VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Building Community in 8 Hours or Less: One Participant’s Journal
Joan N. Strutton, Linda L. Maier, Al Milliren, William McDowell, and Brandy D. Moore
The importance of community is “the interdependence built into the small town and rural social structure of earlier years,” believing that “support groups, religious groups, and work groups should all nurture a feeling of connectedness and a belief that everyone’s destiny is intertwined, yet as individuals, retaining a healthy degree of independence” (Sweeney, 1998, p. 83). Activated in an 8-hour workshop, community brings strangers together who end the day committed to a year of community-building activities.
This article provides a detailed narrative of an ACA First Timer’s experience attending an 8-hour ACA Learning Institute on “Building Community.” The author describes each activity, and then reactions, thoughts, and feelings about the activity, and the insights gained as a result of participation.