As the Franklin County Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) Program continues to grow, fifteen trained CTAs toured sites in Waynesboro and Mercersburg. “The tour was a way of familiarizing CTAs with the assets of Franklin County,” said Doug Harmon. “Reading the manual and taking part in the four-hour training is an important start, but getting out, seeing, and experiencing the great assets of the county helps our CTAs have an extra-level of understanding.”

Harmon said he reached out to the 44 trained and nationally certified ambassadors to see what areas of Franklin County they wanted to explore in the initial familiarization tour. Waynesboro and Mercersburg topped the list.

The CTAs began their tour with an opportunity to visit the Waynesboro Country Club for lunch, and then headed to Renfrew Museum & Park for a tour of the Nicodemus House and overview of the historic grounds. The house is the 1818 Royer farmstead, owned by Emma and Edgar Nicodeumus. It was willed to the Borough of Waynesboro when Emma passed away in the 1970s.

In Mercersburg, the CTAs toured the 20,000-sq.ft. Mercersburg Inn. Formerly called Prospect, the inn was built in 1908 and offers pure turn-of-the20th-century elegance in its 17 bedrooms and suites. The final stop of the tour was the James Buchanan Birthplace State Park. The park includes a 600-ton, pyramid-shaped memorial to 15th President James Buchanan, which is surrounded by 18-acres of greenery, a trout stream, and natural vistas. The park is the site of the cabin, where Buchanan was born in 1791.

The tour also gave an opportunity for CTAs to showcase their sites and communities. The touring CTAs wrapped up the day with a chance to meet members of the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce at a mixer held at the Waynesboro Country Club.

In addition to the familiarization tour, CTAs are supporting the 1864 Burning of Chambersburg on July 21 by conducting civil war walking tours of downtown Chambersburg.

The July class of CTA, being held at Penn National Golf Course Community, has 21 enrolled, which will bring the total trained to 65.

CTA training is a nationwide training certification that helps communities know the value of their destination by providing information about history, culture, art, recreation, and outdoors. The program’s goal is to bring consistency, positivity, and pride to the people visitors meet in the community. It could be an event planner, a waitress, a real estate agent, a front desk person, or a docent of a heritage site. The program is a good way to expand awareness of community, quality of life, and tourism assets.

CTA provides a way to network, support pride in community, stay in the know on local happenings, gain knowledge of local history and culture, and develop leadership qualities. Contact Doug Harmon, CTA director, to learn more or enroll in an upcoming class.