I have spent most of my time in the Guild as a Host/Hosting Captain; as such, it was wonderful to be hosting at the Festival Theatre on Wednesday September 28th, at one of the first Hosting shifts since what feels like forever.
I was joined by my wife Diane, and our shifts involved first and foremost, welcoming patrons to the Theatre and then checking patron vaccination certificates and ID, and then ticket scanning.
Whereas the vaccination certificates and ID checking does take marginally longer than scanning tickets, it did not take us long build a “rhythm”. It was completed in a mostly congenial atmosphere and it was so gratifying to hear the numerous comments how much it meant for our patrons to be back in the theatre.
You will have seen various communications on Shaw’s vaccination policies for employees and contractors, and by extension, us as Guild Volunteers. Working with Shaw’s Covid Manager, Alison Peddie, we have crafted the process by which Guild volunteers, who have chosen to Greet and/or Host at this time, will be able to submit information on their vaccination compliance, which will allow us, once again, to be involved in a wide range of volunteer activities in support of the Shaw.
This has even greater importance given that we anticipate a very busy upcoming Shaw Holiday season. Together with Shaw, Greg Fedoryn, Chair of Hosting has set up two “New Host” training sessions on October 28th and 29th, to enable us to train additional Hosts to manage the projected increase in demand of our services.
The training will not only focus on Hosting duties but Shaw will also allow us access to “tour” potential Hosts through the Festival and Royal George theatres, orienting them to the various theatre surroundings and discussing what they need to know to be able to answer our theatre patron's questions.
It’s going to be a busy end of season! Keep and safe.
Shaw Guild Greeters Back on the Driveway!
We’re back at the Festival/Studio, sharing the parking lot with the Nona Macdonald Stage and on the sidewalk at the Royal George, and it feels GREAT!
To the Volunteers who chose to come back now, thank you for . . .
- putting up with ALL our emails marked:
Please Read - Very Important
Important - Updated Info
Important . . .Oh No, not another Important email!!!
- learning new protocols like Masks, Vaccination Certificates, Photo ID
- learning how to nicely say . . .
Get those Vaccination Certificates, Photo ID - yes, we do need Photo ID…..
and tickets out NOW……No, not at the doors to the theatre, NOW
- completing your COVID Screening Questionnaire without a Yes
- learning Self Scheduling quickly….it works!
Then we lived with the “quirks” for the different theatres:
- Festival Theatre has a computer for those who forgot their Vacc cert that is linked to COVID-19 website
- Royal George doesn’t have a computer for those who forgot their Vacc cert, but it does have a House Manager (who comes outside) with an iPad linked to COVID-19 website
- Festival Theatre has a printer under the computer to print missing Vacc Certs
- Royal George does not have a printer, but has a House Manager who confirms their Status
- Festival Theatre has EVERYTHING!
- Studio Theatre has drinks/washrooms but no food.
- After having their documents checked at the Festival entrance, Patrons can purchase food, then exit through the Festival’s front doors to the Studio’s front door and then are checked again (maybe, they’ll get STICKERS!)
- Nona Macdonald Stage (Tent on Festival Parking Lot) has nothing but it does have STICKERS. Patrons receive a white sticker confirming they have been checked, then can enter the Festival Theatre for lunch, drinks and washrooms
And the most Important lesson we learned?
- We needed and got: TABLES for purses, H2O bottles, whatever was in Patrons’ hands while they did a frantic search for their documents.
- Festival has a round table AND those light standards that are just right for purses
- Royal George has a TV table
- Studio has none yet (but we will work on that)
Many past patrons were not able to attend our annual garden tour this year, which was held September 11th. But now they can take a virtual journey, visiting all 8 gardens from our 15th Annual Garden Tour.
Narrated by Ric Reid, Shaw Festival Ensemble Member, viewers will see the gardens as they transition from June to September.
Tickets are $11 each, and are only available until December 2nd. Visit the Garden Tour page for more details!
We are working to make this video available as an exclusive offer to all Guild Volunteers later this year at no charge!
Watch future newsletters for more information.
MVP Tidbits | Privacy Settings
The Shaw Guild VIRTUAL Garden Tour is available!
Greeters have received many compliments for making the Vacc cert/photo ID/ticket process go smoothly and quickly. When the lobby is empty at Curtain, you have done an Excellent Job!
It has been an ADVENTURE! THANK YOU for joining us. Now, onto the Fall and Christmas Shows!
Message from Alan Walker, President, Shaw Guild
Marg Mather, Greeting Chair
CAO Town of Niagara on the Lake
Superintendent, National Historic Sites, Southwestern Ontario Field Unit, Parks Canada
Manager, Sunset Grill
Managing Director/Curator, Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum
President, & CEO Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce & Tourism NOTL
Director Marketing, Konzelmann Estate Winery
Volunteer Study Group
- Margot Devlin
- Marie Gillespie
- Vlad Haltigin
- Laurie Harley
- Suzanne Hebert
- Lorraine Horton
- Gwen Laing
- Cheryl Morris
- Margret Walker
- Barbara Webber
Photos from the Ambassador Appreciation Party
We are back in action! Perhaps not as robust as we all would like but it is a step forward!
We know our online tool My Volunteer Page (MVP) may be a bit faint or fuzzy for some of you. So, we are introducing MVP tidbits as tips to help you recall and/or learn some of the options in MVP. We also recognize we will need a refresher for all of our volunteers. That is on our list so stay tuned.
For newer volunteers and those who may not recall I would like to share an MVP tidbit about Privacy Settings and Subscriptions.
Kim Mustill, MVP Chair
A New Volunteer Adventure: The Ambassador Project
PIVOT – It’s become the buzzword to describe the innovative ways we’ve found to stay active when we’re not busy donating our time to support the Shaw. At the Guild, pivoting has brought renewed focus to our “Community Outreach” objective and that’s led to an exciting new volunteer adventure – the Ambassador Project!
It started last year with a request from the Town. Could we quickly mobilize a team of “Ambassadors” to help inform visitors about COVID safety measures? Our response: yes we could! The result was a pilot project with 35 Guild members strolling the streets of Old Town greeting visitors and sharing information about safety protocols. The pilot was so successful, we were asked to do it again in 2021.
This year, the Ambassador Team was made up of 36 volunteers from the Guild as well as other local organizations. Margot Devlin took on the role of Team Leader, organizing 168 shifts over the summer period. She extended her organizational skills to hosting a backyard “end of season” appreciation gathering where we enjoyed cake and refreshments in the shade of a 200 year-old oak tree. Marnie Cluckie, Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake Chief Administrative Officer, attended and shared her perspective: “The Ambassador is one of my favourite programs. The personal connection you make with visitors encourages them to return to Niagara-on-the-Lake and enjoy everything our Town has to offer.”
Is there a future for the Ambassador Program once COVID restrictions end? Everyone involved – the volunteers, the Town, tourism Stakeholders along with feedback from residents and visitors - agrees there is a valuable role Ambassadors can play that goes beyond the pandemic. “I’m excited about the many possibilities the Ambassador Program has to offer,” explained Eduardo Lafforgue, President and CEO, Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce and Tourism NOTL. “Residents, interacting with visitors, and sharing their pride and unique stories, will help make every visitor interaction a memorable experience.”
Now there was a new challenge: design an Ambassador Program to meet the unique needs of Niagara-on-the-Lake! A team of 10 volunteers, who participated in the pilot program, formed a “Study Group” and set out to identify and learn from Ambassador programs in other jurisdictions. To guide the process and ensure close collaboration with tourism stakeholders, a Steering Committee was formed with representatives from the Town, Tourism NOTL & the Chamber, Arts & Culture, Parks Canada, Queen Street merchants and the wineries.
In early September, the Study Group presented the results of its research and a model for a Niagara-on-the Lake Ambassador Program. It described a community initiative, under the tourism umbrella, where volunteers
- are knowledgeable about the Town’s iconic events and attractions,
- can provide that knowledge and demonstrate their pride in the Town,
- could share personal “insider” favorites with residents and visitors.
The Steering Committee praised the work of the Study Group and gave their enthusiastic support to moving forward with the initiative.
That’s the latest adventure: deliver a unique volunteer-managed Ambassador Program for Niagara-on-the-Lake in 2022. The project involves marketing, recruiting a diverse team of volunteers, gathering information from all tourism stakeholders and building an information resource website, designing a training and orientation program, and having all the tools ready to start operations next spring. The Guild will continue to be involved and will reach out and welcome volunteers from the community to join us.
If you’re feeling adventurous and interested in participating in a start-up collaboration, we’d love to hear from you. The project calls for a wide-range of skills, including outreach recruiting, information research, curriculum development, and training. For more information, just send us an email and we’ll be in touch.
Laurie Harley, Past President