They’re dedicated…They’re amazing…They’re making it better…They’re GSA advisors!
Advisors play a critical role in the success of GSAs, but there aren’t very many resources available to them. Plus, many advisors say ‘yes’ to being an advisor without prior knowledge or training of what the job will entail.
The National Association of GSA Networks  had been discussing this gap in resources for advisors for years, and in 2011 they decided to fill it with The GSA Advisor Handbook. The handbook contains sections with tools to support advisors including, “Your Role in a GSA”, “What to Do in Your GSA”, and “Sustaining Your GSA Over Time”. It also includes a “Frequent Issues” section that addresses important questions about religion, talking to school administrators and conflict resolution. The brand new handbook is ready for download at http://www.gsanetwork.org/advisor-handbook , and National Association members couldn’t be more excited.
“This handbook has been a labor of love,” wrote Tim Michael, GSA Outreach Manager at Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools  in Wisconsin, in the opening letter of the new resource. “Our goal in writing this handbook was to provide new GSA advisors with a basic foundation on which to build, and more seasoned GSA advisors with new ideas and suggestions to take their students’ club to a new level.”
Seven National Association of GSA Networks members from five states wrote the 30-page handbook, with more editing help from member networks along the way. The handbook is the first of its kind and the first ever publication of the National Association.
“I was really excited to be a part of writing a handbook for GSA advisors,” said Michael. “We have had a lot of advisor turnover in Wisconsin in the past year and this will be an invaluable resource to the people who are stepping into that role. I can’t wait to distribute it!”
“What’s nice about this handbook is that it answers questions that advisors may not even know to ask,” said Graham Brinklow, Youth Outreach Coordinator for the Indiana GSA Network  at Indiana Youth Group.
Daniel Ramos, Program Manager for the Colorado GSA Network  at One Colorado, got an early look at the handbook in August of 2011 when he was a part of the editing process. “In their role as advisors, school staff are looking for tools, resources, and best practices to partner with students to build and sustain active GSAs,” Ramos explained. “The GSA Advisor Handbook will help the Colorado GSA Network support advisors in their efforts to create safe, supportive, and inclusive schools for LGBT and allied students.”
Now that the handbook is finished, National Association members will distribute this resource throughout their own GSA networks everywhere from Hawai’i to Alabama, Tennessee to Vermont. And we hope that this resource will be useful for those advisors who do not have the support of a GSA network in their region or state.
To download the GSA Advisor Handbook and learn more about it, visit www.gsanetwork.org/advisor-handbook .
To learn more about the National Association of GSA Networks, visit www.gsanetwork.org/get-involved/change-nation/national-association-gsa-networks .