This week, guest blogger Amy Shankland shares how students helped around Noblesville, Indiana, this summer through Preserve America. Amy is the grant coordinator for the City of Noblesville. The City of Noblesville was excited to host its first Preserve America student docent program over the summer. Noblesville became a Preserve America Community in 2008, and teamed up with the Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2010 to secure a grant for the student program. Eight local high school students had the chance to learn about some of the history of the city and share it with visitors by becoming tour guides for three different non-profits: The Indiana Transportation Museum, the Noblesville Preservation Alliance and the Hamilton County Historical Society. Thanks to the students:

  • The Indiana Transportation Museum was able to provide welcome/directional staff for the first time and now has the docents riding on the train as coach attendants.
  • The Hamilton County Historical Society was able to open on Wednesdays, which was a major goal for the organization. The society is also participating in downtown Noblesville's First Friday events.
  • Noblesville Preservation Alliance provided walking tours of Historic Noblesville. Before the program, the Alliance handed out a brochure for self-guided tours. The students brought the tour to life for Hamilton County visitors.

The students' enthusiasm for the Preserve America project has been remarkable. One student wants to do heritage tourism work as a career in the future, stating he was inspired at a national park years ago and would enjoy doing interpretation. Student Kristen Quimby says, "I feel this program has given me a better appreciation for the trials of my forefathers. I now understand the effort that went into making Noblesville an amazing place to live." We hope visitors to our 8 Great Towns were able to see that young people are an important part of our community, and students are excited about sharing their knowledge. Where else do you think students could help in Hamilton County?