The horticulture industry is full of great ideas and bright young inspiration. Young Hort Professionals (YHP), a group organized by members of Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association (CNGA), has shown me just how much potential our industry holds. We are a group of individuals, beginning our careers, with a shared passion and desire to grow. We come together to share experiences and fellowship at least twice a year over fun happy hours and good food – thanks to CNGA and their sponsors. I’m excited to see what we’ll accomplish in the future.

Our industry is so vast and YHP provides the perfect way to get involved, learn and foster ideas. This group was established to encourage us all to get together and explore the opportunities and benefits the horticulture industry can offer. Not only do we have a lot of fun networking at social events, but we take those ideas from the happy hour and implement them in the real world. Through hosting events, building outreach programs and establishing a presence, we’re able to bring ideas to life and really influence and serve our industry.

Here are some examples of what we do as Young Hort Professionals.

  1. Networking at happy hours across Colorado like at the Denver Beer Co. in LoDo and Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins
  2. Sharing about our experiences in the industry, such as past employers and jobs and what we’ve learned
  3. Outreach with presentations and events including PlanT Ahead where we inform high school students about the industry at schools and bring them to CNGA member businesses
  4. Involvement in career fairs such as setting up an information booth at the Adams County Extension’s Career Day on April 29
  5. Connection with opportunities like jobs, training and other resources by getting to know CNGA members from other companies and colleges and sharing information
  6. Developing friendships (last on this list but definitely not last in my reasons for being part of YHP)

The bottom line is: if you like friends, horticulture and growing your career, come join us!

Young Hort Pros Ready to Make a Bigger Difference

By Michael Schleining, Sales Manager, Arbor Valley Nursery

In 2018, the Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association (CNGA) surveyed participants at Young Hort Professionals (YHP) Happy Hours to garner information about our younger generation in the green industry. Overwhelmingly, the survey responses and conversations revealed that young people are interested in volunteering their time and making a difference in the industry and thereby the world. How can they do that?

Board and committee participation: Younger professionals have rarely had the chance to make a difference on boards and committees, because those roles are typically filled by business owners or managers. So, one place to start providing us with opportunities to contribute is through inviting us to participate, and for employers to give us the time to attend meetings and activities.

PlanT Ahead: This program has already started as a way for us to make a difference in the industry by sparking high school students’ interest in horticulture. You can read about it in List #7 in this NewsLeaf issue.

Mentorship program: Another idea is to connect long-time business owners and managers with younger people in the industry through CNGA to create mutual growth opportunities.

Colorado State University Horticulture Club: Another idea is to connect to this club through events and speaking opportunities like in front of classes. Many students in horticulture programs may not know the path beyond graduation. We need to get the college demographic aware of opportunities with CNGA members.

We urge you to attend the YHP happy hours and get connected! If you’re an employer, encourage your younger employees to get involved. These conversations are happening now, and we all have the chance to shape the future of our industry!