Inside the Basket - Victoria Schultz, Balloon Fiesta Trolley Team Lead
Victoria Schultz is a Balloon Fiesta Navigator and the co-team lead for Balloon Fiesta’s Trolley Team.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, she shares more about her typical day during Balloon Fiesta and how those who are interested in becoming a part of the Trolley Team, can do so!
1. Give a brief overview of your position with Balloon Fiesta
As the team leader for Balloon Fiesta’s Trolley Team, my main priority is to provide everything my teammates need to successfully perform their duties throughout the event. It begins with orientation and training and encompasses everything from making sure they get their gear, to scheduling the drivers and conductor teams to the appropriate vehicles and performing lots of strategic planning on the fly. Whatever their needs are, I try to make sure they have it--it's the most important part of my job.
2. How did you become involved with Balloon Fiesta?
My husband, Shaun, was a Navigator-Trolley Team Driver for the 2018 event and I attended as a visitor but was not able to volunteer that year. I have loved Balloon Fiesta since 1983, but never have had a chance to participate until recently. For the 2019 event we initially decided we would be a Driver/Conductor team and have some fun. But, less than a month before the event I discovered that the Trolley Team needed a leader. Because I have experience working behind the scenes for large venues and events (like the Missouri State Fair, Six Flags, professional trade shows, etc.), and years of experience leading teams of people, I felt I could help, so I offered to lead the team and the rest is history!
3. What is your favorite part about being involved with Balloon Fiesta in this role?
I have a natural affinity for crowds and chaos--the crazier things get, the more I like it Haha! The Trolley Team Leader position is a dynamic role that offers quite a few unexpected adventures along the way. Every day is a new experience. I think one of the most satisfying things about my job is when I see how our team contributes to the event by making sure attendees have a fun, safe time from the moment they step foot onto Balloon Fiesta Park. It is especially nice that the event provides special equipment to help the disabled and infirm to attend, and I am happy to say that this year our team will be even more equipped to help those who wouldn't be able to safely attend without assistance. Literally everyone and anyone can enjoy everything the event offers because of the added accessibility measures provided by Balloon Fiesta, like ADA Shuttle Cart Service and larger vehicles like the newly added ADA People Movers. I am particularly proud to be part of this inclusive organization and event.
4. What does a typical Balloon Fiesta day look like for you?
At the end of each day when all the visitors and Navigators are heading home or to their R.V.s, I take another quick nap and get ready for the next wave (day). It can be grueling, especially toward the end of the event, but it is the event itself, the other Navigators, and the thousands of wonderful people who visit Balloon Fiesta who create all of the special moments and memories that make all of the long hours worthwhile.
In this spirit, I'd like to make an exciting announcement: This year my husband, Shaun, will be a co-leader for our team. With his help, and the additional support, improvements, and innovations provided by the Balloon Fiesta Transportation Department, 2021 is looking to be one of the best years the Balloon Fiesta Trolley Team has ever had!
5. For those interested in joining the Trolley Team, how can they apply and what should they keep in mind?
The primary way to join our team is by going to www.balloonfiesta.com and clicking the blue "Behind the Scenes" menu (top right hand of the main page), there is a Navigator section in which to apply. They are also welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Balloon Fiesta’s Transportation Department and inquire directly.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Drivers: ALL of our Drivers must have valid commercial driver's licenses (CDLs). The People Movers require that drivers pull long trailers expertly. Our Trolleys are like short, city busses (no trailers). Not all drivers will have conductors, therefore it is important that every driver is comfortable chatting up the crowd and personally helping attendees as needed.
We also now have three Conductor options:
- Single Conductors or Team Conductors: helps the driver by helping the crowd get on and off the Trolleys and regular People Movers safely (this is a great option for partnerships and friends who want to work side-by-side).
- Crowd Control Conductor: works on the ground, announces free rides to the crowd, helps to answer questions, arranges passengers into groups ready to board, and helps passengers to safely exit the vehicles.
- ADA People Mover Conductor: (must be strong enough to lift at least 50 pounds consistently) helps the Driver lower and lift ADA ramps manually, and helps attendees with wheelchairs, large baby carriages, etc. get on and off the vehicle safely.
All of our positions require sensitivity and compassion, as we are usually the first and last to interact with Balloon Fiesta guests. Maintaining a positive, family-friendly atmosphere and keeping attendees safe is the #1 priority at all times for this specialized team. If all of this sounds good, sign up! We would love to have you!
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