Further to the WCTA and STA Partnership
In the last half of June 2012, the Western Canada Turfgrass Association and the Sports Turf Association inked a deal that recognizes the STA as the national body for sports turf managers and sees the WCTA as the conduit for STA members hailing from British Columbia and Alberta.
The STA, the Canadian International Affiliate Organization of the USA-based Sports Turf Managers Association and whose mandate is the promotion of better, safer sports turf in Canada, started the discussion about a year earlier in an effort to fill a void that many sportsturf managers across the country were feeling.
WCTA President Tab Buckner, a sportsturf manager himself for the Township of Langley in British Columbia, immediately recognized the opportunity to collaborate much like what was already happening on the golf side stating, “[The partnership] is a major step forward in uniting Sports Turf Managers across the country and will undoubtedly have a positive effect on everyone in the industry.”
“The goals of the STA are similar to those of the WCTA and partnering seems to make a lot more sense than trying to duplicate their services,” said WCTA Executive Director Jerry Rousseau. “We’re obviously targeting our sportsfield members,” added Rousseau, “although golf course people and others might find certain benefits valuable and are welcome to take up a membership.”
As it stands, anyone from British Columbia or Alberta wanting to join the STA can do so by joining the WCTA first and paying an additional $90 fee which is 50% off of the normal STA membership rate. WCTA members will notice an area for this on their 2013 membership dues to help make the process quick and easy for everyone.
Some of the STA membership benefits include:
A network of experts to assist sports turf managers with their turf problems and field related safety;
An online membership directory, invaluable for communicating with professionals in the sports turf industry;
An annual educational conference and field day at reduced registration rates;
Complimentary subscription to the quarterly magazine containing leading research, STA programs and activities, industry information and coming events; Educational books, brochures and other materials at reduced rates;
Subscriber access to the Michigan State University’s Turfgrass Information File (TGIF), the most comprehensive publicly available collection of turfgrass educational materials in the world, via the Michael J. Bladon educational link.
Professional development opportunities and,
Liaison with and support of other turf organizations.
At the time of writing this article, 2013 WCTA member dues were just starting to come in but according to Rousseau, “We’re noticing between one third to one half of our sportsfield and parks people are taking the STA membership,” adding, “and I think that’s a good decision on their part.”
Tab Buckner is enthusiastic and pleased with the program’s traction stating, “We’ve opened the door to many new possibilities and the WCTA will remain firmly planted as the turf industry representative out west.”
When asked if a focus on the sportsfield sector would result in less attention to the golf side, Rousseau replied, “There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t do an excellent job catering to the needs of specific sectors within our membership without compromising the others,” adding, “we’re stronger by working together and individually, none of the sectors are big enough to provide enough resources to make great strides especially if we hope to continue representing the entire turf management profession in Western Canada.”