AIESEC A-Groups are small private groups of AIESEC Alumni:
- 12-14 members
- any gender
- preferably from different batches of AIESEC
- meeting 8-10 times a year
- about 4 hours per meeting, closed-door
- very strict confidentiality rules
- strict attendance and punctuality rules (late fines)
- led by a Moderator, rotating every year
- at least one annual Retreat out-of-town for 2 nights, about 12-15 hours of meetings
- meeting agenda starts with individual updates
- followed by prioritizing of parked issues
- individual presentations of issues
- topics: business, family business, jobs, spouse or partner, children, parents, health, loss, community issues
- other topics: housekeeping, food, entertainment, sports
- formal training for moderators and for members (presentation. listening skills)
- each A-Group is called by a name, like the Genesis A-Group
A-Groups can take many forms and a member can participate effectively in 2 to 3 A-Groups. These are the types of A-Groups:
- Local A-Groups – This is the most typical.
- Regional A-Groups – About 12-15 members from different countries/cities in a geographic region, meeting in different city about 4-6 times a year, with meetings looking like 3-day retreats. Great for international-minded members.
- All-Men A-Groups – Same as Local A-Groups except they want to focus on sports and outings as well as male issues.
- All-Women A-Groups – Focusing on female intimacy, career and family balance issues.
- Interest A-Groups – Focused on a particular interest or hobby or industry. Groups could be bigger and international, but meeting less often and in several days.
- International A-Groups – These groups would meet for an extended period twice a year in different cities each time, perhaps timed with AIESEC Alumni International Meetings.
How Are A-Groups helpful?
Members interact freely with other group members, they usually share the same career or personal aspirations and difficulties. The A-Group is able to give support, offer alternatives, and provide comfort in such a way that these difficulties become resolved and alternative behaviors are easily explored or learned.
- The A-Group also allows a person to develop new ways of relating to people. The A-Group, if it continues to be strong and effective, can potentially become a lifelong peer group.
- During A-Group meetings and retreats, people begin to see that they are not alone and that there is hope, help, and inspiration. It is comforting to hear that other people have a similar difficulties or aspirations, or have already worked through a problem that deeply disturbs another member.
- Plus, people feel free to care about each other because of the climate of trust in the A-Group.
As members begin to feel more comfortable, they are able to speak freely. The psychological safety of the group will allow the expression of those feelings which are often difficult to express outside of the group. Each member will begin to ask for the support he needs. He will be encouraged to tell people what he expects of them. Each member will be reminded to focus on listening to their feelings rather than on giving advice or solutions (adapted from the State University of New York at Buffalo).