How We Formed the Georgia College Counseling Association
by Mary Stoy, Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, GA. Mary is a past-president of ACCA.
Here in Georgia, we are thankful to have the Georgia College Counseling Association (GCCA), a vibrant state organization begun at the 1993. Bob Mattox and Chuck Goodrum (Kennesaw State University) began with a few interested colleagues and a mailing list of every known college counseling center in the state. They invited everyone to attend an organizational meeting held during the American Counseling Association Convention in Atlanta (yes, the one with the blizzard!). Bob and Chuck were well-prepared for us at that first meeting. They had a by-laws draft from ACCA, some great ideas, and a lot of enthusiasm. That small group made some initial decisions aimed at increasing membership, including: keeping dues to a minimum, creating a newsletter for recruiting and information purposes, planning reasonably priced continuing education activities, and establishing an annual conference.
Today, GCCA has 82+ members, publishes a newsletter, provides a listserv, and held its fourth annual conference in 2000. GCCA members have also provided valuable leadership to the national Association. GCCA is joint sponsor with ACCA of the first national conference of college counselors to be held at St. Simons Island, GA, February 6-8, 2002.
In order to make annual conference meetings financially and physically reasonable for as many college counselors as possible, we hold our conferences in a central location at moderately-priced hotel convention centers. Initially, our annual conferences ran from Thursday noon to Friday noon so that people could attend the entire conference with only one night’s lodging. Over time we have expanded to several nights and have included pre-conference workshops. We include a banquet followed by a business meeting on Thursday evening.
We also have sponsored regional workshops across the state. Because Georgia covers such a large geographical area, we have subdivided GCCA into six regions. Workshops are held in various regions during the year and offer free CEU’s to all members (nonmembers pay $15, the same price as a membership).
GCCA has filled a much-needed role for the college counselors of this state. We have listened carefully to our members and done our best to respond to their needs. Our group is amazingly cohesive, dedicated, and fun! For those like me who are the lone college counselors on their campus, GCCA has become an especially important resource both personally and professionally.I strongly encourage you to forge ahead in organizing a state affiliation with ACCA.