The 2018 Parksville Downtown Business Association’s (PDBA) youth ambassadors are back in the downtown core to help visitors and residents find everything they need.
Jose Hope, 18, and Jared Walmark, 17, are on the streets five days a week (Monday to Friday) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. offering advice and collecting information on tourists that they will present to Parksville city council at the end of summer. The team will also direct guests to downtown businesses and touch base with PDBA members throughout the 10-week program.
Hope said one reason he became interested in being a youth ambassador was to gain experience interacting with a diverse range of people before moving to Vancouver in September.
“I wanted to get first-hand experience talking to people from different places so when I do move to Vancouver it’s a lot easier to get out and talk to people and not be shy about it,” Hope said.
Hope, who was born in Columbia and moved to Parksville at age five, will attend Nimbus School of Recording Arts to study music engineering with a goal to become a music producer and technician.
He says he’s good for the position because of his second language and ability to understand people.
“I know Spanish, I know how to talk to people who don’t really know English very well because my mother has a pretty thick accent so I’m really well at understanding people who don’t have English as their second language or even third,” he said.
Walmark, who grew up in Parksville, was interested in the youth ambassador program to gain more knowledge about the town he grew up in and it’s businesses.
“I wanted to learn how businesses would get together and support each other and that type of system,” Walmark said. “I wanted to get more involved in the community and help out as many tourists from everywhere.”
Walmark, who speaks both official languages, says his skills working with people throughout his life will help him in his position as a youth ambassador.
“I really enjoy talking to people and asking questions, and being asked questions,” he said. “I really enjoy learning about different people and what they like and trying to figure out what I can suggest to them so they can enjoy themselves.”
After graduation, Walmark plans to study law at the University of British Columbia.