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Sunday, December 4, 2022
NOTL Ambassadors hope to add new recruits for next summer
NOTL Ambassadors Kerry Ryan, Janet Ennamorato, Wendy Howe and Lynne Hanna. Supplied

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Ambassadors have wrapped up for another year, celebrating the successful end to the summer 2022 season. 

And the program is looking to continue growing next year, attracting more volunteers to its ranks.

On Fridays and weekends from May to September, a team of 44 volunteer ambassadors, working two-hour shifts, hit the street in Old Town to offer advice and directions to visitors.

Laurie Harley, the NOTL Ambassadors’ team leader, said it’s always a great experience.

“When you kind of open your eyes and look at it the way a visitor would, it really does impress you as to what a little gem of a town we have here.”

The ambassadors program started in 2020 and Harley said it faced some challenges due to COVID.

The ambassadors partnered with the Shaw Guild and the town reached out and asked, “if we could have some volunteers who would be on the street reminding people of the COVID protocols,” she said. 

The group works closely with Tourism NOTL and instead of focusing primarily on COVID safety in 2022, “We moved so that we had a more tourism focus.”

Looking to next year, Harley said there is always room for improvement, but one of the main goals is finding more volunteers. 

With only 44 ambassadors, the group is limited to how many days it can operate.

The program is also looking to attract more students and young people.

“We tend to be an older demographic and it would be nice to be able to have more diversity in terms of the team itself,” Harley said.

The NOTL project adapted research from other ambassador programs around the world to make one unique to Niagara-on-the-Lake, she said.

On the street, ambassadors don’t get a lot of feedback from visitors or hear when their advice came in handy – but Harley said sometimes those who take advice end up having a wonderful experience. 

“We had one couple, it was their first trip here and the ambassador basically suggested that they should go down to the water or go down to Queen’s Royal.” 

Afterward the couple came back and thanked the ambassador because they wouldn’t have thought of going there themselves.  

With goals set for the coming year, Harley took a moment to look back on the group’s past accomplishments, saying, “It really does make you feel extremely proud to be able to talk about this town.”

This spring there will be a recruitment drive for new ambassadors and Harley said if anyone wants to learn more they can email