I was not aware of Youth Ambassador programs, before my nieces became involved. (Proud Unca alert)
I was, sadly, along with the majority of people, blithely unaware, of the difference between Beauty Pageants and Ambassador Programs.
The White Rock Youth Ambassador program… well, I think they probably say it better than I can, so I’ll just crib from their website:
WRYA comes from a tradition that is 50 years old, that being the Miss White Rock Pageant. What began as a summer beauty pageant in Surrey and White Rock has now morphed into a contemporary, volunteer and self-development program for teens who are chaperoned and mentored by members of the community in a safe, positive and nurturing environment.
Ambassadors programs exist across the province from New West to New Denver, Powell River to Peachland, Cranbrook to Lake Cowichan. There is even a BC Ambassador Program for graduates of the regional programs where the scholarships become really interesting.
The candidate’s year begins in March and ends in August the following year. Participants are much changed, more skilled, more confident, having shared experiences of working, traveling and living together.
The program is community based with funding from the City of White Rock, local service organizations, WR/SS Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and fundraising. and is run by volunteers.
To participate, candidates must attend school, live or work in the White Rock area.
The White Rock Youth Ambassadors website, goes into great detail, and if you have teenage children, I would heartily recommend checking out and seeing if there is a similar Program in your area.
No longer a Beauty Pageant, the Ambassadors are matched to Sponsors. The Sponsors pay for their uniforms which are worn when they are volunteering or being judged, cover the costs of their travel for the later stages of the program and provide money for scholarships.
Through the program, the candidates are mentored, tutored and taught comportment.
There are a number of judged events, in between which, there are many supporting sessions, training sessions, meetings and community events, all which serve to develop the confidence, poise and maturity of the candidates. It should be noted, for folks who are unfamiliar with the Program, that both boys AND girls are eligible to participate.
The Events include:
- A Fashion Show (I feel I must clarify that there is NO swimsuit portion…) Strictly a selection of clothing (supplied by local businesses) in casual wear, sports wear and formal wear categories.
- Community Knowledge Quiz
- A written essay
- Talent and Speech Evening
- Several different Public Speaking demonstrations
- Interview with the Judges Panel
The transformation from the beginning of the program where some of the candidates can barely walk before a room full of people, to the end, where they can speak extemporaneously and at length in front of any number of people, is dramatic, and a very ringing endorsement for a program that helps mold the teenagers of today into the leaders of tomorrow.
The Program Coordinators devote countless hours and tons of energy, into making sure that the candidates have every opportunity to succeed.
Both my White Rock nieces have been fortunate to participate in the program, and both have been chosen as Miss White Rock, in their respective years. Hayley was Miss White Rock 2008, and went on to become a BC Ambassador in 2010. (She is supposed to relinquish her title next week… but we’ll see !!!) Chloe was just crowned Miss White Rock a few days ago.
The neat and unique aspect of the WRYA Program, is, apart from encouraging participation from both male and female candidates… is that even though only four candidates are selected for Positions, ALL candidates become Ambassadors, and are welcomed to participate in events for the entire year, and are, accordingly, eligible for scholarships.
It is an excellent Program, and any youth would benefit from exposure to such a great experience.