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by Keith Skillman, CAE, KCSAE Allied Director

When my family and I moved to Lawrence, Steve Mona, who was then CEO of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, advised me to get involved in KCSAE. So I did, finding my way to the annual celebration that fall and locating some friendly faces in a buzzing room of association folks whom I’d hoped would not all be unfamiliar to me. Phew. Hurdle cleared. I didn’t think about it that evening, but with that experience began my KCSAE volunteer journey. Only a few days later, I got a call from Nancy Perrin, KCSAE president at the time. Would I serve on the programming committee? I said yes, and I have been saying yes ever since. Suffice it to say, KCSAE involvement has had a greater impact on me than any contribution I have made. Great experiences working and learning together, warm and valued relationships, advice gladly given—I have been the beneficiary of all of those things and more.

If you have volunteered for KCSAE, you’d probably say that you get more than you give, too. That may be universally true of well-conceived, well-managed, and well-executed volunteer initiatives. But you do give—a lot and with impact. (Thanks!) Think for a minute about only some of the bountiful volunteer-led, largely volunteer-executed KCSAE activities:

  • Last month, the spring 2024 CAE study group kicked off, and some of us attended the Tech Toolbox Showcase on a chilly winter morning. On February 21, two of our own KCSAE members will impart insights for embracing changes large and small.
  • This month, the program committee begins its planning for another tremendous season of learning programs.
  • The CEO Roundtable held a Zoom meeting last month, hosting guest speaker Teri Carden for a discussion of “not your grandmother’s” nondues revenue ideas, and in the coming months those execs will gather live, too.
  • We have SIGS and coffee meetups and happy hours, and we have social media connectivity and communication and so much more that make KCSAE a mutually supportive community.

So much of that work, in concert with that of our fabulous executive director, is the contribution of volunteers. The activity and outcomes—programs executed, goals achieved, and so forth—are fantastic. Yet the impact’s the thing. As Peggy Hoffman, a consultant and co-author of the ASAE Research Foundation study A Holistic Approach to Association Volunteer Management (2023), reminded us at our event last June, clarity of purpose, community focus, and a strong connection to the profession are three central tenets of mutually beneficial volunteer management frameworks. As volunteers and volunteer-group leaders, purpose is our touchstone. The evidence of our impact is well-prepared CAE candidates, emerging leaders who flourish in challenging volunteer roles, and go-to colleagues borne of engaging in the KCSAE network.

We all understand that the KCSAE experience that we have does not just happen. We must cherish it as the outgrowth of intentional volunteer engagement of our modestly sized but mighty community. On behalf of the KCSAE board of directors, I thank all volunteers for their investment. I hope that you can say of each volunteer role that you achieved something meaningful and gleaned even more than you gave. What’s that if not the spirit of volunteerism?

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