The Military and Government Counseling Association (MGCA)
Have you heard about the Military and Government Counseling Association? MGCA was developed in an effort to reach out to governmental workers operating in Federal, State, and Local agencies. Their aim was to enhance their American Counseling Association (ACA) membership and allow for more networking opportunities. Additionally, the development of MGCA ensured that counselors and educators in government were included within ACA.
In effect, it became the framework for a dynamic support group of professional counselors and educators working at all levels of government. MGCA members aspire to high ethical standards and deliver government counseling and education services to schools, communities, as well as postsecondary continuing education support and services to veterans and active duty military personnel.
A Brief History
The Military and Government Counseling Association (MGCA) saw its beginnings in late 1978 in Dallas, TX when the bylaws were first established as the Military Educators and Counselors Association (MECA). Charter memberships were granted in 1980 and four years later, it was formally accepted as an Organizational Affiliate by the American Association for Counseling and Development (now known as ACA).
MECA was originally formed to encourage and deliver meaningful guidance, counseling and educational programs to all members of the Armed Services, to include Veterans, their dependents, and Armed Services civilian employees. During its tenure, MECA expanded its reach to encompass all governmental counselors and educators and in 1994, it changed its name to the Association for Counselors and Educators in Government. With the increase in military members and veterans needing services following 9-11, the name was again changed in 2015 to the Military and Government Counseling Association (MGCA). MGCA is now expanding its membership outside of government agencies to include mental health professionals in a wide variety of settings.
MGCA’s current goals are similar but more inclusive than those developed under MECA. Their current goals are:
- to encourage, deliver, and participate in meaningful guidance, counseling, and educational programs for all members of the Armed Services and their families, whether active duty or retired; civilian employee of the Department of Defense; and employees of other government agencies.
- to encourage, develop, facilitate, and promote professional development activities for administrators, counselors, and educators working with such populations.
- to develop and promote the highest standards of professional conduct among administrators, counselors, and educators working in these environments.
- to establish and maintain full communication networks among such professionals.
- to encourage development of professional monographs and convention or conference presentations by members.
- to conduct and foster programs to enhance individual human development and increase recognition of humanistic values and goals among the members and within the agencies where they practice.
Membership in MGCA is open to individuals who are members of ACA and are in good standing. The Association is currently made up of over 200 members from the following categories:
- Professional 53%
- Regular 2%
- Retired 5%
- Student 27%
MGCA offers a great opportunity for members to take part in the executive committee, which is made up of officers elected each year from the association membership. The executive committee consists of a President, President Elect, Immediate Past President, Secretary, Treasurer, Governing Council Representative, and 12 Directors.
In conjunction with the annual ACA conference and exposition, a MGCA meeting is held to receive summary reports from officers and committees, conduct the business of the association, and present programs of benefit to the members. Additionally, MGCA can sponsor up to six education sessions at the conference. Any MGCA member may submit session proposals to MGCA for review (which is done separately from proposals sent directly to ACA).