Sunday, April 6, 2014

Our Temple Open House Assignment

One of my friends asked what my assignment with the temple open house was, and since the answer is a bit more complicated than I want to get into on a Facebook thread, I figured it would be a good subjuct for a blog post. I imagine everyone else who reads this blog would be interested in this as well, right?
The short answer is my assignment is to be First Shift Temple Tour Coordinator, but that doesn't tell you much. It didn't tell me much! One of the things we learned is that this whole experience is an evolving work in progress. In fact, one of the phrases we've used frequently over the past couple of months is "It will all work out." (I guess we got that from President Hinckley and President Monson - see the conference talks from yesterday.)
Anyway, at the end of January our stake president asked Wayne and I to be our stake representatives on the multi-stake temple open house committee. He wasn't sure what that involved, and neither were we, but since we've learned that it's always best to say yes to a priesthood leader, we did. He also asked three other couples to help us and we formed a stake committee. At that point we thought our assignment was to pass information along to the wards and branches and encourage them to solicit volunteers to serve.

A week or so later we received some information from the committee chair. We learned that our stake was responsible for March 31, April 1 and April 2, and the other stakes were given different days. We were also told how many tour guides and ushers our stake was responsible for providing. At this point we still weren't clear on those individual responsibilities, but we were able to divide those numbers between the various units in our stake and work with the bishops and branch presidents as they made their assignments, which they did. We were trying to identify two types of volunteers - some who would work just on those three days, and others who would work at several different times throughout the entire month.

Then we actually had a committee meeting in Plantation!
We learned that there was some miscommunication somewhere along the line and that every person on the "stake committee" was really supposed to be part of the "area committee" and that everyone on that committee was supposed to be available to help at the temple every single day of the open house. The other seven people on our committee all had full-time jobs, without a month's worth of vacation time available, so we had to recruit a few more.  Wayne kept the stake representative assignment (since most of that work took place before the open house and he wouldn't need to be there every day), and I was given the Temple Tour assignment. There's one person (Randy) in charge of everything, then an additional three people (one for each shift - morning, afternoon, and evening - me, Alex, and Lizette) on our Temple Tour sub-committee.

That has also been a work in progress, but now that the tours have actually started, we know that our assignment is to keep things inside the temple flowing smoothly. We're responsible for placing our usher volunteers in strategic spots, mainly between rooms and in hallways, to help the tour guides know if the next room is empty, to open doors when necessary, and to prevent guests from wandering where they're not supposed to. When there are a lot of helpers, it's easier; when we're working with just a few we have to get more creative, but so far we've felt successful.
Volunteers arriving
Welcome Video Tents

Shoe-cover station
Exit Tent
The other sub-committees include training (teaching the volunteers their responsibilities), staff sign-in (greeting the volunteers and assigning them to one of the areas), welcome tents (where the short video about temples is shown at the beginning of the tour - this area includes the wheelchair tent and outside greeters), tour guides (the volunteers who lead the groups from the tents to the temple and then guide them through it), shoe-covers (our wonderful youth and young adults who help place shoe-covers on the guests), and exit tent (where the comment cards and missionaries to answer questions are stationed).
The members of our stake were wonderfully supportive on our stake days and we had 3,349 guests tour the temple last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I didn't keep track of the number of volunteers that showed up on those days, but we had 824 that said they would help sometime during the open house, and I'm sure the majority of those were there.
Wayne took the three days off work and we stayed from 8 AM to 9 PM. He was in charge of getting the tour guides from the staff tent to the welcome tents and after I did my morning shift in the temple, I served as a tour guide in the afternoon and the evening. The opportunity to interact with the guests was a wonderful experience.
So, now you know a little bit from behind the scenes of a temple open house. It's been a lot of work, both physically, mentally, and spiritually, but it's also been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I'm extremely grateful to be chosen to help. I'll let you know if I still feel the same in a couple of weeks, but I'm sure I'll be even more thrilled then to have had the opportunity.

1 comment:

Marcy said...

What an exciting opportunity! I've heard nothing but wonderful things about the temple and the open house.