Volunteers are being sought for a program that will see what amounts to walking tourist information booths.
The Community Ambassador Program is the brainchild of Coun. Bob Kendel and will see volunteers roaming areas like the downtown core, providing information to tourists and residents. The program is based out of the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce (BCRCC) office at Community Futures. The Visitors’ Information Centre at gallery 2 is a key partner and community ambassadors will be able to refer people to the centre for information about the area, including events and accommodations.
Volunteers would walk around with a shirt and lanyard that identifies them as an ambassador and the BCRCC, Grand Forks Credit Union, the City of Grand Forks and the Visitor Information Centre are amongst those teaming up for the initiative.
“I just think that the community is always in need of a volunteer base for all kinds of things. You would be a volunteer but you would be a volunteer to be an ambassador for the city and hopefully it will turn into a regional program,” Kendel explained, adding that the program will be a work in progress, as the “nuts and bolts” of the program are currently being established.
BCRCC executive director James Wilson said ambassadors would be invaluable, not only to help tourists during the week but during times where there are events and festivities taking place.
“Depending on if it’s an event, i.e. the fall fair, you would walk around and talk to people and help them with any kind of questions and we would like to target tourist people because they’re always looking for things to do or wondering what’s going on around here,” Wilson said. “It’s a good chance to showcase events and say, ‘Hey, if you’re interested in camping, we have these spots,’ or just to bring more tourists into this community.”
Kendel said the program takes ideas from similar programs from Pitt Meadows, B.C., Langley, B.C. and Tofino, B.C. and volunteers will be able to fill out applications beginning at the Farmers’ Market this Friday (Aug. 2).
“You’ll need to make an application and then there’ll be training, which would be a World Host program,” said Kendel. “There will be a code of ethics that we’ll expect everyone to adhere to and other than that, exactly how it’s going to work, we’re hoping that it will be something where, if you want to be part of an event, or just be an ambassador for the day, you stop in at the visitors’ centre, make sure you have all of the current information of what’s going on in the city.”
“We see the Community Ambassador Program both as a really good fit for the regional chamber of commerce as well as a good way for (the Grand Forks Credit Union) to support the local business community,” credit union marketing and communications manager Angela Soukoreff explained.
Ambassadors will also be out and about during the Grand Forks Downtown Business Association Back to the Wild West event on Aug. 9.