This newsletter may be named Grounds for Success, but the real grounds for success can be found in the intensive education program at the annual Park and Recreation Maintenance Management School (MMS). The School is a partnership between the National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA), the National Training Center at Oglebay and North Carolina State University. Since its inception in 1971, the 4.5-day MMS has been held at the National Training Center in the famed Oglebay Park in Wheeling, West Virginia. Attendees have come from as far away as Alaska, the Bahamas and Kenya to attend the popular school.
“We would have celebrated our 50th year in 2021, but we had to cancel because of the pandemic,” notes Karen Hesser, current Chairperson of the MMS Board of Regents, and Chief of Operations at Five Rivers MetroParks in Ohio. “We’re thrilled to be back this year.”
Unmatched Educational Experience

The MMS is a one-of-a-kind education program designed exclusively for park, recreation and conservation personnel who manage park and recreation maintenance programs, and this year’s session wrapped up in August.
“Attendees have an amazing time and make lifelong friends, but they’re also here to learn and work,” says Scott Payne, the school’s Director, and Assistant Director-Resources for the city of Raleigh, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department. “These are people who are passionate about their careers and place a high value on the depth of our program.”

50 Years of Grounds Education

Indeed, MMS sells out every year and always has a waiting list. “It’s popular because it’s so immersive,” explains Hesser. “The instructors are highly experienced in the field, plus they represent a wide range of agencies from around the country, so there’s knowledge to share about common challenge.”
Intensive Two-Year Program

The school isn’t an hour-long seminar with coffee and donuts. It’s a full program designed to help professionals deepen not only their grounds knowledge, but also their management skills. Most attendees have been in the industry for several years and are motivated to deepen their knowledge as well as receive management training.

Because the instructors are practicing professionals, the curriculum has continuously evolved in response to what’s happening in the field as well as advances in technologies. This includes not only grounds progress, but also workplace developments such as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
First-year attendees spend their 4.5 days learning enhanced management practices. The wide range of course topics includes Planning and Organizing the Maintenance Program, Financial Management, Employee Motivation and Ethics, Environmental Maintenance and much more.
The course resumes the following year with another intense week that further develops management skills. Course topics include Development of a Maintenance Plan, Contract Management, Career Development, Trails and Greenways, Emergency Management, Court and Athletic Field Maintenance and more.
In addition to gaining significantly enhanced skills, students earn a certificate of completion and qualify for the new Leadership Development Graduate Program. See the website for more details on all aspects of the MMS.

50 Years of Grounds Education

Proud Partner

Toro is the sole sponsor of Park and Recreation Maintenance Management School, part of our commitment to supporting grounds personnel. Toro also provides scholarships to help communities with tight budgets. In 2023, Toro will be offering scholarships to attend the Park and Recreation Maintenance Management School. See this form for more information on the scholarship. 

To get on the waiting list for the 2023 MMS and to learn more about scholarship opportunities, contact Sherry DiMuccio of Oglebay at or 304-243-4126.