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Urban Youth Academy hosts groundskeeping clinic

The next generation of groundskeepers are learning the tricks of the trade.

The Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., played host to the 2013 Sports Turf Managers Clinic last Thursday, bringing big league tips on field management to several community outlets. The clinic, sponsored by Covermaster and Diamond Pro, brought more than 60 interested attendees.

Darrell Miller, Major League Baseball's vice president of youth and facility development, made some opening comments to the group Thursday morning. The clinic was administered by Murray Cook, MLB's field clinic coordinator, who has made these presentations around the country.

The clinic was held in perfect weather, and the attendees all received a free lunch and the ability to network with other people in their field. Chad Olsen, who works in construction and maintenance operations for Brickman SportsTurf, was one of the many experts brought in to assist.

Two members of a big league groundskeeping crew -- Rene Garcia of the Dodgers and Luke Yoder of the Padres -- were also on hand to tell the attendees what they can expect from their fields.

The free instruction was given to several representatives of the public sector, including but not limited to the L.A. City Park Department, Los Angeles Unified School District, Loyola Marymount University, Long Beach State University and delegates from the California cities of Ventura and Santa Clarita.

Yoder, the head groundskeeper for the Padres, showed the interested observers how to care for the mound, while Garcia and representatives from Diamond Pro worked on the rest of the infield. An emissary from Covermaster showed the assembly how to maintain the home-plate area.

And it wasn't just simple instruction on how to take care of the field. Attendees were given information on safety, efficiency in maintenance and renovations and several other cutting-edge techniques. And when the clinic was over, the attendees were given certificates that reflected their education.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for