and IASWG Pennsylvania Chapter, deserve much appreciation for conducting chapter events that serve the mission of IASWG to support and promote group work globally. Be sure to check out our IASWG website and the various IASWG Chapter websites for information on upcoming chapter activities. The various IASWG Committees (IASWG Executive Committee, IASWG Symposium Committee, IASWG Membership Committee, IASWG Marketing Committee, the IASWG Practice Committee, and the IASWG Commission on Group Work Education Committee, IASWG Chapter Development Committee, IASWG Nominations and Elections Committee, IASWG Budget and Finance Committee, and IASWG International Issues Committee) continue to complete tasks that serve the mission of IASWG. For example: the IASWG Commission on Group Work Education Committee shares in this issue of Group News interesting information about their substantial work to promote group work education globally in recent and upcoming months; the IASWG Nominations and Elections Committee completed outreach and recruitment efforts during 2017 to develop a strong nominee slate for our Fall 2017 IASWG elections, and election ballots will arrive soon for all current IASWG members; the IASWG Membership Committee reports that the 2017 member numbers for Individual Memberships as well as Organizational Memberships remain solid, and hopes all of you have renewed  your IASWG membership for the 2017 membership year if you have not done so already; the IASWG Budget and Finance Committee has ensured that IASWG is secure financially, with solid cash and endowment funds, and balanced budgets due to thoughtful balancing of income/expense areas - our strong financial picture allows us to support many areas of IASWG expenses, such as: IASWG Symposium; marketing expenses; Symposium Proceeding publications; chapter support payments; SPARC grants; administrative salaries; membership registration system and symposium registration system costs; November Board meeting expenses; and annual mailing/banking/website fees, and special chapter events.

IASWG is a strong organization at present, and we are successfully carrying out our IASWG mission to ensure that group work practice, education, research, publication, and field instruction survives and thrives. As always, thank you to all of you, our active IASWG members throughout the world, for furthering the IASWG mission to support and strengthen the cause of social group work. We will look forward very soon to celebrating group work together at our 2018 IASWG South Africa Symposium!  
Greg Tully, IASWG President