Blue Navigators make travel friendly, comfortable at Nanaimo Airport

15 September 2017

  • Cassidy resident Jim Cirka has spent roughly 56 days at Nanaimo Airport over the last five years.
    He’s not a frequent flyer, though. He’s a frequent volunteer, with the Blue Navigators ambassadors at the airport terminal. They all make travel easier for hundreds of thousands of passengers each year.
    Jim was one of the original Blue Navigators when the volunteer team formed in 2012. Altogether, the ambassadors have contributed 20,000 hours — including 1,350 hours from Jim alone. That adds up to almost two months of his time.
    Today he’s one of 37 volunteers, including eight from the Ladysmith region. The ambassadors are easy to spot in the terminal thanks to their distinctive blue vests.
    And they all provide invaluable customer service, creating a comfortable and friendly atmosphere for travellers.
    The best part of the work? “Meeting people and helping them,” says Jim, a retiree. “It can be hectic sometimes so we help people by answering their questions and offering assistance.”
    Jim puts himself in shoes of passengers when he’s on duty. When departing, they may not be familiar with the security screening procedures or they may be stressed by travel. Arrivals may not know the area. “We’ve all been there,” he says. He tries to provide the help he’d want if he were in similar situations.
    He finds volunteering at the airport very rewarding and interesting. “You meet so many different people,” he says.
    He recommends the Blue Navigators program to anyone looking for a satisfying volunteer position. Volunteers can select their preferred day and four-hour shift with a commitment of at least one shift per week. Training is provided.
    Ideally, volunteers will have customer service experience. A friendly and outgoing personality, and strong listening skills, are also helpful.