The Cactus and Pine GCSA turns social events
into an opportunity to build a stronger membership
Carmella Ruggiero, executive director of the Cactus and Pine GCSA, was born to be a hostess. Her family’s Italian heritage values hospitality and family, and she’s found a perfect place to build on those themes with her chapter’s social events. Carmella says that social events, “Offer our members a personal touch. It’s a way for new and established members to get to know each other and each other’s families.” In turn, the Cactus and Pine GCSA Board of Directors feels that these social events have helped build a stronger membership. Members are then willing to attend the more traditional chapter meetings and become more involved in chapter business.
Something for everyone
The Cactus and Pine GCSA strives to make each member feel welcomed and a part of the Cactus and Pine community. The social events are one way the chapter does this. The chapter hosts 12 events a year. The majority of the events are held in and around the Phoenix area. Carmella advises that everyone is welcome to attend any event, no matter what part of the state they are held.
The chapter organizes softball and basketball teams, and hosts group outings such as bowling or baseball, hockey and football games. The chapter offers events for the whole family and for single people as well. The chapter works hard to make the events fun for the members, and their families. “By involving families, this helps our members’ home lives, and hopefully the families feel like they are part of the association, too.” Carmella reported. The Cactus and Pine GCSA hosts an annual Fishing Tournament that is geared towards families. This year the event had 30 participants who were able to enjoy nature, fish and spend some quality time with each other.
The chapter also organizes events such as group outings to Phoenix Suns basketball games. The members are able to click a link on the website to register, and Carmella purchases group tickets for those interested. The Cactus and Pine GCSA does not make any money off these events; they are a way for members to get to know each other in a more casual setting. The personal touch comes into play here as well, as staff prepares treat bags for each person attending the game. They include items like Cracker Jack and bottled water. These are little thoughtful touches that help the members feel appreciated.
Engaging the membership
Gregg Thomas, Cactus and Pine GCSA incoming president, and superintendent at Mesa Country Club, Mesa, AZ, feels that by encouraging this sense of community with members, they are strengthening their chapter.
“It seems like more people are getting involved. The social events help people get to know each other in a casual environment, and that is transferring over to our monthly meetings and education events,” Thomas says. As a board member he also appreciates the opportunity to interact with the members one-on-one. “The social events are a great opportunity for the board of directors to interact with our members. I feel that the members are more comfortable approaching me with questions or concerns at these more casual events,” Thomas added.
Social events are just one facet of the wealth of programs and services that the Cactus and Pine GCSA offers its members, but it is often one that leaves the most lasting impression.
To share your chapter's success stories, please email them to Leann Cooper.