Golf Course Management

JAN 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 33 of 219

30 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.18 (advocacy) GCSAA's government affairs team Plans, priorities for the year ahead Happy New Year from the GCSAA gov- ernment affairs team! Last year flew by, and we're now focused on rolling out several new initiatives in 2018 that will help us get the as - sociation's voice heard. The GCSAA Board of Directors officially approved a political action committee last fall. We soft-launched the GCSAAPAC at the Chapter Delegates Meeting in November, and have since secured a five-person board to administer the GCSAAPAC over the coming year. Our goal is to raise $15,000 this first year. The GCSAAPAC will bring full circle the integration of our direct and grassroots lobbying efforts. Speaking of our grassroots lobbying ef - forts, important progress is to come in 2018 on issues we care about. The Trump admin - istration will likely unveil two proposed rules: one that will establish a new definition of "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act, and another rule that will create a new overtime pay salary threshold. We'll weigh in with public comment on both rules when they're published. The government affairs team is excited to put an emphasis on chapter effectiveness in advocacy in 2018. We have plans to build a menu of advocacy best management practices for our 99 affiliated chapters to help each have a louder voice at the local and state levels of government. We'll also assist chapter exec - utives and boards in networking with each other on advocacy matters. The 11th National Golf Day event in Washington, D.C., will be April 24-25. For the second year, we'll do a community ser - vice project on the National Mall, and we'll be extending it further down the Mall this year, with new turf restoration projects and an edging challenge with GCSAA CEO Rhett ship program, new ambassadors will be paired with a veteran ambassador in their state who has had success in advocacy and can provide coaching and suggestions. Additionally, plans are underway to re - launch the GCSAA Advocacy Network in early 2018. While the Grassroots Ambassador program limits participation to Class A, B and C members and focuses on relationship build - ing with lawmakers, the Advocacy Network is open to all GCSAA members and brings to - gether the collective voice of the golf course maintenance profession through participation in call campaigns, letter-writing and petition drives, and action alert pushes. Be it concerns over water use, inputs, or labor and workforce development, our industry has many topics to discuss with lawmakers, and many avenues for bringing our concerns to their attention. For those who are part of the Advocacy Network, we'll gather information from you on which issues matter most to you and in which ways you're most comfortable taking action. We'll collect your preferences through a survey and build advocacy teams based on that feedback. This is an ambitious undertaking, but one we're confident will strengthen the golf indus - try's voice going forward. Visit the Advocacy section of www. for much more information on the GCSAAPAC, Grassroots Ambassador pro - gram, and any of the other initiatives men- tioned here. GCSAA's government affairs team is Chava McKeel, direc- tor; Bob Helland, director of congressional and federal affairs; and Michael Lee, manager. Evans. We've also added a keynote speaker, a congressional reception at the Capitol Visitor Center, and a pep rally on Capitol Hill. Regis - tration for this hallmark event is now open at . The Grassroots Ambassador program made great strides in 2017, with 78 new am - bassadors joining, bringing the total number to well over 300. Many members of Congress were reached at the district level, thanks to the efforts of these volunteer advocates. There is always more work to be done, however, and in 2018, we plan to introduce new incentives, tools and experiences to take the Grassroots Ambassador program from good to great. On-demand advocacy training and cur - riculum was recently unveiled on www.gcsaa. org , designed by Advocacy Associates, spon - sored by Bayer, and tailored to superintendents by the GCSAA government affairs team. This new resource, which provides both basic and advanced education in a concise, user-friendly format, features instructional videos accom - panied by reading material and worksheets that take advocates step by step through the process of engaging lawmakers. Ambassadors will learn how to interact with congressional staff, develop a message that resonates, host a site visit, and more. An initiative in the works for 2018 is the Ambassador Mentorship program. Getting started in advocacy can be difficult, and new ambassadors often wonder, "Who should I contact, and how?" "What should I say?" "How can I get my representative's attention?" One of the best ways to ease into advocacy en - gagement is through peer-to-peer storytelling and strategy sharing. Through the mentor - GCSAA's government affairs team at National Golf Day 2017 in Washington, D.C. (from left): Bob Helland, Chava McKeel and Michael Lee. Photo courtesy of Chava McKeel

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