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NH Granite State Ambassador
Policy & Procedure Manual - Highlights

updated March 2017 -- thank you for your feedback.  Download a printable full copy.

Granite State Ambassadors are held to the highest standards. We not only represent our company, partners, and sponsors, we represent NH and the entire hospitality industry. It is an important responsibility which we take very seriously. With that in mind, we have developed these guidelines to help you succeed.

Each of our member centers has its own specific interpretations of the “general” NHGSA systems. Let this manual offer flexibility by providing a floor, rather than a ceiling, to allow for outstanding service. On our websites “For Current GSAs” section, www.nhgsa.com/gsa (direct link) you will find more detailed information on each individual member center and special event.  Each Center has its own policies and safety procedures. Please review the information and Desk Books provided at EACH location at which you choose to volunteer. The Center Manager will help you interpret the systems if you have any questions.

UNIFORM

There is power in numbers. If you have ever attended an event or a GSA tour in which the entire team is ‘in uniform’ you will understand that power. While ‘in uniform’ we are representing our state, our industry, and our company.” – Judi Window, Founder

You are officially “on-duty” as a Granite State Ambassador at any customer contact points, including visitor information centers, tours, special events, and some meetings.

You must be in FULL uniform to receive credit for your volunteer time.

The information sheet for each tour and event will detail any changes/exceptions to the GSA Uniform. Please read them carefully.

GSA Name Tag - Required while volunteering at all locations and while at all GSA functions.

GSA Logo Staff Shirt - If you have an official GSA shirt you must wear it. If you do not have an official GSA staff shirt, and are attending an official NHGSA activity your “optional” shirt must be hunter green to match the GSA staff shirts.  The use of a non-GSA logo’d shirt is intended to be a temporary solution until you have earned your 50-hour free shirt. The non-GSA logo’d shirt should NOT have logos depicting other states or locations (don’t wear an Ohio shirt or Boston Red Sox shirt).  All shirts should be clean, and unwrinkled, and sensible. NHGSA merchandise information can be found on our website.

Pants/Shorts/Capris/Skirts - Should be Khaki in color, clean, unwrinkled, and sensible. (Note: Some centers & special events do not allow shorts).

Comfortable Shoes/Sneakers/Sandals

-       Avoid high heels

-       Be aware of footwear policies at your center/event. (i.e.: no open toed shoes)

Ball Caps

-       NHGSA cap is preferable, other NH, or plain caps are acceptable (where appropriate)

-       Caps with other state/team logos are not acceptable (sorry, no Boston Red Sox caps!)

-       Other hats may be acceptable under extreme weather conditions or for religious reasons

Pocketbooks

-       No pocketbooks / purses are allowed on tours or at special events. We recommend you put what you need in your pocket and put your purse in your car’s trunk.

-       Fanny-packs or small, no-hands wallets and wallet-style bags are allowed (approximately 6” X 4” in size)

-       Small cinch back packs may be allowed on some designated tours/events (this will be specified on info sheet)

Other

-       Please avoid accessorizing. No scarves or other garments/accessories that may cover your GSA shirt (i.e.: jumpers, overalls). GSA Logo’d vests are an exception.

-       Long-sleeve plain shirts may be worn underneath GSA Shirts. Acceptable colors are: hunter green, burgundy, navy blue, white.

ETHICS

“I believe in setting an example for our industry. I encourage each GSA to set their own example by encouraging and helping others in our industry to meet and exceed the expectations of our guests to New Hampshire. Our goal is to always leave others, whether guests, hosts, or fellow GSAs better than when we found them.” – Judi Window, Founder

We encourage a strong feeling of camaraderie and support among our GSAs while serving our communities and state. Working together is essential to the seamless transitions between shifts and locations. Guests to our state should NOTICE our professionalism, training, and cooperation among ourselves and with State employees and throughout the entire hospitality industry.

1.     GSA to GSA, simply… Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you….

2.     Communicate pleasantly and respectfully with other volunteers at all times.

3.     Do not gossip about others. If you have a problem with another GSA, speak to your Center Manager or our staff about the situation. If you have a problem with your Center Manager, speak to our staff or Board Chair.

4.     Support your GSA partner while on duty. Each GSA has their own way to do things. We all bring our own special gifts to the position… that is what makes us great! Even if it is not how “you” would do it, it doesn’t mean it isn’t correct. After you have taken care of all the guests and they have left the area, discuss the differences with your partner. Be open to new ideas.

5.     Smoking, alcohol, and illegal drugs are not permitted while on duty. Prescription drugs are to be used responsibly, and are allowed as long as they do not affect your behavior, our guests or your GSA partner. Alcohol may be allowed at occasional GSA tours and/or social events – but is not to be consumed while you are “on duty” at a center. Smoking is only allowed during breaks and in designated smoking areas only. GSA Management reserves the right to dismiss any GSA who abuses this policy.

6.     POSITIVE ATTITUDES prevail. Do not speak badly of any property, location, attraction, or other state, especially while on the premises for a tour, training or gathering. Your personal opinions are important ONLY when you have something nice to say. Please remember that you are being hosted, and we ask that you don’t demand things be as you would like them if you were there on your own.

7.     Do not discuss POLITICS, RELIGION, SEXUAL ORIENTATION or SEX with guests,  other GSAs or staff while on duty. Someone is always listening and disagreeing with your point of view!

8.     Specific visitor centers have policies regarding referring “members” or “paid participants” first. This means you should offer the stated options first before offering other information. Be courteous of the organizations that support our GSA efforts and the financial needs to keep their centers open. 

9.     Be respectful of your center and center manager’s space. Please do not rearrange their things, or ‘move in’. Even if you are a regular, remember that it is their work-space and their equipment. It may not be how you would have it, but it’s still theirs. If you are invited to share the staff’s snack or water supply, it is for when you are on-duty only.

SCHEDULING & ETIQUETTE

Click here to view a tutorial on how to sign up to volunteer or attend using our online calendar and communication system.

       Remember – No one “owns” a specific time or shift – share!

       Please do not arrive early for your shift – or stay later – if others are already signed up. GSAs have committed their time to volunteer and want to fill their commitment and remain useful for the entire shift. It’s not fair if you come in early / stay late and displace them.  Please Note that if you do show up early / stay late over someone else’s shift, and they are there, you will not receive credit for that time. If there is a mutually agreed upon circumstance, please note it on the tick sheet when you sign in/out.

       The shift schedules are strict. Please do not make up your own hours. Your Center Manager and other GSAs are counting on you being there for the times you are scheduled.

       Please remove yourself promptly from the calendars if you can’t make your shift. In case of an emergency at a center we want to be sure every GSA is accounted for.  If you can’t access the calendars, let the staff know and we’ll do it for you. There are people who watch the calendar for last-minute cancellations (even in snowstorms), and others want to be aware if they are going to be alone.

       We don’t want you to feel that you can’t cancel a shift if something comes up. We do need you to try your best. When GSAs are scheduled, the center managers generally plan to do other things and are counting on your presence.

       Please avoid the following:

o      changing shift times at the last minute on a regular basis

o      using a visitor center as a ‘hang out’ spot

       Our sign-up system is designed purposely to give everyone an equal opportunity for each shift. We ask that you keep in mind that there are many GSAs who want an opportunity to volunteer at different centers and different shifts – again… sharing!

To give everyone an equal opportunity to choose visitor center shifts, on the 1st of each month, we open the visitor center sign-up calendars for 3 months ahead – at 6:00 am if on a weekday, at 8:00 am if on a weekend or holiday. For example, on March 1st, we make the June visitor center shifts available to sign-up for. You cannot “own” a specific time or shift.

Event volunteer opportunities, gatherings and tours have their own sign-up schedule which will be announced in the newsletter.

ACCUMULATING VOLUNTEER SERVICE HOURS:

     Volunteer Service hours are those hours spent ACTIVELY SERVING GUESTS AND TRAVELERS at Visitor Centers and at Special Events.

     Trainings, orientations, educational tours and meetings DO NOT count as Service Hours.

TRACKING YOUR HOURS/ATTENDANCE:

Your volunteer service hours are tracked from the center’s tick sheets that you sign-in on at the Visitor Centers – not by the online calendar system. Signing in on the tick sheet confirms that you did indeed come in when you signed up to come in.

The manager on duty will submit your hours/ attendance for special events, meetings, tours and activities at the end of each month. Your recorded hours will be a month behind in the online calendar system.

VOLUNTEERS IN GOOD STANDING:

Volunteers who have 3 or more active volunteer service hours per year will remain “in good standing” (will remain active in our system). If you lapse, you can reactivate your membership at anytime. Just contact our staff.

TOUR ELIGIBILITY

       Volunteers who have accumulated 50 hours, with 15 of them in the past 6 months, can attend most educational tours. Some educational tours will require 250 or 500 accumulated volunteer service hours.

       Please note that hours & eligibility guidelines will differ for each tour. You must read the Tour Information web page for specific guidelines.

       We ask that you only sign up for 4 tours a year at the official opening date/time. Once a tour has been open a week, any eligible GSA can sign-up to attend the tour regardless of how many tours they’ve been on. 10 days before a tour, if there are openings, any hours restrictions are reduced to 15 in the past 6 months.

We have had requests to hold tours at times when our working GSAs could attend -- evenings, weekends. All of our tours are hosted. Our hosts are only able to accommodate a donated group during their slower times, which is why you will find most of our tours run on Monday - Wednesday.

PERKS

Perks are offered to active GSAs in gratitude for your service and to generate referrals. Some perks require a specific number of volunteer hours and some will only require that you are an active, certified GSA working in NH’s Tourism Industry. A complete list of current GSA Perks is available on our website under “For Current GSAs.” Perks are subject to change at any time and may depend on availability. Please be prepared to show your GSA Membership Card.

Please keep in mind that all perks are generous gifts, and are usually a part of each company's marketing budget - host companies may restrict earned perks. For example, as more GSAs reach their 500 hours, the amount of White Mountain Attractions passbooks we request each year also increases. When this number gets to be too high, the donation becomes too high for the organization to bear, and we become in danger of losing the perk all together. We appreciate your understanding that restrictions, such as one-per-household, or one-time-only, are for everyone’s benefit.

Please do not use perks offered by/at specific centers when off duty.

Perks are NOT transferable. For example, you can’t use the MHT parking perk for your friend’s car.

INFO & ENLIGHTENMENT CREDITS (IECs)

GSAs are often given the opportunity to voluntarily participate in extra trainings, round tables and tours that will enhance your knowledge and skills as a GSA. In order to recognize those that take advantage of these opportunities, we will award those GSAs extra credit in the form “Information and Enlightenment Credits” – IECs.

The IECs can be accumulated towards rewards /recognition to be presented at the Annual AMBIES Awards. IECs are added to your file directly based on your attendance starting January 1, 2017.

ON-DUTY

OPENING/CLOSING PROCEDURES

Each center will have specific tasks to complete when you arrive on duty. Sometimes your volunteer duty will require more than walking into the center, which is why you are required to volunteer with a seasoned GSA mentor and/or your Center Manager 3 times at each specific center before you can volunteer on your own. Refer to the Center’s Desk Book for specific opening and closing procedures.

 

SIGN-IN & TICK SHEETS

First Person on Duty for the Day:
If you are the first person on duty, prepare the “Visitor Count Sheet” / “Tick Sheet” for the day with the Date, Day, Special Events, Weather, or Situations for the Day/Week.  The tick sheets remain in the Desk Book. At the end of each month, the Center Manager will mail them to GSA to be entered into our system.

Sign-In Please:
Whether you are the first person of the day, or the last. SIGN IN AT YOUR APPROPRIATE TIME SLOT! Your Center Manager will keep records of when you are on duty by comparing the calendar to the tick sheet. The tick sheet confirms that you did come in when you signed up to come in. Your hours are tracked by what’s on the tick sheet - not the online calendar.

 

Please be sure to:

       There should be one tick sheet for each day in your GSA book at the center.

       Be sure to fill it in completely and SIGN IN for your shift. Please use first name AND last initial to help us distinguish between volunteers.

       Please be neat and legible!

       Be sure to record all of your time. If you arrived 15 minutes early (because there was an open shift!) or stayed 15 minutes late to finish assisting a guest – record that too.

If you come in for a shift at the last minute – meaning you did not sign up via the on-line system - please use the computer at the center to put yourself into the calendar for that shift. This is important in helping us to track who is actually on duty in a center in case of an emergency. It also saves us time when we record your hours.

TICKS: We track our guests to provide information for NHGSA’s main office, center management, and for the state. Add a manual “tick or hash-mark” for each guest you personally serve. Total at the end of your shift. Ticks are not attributed to any individuals, only the shift time itself. Ticks are monitored for trends in guest traffic and show the GSAs impact on a center when compared to the total center traffic.

WHAT COUNTS AS A TICK??

To bring everyone in line with the same method of tracking how many guests they serve, the following is we would like you to count as a “tick.” Only count contacts where you actually engage with a person beyond a smile and hello. Each of those is one tick. Engagement may start with “Good morning, is there anything I can help you with?”  Saying hi to all who pass you at the top of the escalator at the airport does not constitute a tick.

Remember – this isn’t a competition. We don’t track how many ticks each GSA is getting. We track a monthly total for each location and those totals are compared month-to-month and year-to-year.  This is why having everyone on the same page with what they count as a “tick” is important.  

Tick sheets are also used to convey information to and from other GSAs and your Center Manager. The sections provided at the bottom of the tick sheets really helps others know what is going on, who stopped by (Governor, Mayor, Legislator, etc.). If something is needed, broken, or missing from the center, contact your center manager directly.

DESK BOOK:

Review the Desk Book when you arrive on duty at each center. It is important to review them at each center, as they will each have their own set of policies/procedures and available resources. The books are designed to help you with any quick information you may need at your fingertips. It also contains your “tick sheets.” The Center Manager (or a designated volunteer) will maintain the book to suit the needs of their center. If you have any suggestions, please speak with your Center Manager.

LITERATURE:

Each center has its own set of rules and regulations regarding the types of literature that can be displayed at each center. Some centers operate on a “pay to play” system where only members are allowed to display literature, while others welcome all information.

It is important for you to be familiar with the policies of the center where you are volunteering. Refer to the information provided by your specific Center Manager and/or your GSA mentor.

Remember that you are only a volunteer! If you cannot help the guest/company, have them call your Center Manager.

Please Note:

-       Please do NOT accept deliveries of cases of material at the airport.

-       Volunteers are NOT to be delivering brochures to other centers and are NOT required to lift boxes or help unload trucks. No matter what anyone might tell you!

-       Volunteers are not allowed to bring in their own materials for distribution.

-       Do not overstep – remember the center manager controls the literature and it’s placement.

 

TELEPHONES:

Some centers have them; others do not. If your center has a telephone, you may or may not be asked to answer it. You may or may not be able to use it. And your guests may or may not be able to use it. Refer to the Center Manager, or the DESK BOOK for the telephone rules and protocol for your center.

COMPUTERS:

Again, some centers have them; others do not. If your center requires you to use the computer be sure you are trained and feel confident as to your ability to use it.

Computers are a great way to give your guests up-to-the-minute and detailed information. I suggest all GSAs become familiar with the Internet and e-mail.

*Center computers and office equipment are not for personal use by GSA volunteers.

MEDIA

ALL MEDIA INQUIRIES ARE TO BE DIRECTED TO YOUR CENTER MANAGER OR TO NHGSA STAFF.

If you see an article about NHGSA in the paper, please let us know. We don’t always see everything that is being published.

If you have ANY questions about the media and the press, please call the office at 240-621-0638 or Kelly Bryer’s (Executive Director) cell at 603-960-0272. Please give press Kelly’s business card. Yes, you can give out Kelly’s cell if you feel the situation warrants it.

VOLUNTEER INSURANCE SERVICE

NHGSA provides all our active GSAs CIMA Volunteer Insurance Service.

      Up to $50,000 in medical expense reimbursement as a result of a covered accident;

      Up to $1,000,000 in volunteer liability insurance.

Benefits are payable for eligible expenses that are in excess of benefits paid to the volunteer by any other health care plan. In the event no other health insurance exists, benefits will be payable on a primary basis.

For more information visit: http://www.cimaworld.com/~cima/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/TermsAndConditions.pdf

TERMINATION OF VOLUNTEER SERVICES

Volunteering privileges with New Hampshire Granite State Ambassadors are not a permanent arrangement; the right to volunteer with the organization is not of any specific duration.

Based on our commitment to providing the highest quality service to guests and residents of New Hampshire, and to our member centers, sponsors and partners, New Hampshire Granite State Ambassadors reserves the right to terminate a volunteer’s involvement within our programs.

NHGSA has the right to ask a volunteer to leave an assignment immediately. In general, failure to adhere to policies of New Hampshire Granite State Ambassadors is cause for immediate release.

Grounds for volunteer dismissal may include, but are not limited to the following:

-       Illegal, violent, or unsafe acts

-       Failure to abide by organization policies and procedures

-       Unsatisfactory performance or misconduct

-       Lack of cooperation, or other disrespectful conduct

-       Theft of property or misuse of program equipment or materials

-       Volunteering under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs and/or illegal or unauthorized possession, distribution, sale, transfer, or use of alcohol or illegal drugs in the volunteer environment.

-       Failing to perform volunteer duties as agreed

-       Misusing your NHGSA identification card

-       Mistreatment or inappropriate conduct toward guests, residents, co-workers, personnel of cooperating organizations, or staff

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