At ACIS and Encore Tours we believe that ‘Travel Changes Lives’—each morning we repeat this mantra when we get to work, it’s what they make us chant at every meeting and we blazon it across all our brochures, and websites. We believe it because it’s true, and here at ACIS we always practice what we preach. That’s why every year we try to participate in the wonderful events that are organized by Tourism Cares. Each year they organize an event to revitalize and restore a tourist location that needs a little TLC. This year we were in Miami, working on two tourist sites that over the past 20-30 years have fallen into disrepair.
The Miami Marine Stadium, right in the center of the gorgeous Biscayne Bay, has been unused for the past 20 years. I say unused, but what I really mean is unused in any official capacity. It is a testament to this glorious piece of mid-century architecture that instead of falling apart it took on a life of its own and became an alternative playground for graffiti artists and skateboarders. The restoration project of the Marine Stadium wants to celebrate the rich and diverse history of this building and will be mindful of the important part that the ‘unofficial’ uses played in its story. The stadium will become an important venue for a variety of different activities including those organized by Shake a Leg, a Sailing Program dedicated to using the marine environment to improve the health, education, and independence of people with disabilities. Volunteers from across the tourism industry helped with the cleanup and a lucky few spent the day photographing graffiti in order to make sure it is preserved even after the restoration is complete.
However our team from ACIS and Encore were not in this ‘lucky few’. We were at Virginia Beach – which to be honest wasn’t half bad either. Virginia Beach is a beautiful location with a varied history. It was the segregated beach in Miami from 1945 and has been closed since 1979. This part of the restoration project is focused on not only bringing human tourists to the area but also on attracting avian holidaymakers to the bay. Over the past century, migratory birds have fewer and fewer natural stopping grounds on their journeys south for the winter. Virginia Beach wants to be the destination of choice for birds in the mood for a little R&R. We spent the day planting over 800 trees and 11,000 grasses that will provide food and shelter for many different types of birds and other wildlife.
The day was beautiful and the work was fun. Between the six of us from ACIS we think we planted at least 70 or 80 trees. Not bad for six girls from Boston who haven’t seen the sun since last October! Everything went smoothly and it is a testament to the super human organizational skills of Tourism Cares that everyone knew where they were supposed to be and exactly what to do at all times. The work was rewarding, especially knowing how important these sites will be in the future.
At ACIS we know how important travel and tourism is, and so it is a great feeling to be able to give back to the tourist attractions across America.