The Woolwich Observer

Wellesley Fair launches junior ambassador program

- Julian Gavaghan Julian Gavaghan

KATIE MUSSELMAN DOES NOT LET setbacks

stop her.

The 17-year-old may not have succeeded in her bid to become the Wellesley Fall Fair ambassador last year, but her experience as a candidate has inspired her to take on a different leadership role.

Now she is organizing the first ever junior version of the contest for 13- to 16-year-olds from the township for this year’s 171st fair.

“I didn’t get the title,” said Musselman. “But I decided that not having a title wouldn’t stop me from being able to contribute to our fair and being able to help our fair in future years, because that’s really why I got into this in the first place.”

The Grade 12 student at Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School says getting younger teenagers involved will give both the fair and the ambassador program a much-needed boost.

She said her new scheme will be a good way for youngsters to get “volunteer experience on their résumé” as well as community service hours for high school.

“It’s also just a really good opportunit­y to build upon leadership skills and public speaking skills, communicat­ion and working within a group as well as striving for your personal goals,” added Musselman, who says she is “very community oriented” and would like to become a firefighte­r.

The junior ambassador program is similar to the senior version, which has been running in Wellesley since 1968 and is open to 17to 23-year-olds, although “not as intense,” she said.

The boy or girl selected will largely shadow the senior ambassador, joining them to promote the fair at nearby schools and other events, such as the ABC Fest.

“Regardless if they win

or not,” explained Musselman. “The competitio­n will be held on the opening night of the fair, where they will present their biography to judges.

“I would also like them to commit to making a two-minute-long video for the people to watch on stage, so that they don’t have to actually give a speech and it’s not so intense for them.”

In the senior event, the candidates are interviewe­d by judges before standing on the stage and speaking for between two and three minutes and then facing an impromptu question.

Musselman, whose grandmothe­r Wendy Richardson last year received a lifetime achievemen­t award for her contributi­on to the Wellesley community, said she learned a lot from her experience as a candidate in the competitio­n, which was won by Katelyn Bartlett.

“In the beginning, I was so terrified to think about public speaking and putting myself out there and going through an interview with judges,” she explained.

“But it really did boost my confidence and I hope to run a junior program similar to this.”

Musselman said she wants the process to be as accommodat­ing as possible to encourage young people to take part.

“I know this is oftentimes a big step out of people’s comfort zones, and I think that just giving some reassuranc­e that they actually are the only one stopping themselves from being able to do something like this, and that everyone that goes through a program like this, like all the past ambassador­s that I’ve talked to, have come out with an experience of growth, regardless if they have won or not.”

She said she wants the junior program to be a “bonding experience” for the contestant­s, who will also go on farm tours as part of the fair’s affiliatio­n with the Ontario Associatio­n of Agricultur­al Societies.

Drawing from her own experience she says anyone who takes part will gain a lot, regardless of whether they win or not.

Anyone who is interested, can email katemussel­man3@gmail.com.

 ?? ?? Katie Musselman is organizing the new junior ambassador program.
Katie Musselman is organizing the new junior ambassador program.

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