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Festival of Lights Volunteer Job Descriptions

The Festival could not be presented without our volunteers. We rely on you and appreciate your service.  If you will be late or are unable to fulfill your scheduled shift, please call 503-254-7371.

CLOTHING – Dress warmly in layers for the weather! We suggest warm slacks, water resistant rubber soled shoes or walking boots, and a winter rain resistant coat. Don’t forget warm socks, gloves, and a scarf/ear muffs/hat!  Most volunteer positions are under tent covering but better to be over dressed than to get cold.

VALUABLES – Do not bring valuables. The Grotto cannot be responsible for your belongings and we do not advise leaving them in your car.

ADMISSION – Volunteers are admitted free through GATE 5 on their scheduled nights. You are welcome to arrive early or remain after your shift to enjoy the Festival. Family and friends who are not volunteering must park in or near the Grotto’s main public parking area (that surrounds its entry at NE 85th and Sandy) and enter thru the Festival’s main public admissions gate. General Admission is $11.00, Seniors (65 +) are $10.00, & children (age 3 – 12) are $6.00.  Two & under are free.

VOLUNTEER ARRIVAL – Arrival directions for GATE 5, NE 88th Street and Skidmore Ave., are in your packet.  Please arrive at least 20 minutes before your scheduled shift.  Your best access is from Sandy Blvd at either 88th Street or 92nd Street, avoiding the public traffic and parking attendant’s directions, which are intended for public visitors.  Gate 5 is the entry point for staff, volunteers and musician/singers ONLY.  There is no public access at Gate 5.  After clearance by our Gate 5 Supervisor, please proceed to Volunteer Check-In.

PARKING – Volunteers may park in the main parking lot or on the street.  Please allow extra time to park, especially on busy evenings.

SAFETY – Safety is always our first priority.  If you see visitors behaving inappropriately, or suspiciously, in a manner that may be potentially dangerous to themselves or others, or an emergency situation arises immediately notify a staff member, who all have RADIOS.  Arriving staff members will give further instructions.

MISSION & PURPOSE – Our mission is one of community service and hospitality. For many Festival volunteer positions the most important thing you do is to share the Christmas season’s goodwill and joy with our visitors. We ask you to welcome festival visitors with warmth and kindness, as you would a good friend to your home.  Give a friendly holiday greeting, answer questions and generally be helpful.  We want Festival visitors to experience the peace, love, and joy that Christmas heralds.

YOU WILL BE SCHEDULED FOR EITHER AN INDOOR POSITION OR AN OUTDOOR POSITION

HERE ARE THE JOB DESCRIPTIONS FOR THOSE POSITIONS:

ANGEL (Outdoors)

On-Site Supervisor:  On-Site Volunteer Coordinator or PIC (Person in Charge)

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive any special instructions for the evening. Someone from staff will help you get into costume.

As a recognized character, your role is to greet each person with an attitude of gratitude, to bring a smile to their face. Please be especially conscious of greeting the children. You will be carrying a basket of candy canes that you can distribute.

If it is a nice evening, you should feel free to stroll through the plaza area.  Please do not go into the church or path areas. It is also important that you do not block entrances/exits, as we need to be able to keep the crowd flow moving. If it is a rainy evening, you will have to stay in the covered area just outside the Visitor Complex, as the wings and costuming must not get wet. Be aware that anytime you are in a public area you need to be ‘in character.’ This means that you should not be standing in the food line, drinking coffee, etc.  Whenever you are out in the public area in costume we ask that you focus on enjoying the interaction with festival attendees.

CHURCH GREETER (Indoors)

On-Site Supervisor:  Chapel Host

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive your volunteer apron and any special instructions for the evening.

You are responsible for welcoming all visitors into the church for the choral concerts. On each evening (except for Christmas Eve), the festival will feature a series of choral concerts. Each of the four concerts will start on the hour (and on most evenings an additional concert starts at 5:15). It is important to review the concert schedule on the night you are working so you are able to answer questions from visitors. You can pick up a nightly schedule when you check-in. A schedule is also posted daily outside the chapel.

Volunteers at this position stand at the glass doors and open the door for people entering and leaving the chapel. Often, visitors are hesitant to enter the church when a concert is in progress. Please encourage visitors to enter and enjoy the remainder of the concert. Visitors are not to enter the church with any food or drink, and when possible we indicate to the men entering the church that it would be appropriate for them to remove their hats.

There are no public restrooms in the church, and one important part of this position will be to direct visitors to the public restroom area. The balcony is not open to visitors unless approved by the person in charge.

As a greeter you will be issued an apron so you can be easily identified as a festival volunteer. Your apron needs to be given to your relief volunteer or returned to the Volunteer Check-In room at the end of your shift.

ENTRY GREETERS (Outdoors)

On-Site Supervisor:  Larry Kirby or Jane Tokito

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive your volunteer apron and any special instructions for the evening.

As an entry greeter you will be positioned under a tent by the ticket booths prior to entry into the Festival. You will be the first person festival attendees see, and you will be distributing the Festival programs.

Please follow these guidelines:

Greet people, answer questions and be friendly. Chat with people waiting in line to purchase their tickets. You are their first impression of the Christmas Festival of Lights. If you read the program prior to your shift it will help you answer some of their questions.

  1. Give one adult per family a program, unless someone specifically requests an additional one.
  2. Help manage the line of people waiting to purchase tickets. If two cashiers are working, let people know to form a second line.
  3. Inform the On-Site Supervisor of concerns, potential problems, customer questions, etc. The ticket sellers have a radio and can contact staff if needed.As a greeter, you will be issued an apron so you can be easily identified as a festival volunteer. This apron needs to be given to your relief volunteer or returned to the Volunteer Check-In room at the end of your shift.

EXIT GATE GREETER (Outdoors)

On-Site Supervisor: Larry Kirby or Jane Tokito

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive your volunteer apron,  and any special instructions for the evening.

You are responsible for thanking our patrons for visiting the festival. Visitors are not to re-enter via the exit gate. Even if they are just walking to their car, stamp their left wrist and ask that they re-enter via the entry gate.

Since you are usually the last “festival” face the visitors see, it is important to offer them a friendly greeting and wish them a good evening.

As a greeter, you will be issued an apron so you can be easily identified as a festival volunteer. Your apron and the hand stamp need to be given to your relief volunteer or returned to the Volunteer Check-In room at the end of the evening.

FOOD BOOTH (Outdoors)

On-Site Supervisor:  Food Booth PIC

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive any special instructions for the evening. You will be assigned an apron when you arrive at the food booth.

All food booth volunteers will be outdoors, therefore, it is important to wear warm, dry clothing and waterproof boots or shoes. The area is covered by tenting, but it can get cold and wet under there.

By law, every food booth volunteer must be 16 years of age or older. It is important that all food booth volunteers follow regulations set by the Department of Health. This includes wearing the provided rubber gloves for those who are in contact with food. Hands should be washed whenever you return to the food booth or have handled a non-food item.

Volunteers should be willing to work the position needed, such as hot dogs, pretzel stand, popcorn stand, cookies or hot drinks.

GIFT SHOP (Indoors)

On-Site Supervisor:  Gift Shop Staff

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive any special instructions for the evening. A vest or apron will be given to you when you arrive at the Welcome Center.  Gift Shop volunteers must be at least 16 years of age.

You are responsible for welcoming all visitors in from the cold and answering questions. Here are a few points to help you in your role as a clerk in the Gift Shop:

Tokens are not sold for the Upper Level at night during the festival.

  • The red and white Votive candles are sold for $8 each. Visitors can light it themselves and place it in the votive stand near the crib in the plaza area
  • If there are any questions or problems during your shift please ask the Gift Shop Staff for assistance.
  • Be sure to familiarize yourself with basic information about The Grotto so that you can answer questions.

HOSPITALITY (Indoors)

On-Site Supervisor: On-Site Volunteer Coordinator

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive your volunteer apron and any special instructions for the evening. In this position, you are responsible for providing volunteers and staff with food and drinks.  Please be aware that the carolers and actors will come through the kitchen frequently, as they need access to their break room behind the kitchen.

Early Shift:

  1. Put a bucket of water with a capful of bleach by the sink to use for wiping down tables and counters.
  2. Check instructions on kitchen cupboards on how to set up Volunteer Check-In room.
  3. Prepare and serve beverages, soup (heat up), bread and cookies. Put out food in the Volunteer Check-In room at 6:00 pm. Replenish as needed, and keep area clean / tidy.
  4. Using the large brown cambro, prepare ice water for music groups. No food is served to the music groups warming up in the auditorium. Please keep the area clean and tidy.
  5. In the Volunteer Check-In room we serve the following for Volunteers, Staff, Grotto Carolers and Festival Actors: –     Drinks: coffee, tea, cocoa, cider and ice water –     Food: soup, crackers, bread and cookies.

Late Shift

  1. Start closing at 8:45 p.m.  Remove all food and beverages from Volunteer Check-In room. Clean up kitchen and Volunteer Check-In room. At the end of the evening place all towels and rags in the bleach-water bucket.
  2. Bag the garbage and leave it in the kitchen and auditorium for the janitorial crew to pick up the next day.
  3. Unplug all small appliances EXCEPT the large coffee maker.

PARKING MONITOR (Outdoors)

On-Site Supervisor:  Parking PIC

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive any special instructions for the evening.  Be sure to DRESS WARMLY!

Parking monitors fulfill a vital role for the festival due to the importance of guest safety and event accessibility. Attendants should do everything possible to make our guests’ first and last impression a favorable one.

GEAR PROVIDED:  Rain slicker, reflective vest and flashlight. You will also be issued a radio. Please make sure all gear is returned at the end of your shift.

OBJECTIVE:  It is important to use team work with the other parking attendants to effectively run the parking lots. Clean and simple radio communication is the key to success. Some parking monitors will be assigned specific locations while others will roam from lot to lot as we open and close them.

It is important that attendants take directions from the parking supervisor while keeping the traffic moving in an orderly and safe manner. BUS PARKING:  Two bus types will be arriving—Music Groups that need to be directed down Skidmore to Gate #5 and Tour Groups that are to pull up to a designated area by the ticket booths. Please be sure what category a bus falls into before directing it.

ZOO (Outdoors)

On-Site Supervisor: Jozee Rooz Animal Farms

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive your volunteer apron and any special instructions for the evening. Remember to dress warmly!  You will be outside in a make-shift barn.  Volunteers in the zoo will work directly with the Jozee Rooz Animal Farms staff, who own the animals in the zoo.

ENTRY GATE:  You are responsible for the flow of people into the zoo. The supervisor will let you know how many people can be in the zoo at one time. If there are more people than this are in the zoo at one time the animals become frightened and can be hurt. If there are lines of people, graciously ask people to wait momentarily until a few people inside the zoo have exited.

EXIT GATE:  You are responsible for thanking visitors, holding the gate for them to exit and pointing out where people can wash their hands. We have a hand-sanitizing station set-up right by the gate. Additionally, restrooms are located down the steps just past the Food Booth (or visitors can go out the exit path and turn right on the path to the restrooms). It is also your job to direct guests who want to enter the zoo to the appropriate entrance.

You will be issued an apron so you can be easily identified as a festival volunteer. Your apron needs to be given to your relief volunteer or returned to the Volunteer Check-In room at the end of your shift.

PLAZA ENTRY GREETERS (Outdoors)

On-Site Supervisor: PIC (Person in Charge)

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In where you will sign in and receive your volunteer apron and any special instructions for the evening. This position is a welcoming position for the visitors as they enter the plaza.

One of the most important things about this job is to direct foot traffic so that we do not have festival attendees entering this path from the Plaza area. It is an entry only path, with one way traffic due to safety concerns. If attendees want to walk the path again they can have their hand stamped at the end of the exit path. This will allow them to immediately re-enter the festival at no additional charge, and without standing in the ticket line.

As a greeter, you will be issued an apron so you can be easily identified as a festival volunteer. Your apron needs to be given to your relief volunteer or returned to the Volunteer Check-In room at the end of your shift.

RECEPTIONIST (Indoors)

On-Site Supervisor:  On-Site Volunteer Coordinator or PIC (Person in Charge)

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive any special instructions for the evening.

You will be working at a station just outside the Volunteer Check-In room answering the switchboard for The Grotto. The majority of calls you receive will be regarding the Festival of Lights, so it is important that you familiarize yourself with the workings of The Grotto and are willing to ask questions if you do not know the answer. It is also important that you are comfortable with using the main console for our phone system.

As you answer the phone, try to have a friendly smile in your voice and represent The Grotto well to the person on the other end of the line. Please keep in mind that the individual calling may never have been to The Grotto. When you arrive you will want to review materials provided to familiarize yourself with how to answer such questions as “Where are you located” or “How do I get there” or “How long does it take to see the lights?”

As time allows, you will be asked to contact volunteers for other evenings to remind them of their upcoming shifts. You will also serve to back up the Volunteer Coordinator when needed.

One of the roles of the receptionist is to secure the access to the office area. Only Grotto staff is to be allowed beyond the reception area, unless you are informed otherwise of special instances.

RELIEF/ROAMER (Outdoors)

On-Site Supervisor:  On-Site Volunteer Coordinator

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in, receive your radio, volunteer apron and any special instructions for the evening.

You are responsible for making sure that all volunteers are given their needed break. This will require that you become familiar with each and every volunteer position, and that you are flexible as to what you will be doing for the evening.

You will need to work closely with Volunteer Coordinator, and connect with On-Site Supervisors in each area to see which volunteers need breaks and if there are any concerns.

STEPS (Outdoors)

On-Site Supervisor:   PIC (Person in Charge)

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive your volunteer apron, a flash light and any special instructions for the evening.

Your position is one of safety, and to help answer any questions that Festival attendees may have. People do not realize that the steps are very uneven, and they are distracted by everything going on around them. It is your job to greet them, and gently remind them to be careful on the steps. In this position you also can answer many questions, and help to direct those in wheelchairs or with strollers to the ramp that will get them up at least one level.

Please follow these guidelines:

Greet people, answer questions and be friendly.

  1. When at all possible, remind each person to please be careful on the steps.
  2. Inform the On-Site Supervisor of concerns, potential problems, etc. The food booth has a radio and can contact staff if needed.
  3. If you do not know the answer to the person’s question, find someone who can help. As a greeter, you will be issued an apron so you can be easily identified as a festival volunteer. Your apron needs to be given to your relief volunteer or returned to the Volunteer Check-In room at the end of your shift.

TICKET TAKERS (Outdoors)

On-Site Supervisor:  Larry Kirby or Jane Tokito

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive your volunteer apron and any special instructions for the evening.

As a ticket taker, you will be positioned under a tent at the beginning of the entry path into the Festival. You are responsible for greeting each visitor and taking their ticket. These tickets are important for financial accounting receipts and must be saved. Please follow these guidelines when taking tickets:

Take the entire ticket. We do not tear them.

  1. Tickets should remain in the ticket booth area. If you have to leave, please give your tickets to the other Ticket Taker to place in his/her apron.
  2. Give your tickets to the On-Site Supervisor at the end of your shift or when your apron pockets get too full. NO ONE else is to collect them from you.
  3. Each visitor age three and above must have one of the following: General Admission ticket, a Senior/Military ticket, or a Youth festival ticket.  If they do not have a ticket, they may have a hand stamp on their wrist from exiting.  Those with a hand stamp may be allowed back in.   The On-Site Supervisor will show you samples of the three acceptable tickets. Visitors without an acceptable form of entry need to go back to the ticket booth. Do not accept free coupons. They need to be exchanged at the ticket booth.
  4. Help control the line. Sometimes people get impatient and don’t want to wait for you to take their ticket. When they try to slip by you, politely say, “I’ll be right with you” or “I’ll need your ticket, please.”You will have been issued an apron so you can be easily identified as a festival volunteer (and have pockets for collecting tickets). Your apron needs to be given to your relief volunteer or returned to the Volunteer Check-In room at the end of your shift.

VISITOR CENTER (Indoors)

On-Site Supervisor:  Gift Shop Staff

When you arrive, report to Volunteer Check-In, where you will sign in and receive any special instructions for the evening. Your vest or apron will be given to you when you arrive at the Visitor Center.

You are responsible for welcoming all visitors in from the cold, and assisting them with questions and purchases. The items for sale in the Visitor Center are Christmas items and Grotto souvenirs. Here are a few points to help you in your role as a greeter in the Visitor Center:

The Christmas Trees of Hope will be located in the Visitor Complex. Invite guests to leave their messages of hope on our tree.

  • Tokens are not sold for the upper level at night during the festival.
  • The red and white Votive candles are sold for $8 each. Visitors can light it themselves and place it in the votive stand near the crib (across the plaza).
  • If there are any questions or problems during your shift please call the Gift Shop at extension 115 from your phone and someone will come help you or answer your questions.