Rana Sampson

Vice President, Promotions Manager Retail Banking

Southern Division, Union Bank.

On September 15th, 2016, the Balboa Park Conservancy hosted a stewardship breakfast, inviting the many lovers of Balboa Park to come and support our work under the banner of Cultivate Wonder. Here we share Rana Sampson’s thoughts about why she loves Balboa Park…

There is nothing else like Balboa Park.

I have had the privilege of living in a number of America’s great cities and because of the jobs I’ve held through those years, one of which was consulting with cities around the country, I have had the opportunity to visit several hundred cities in the United States. In all that time and all my travels, I have never seen anything like Balboa Park. I have seen great parks in New York, Boston, Philadelphia,San Francisco, Kansas City, St. Louis, Denver, Chicago, L.A., New Orleans, and other places in the U.S. but as wonderful as many of those parks in those places are none hold a candle to Balboa Park. The closest is the national mall in Washington D.C. with our national memorials and an array of Smithsonian institutions on or near it, which we view Tree as a national treasure. Balboa Park is our treasure. Balboa Park stands alone in a category of one, a single, unique, unusual place. It is local and exotic at the same time, it is a banquet for San Diegans and visitors to adore, taste from, savor, and cherish.

Our Park is a feast for all 5 of our senses. The smell of the rose gardens, the sight of the California Tower, the tactile feel of the children’s playgrounds, the sounds of the songbirds, and the taste of craft beer and food trucks.

Our Park is ‘in reach’ and by that I mean it is not a park that is meant to be simply observed or admired, it is for one to participate in. It is not just for admirers of great artists although you can do that here at our wonderful art museums, but it encourages artists at all levels even dabblers through various art programs throughout the park, it is not just for admirers of rose gardens, it is also for those who grow geraniums and succulents to share their hobby, it is not just a place to honor the sports champions of San Diego, but it is also a place to run in, hike in, Segway in and bicycle in, ride on a wooden carousel horse in, and now even electriquette in. It’s not just a place to see a terrific professional musical ???? at The Old Globe, it is also a place to learn to sing at Junior Theatre or dance in the International Dance Association’s programs in Balboa Park. In other words, it is a place for all of us to be doing things at all the different times of our lives. Thus, it is that banquet to adore, taste from, savor and now we must talk about cherishing it.

So, this banquet, this feast, takes replenishment, it is not a one-time dinner party, it is a year-long, decade long, more than century long feast that began with our foremothers and forefathers and must continue with us. We need to make a long-term commitment to this Park, not just to the individual institution or institutions in it that we personally cherish. Here’s my $1,000 commitment today to the Conservancy and I pledge to do so for 5 years. How about you?

Rana joined the Conservator’s Circle, as one of the founding members of our multi-year giving program. For more information the Conservator’s Circle and the many ways you can support the mission of the Balboa Park Conservancy, please contact Sarah Beckman.