Rochester Community Hosts are volunteers that welcome visitors, answer questions, provide way finding assistance, and inform and encourage visitors to get out and experience Rochester and southeastern Minnesota. Hosts don bright green vests with the Rochester Community Host logo so as to be recognized by visitors as an official source for information. They are stationed in the skyways and subways Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and as needed.
Each volunteer serving as a Rochester Community Host attends a general orientation session which includes a review of program policies, expectations and basic service training. The training also covers an overview of frequently asked questions including Rochester community information as well as an opportunity to train alongside a Convention & Visitors Bureau Visitor Information staff member. Community Hosts will have access to phones throughout the subway and skyway system in order to maintain contact with the CVB office in the event a question arises that they do not know the answer to or have the information available.
"This program will enhance what we have discovered this community does so well, and that is, offer assistance to those we pass by who look like they may need a friend to assist them," states Denny Hanson, Rochester City Council President. Hanson is one of the city leaders serving on the Rochester Community Host committee along with Jon Eckoff, Rochester Downtown Alliance Director, and John Murphy, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs and Rochester CVB Board Member. Murphy and the Mayo Clinic staff have been instrumental in connecting the Rochester Community Host program to training resources that are used in coordinating over 1,300 Mayo Clinic volunteers.
The Rochester Senior Center has also been instrumental in building the community host program. Seniors from the center have volunteered their time to serve as hosts during a month long pilot program.
Betty Walters is one of the first volunteers for the program, "I jumped at the opportunity because I can relate to how overwhelmed visitors become when trying to navigate their way through our downtown skyway and subway system. And, I love meeting people!"
Look for the community hosts in the green vests or contact our office if you are interested in assisting with this program, email@example.com.