Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. - Plastic straws, lost flip flops and food wrappers. Things you might find any day on the beach. But, a volunteer group in Walton County hopes to see less of these items on the sand and they are doing something about it.
Here in South Walton, volunteers are stepping up to participate in a program to educate the millions of visitors and locals on way to keep these beaches beautiful.
"We have our community members coming together in a cohesive unit to change the beach culture," said Laurie Reichenbach, Volunteer Beach Ambassador.
Fall of 2016, this non-profit organization hit the beach with an idea and a question. 'What if there was a group of local citizens with a passion for all things that will keep South Walton beaches beautiful? '
"People don't understand the importance of following the rules and most people don't even know what those rules are," explained Reichenbach.
With the estimated 3.2 million visitors that travel to South Walton each year, the Beach Ambassador's main goal is not just to pick up after them. So, that is where true Beach Ambassor's job comes in.
"We would like to be known most for the education that we do. Informing our guests and our locals alike," said Reichenbach.
To date, South Walton Beach Ambassadors have 104 shirted volunteers. The ages range from volunteers in their early 20s to as old as late 70s. Also, they have six junior volunteers walking the beaches too.
These folks will even answer the most simple of questions.
"So, when a guest or a local has any kind of questions, that's what we do. we try to answer them, even the most basic, like where do you want to go for lunch, what do you recommend," explained Reichenbach.
One of the Beach Ambassador's told us it is the best volunteer job anyone could have. Currently, they service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is a $5 registration fee but, there's no other requirements.
"All you have to do is pick the time, the day and do what you desire to do," shared Reichenbach.
So, when you hit the beach next, all you have to do, is look for the white shirts that say beach ambassador. They will be right there with a bucket in hand and a smile on their face to help out in any way they can.
On August the 16th, at 6:30 p.m., Beach Ambassadors will host their last training session of the summer. For information on how to get involved go click here or visit https://www.friendsofswturtles.org.