Jen Camp continues to be a trendsetter in the Great Northwest. She hopes that spending the last few days in the heartland will fuel even more special moments in her career.
Camp (pictured next to the Old Tom Morris statue outside GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, Kan.), parks and open spaces superintendent at Trailhead at Liberty Lake GC in Liberty Lake, Wash., was among a couple of dozen participants in the 2012 GCSAA Leadership Academy presented by The Toro Company that concluded today right here at the GCSAA. Future leaders of the industry came to learn best practices, listen to experts such as GCSAA President Sandy Queen, CGCS, and Golf Digest architecture editor Ron Whitten.
The program is designed in part to mold future leaders in the industry. It appears Camp, a 2-year member of GCSAA, is well on her way to being a leader. She was the first female to go through the turfgrass program at Washington State University. More recently, she looked outside the box to address an issue, and it certainly had a positive outcome. In a Q and A before she flew home, Camp explained what happened in that scenario, and she revealed how a life in turfgrass blossomed in her world.
Q: What led you to this industry?
A: I'm a farm girl. There's a picture of me when I was 3, in my Hee Haw jeans in a cattle chute, a little lamb tucked under my arm. I loved being in the wheat and the barley.
Q: Anything that you learned here that will be beneficial to you once you return to work?
A: The support. I didn't realize how much they (GCSAA) back us. It's sort of, wow, at our disposal to serve us any way they can help us. They have resources to help with something as simple as a template for my job. I'm big on references, resources, for what I use every day to do my job, so I can definitely see myself heavily using these people as resources to do my daily job.
A: Part of our property had a serious issue with weeds. It was weed-infested, and homeowners were concerned. We checked with landscape contractors how much it would cost to tackle it, and it was pretty expensive. I wanted a way in which we didn't have to use pesticides or disturb play, and something that wouldn't be so expensive. I had heard of someone who had used goats in this kind of situation, so we brought in 27 goats. They ate their way through the weeds, and they didn't harm the course. The mayor and the city council loved it. I even took home two of the goats for pets. Their names are Sugar and Spice.
Q: There are many fewer females than males in this industry. Has that created any problems for you?
A: I've worked in a male-dominated industry for so long now, but I feel like I have been able to fit right in, which is cool. Men are just men, I'm just me, and this is what I do and I am very proud of that."
Q: Any great revelations strike you as you absorbed everything that was presented to you at the Leadership Academy?
A: I already knew I loved turf. As I sat there in the meetings, I was thinking that this is where I belong, this is it, this is what I need to be doing.
Read more about the 2012 GCSAA Leadership Academy in the December issue of GCM.