Inside the Basket - Jennifer Schurman, Balloon Fiesta RV and Navigator Manager
January 20, 2021
Balloon Fiesta’s RV and Navigator Manager, Jennifer Schurman helps create a memorable experience for RV guests and Balloon Fiesta volunteers during the event.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, Jennifer shares more about what her job entails, volunteer roles that are available and her favorite event tips.
1. Give a brief overview of your position with Balloon Fiesta and how you became involved with the organization.
I am the RV and Navigator Manager at Balloon Fiesta.
I oversee the RV reservations and maintain contact with the RV reservation holders. I try to ensure that the RV guests receive a high level of service and have a memorable time during their stay at Balloon Fiesta. I oversee the RV spaces, making sure that the sites and the improvements of the sites are well maintained as needed to accommodate the RV guests.
We have over 1,100 Navigators. I oversee the Navigator program, which includes training, retention and recruitment of volunteers. I track the Navigators’ assignments for the various locations during Balloon Fiesta, provide training, and ensure that our volunteers also have a memorable experience.
Before I started with Balloon Fiesta, I worked doing catering for the Balloon Fiesta Corporate Tents. I have always enjoyed attending Balloon Fiesta events and having worked several of them, I thought it would be a nice fit. I had interactions with several of the staff prior to working with Balloon Fiesta, which made the transition easier. Starting at a new place can be over-whelming and scary but everyone was welcoming.
2. What is your favorite part of your job?
I would say I have several favorites. I enjoy the interaction with the guests, the relationship with the Navigators and working with my co-workers. Our end goal is the same, to provide the best experience for every guest whether it is their first time or their 49thtime.
3. What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Probably the most difficult aspect is knowing everything you need to know about the event. It is ever changing and 2021 will be no different as we work to make sure everyone is safe and healthy while they are here during Balloon Fiesta.
4. For those that are interested in volunteering, what type of Navigator roles are available?
We have over 40 different areas for volunteering, ranging from Hospitality to Park & Ride to Group Tours. If someone is interested in volunteering, I would encourage them to go to our website, under “Behind The Scenes”, and review all the information about becoming a Navigator, the areas and descriptions throughout Balloon Fiesta and the “perks” that come with volunteering. We have a place for just about anyone who is interested in volunteering.
5. What tips do you have for first-time guests, interested in RVing at Balloon Fiesta?
I would say that these 2 tips go for both first-time guests and RVers.
- Be prepared.The weather changes often during the event from cold before the sun comes up to freezing as the sun rises to warm during the day. Have a warm jacket, gloves, hat or earmuffs to keep warm but be able to layer down as the day progress. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Occasionally, there are rain showers, best to watch the predicted weather and plan appropriately. Have plenty of water. It is easy to get dehydrated here at our altitude.
- Bring a camera. Seeing the balloons color the sky for the first time is amazing. Honestly, it’s amazing every time but the first is special. Taking pictures can keep those memories. There are so many balloons to see from the traditional balloons to special shapes like Darth Vader, Yoda, Airabelle and Smokey Bear.