How Group Work Camp Began


  • Ann M Bergart IAṠWG



Abstract: This paper describes the origins and evolution of Group Work Camp, an experiential training program sponsored by the International Association for Social Work with Groups (IASWG). The founder’s many experiences with camping and experiential learning had convinced her that experiential learning was essential to groupwork education, and that a camp setting was its ideal environment. Group Work Camp evolved out of a pre-symposium institute at the 2009 International Symposium for Social Work with Groups. This institute was held at George Williams College of Aurora University, a beautiful lakeside campus steeped in groupwork history. This one-time event was received so well that participants advocated for its continuation. The Board of Directors of IASWG agreed to offer the institute again as a pilot program. When it was again successful the organization began to sponsor it biennially. The model was adapted and called Group Work Camp. It has been offered three times in its current form. In 2015 the first European Group Work Camp was held in Lithuania, adapted to local needs. It was also very successful, suggesting the flexibility of the model. It is hoped that in the future there will be many adaptations in different parts of the world.

Keywords: Group Work Camp; groupwork education; groupwork training; experiential learning; mentoring; camping.

Author Biography

Ann M Bergart, IAṠWG

Part-time social work academic and practitioner, Member of the Board of Directors of IASWG


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How to Cite

Bergart, A. M. (2017). How Group Work Camp Began. Groupwork, 26(3), 11-24.



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