SportsTurf March 2011

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Facility&Operations | ByBrian Winka, CSFM Forming a chapter >> BRIAN WINKA, CSFM, president of the Gateway Chapter. Hosting a successful STMA local chapter event W e all know that the local chapters are the lifeblood of the Sports Turf Managers Association and that each individual chapter is unique. One thing that most chapters have in common is that we host events to help educate members on a local level that may not get the opportunity to at- tend the STMA National Conference. With that said, one of the common questions that I kept hearing in Austin from members from all over the country is,” How do we get more members involved in our local chapter events?” With this question in mind I wanted to share some ideas that have worked for our chapter on the local level. The Gateway Chap- ter had worked hard to provide educational events that were beneficial to our members, but we were still getting mixed results regard- ing attendance. As a board we collectively sat down and brainstormed on ways to improve our events. We wanted to make sure we were giving the membership what they wanted. We came up with a number of things that we were doing right and wrong. SOMETIMES LESS IS MORE A couple of ideas that came from our brainstorming were implemented and we had one of our best years to date. We found out that sometimes less is more. The chapter fo- cused on fewer events but with more quality. The membership had mentioned that it was hard to make it to monthly meeting or out- ings. We scaled back to quarterly meetings and attendance went up. “With the busy schedule that I have, it is hard to make it to all of the monthly events. Going to a quarterly system enabled me to at- tend more events this year than in years past,” said Keith Labitska, grounds supervisor for Saint Louis University. One of the other ideas was to get our Com- mercial Members involved with the educa- tional events. The commercial people in the 20 SportsTurf | March 2011 chapter have a wealth of knowledge and are willing to share; they are one of our best re- sources. Many of them once worked on the other side and can relate to many of the issues that face sports turf managers. The commercial vendors can also promote the chapter and its events to a large audience. Many of our vendors will carry flyers about up- coming events in their trucks to hand out or leave them on the counter in their shop. Many of our commercial members also will sponsor an event in some way or another, or they will provide the meals or help defray the cost of bringing in a speaker from outside the area. As a result of the commitment we get from our commercial members, one of the things we do as a chapter for them is to host a Vendor Day at one of our sites which is free to all dues-paying commercial members. This is a great way for our vendors to get out and show off their products, and it also provides the members a “one stop shop” experience to try out any equipment or to get a look at a num- ber of products all in one place. Glenn Kraemer from GR Robinson Seeds & Service said, “The best thing that happened for me and my small company was meeting prospective customers. I actually sold some product at the event, but better yet, gained a very valuable customer because of the show. The show only cost me some time, but the value was beyond what I thought possible. It’s IF YOU ARE INTERESTED in exploring the possibilities of forming a local STMA Chapter, there are many resources avail- able, including the key “Chapter Compli- ance and Procedures Manual.” The STMA Chapter Relations committee de- veloped it with input from many of the leaders of STMA’s current affiliated Chapters. This manual will help guide you step by step through the process of starting and maintaining a local STMA Chapter. Begin the process by calling your fel- low sports turf managers, those that share the same enthusiasm and who want to be involved in the foundation of a new STMA local Chapter. STMA Head- quarters can provide you with a list of STMA members in your area to add to the list of your own networking con- tacts. Building a strong foundation of these enthusiastic, committed individu- als will give you the nucleus to support a vibrant, active local STMA Chapter. There are several other key individu- als ready, willing and able to help you as you get started: the Chapter Relations Chairperson and Board Contact. Don’t hesitate to contact them at any time with your questions or concerns. They’ll share their expertise, giving you input on their successes and some of those “not so successful” steps they’ve made as well. Currently the Chapter Relations Committee Co-chairs are Amy Fouty, CSFM, 517-355-0323, fouty@ath., and David Pinsonneault, CSFM, CPRP, 781-274-8355, dpin Starting a new chapter takes time. New chapters generally take between 6 months to one year to become affili- ated. Be patient, be persistent and have fun! It will come together. If you think you are ready to begin forming an STMA Chapter, or if you would like to discuss the possibilities of doing so, please call Kim Heck, the Chapter con- tact at STMA HQ (1-800-323-3875) for the basic background information to start you in the right direction.■ Kim Heck, Chapter contact at STMA 1-800-323-3875

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