Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, in conjunction with U3A in Toowoomba Inc. launched the Wellcamp Airport Volunteer Ambassador program on 12 October 2018.
“From the very beginning of my Ambassador experience, as well as being a welcoming face and helpful hand for passengers passing through the terminal, I wanted to learn as much as possible about the Airport and the planes that frequent it”, said Ambassador Jocelyn May who also took it upon herself to create a monthly newsletter for the group, which has become a conduit for information between the Airport and the Ambassador community.
Working in shifts to meet arriving and departing flights, Airport Ambassadors are often the first point of contact for passengers and visitors at the Airport. They make themselves available across the terminal to provide general airport and transport information; assist parents with children; provide luggage assistance; and support those requiring mobility assistance.
Ambassador Allan Langdon had firsthand experience of the type of assistance passengers might require when they arrived into Wellcamp Airport. In late 2018, before the program was launched, Allan and wife Angela arrived into Wellcamp on an evening flight from Melbourne via Sydney with four grandchildren (aged 2 to 8 years), two cats, assorted strollers, car seats and luggage in tow. The couple were greeted and assisted by the Airport staff, which made negotiating getting to two vehicles with all their precious cargo so much easier.
“As a volunteer I am often asked why I am involved” said Allan “and I am often tempted to reply, why not? I am fascinated by the juxtaposition of a small Saab 340 and a huge Cathay Pacific 747- 8 freighter on short finals over wheat fields; of puppies on their way to new homes in Adelaide or Perth, and the QANTAS Training Village as it grows before my eyes.”
Allan continued, “To be part of something like this is both a pleasure and a privilege and every week as I report for my shift, I look forward to meeting and assisting well over 100 people coming from or going to a staggering array of places. I am part of this - how good is that!”
The program is run on behalf of the Airport by U3A in Toowoomba Inc. and paid up members of the organisation are able to submit an expression of interest to enter the Wellcamp Airport Ambassador Program.
U3A is the University of the Third Age, which is the age of active retirement, coming after the age of youth and work and home making. University is a loose term – there are no academic requirements for membership, required no prior learning and no exams!
“The opportunity to share our passion for all of the unique and amazing attractions in our region is a constant delight when on shift at Wellcamp. One year in and our Ambassadors have expanded their minds and their knowing, while contributing to a valuable community service” said Rhonda Weston. President of U3A Toowoomba.
“Ambassadors are the welcoming smile of Toowoomba and their cheerful “How can I help you” are lasting positive first impressions that passengers take with them from the Airport and into our community. U3A in Toowoomba Inc. is excited to participate in this community engagement program and we look forward to many more successful years of being part of the “airport family”, said Rhonda.
“As 2019 Toowoomba Citizens of the Year and Toowoomba Region Citizens of the year, Rhonda and her husband David are broadly involved in the Toowoomba community and the Airport is fortunate to have U3A Toowoomba Inc as partners in this program”, said Robert Kasch, General Manager at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.
BELOW: Seven new Ambassadors were inducted on 16 October before a group of around 14 Ambassadors joined Wellcamp Airport Staff for the unique opportunity of doing a runway FOD Walk as part of Airport Safety Week.
BELOW: Ambassador Wendy Swanson with Anita Raymond and Nat Maiden on the runway at Wellcamp Airport