Inside the Basket - Samantha Greenwald, Balloon Fiesta Navigator Manager
Samantha Greenwald is Balloon Fiesta’s new Navigator Manager, joining the organization this month.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, get to know Samantha’s ballooning background, what her role entails and how you can get involved as a Navigator.
1. Give a brief overview of your position with Balloon Fiesta.
I have joined the Balloon Fiesta team as the Navigator Manager. I started this month and have hit the ground running since my first day! I manage the Navigator Program, made up of approximately 1,100 volunteers who are organized into approximately 45 teams that assist all across Balloon Fiesta during the event. I assist teams with recruitment, training and making sure all Navigators have any necessary resource they need to provide the ultimate guest experience at Balloon Fiesta.
2. How did you become involved with the organization?
In 2018, I fell in love with Balloon Fiesta after my first attendance as a crew member. I moved to New Mexico in 2019 to be more involved in the ballooning community and work for an equipment rental company as a sales representative. In 2021, Balloon Fiesta was assigned to me as an account to provide equipment for the event. During this time, I worked with many members of the team here at Balloon Fiesta. When the Navigator Manager position was brought to my attention, I knew this organization was where I wanted to further my growth and career!
3. You’ve been a crew chief for the past five years, what has this experience been like and how can others get involved at Balloon Fiesta in this way?
Being a chase crew member, and working up to be a crew chief, has been my favorite passion and hobby in the last 5 years. It is hard work physically, but for me it’s the best way to start an early morning! We fly for fun on the weekends, travel for balloon rallies, and help those outside of the ballooning community experience flying and chasing. As a crew chief, I lead the crew in launch set up and landing take down so the pilot can focus on flying and safety. Being a part of a crew is such a special experience, like a second family, and the best way to learn about ballooning. If you’re interested in being a part of a crew during Balloon Fiesta, we are accepting crew applications from July to August 2022. You can find that application on Balloon Fiesta's Volunteering page, under the Chase Crews section. If you’re looking to involve yourself with a crew year-round, please give me a call and I can connect you with some crew chiefs who are looking for more year-round crew members!
4. What do you most look forward to in your role as the Balloon Fiesta Navigator Manager?
50 years of successful events is a huge accomplishment, and our Navigators play a huge part of that success. I look forward to connecting with the Navigators who have helped create the magic for the last 50 years, and those who want to do so for the next 50! This event and community have had such a positive impact on my life; I’m thrilled to be in a position to help make it just as magical for others.
5. What opportunities are there for those interested in volunteering with Balloon Fiesta and how can they sign up?
We have approximately 45 teams of Navigators to fill, and with this being the 50th year we are taking all the helping hands we can get! If you are interested in signing up as a Navigator, please fill out the Navigator Application on the Balloon Fiesta website under the Volunteering Tab. In the application form, you’ll have the opportunity to help us understand which areas you’d be interested in assisting in so that we can find the best fit for you. There are many options to be involved, and we would love to have you!
To learn more about this new Balloon Fiesta position, click here: https://balloonfiesta.com/Post/Albuquerque-International-Balloon-Fiesta-Announces-New-Volunteer-Coordinator
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