Be a Ballina tourism volunteer (and make friends too)
BALLINA volunteer Donna Williams loves telling people where to go and she hopes that more people in her community will join her.
The Ballina Tourism team is seeking more volunteers just like Donna to join their Tourism Ambassador Program.
Whether a born and bred local, or someone who has only recently moved to the region - as long they are passionate about where they live, Ballina Tourism want to hear from them.
The program, operating for the past seven years, sees volunteers working at both the Visitor Information Centre and newly upgraded Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.
Donna said she joined the program because she enjoys helping visitors and making a difference to their time while they are in the local area.
"I have been volunteering as a Tourism Ambassador for 18 months. I volunteer at both the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport Visitor Services Desk and the Ballina Visitor Information Centre," she explained.
"After retiring from full time employment, and moving to a new town, I missed the feeling of 'making a difference' as well as social interactions with others. I also embraced this opportunity to learn more about this very special shire that we have chosen to call home.
"I have met some wonderful people, including interesting visitors to our shire. I enjoy helping them to plan their itinerary to get the most out of their visit to our area.
"It's great to see them head off on their Northern Rivers escape with anticipation and enthusiasm.
"I have formed some new friendships with other lovely and like-minded volunteers and Information Centre staff. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming and I always feel that my contribution is valued and very much appreciated."
Donna said her favourite are the bus trips aimed at making sure the volunteers know what they are talking about.
"We have fun and informative 'famil' bus trips to local businesses," she explained.
"Over the course of the day out I am able to spend quality time with other volunteers while familiarising myself with the unique experience each local attraction can offer to our visitors. It has equipped me with valuable first-hand experience that I can now to share with visitors."
And she said volunteering at the airport brought plenty of surprises.
"Pat Rafter flew into the airport on one of my shifts not long ago," she laughed.
"That was an exciting day at the Airport."
As well as regular volunteers, Ballina Tourism is also looking for a Tourism Ambassador Coordinator.
To learn more about volunteering in the Tourism Ambassador program, go to discoverballina.com.au/visit/corporate/volunteering.