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Downtown Chico Ambassadors Out to Spread the Good Word

By Colin Steiner, csteiner@krcrtv.com
Published On: May 07 2013 12:30:49 AM CDT
Downtown Chico Ambassadors Out to Spread the Good Word

Next time you're walking the streets of downtown Chico you may run into a friendly face from a new group called Downtown Ambassadors.

They'll be roaming Chico looking for anyone who might need some directions or information about the downtown area.

They'll also speak with local businesses to create an environment of stewardship and with anyone in need of information about where they can get a roof over their head or a hot meal.

It's part of the Clean and Safe Chico campaign, which aims to showcase the city's charm.

"We want people to feel when they come downtown they're actually safe, they're invited to be down here, they're in a welcomed environment," said Jovanni Tricerri, Executive Director of the Chico Stewardship Network. "We want people to know more about Chico--why do we love Chico so much."

Volunteers gathered today for a training session Monday in the Old Municipal Building downtown.

They were given the basics of what they'll be doing and saw copies of the pamphlets and information books they'll have on hand for anyone in need.

But the Downtown Ambassadors will also be speaking to all types of people and it's not always certain how they'll be received.

For that reason there was a training session on "tactical communications" so that ambassadors can calm a situation where someone becomes verbally combative with them.

"When you walk up to a stranger and engage them in conversation, probably nine times out of ten it's going to be fantastic, and then you may have occasional problems with somebody not knowing what your motivations are," said Cpt. Andy Duch of the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

"It's important that you be able to communicate with folks and let them know what you're there for and hopefully have a meaningful conversation with them," he added.

Ambassadors will also direct people towards events that are going on, civic art displays and tell them about the unique history of Chico.

Tricerri describes the program as harkening back to a simpler time.

"We know that Chico is a friendly place but there are times that I've walked down the street and it's actually now rare for somebody to look you in the eye and greet you and say hi," he said. "That used to be Chico and we want to bring that back."

The Downtown Ambassadors will be on the streets of Chico Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.