Sher­brooke greeters met with suc­cess

Sherbrooke Record - - FRONT PAGE - By Gor­don Lam­bie

When it comes to vis­it­ing a new place, it al­ways helps to get the lo­cal point of view. Whether it’s learn­ing that the run-down look­ing chip stand on the cor­ner has the best food for miles around, or let­ting trav­ellers know that the city they are vis­it­ing is the self-pro­claimed world cap­i­tal of go­pher wrestling, lo­cals of­ten have the tips that can make or break a va­ca­tion. That’s the premise on which the Global Greeters Net­work was founded in New York City in 1992, and based on that suc­cess­ful model the con­cept has spread through­out the world in the years since, in­clud­ing, this past year, to Sher­brooke.

“There are 92 cities in the world that have greeters,” said Sher­brooke greeter Heather Keith “it’s ba­si­cally a way to have lo­cals show visi­tors around.”

Sher­brooke is the only city in Que­bec to be a part of the net­work and one of only three cities in Canada, along­side Cal­gary and Toronto.

Keith said that she just re­cently signed up for the lo­cal bilin­gual pro­gram and has al­ready taken two dif­fer­ent groups around the city.

“It’s a nice way to meet peo­ple from away,” Keith said, shar­ing that she was al­ready in the habit of tak­ing visi­tors on the city’s mu­ral cir­cuit when the pro­gram di­rec­tor re­cruited her to be a greeter. “I think it’s an in­ter­est­ing con­cept.”

Ev­ery city in the Global Greeters Net­work is free to set up their pro­gram dif­fer­ently, as long as they as­cribe to the same set of core val­ues: 1) Greeters are vol­un­teers, a friendly face for those vis­it­ing a city/des­ti­na­tion. 2) Greeters welcome in­di­vid­u­als and may serve small groups of up to six peo­ple. 3) Meet­ing a Greeter is free of charge. 4) Visi­tors are wel­comed with­out any kind of dis­crim­i­na­tion. 5) Greeter pro­grams sup­port sus­tain­able tourism, re­spect­ing nat­u­ral and man- made en­vi­ron­ments to bring both cul­tural and eco­nom­i­cal en­rich­ment to the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties with the aim of cre­at­ing a last­ing pos­i­tive im­age of each des­ti­na­tion. 6) Greeter pro­grams cre­ate a mu­tu­ally en­rich­ing op­por­tu­nity for cul­tural ex­change and cre­ate links be­tween or­di­nary peo­ple in cre­at­ing a bet­ter world.

CONT’D ON PAGE 3

COUR­TESY DES­TI­NA­TION SHER­BROOKE

Greeter Luc Ouel­lette ac­com­pa­ny­ing a group of four visi­tors to Sher­brooke.

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