Friday, February 24, 2012

Tovrea Castle!

Docents of TCS First Class
Knowing the history, knowing the present, knowing the plants, driving a tour cart, early hours, study, research, and a ready smile; all of these are required to be a docent for the Tovrea Carraro Society. The first class of docents began training in 2012. With the aid and guidance of TCS board members, Eileen Marraro, Sharon and David, as well as City of Phoenix employee, Roger Lidman, this dozen or so volunteers, offered to be guinea pigs for this position. I am privileged to be among their number.
It is important to remember, that TCS and all docents are volunteers. We are here from many lifestyles and vocations; teachers, retirees, local business owners and employees, and students. Though varied in our personal histories, our adoration and devotion to local history unites us. We all have an interest in the vitality of our city, and the history of this thriving desert community.
Training Begins
Our first day of training was primarily lecture and reading. The draft of facts, talking points, and basic tour script were given to us in a binder. While, a member of the TCS board wrote these drafts, docents in training were encouraged to edit, offer suggestion, and rework where needed. We really had a lot of say in the formation of the tour visitors will experience. This tour will evolve as TCS and docent knowledge grows and we always welcome public input and personal stories.
It was not until we set foot on the castle grounds that the real thrill and meaning of our purpose was clear. This stunning piece of history and the information surrounding it, was in our care. We offer the answers to the public’s questions and we take care that each visitor walks away with a joyful and informative experience.
Driving History
All volunteers of TCS hold valid Arizona state driver’s license, some even qualified CDL, but learning to drive the multi passenger golf carts an education for all. The Carraro Cactus Gardens and Tovrea Castle are contained on a 44 acre plot of land. It is a lovely walk, but in the interest of time and in the case of visitors unwilling or unable to traverse the graveled and sometimes steep terrain, tours are given on golf carts. We all took turns testing on the gas powered and the electric carts. Personally, I prefer the electric.
When visitors ride with us we do ask that you always remain seated until the engine is turned off, keep appendages and children within the frame of the cart, and do hold on, because while we make every effort to be careful, the roads are uneven and steep in places.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Changes are still being made to scripts and fact sheets. Docents are still working to memorize the information we do have. We do get nervous in large crowds. We are just as excited as you, the visitor, when we open those gates. Practice tours are happening now, and we are trying our best to be perfect for the first paying visitors, but we are human. Please, be as inviting and congenial as your guide is to you, and remember we are all volunteers here. If you do see a few cars in the visitor center lot and you have a couple hours to spare. Call the castle, there may be a seat for you in one of our training groups!
On the out I want to welcome you. Now that you know a smidge of what goes on within Carraro’s granite walls, are you interested? TCS is always seeking enthusiastic volunteers to help as docents, grounds keepers, and assistants to our varied volunteer staff. Call, e-mail, or visit the Facebook page to join us in our adventures!

Tovrea Carraro Society
P.O. Box 61043
Phoenix Arizona

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