“Don’t do something for recognition. Do it out of kindness. Do it because out of giving, it will make you whole and complete.”
― Angie Karan
The Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (WCISA) has been a key part of my life for longer than I’ve been working on this paper…and that’s going to be 20 years this November. It’s a great organization filled with wonderful people and offers education, camaraderie and business opportunities to anyone who can ante up the $40 a year to join.
One of the benefits is a truly amazing annual conference. There is usually a pre-conference workshop, and often tours or post-conference activities. The schedule is packed from morning to night with educational seminars and social events. And don’t kid yourself…the receptions and meals are just as critical to your career as the educational opportunities.
I can count on one hand the conferences I’ve missed since becoming a member. Unfortunately, this past year was one of them. The conference was in Anaheim (where I attended the 1997 event), and just wasn’t in the cards for me this year. And wouldn’t you know it, the chapter graced me with an Award of Achievement! What an honor!
Of course, I was so tempted to race down just for the awards lunch when I heard…but all the reasons I couldn’t come in the first place held me back. But frankly, I was most disappointed to miss seeing all my friends and colleagues.
Yes, awards are a great thing. But we all know that’s usually the last thing on anyone’s mind when they are working toward a goal or with a group or association.
Right now we are working on the final touches of our program for Desert Green, which is slated for October 20-21 at Texas Station in North Las Vegas. Our committee is made up of some of the best and brightest turf and horticulture folks in Southern Nevada. They are all really busy professionals in the green industry.
And every month, there they are. They give their time, efforts and brain power with no thought of any awards or recognition. And the end result is a terrific conference that covers every aspect of the green industry.
Just about every one of them represents another group or association for which they volunteer. Like WCISA. Or the Southern Nevada Golf Course Superintendents Association. Or the Nevada Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Or the Southern Nevada Arborists Group. So they donate their time serving their trade associations, then come to our monthly meetings. You get the picture. These folks are givers.
It shouldn’t come as a great surprise that most are also financially successful. The green industry is fairly democratic in that almost anyone who is willing to work hard can make a good living. But association membership offers a way to get even more out of your career…and your life.
It goes without saying that the internet and social media have changed the world tremendously since I attended my first WCISA conference. But the benefits that you can reap from association membership are still viable and might even be more valuable in these days of reduced “face time.”
So if you’re not already a member, go check out whatever association represents your trade. And go beyond just being a member…participate! Volunteer for a committee, offer your help on a project or just show up to a meeting. I promise that the rewards you reap will far outweigh the effort you expend. No award necessary.