I started volunteering for WaterFire in 2009. My wife had mentioned that her coworkers said it was something absolutely amazing, and a must see event. So, we ventured out to Providence for one of the lightings and I was totally mesmerized by what I witnessed. The beautiful magic appeared right before our eyes. I just fell in love with the whole event and something inside stirred me to find out more about WaterFire and how it operated.

I just wanted to drive those boats which made all that magic happen to the wild cheers of the huge crowds amassed there. Having been an avid sailor and having raced in international competitions overseas I thought I would easily take to captaining boats on the river. So I inquired as to how to get started and  the Volunteer Coordinator at the time, Allison, welcomed me to come train to be a captain.  I started piloting the Access Boat for patrons who were not capable of walking the Art Installation. The smiles on their faces, the ooh and aah’s they emitted, plus the gratitude of their caregivers was more than enough reward for me to make this all worthwhile. I did not realize how much joy I was giving to these folks bringing them close to the action. A WaterFire memory I am most proud of during those years they had a competition among WaterFire volunteers to create a T-Shirt slogan for the season and I am proud to say in my rookie year, I won the prize for my winning slogan “In Darkness We Light”. Just four short words expressing it all. I have also volunteered for special ops, merchandise stores and other things besides being a captain, first mate etc. Volunteering is truly a gift one can give others and make millions of people happy and it also brings a personal sense of satisfaction to give back to the community.

My advice to folks is if you have time and a community sense of purpose and want to help out, consider volunteering for WaterFire, it’s one of the best experiences you will have, take my word for it. The sights, sounds, the smells of fresh wood burning set to gorgeous music and just seeing the delighted faces of the thousands who throng each lighting is rewarding enough by itself. You have no idea how each volunteer, however small his or her job is, makes such a difference to a vision created by Barnaby Evans. We create magic for every lighting and truly make a difference to all. I have also met some absolutely wonderful folks who welcomed me into the WaterFire family and treat me as one of their own. That’s what brings me back again and again to participate in this phenomenal event year after year. My concluding words, come on in the water’s fine.

– Vikram Udeshi