When I arrived in June, Lindsey Lewis, Volunteer Program Manager, had already accomplished most of the planning for the event and she was excited to make this the most successful VIP appreciation dinner to date. Throughout the two months leading up to the event, everyone in the VIP office (and the park!) seemed to have one of the busiest seasons on record. While Mary Lane (Volunteer Coordinator for Resources) gathered up all the supplies needed at the event, Lindsey was compiling data and volunteer hours. While I snapped photos of our volunteers at work, Stacy Nigon (Volunteer Coordinator for Resources) and Ashalou Harrison (Seasonal Ranger) were driving down to Denver to pick up 400 lbs of boxes that were almost lost in the shipping process. There were hundreds of moving parts that had to fit together just right to make sure this event went off without a hitch, but by August 18 we were ready to hit the pedal to the metal.
We arrived to the venue in the early afternoon to set up;thanks to the extra hands lent from park staff, many of whom supervise or work with volunteers on a daily basis, everything was ready to go an hour before the VIP VIP's arrived. Other than some projector focus adjustments and setting up a few more tables and chairs, everything went perfectly smooth. The night began with the volunteers receiving their gifts, mingling with each other and getting their pictures taken in the photo booth before dinner was served.