The Newport Ambassador Program was started eight years ago by then Commissioner Jan Knetschield who wanted to start a community service program in Newport. Nearly a decade later the program is still going strong and continuing to make an impact in the river city.
Ambassador Program Coordinator Kelly Flynn says that the program currently provides quality volunteers for eight different events and festivals throughout the year in Newport. Once engaged, Flynn says that the volunteers help to promote Newport's positive image.
At this point the Newport Ambassador Program has 20 active and about 50 total volunteers. Active volunteers participate in at least three events per year, many of which occur on Newport's floodwall, and all volunteers go through a training and orientation session on how to participate and effectively answer questions for visitors and residents of Newport. The volunteers are able to do this in part by handing out brochures on various items like the Newport Gang Tours, Newport restaurants, and by pointing people to local resources such as Go2Newport
The last major event of the year for Newport Ambassadors will be Newport's Oktoberfest celebrations this weekend that are a replica of the events held in Munich, Germany. Flynn also notes that the Ambassadors will also be helping and hosting the annual East End Christmas Tour.
Flynn expects the program to grow with upcoming changes at City Hall.
"Next season will be really busy as the Parks/Recreation Department is reorganized. We might very well play a role in that and are looking to grow our base of volunteers as a result."
Volunteers do not have to be Newport residents - Flynn states that there are some volunteers who might have moved around the region, but still feel passionate about Newport and want to help. To get involved you can visit Newport City Hall at 998 Monmouth Street and ask for an application.
Kelly Flynn can also be reached for more information at (859) 803-9749.
Writer: Randy A. SimesPhotography by Scott Beseler
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