Learning to Plan for Every Eventuality: Marketing & Events Coordinator Lesley Beddie Reflects on Her Summer

            The opportunity to work at Heritage Park Museum as the Marketing and Events Coordinator was a very rewarding experience which allowed me to further my knowledge of local history, network with around the country and challenge myself to learn, prepare, and plan for events on a large scale. With my position I wanted to work towards successful programming for all of the children’s activities that we would be doing over the months of May, June, July and August, advertising for visitation and events and possibly coming up with new ways to introduce the community to the museum. I had never organized such activities as Kids Culture Camps or bands or lectures so I turned to my co-workers and the curator for aid and support to fulfill the goals that had been set.

My term started with networking and marketing through the help of our local Visitors Info Centre which put on an info session called “What to do in Terrace?” I was able to prepare a slide show and talk to business owners and other tourism individuals about Heritage Park Museum, its upcoming programs, and things that would possibly interest tourists to come visit. This event prepared me for working with many of those individuals throughout my term in coordination on projects and as aids for advertising in their businesses.

The events I worked on were on a large scale and required a lot of coordination between other groups, such as AFFNO when I was working towards the 3rd annual Saint-Jean-Baptiste Celebration. This allowed me to work with individuals who had already done the projects previously and could therefore give me an idea of the past events so as to create goals and standards for myself in organizing. When creating the kids camps, workshops, and lectures, I used my coworkers as sounding boards as well as quick replacement instructors, in the case of Terra Nord during the painting workshop. Without the help of these people I would have been very lost in knowing who to contact or what to expect with the planning. Talking to people with past knowledge of the events was indispensible for me.

The events that Heritage Park put on this year were diverse and largely placed towards the end of the term. Saint-Jean-Baptiste was the first event, bringing in 275 visitors. It also played a role in preparing me for Canada Day which would consist of more activities and visitors to plan for. During the week of Canada Day, Heritage Park worked with Terrace and District Arts Council for a Children’s Arts Camp and Lunch Lecture Series. The camp was full with a waiting list and went for 3 days from 9am-12pm followed by the lunch and lecture 12pm-1pm. The activities consisted of painting, coastal crafts, pottery, and multimedia monsters. The lectures covered topics such as art in the community and art as identity, discussed by local artists. Following the art camps we help our first of two Kids Culture Camps. The first was held July28-29 which went to New Aiyansh and we worked with the local government to teach the kids about smoking fish, the second August 18-19 we traveled around Terrace to visit military sites and eventually ended at the Lakelse Lake. These camps had the goal of bring kids from first nations and low income families to the park to experience a camping environment and a free, fun trip to learn. Our Children’s museum Workshops were August 6-8th from 9am-5pm, a camp to allow parents to drop off their kids and go to work. This camp focused more on learning than art and kids were taken on hikes and even to the fish hatchery. All of these events took planning and coordination with other businesses and the Heritage Park team to be completed as they were.

As a total, I believe the events were largely a success. We had a variety of weather for our events, most of our children’s events had sun while Canada Day and Saint-Jean-Baptiste were both cloudy, but even with unfavourable weather the events were well attended with Canada Day, our largest event, grossing over 1,700 visitors and over $4,500 in donations and auction items. At points I would feel like things might be spinning towards going out of control, but volunteers and the Heritage Park team always came through to help and bring things together.

Organizing and creating activities has given me a chance to try out ideas, some which I have left behind as a possibility for the next year, including concerts at the park and raffling off the guitar. This experience had taught me about being independent, taking a leading role and preparing for everything. It has been a fun and hugely rewarding time from which I can genuinely say I have gained friends and an amazing experience to look back on as well as to compare future employment opportunities against.