Thursday, December 19, 2013

Get the Education You Want

Of the many seasons in the golf course maintenance industry, one important and valuable season has begun; education season. The recently completed New York State Turfgrass Association (NYSTA) Conference and Show in Rochester, N.Y., kicked off my season.  There are several more in the region as well: Green Industry Show (Atlantic City, N.J.), Ontario Golf Course Maintenance C&S, The Golf Industry Show, NERTF, and many chapter education days on the calendar. This is not meant to show how busy I am, more to explain how you are the most important key to these valuable resources.
The agendas for each of these events are set by your colleagues and industry peers to deliver value to you, the turfgrass manager. They work hard to develop potential topics, engage industry experts to present these topics, and communicate with you to inform you of these valuable educational opportunities. Often, the only feedback those who administer these events get is based on numbers. If attendance is good, the agenda and information must be delivering value to attendees. If attendance is poor, the agenda must have missed the mark. Is that a fair assessment of an event?  If you did attend, can those administrators assume you got value from the event? If you did not go, was it because of the education offered? Numbers develop more questions than they answer. 

I was asked to join the NYSTA education committee and aid in developing the agenda for the 2013 conference and show. It became clear how difficult it is to provide a valuable agenda based on numbers. It is even more difficult to assemble topics without feedback.  That is where you come in. Input is critical in delivering value to you and your peers. Often those who develop these programs are begging you for input and feedback. You have the ability to reach out to those in charge of developing these education agendas. 

Many agendas are already set for 2013-2014 events. If you are in attendance, reach out and give your feedback to the administrators after the event. If you don’t attend because of the agenda, reach out and alert them of that as well. Perhaps your chapter has an education director or chapter representatives on the event board. These people are working hard to develop educational programs that will deliver value to you and your industry peers. Please help them deliver what you want by volunteering your input and responding with your beneficial feedback. With this information, they will be able to develop programs you will be able to enjoy year after year.

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