Initiative strives to match 535 Grassroots Ambassadors with each member of Congress
Lawrence, Kan. (Oct. 8, 2019) The Golf Course Superintendents Association of American (GCSAA) is looking to recruit 177 Grassroots Ambassadors by the end of 2020 to join the 358 ambassadors currently serving in their volunteer advocacy roles.
The GCSAA Grassroots Ambassador program matches a member of GCSAA with each member of Congress to build strong relationships between them. Once this goal has been met, all 535 members of Congress will have been paired with a GCSAA member serving as their “go-to” resource for golf course management issues.
GCSAA would like to commend 16 states for pairing each member of their congressional delegation with a Grassroots Ambassador: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Several other states have only one or two ambassador spots remaining: Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon, Kansas, Alaska, Georgia, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. Twenty additional states have multiple openings.
As GCSAA continues to search for enthusiastic members to serve as ambassadors, the GCSAA Government Affairs Committee recently expanded the pool of eligible candidates to include not only golf course superintendents and assistant superintendents, but also retired superintendents, chapter executives, college students, and equipment managers.
Being part of the Grassroots Ambassadors program allows members to advocate for the industry and provides a unique opportunity to share their stories of professional land management with lawmakers. With regulatory pressure on the rise across the country, the need is greater now more than ever.
“I love what I do and hope others will consider joining the Grassroots Ambassador program,” Kyle Barton, a Michigan ambassador, said.
Barton recently hosted Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) for a meeting and tour at his course, Tam O’Shanter Country Club in Bloomfield, Mich.
“As a member of Congress, I appreciate hearing from constituents like Kyle who are engaged in advocacy and are a resource for me and my staff in the district,” Stevens said.
Ambassadors meet twice a year with members of Congress and their staff. The Public Affairs Council reports that 83 percent of Congressional staff say meeting in person is the most effective way to influence the decisions made by congress, thus ambassadors are asked to discuss federal issues impacting golf course management either through hosting a site visit at their golf course or by scheduling a meeting in a congressional district office.
All ambassadors receive the training and resources needed to become effective advocates for the profession. Ambassadors also receive education and service points for their efforts. In addition, they have the opportunity to win GCSAA’s Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award, which offers four individuals each year the chance to attend National Golf Day in Washington, D.C. at no cost.
In addition to year-round online training, GCSAA offers the Grassroots Ambassador Academy at the annual Golf Industry Show where ambassadors interact with grassroots trainers and learn the art of advocacy and engagement. To attend Ambassador Academy, they must be currently serving as a Grassroots Ambassador.
There are 15 months left to fill 177 ambassador spots. For more information, contact Michael Lee, GCSAA manager of government affairs, at 785-832-3612 or firstname.lastname@example.org.