I thought you might like to know that I’m working on a new edition of Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World. GA first came out in 2004 and our community of practice has learned a lot about how to run the groups. It’s time to apply that learning.

I’ve made two visits to cities (Syracuse, NY, and South Bend, IN) to meet with GA graduates, facilitators, sponsors, funders, and Bridges steering committees to gather ideas. I often have the occasion to talk with GA network members and usually ask if they have ideas for the new edition.

One thing we agree on is that GA is working pretty well as it is. One of the prime directives is “don’t break something that is working.” Having pushed my way through the revisions, I can tell you that there is a strong tendency to meddle with everything and I have to keep coming back to that directive.

In 2010, Karla Krodel and I wrote Investigations Into Economic Class in America for college students. So Investigation has elements in it that will no doubt appear in the next GA. Of course, I’ve gotten great ideas from my visits and conversations too. Here are some features that will be in the new edition.

  1. Introduce planning activities early and build on them throughout so the SMART plans don’t come as a shock.
  2. Make more of social capital; strengthen the existing sequence on bridging social capital.
  3. Provide information on what it means to be an investigator and build investigator skills.
  4. In the self-assessment of resources, there will be an equal number of questions in all resources and within the 5-point scale in each resource.
  5. Do the same with the community assessment.
  6. In the community assessment, add an investigation into the strengths of individuals, associations, and organizations that can help identify bridging social capital and places to build resources.
  7. I’ve been asked to write GA for all sorts of topics like business, Circles, prisons, foster youth who are close to emancipation, faith-based groups, and so on. I’ve decided to make GA generic, but eventually offer PDF supplements to the Facilitator Notes for those specific populations or initiatives.

These are just some of the changes; I hope this piques your interest and inspires you to comment. We’ll be releasing the new editions at our Addressing the Challenges conference on October 1–2 in Indianapolis, IN.  Hope to see you there!