Social Service Organization

Social Service Organization

The American Association of Group Workers (AAGW), was initially formed in the year 1936 National Association for the Study of Group Work (NASGW). The main purpose of the organization was to promote and defined her social work professional standards with groups. Most members belonging to this organization are employed by YWCAs and YMCAs, settlement housing, and camping and recreational organizations (Kuznick, 2019). AAGW attempted to professionalize group work and finally, it clearly defined what group work would be. According to the organization, group work was a group leadership method used to conduct and organize different group activities. Group work was created in connection to voluntary informal education and recreation. It was majorly used in different types of institutions, clinics, and hospitals.

In May 1936 NASGW was organized to refine and develop the methods, aims, and practice of group work. This is how group work started within the AAGW. At that time group work was achieved through an annual conference, local study groups, and a distribution of a publication of interest material to the practitioner (Skolnik, 2019). They opened membership to everyone interested in group work-study even though they were previously affiliated with other organizations of social welfare. Comprising of professional group workers, the organization cut across all agency, racial, religious, and occupational lines. It became the American Association for the study of Group work in 1939 and was far ahead replaced by AAGW in 1946. The membership of AAGW grew to over 19000 members by 1948. Members of the social work group majorly came from YWCAs, YMCAs, recreational organizations, Boy Scouts, Schools of Social Work, Camp Fire Girls, and Girls Scouts.

In keeping up with its purpose AAGW encountered several roadblocks. The organization published the annual meetings proceedings and reports of study groups. The publications showed a wide diversity of people interested in group work (Kuznick, 2019). Articles were complied with by theologians, educators, social workers, and recreation workers. However, this wide diversity led to confusion of the exact professional group work that people belonged to. To many people group work was an educational method, a reform movement, and akin to values and methods of social welfare agencies. However, to others, it was a new aspect with its own identity. They viewed it as a highly refined and unique skill that was limited only to workers functioning smack groups of individuals.

Other concerns were the separation of recreation and social work. AAGW as a group work moved closer to social work but many people raised questions on the connection between group work and recreation. According to the founders, group work could significantly contribute to the function of recreation in providing an enjoyable experience (Skolnik, 2019). This could be achieved by helping individuals to come up with enjoyable human relations. It could also help people who could not help themselves due to some personal difficulties. Also, the alignment of social work with group work was a major concern. This is because group work methodology was increasingly used in agencies of social work along with other functions like hospitals, children’s institutions, churches, and hospitals. Group work was viewed as a general professional social work method, and not as a movement, field, or agency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Kuznick, P. J. (2019). 8. Beyond Liberal Reform: The American Association of Scientific Workers. In Beyond the Laboratory (pp. 227-252). University of Chicago Press.

Skolnik, S. (2019). Coming together: Factors that connect social workers to group work practice. Social Work with Groups42(1), 2-17. https://doi.org/10.1080/01609513.2017.1384948

 

 

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