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BNT Welcomes Three New Tour Directors!

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BNT Welcomes Three New Tour Directors!


You may have wondered what Bob Neff, Jr. looks for when hiring a new tour director. His response? “Loves Jesus, cares about people, and a good communicator.” 

I remember specific moments with great tour directors over the years. In London, our tour director carried an umbrella—everywhere. Because, London! When it wasn’t raining, and she needed to signal where she was, she’d hold its pointy silver end high in the air. It was a genius way to keep us focused on her when she was turning a corner or signally a stop. We also were comforted in knowing she was easy to spot in a crowd. Another tour director in Buenos Aires took my writing group on a detour to an art showing because we were a group of writers and poets. It was a surprising and delightful experience because we believed she really understood us. So, of course, we followed her everywhere!

The tour director is often an unsung hero, taking care of details the travelers never has to think about—that’s the beauty of group touring! They handle emergency medical issues and inclement weather. They are the bus driver’s best friend navigating crowded streets and tight timelines. A great tour director is a mix of self-assurance, organization, charisma, and fun—oh, and definitely, adventure! So, next time you’re on a BNT tour, be sure to encourage your tour director. They aren’t looking for it, but wouldn’t it be nice to know your travelers have confidence in your leadership?

We’re excited here at BNT to introduce you to three new tour directors: Angie Stikeleather, Grace Heagy, and Ericka Linn Neff. Be sure to give them a warm BNT welcome when you climb aboard and see a new face!

Byline Karen Leslie

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Here’s a little “Get to Know You” interview with our new Tour Directors:

Tour Director Angie Stikeleather

Hometown:

Lancaster for the past 25 years. Prior to that, Virginia.

What brought you to BNT as a Tour Director?

A Tour Director from church with BNT was the one who told me about it.

Three Surprising things about yourself…

I own five bikes, but haven’t learned how to ride more than one at a time!

I don’t like blueberries or grapefruit.

I love hymns.

What are you most looking forward to as a BNT TD?

Getting to know new people and trying a new adventure.

Is there a particular tour you’re excited about leading this year?

Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Do you have a dream tour you’d like to lead?

Not really. It would be nice to lead a trip to the Canadian Rockies.

Three words…whatever comes to mind!

Fun

Adventure

Work

 

Tour Director Grace Heagy

Tour Director Grace Heagy

Hometown:              

East Petersburg, PA

How did you come to BNT as a Tour Director?

My husband has played tennis with Bob over the years, so we have known Bob and Cindy.  We initially connected Dave and Patti Olsen with BNT. One Sunday I was making small talk with Dave and asked what was involved in tour directing. As we chatted, I realized he thought I was interested—NOT.  A month or so later, Patti called to tell me Bob was looking for new tour directors. But, I told her I couldn’t do that. I enjoy traveling, and a number of days later, I got to thinking about past travels and job experiences. I decided, “I think I could enjoy doing this.” Bob hired me. And, I have enjoyed doing the preparation and helping people enjoy their vacation. 

Three surprising things about yourself…

I don’t know how surprising these are…

·  I worked for the same company, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, for 35 years, the majority in IT support.

·   I can milk a cow (at least I could when I was younger), but prefer to keep my distance from horses. 

·   I have a weakness for day lilies.

What are you most looking forward to as a BNT TD? 

Helping travelers enjoy themselves and learn about places we visit. 

Is there a particular tour you’re excited about leading this year?

For this year, it would be the Ark Encounter/Creation Museum. We were planning to go, however, we haven’t gotten around to it yet. 

The Creation Museum & The Ark Encounter

[Traveler: When you book your Ark Encounter, ask if Grace is the TD.]

Do you have a dream tour you’d like to lead?

There are lots marked in the catalog! If I am limited to one, I would choose Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island Deluxe

Three words….

Keep moving! 

Does the exclamation point count as a word?

Tour Director Ericka Linn Neff

Ericka Linn Neff

Hometown:

Apopka Florida

What brought you to BNT as a Tour Director?

My Grandfather started Bob Neff Tours, and then my Uncle Bob kept it going. My mom has started to work there as well, booking tours for guests and plugging their information in. She came home one night and told me that I should inquire on becoming a tour director. So, I went in and talked with my uncle. He was gracious and gave me a shot—and well, here I am. 

Three Surprising things about yourself…

I’ve never traveled outside of the United States before. I really enjoy painting—especially with water color—and I have a passion for learning history. I adore learning about the ’40s in particular. Each year I go to the Reading Air Show, dressed accordingly of course.

What are you most looking forward to as a BNT TD?

As a Tour Director, I’m looking forward to making connections with the guests who come on the tour and really getting to show true hospitality.

Is there a particular tour you’re excited about leading this year?

I’m most excited to lead the December tours: Handel’s Messiah on December 1st, and the Wellsboro Christmas on December 7th. Both experiences will be beautiful in their own way.

Handel’s “Messiah” at Annapolis

A Dickens of a Christmas in Wellsboro, PA

Do you have a dream tour you’d like to lead?

A dream tour? Well, I would be ecstatic to lead a tour some day to Hawaii to visit Pearl Harbor. That would be so very special. Though, I think I’ll need a little more breaking in before I fly us out to Hawaii for a few days!

What is the question you wished I’d asked?

My family is one of the things in life that most resonates with me and makes me most thankful. I think, also, it’s having a life founded in Christ—without Him, I doubt that I would hunt for as much of the beauty in life.

Three words….

Symphony

Enchanted

Glad

(I’m currently listening to Handel’s Messiah, hence the three words) 😉

 

Related BNT Blogs:

Living the Tour Director Life—With Patti Olson


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