Gate Ambassador Volunteer Info

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” ~ Helen Keller

Volunteers are the backbone of Parksville Beach Festival.  Without the support of the many volunteers that assist each year, this event would not be possible.  Thank-you!

Group Captains
Each volunteer group must appoint a Group Captain. The Group Captain exemplifies the role of the Goodwill Gate Ambassador; they make sure their group provides an enjoyable experience for visitors. The Group Captain is responsible for liaising with the Gate Ambassador Director; they are required to attend the Group Captains’ Orientation prior to the event, and they must ensure the group’s volunteers are familiar with their roles. They are expected to assign shifts and arrange to substitute any volunteers that are unable to carry out their assigned shift. Group Captains need to be present or assign a delegate to be present during each shift. They must ensure that all engagement leading up to and during the Festival fosters a good working relationship between the volunteer groups and Beach Festival staff and directors.



Shifts are approximately 4 hours in length and volunteers must be able to stand for an hour or so at a time. Volunteers may not leave the site until they are replaced by another volunteer from their own group or from the next shift of ambassadors. Volunteers are expected to arrive on time for their shift in order to receive an orientation by staff or a director and to hear about the day’s special events. Please note the following change: the gate will be open to the public from 9:30am to 8:30pm daily (9:30am to 11:00pm Closing Weekend), with volunteer groups onsite 15 minutes before opening and 15 minutes after closing.

Positions to be filled for each shift:


Counts visitors as they enter, using a clicker provided by the Beach Festival. This position has the least contact with visitors. Counting the visitors is important for our statistics and records, but smiles are always in fashion!

Greeter 1 (Cashier)

Welcomes visitors to the site, takes cash and makes change if required, accepts debit and credit card payments with the assistance of site staff, and thanks them for their donations. The greeter is a visitor’s first contact with us, so a smile and a warm welcome are important.

Greeters 2 and 3

Hand out souvenir guides, “People’s Choice” tokens (after competition weekend) and answers any inquiries that may arise. Hands out a pencil and check off list to children wishing to participate in the “scavenger hunt” which begins shortly after competition weekend. This position is also a first point of contact, especially if it’s a busy time of day, so a smile and a warm welcome are just as important. GREETER 3 also relieves the Souvenir Salesperson, Greeters, the Exit Volunteer and any volunteers who need a short break from their position or may change roles based on the needs during the shift.


Asks visitors if they enjoyed the exhibition, which sculpture they liked best, where they’re from, etc. Receives back souvenir guides from those visitors who no longer want them. Once the competition weekend is over, receives completed scavenger hunt forms and pencils from children and gives them a sticker for completing the hunt. Talks to visitors and says goodbye with a smile. It is important that visitors leave the site with the feeling that they were welcomed. The last volunteer to talk to a visitor is generally the person remembered, so make sure the memory is a good one!

Souvenir Sales

Sells souvenirs, takes cash and makes change, accepts debit or credit card payment with the assistance of site staff and answers questions about the souvenirs. Friendliness increases sales so this position needs someone who is comfortable initiating conversation with visitors. Festival staff will explain product and pricing. Please do not eat in the souvenir tent. Ask someone to relieve you and go to the designated eating tent.

Optional Floater

Some groups bring a 7th volunteer to help replace their members when they need bathroom or snack breaks. This is not mandatory, but may make your shift run more smoothly. When everyone is busy the Floater can wander around the site talking to the public, answering questions about the sand sculptures or encouraging visitors to indicate where they are from on the big map.

Other helpful items to know:

Waiver & Insurance:

All Gate Ambassador Volunteers are required to sign a waiver at the start of their first shift. The waiver form includes the following statement “I hereby release Parksville Beach Festival and its agents, associates and related parties from all responsibility for personal injuries to me and damages to my property sustained in the performance of my volunteer activities.” Gate Ambassador Volunteers are not covered under Parksville Beach Festival’s Third Party Liability Insurance. All Gate Ambassador Volunteer Groups should review their organization’s liability insurance policy.

Promotional Material:

If you have name tags from your organization, please wear them, otherwise you will be asked to wear a peel and stick name tag. Any printed material from your organization must be approved by the onsite staff prior to it being displayed. Vests will be supplied for volunteers so that they ‘stand out’.


Take a break as needed but ensure your position is adequately covered. You are welcome to drink a non-alcoholic beverage, but please refrain from eating, smoking or vaping at or near the main entrance. The Exhibition space is considered a non-smoking area. Please make every effort to stand while providing your service to the public. If you would like to eat a snack, please do so in the tent where “Lunch with the Castles” is held where there are tables and chairs available.

Suggested items to bring for your own comfort:

As the Exhibition lasts five weeks, weather and temperature are variable and unpredictable, so the following items are recommended:

  • Comfortable shoes!!
  • Non alcoholic beverages and snacks – we do not provide bottled water, but there is a water station to refill your own bottle.
  • Additional clothing in case of cool or rainy weather – a hat, sweater or jacket. It can be cool in the souvenir tent as it is shaded for most of the day.
  • Items for warm, sunny days – lip balm, sunscreen, sunglasses and/or a hat.
  • Your group’s name tags and approved brochures.
  • Your sense of humour and a BIG smile!

Lunch with the Castles:

We will be inviting seniors’ groups’ to join us for ‘Lunch with the Castles’. They are provided with a guided tour of the sculptures and a seated lunch or tea. You will be notified if this is happening during your shift. The Seniors’ gate donations are included in their lunch or tea fee. Lunch with the Castles takes place only on weekdays.

Souvenir Guides:

Please hand these out to our visitors as they come through the gates, distributing one per family. The souvenir guide contains information about the event and the sculptors. Please read it so you will be able to tell the visitors what you find interesting, and be able to answer frequently asked questions.

Dogs, Bicycles and Skateboards:

The sand sculptures need to remain in first class condition for the entire five weeks of the Exhibition, so we cannot allow animals (even if carried in), bikes or skateboards on site. We have no clean-up crew for dogs and the sculptures cannot be rebuilt if damaged, so we must enforce this rule. We can not watch visitors’ pets for them outside the gate either.

We hope you have a great time…

And thank you again for volunteering at the Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition & Exhibition!

Volunteer Today

Parksville Beach Festival provides both an engaging and rewarding volunteer experience for non-profit organizations.


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Master sculptors from all around the world apply to participate in Parksville’s annual competition each year.

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1 Dec 2022