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Buffalo Niagara Docent Training Alliance

It certainly was a long way from February when the 2010 docent class met for its first session. Volunteers of six different local groups who offer tours got together Wednesday evening to celebrate another successful docent training class and look forward to the coming tour season. The 2010 docent class held its annual graduation picnic at the Chapel in Forest Lawn Cemetery (photo).

This was the third annual collaborative docent training class. In 2008, Buffalo Tours and the Roycroft Campus Corporation first joined forces to train new docents, and since then Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, The Buffalo Religious Arts Center, Forest Lawn Cemetery, and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site have also participated.

Fred Schrock, education coordinator for Preservation Buffalo Niagara and one of the organizers of the docent class, observed, “We found something new this year. Some of last year’s class participants came back again this year because they wanted to do another group’s training.”

The six participating organizations have found the collaboration so successful, they have decided to give the collaboration a name, the Buffalo Niagara Docent Training Alliance. In addition to the primary goal of gaining well-trained new docents, Buffalo Tours docents enthusiastically talk up the TR Site and Riverkeeper tours, and they in turn tell their tour guests about Roycroft and BRAC. The relationships developed through working together on the docent class have led to further collaboration between various organizations; all six are helping distribute each other’s tour brochures, and even a few joint tours have resulted. The TR Site and Buffalo Tours will join together for the Delaware Avenue Tour of Homes on August 21.

Along with enjoying some really good food, the volunteers swapped favorite tour stories. One remembered a downtown tour given for a group of Hyatt Hotel marketing people. After two hours, one of them observed, “I work in Atlanta, and we sometimes talk about how if we don’t do a good job, we’ll get sent to Buffalo. Now I want to get sent here.” A story to warm any Buffalonian’s heart.

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