Giving back is an excellent way to share your talent and expertise with others. There are numerous ways to give back. You can volunteer your time, connections and abilities to programs that don’t have some of the funding needed to produce fields up to the standards that you know they should have. You can provide information or labor to help a fellow sports field manager produce a playing surface that instills a growing sense of pride for the players and spectators. Or, you can give a local field that professional makeover that helps build pride in their facilities and sports program.
You also give back when you mentor others in the field. This is particularly helpful to those just getting started. By sharing some of the things that you’ve gone through, they can learn from your experiences.
You can give back by training volunteers to properly provide field care. This gives them a feeling of confidence in what they do and provides better playing surfaces for athletes at any level. This is an especially important factor for youth sports. In some instances this may be a part of your job responsibilities. In other cases it may be something you can do for facilities that don’t have the budget for professional field care. It can also be helpful in situations where the one professional on the job is stretched too thin and doesn’t have the time to initiate a volunteer program. Your mentoring can guide them through some of the challenges.
There are a number of benefits realized from giving back. Obviously, the first benefit is to the recipient. If you give others the opportunity to be involved in your generosity, they will feel good about what they are doing and can learn new information and techniques as they serve others. Giving back can spotlight your professionalism and call attention to the education, training and skills necessary to properly maintain safe, playable and aesthetically pleasing sports fields. Publicity should not be the reason to give back, but when handled properly, it raises the recognition of the profession for everyone.
The author is a contributing editor for SportsField Management.