Holiday Cheer and Volunteer Praise



November 29, 2019


sedonaaz-sunset-headerWhat makes Sedona so easy to love? Our unique traditions are always near the top of my list. Yesterday’s Thanksgiving Turkey Trot was a great way to kick off the holiday weekend and burn a few calories. Hope you were there!

There are plenty more festivities in the week ahead. Uptown merchants look forward to welcoming you to the ‘Merry Midpoint’ celebration Tuesday, December 3 from 3-8 p.m. Holiday lights, music, food, good cheer and fantastic shopping are on the menu as we mark the halfway point of the Uptown transportation improvements.

The much-loved annual Tree Lighting & Santa Visit at Tlaquepaque North is set for next Friday, December 6 from 5-7 p.m., and the annual breakfast with Santa starts at 8 a.m. at Posse Grounds Park on December 7. Both community events are free.

But nothing speaks to the special Sedona spirit more than the dedication of volunteers. In addition to the service of our 14-member volunteer Board of Directors, Chamber volunteers donated 10,463 hours in FY19, helping make Sedona the best place to live, work, play and visit. It was our privilege to honor them at the annual Volunteer Appreciation event November 10 at Poco Diablo Resort.

Volunteers of the Year – Carole and Wade Bell’s service at the Visitor Center is a powerful illustration of how volunteers help make the Center valuable as a tourism management tool. Highly trained and knowledgeable, Carole and Wade spent 401 hours at the Center in FY19, answering questions on everything from the weather to shopping, with Carole offering French and Italian language skills when needed.  The couple attend monthly Chamber mixers to learn more about partner activities and keep their visitor advice up to date. They even assist with Chamber recruitment tours for prospective businesses – helping arrange site inspections, meetings with local leaders, and organizing downtime activities.

Like many Chamber volunteers, Wade and Carole volunteer all over Sedona. They volunteer at the Film Festival in the VIP Room and as theater crew. You will find Wade at the MDF, ushering and working concessions. They are five-year volunteers with the Sedona Winefest.

Incredibly, they do even more. Wade is a SCORE volunteer, Carole is an ordained Interfaith minister, and the couple lead a weekly hiking group.

Individual Recognition – Former dedicated volunteers, Carol Shannon, Harper Imler and Bob Jensen (who just turned 100; Congratulations Bob!) were honored at the recent Volunteer Appreciation brunch for their combined 56 years of service.

Most Volunteer Hours – It was a pleasure to salute the volunteers who donated the most time in FY19, headed up by Dick Youngberg (414 hours), Ron Slyter (391) and Gary Kincaid (379).

Volunteer Service Pins – Gary was joined by Sandy Immerso and Belinda Calloway in receiving five-year volunteer service pins.

Kristen Brown and Sharon Madison have attained 15 years of volunteer service and we were privileged to acknowledge them with service pins.

Becky Anderson has been with us for 10 years, and it was an honor to recognize Becky with a pin as well.

We estimate the value of the 10,463 Visitor Center volunteer hours in FY19 at $258,000. That is an impressive number, but their dedication to community service is what truly makes volunteers a big reason we love Sedona.

All of us at the Chamber cannot thank them, and every Sedona volunteer, enough.

–Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO