Chapter 1:  
Defining Your Group
By Felice Yeskel, Ed.D.
What is it you want the group to
Whether you are just starting your group
or organization or are in a group that has
existed for over a decade, when defining
In any group it is important to have a
any group, there are three basic things
sense of who you are.  It may sound a bit
that you need to figure out.  These can be
ridiculous, but really taking the time to
stated in the form of questions you will
think about who you are, and more
need to answer.  The first is:
importantly, who you are NOT, can give
you the sense of direction and foundation
that is vital to the survival and healthy
Who currently makes up your group?
growth of your group.  If you are forming
a new group it is important to identify
Is this the ideal composition for your
who you want your members to be.  This
will be your base.  However, the process
of discovering who your membership is
Who else would you like to attract?  
can still be very important even if you are
part of a group that has existed for some
The second basic issue is:
time.  In this case the question is, who are
you now?  Sometimes a group will con 
tinue to act as though its current members
Why have you created this group?  
were the founders of the group even
though the founders may actually have
Why is it needed?  
come and gone years ago.  Perhaps all of
the women left the group two years ago
The third issues is:
but that fact has not been acknowledged.
Perhaps a significant number of your
members are bisexual or transgender men
and women while you continue to call
What makes your group unique?  
your organization "gay and lesbian."
Being part of a group on a college cam 
This chapter was adapted from an earlier version written during Spring `95 by Universi 
ty of Massachusetts, Amherst undergraduate intern Brian DeOliveira.
D e f i n i n g   Y o u r   G r o u p     M  3


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