USING THIS GUIDE
THE FOLLOWING ARE SUGGESTIONS FOR HOW A SELF-MANAGING GROUP COULD USE THIS GUIDE.
- Make an agreement that all members will attend all five meetings programmed in this Handbook. At the fifth meeting, people can then decide to commit to being a group member or decide this group is not for them.
- The guide is designed for five, 3-hour meetings. Do not make the first five meetings shorter than that. You can make them longer if you want.
- Decide ahead of time which member will be responsible for facilitating the subsequent meeting. Give that person the Handbook so that he can familiarize himself with the activities that are planned. Rotate the leadership so that a different person is responsible each week. If anyone in your group has experience facilitating groups, make him responsible for the first meeting. Hopefully, he will provide a good role model for others.
- If most members of the group already know each other, or if the group was formed out of a men's workshop, skip the activities outlined for the 1st meeting and begin with the 2nd meeting.
- The easiest thing to do is for the facilitator to simply read the appropriate passages from the Handbook to the group at the appropriate times. You can certainly embellish on this if you want.
- The facilitator's job is to keep the group focused on the recommended activity and generally help to make the 3 hours go by smoothly. His job is not to play dictator, amateur psychologist, or task master. As a facilitator, the job is to stay with what is happening when the energy is high and move on to the next thing when the energy is low, keeping in mind the need to complete the activities within the agreed upon time.
- During the first few meetings you will have some time to discuss what the group should do and how it should do it. Don't make any firm decisions about this, however, until the fifth meeting.
- It is highly recommended that each of the first five meetings be 1 week apart, but no longer than 2 weeks apart. After that you can decide how often you want to meet, however, our experience is that groups which meet weekly are the most productive and satisfying.
- You can make a copy of this handbook for everyone if you like, but we don't recommend it. In fact, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU DON'T READ AHEAD. If you know what activities are planned, the temptation to figure out what you'll say and do ahead of time is too strong to resist. This will greatly diminish the spontaneity and usefulness of the exercises. Do, however, make a copy of the first 7 pages for everyone.