Mediation Services of Adams County
Mediation Services of Adams County (MSAC) is a locally-based organization in Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania, composed of a board and certified volunteer mediators who provide training in mediation and negotiation skills, as well as conflict resolution services for individuals and groups in the Gettysburg area. Mediation Services was incorporated in 1995 and is a 501(c)3 organization with membership in the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators, the Behavioral Health Task Force of Healthy Adams County, and the Community Re-entry Coalition. More info
What happens in mediation?
Mediation is an alternative form of dispute resolution that allows two people locked in conflict to resolve their issues peacefully. The process involves sitting down with a mediator or pair of mediators who will work with both parties to come to a resolution agreeable to each side. Mediators act as facilitators and enable the disputants to work out a win-win contract in which each party benefits. Mediation is especially useful for situations in which disputants need to continue on a day-to-day basis in an ongoing amicable relationship.
If Someone Asks You to a Mediation …
But what do you do if someone asks YOU to a mediation? Most often, mediation is initiated by one of the parties who would like to resolve a problem without huge expense or a lot of anger. Often, the other party is reluctant to agree to mediation, either because he/she doesn’t know much about the process or because he/she is full of rage. Because of uncertainty or a desire to punish someone, the other party may in the end incur large legal bills and a lifetime of hurt feelings.
If someone asks YOU to a mediation, you should think about what is to be gained by settling difficult issues like custody or property disputes in a non-confrontational way.
Where children are involved, it is far better for them not to be the center of a difficult legal battle. Mediators help divorcing parents to find solutions that center around the children’s well being, something that both parents can agree upon. Although separation and divorce are never pleasant, they don’t need to be full of violence and anger.
There is another way to do things. If someone asks you to come to mediation, you will be able to help choose the time and the place of the meeting. When you get there, you will be asked to sign a paper regarding confidentiality and ground rules. If at any time, you wish to speak to the mediators alone, a caucus will be requested. Sessions are usually 2-3 hours long. If you don’t reach a resolution in that time period, additional sessions can be scheduled. When you do reach an agreement, the mediators will draw up a contract to be signed by both disputants. A signed document is legally binding.
One of the purposes served by Mediation Services of Adams County is to put peaceful resolution of disputes into the hands of all members of the community, regardless of income or status. Mediation costs as little as $10.00 per session, according to the income of the disputants, or as much as $150 per session, if an organization or agency is involved. As a non-profit community agency, MSAC offers dispute resolution, a speaker’s bureau, and mediation training for individuals and organizations.
Typically, Mediation and Conflict Resolution Training is offered annually in March/April. This 22-hour skill-building workshop emphasizes conflict styles, active listening, communication, negotiation, and mediation. Training modules for specialized groups (prisoners, teens, families, local government and churches) are offered on request. For more information or to register, call Mediation Services of Adams County at 717- 334-7312.