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Volunteer Spotlight – Jonathan Waugh

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As a spectator of WaterFire since 1997 with a lingering interest to volunteer, Jonathan Waugh finally took the plunge ten years after sighting his first fire. Jon began his journey as a volunteer with WaterFire in 2007 with just one regret, “I only wish I had started sooner.”

Although Jon has primarily been doing photography and video for WaterFire the past three years, it was not always this way. Over the years, Jon has had the opportunity to volunteer in just about every aspect of WaterFire; from feeding the fires on wood boats, to event set up and torch bearing ceremonies. Jon also volunteers outside of the lightings by helping  to load the boats for fires at woodpile workouts, cleaning the river at WaterFire’s Earth Day Cleanup, and assisting in special projects at the WaterFire Production Shop. And, although he has found joy in every avenue of which he has volunteered, Jon has especially found a likening for recording WaterFire and its’ guests through video footage.

Capturing WaterFire events on video is especially fulfilling since it provides those who attend the events with a way to relive the experience and, it can be used to spark interest in someone to come for the very first time.”

WaterFire – June 8, 2013 from Jonathan Waugh on Vimeo.

Jon has spent many hours creating beautiful memories for guests and staff alike to look back on. However, when asked what his favorite memory as a WaterFire volunteer was, he had a tough time choosing just one.

There are so many!” He replied. “However, one very unique memory was in September of 2011 when WaterFire crossed the globe for a two-night lighting in Singapore. Following the first night in Singapore, the fire was “passed” via Skype to Providence to light the fires here. There was a small crew of volunteers and staff that kept one brazier alive all night, and then the fire was sent back to Singapore the next morning to light their second night of WaterFire.”

Jonathan WaughCreating memories is just one of the many reasons Jon continues to come back year after year as a dedicated WaterFire volunteer. His sincere belief in WaterFire’s mission “to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city” and the sure fact that, as he puts it,” WaterFire does not rest on past achievements,” yet, “constantly seeks to be even more effective and to expand its revitalizing and transforming reach” is also what motivates him to continue to support WaterFire through volunteerism.

 I love the city of Providence and WaterFire, so volunteering feels like something I get the unique privilege to do rather than an obligation… The staff and volunteers are the most dedicated, hard-working, and creative group of people you can find in Providence, and many have become great friends over the years. Being a part of something that has touched millions of people, and is a source of pride for our city, is a great feeling.”

If you are looking to help spread community and create lasting memories for visitors to Providence as Jonathan Waugh continues to do, then begin your journey with WaterFire today by visiting or contact the Volunteer Department at [email protected] / 401-273-9727.


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