Three new Kamloops Ambassadors will represent the city, following a gala at Sagebrush Theatre last weekend, and. For the first time, the program was open to youth of all genders.
Previously, the program awarded titles to three elected participants, including Miss Kamloops and two princess positions. Those titles no longer exist. After the election this past weekend, they hold equal titles of “ambassador.”
Of seven candidates, Sarah Brouwer, Alexis Cloet and Tiffany Friesen were named Kamloops Ambassadors.
Kamloops This Week spoke with Cloet and Friesen before they attended their first-out-of town event in Kelowna. Fellow ambassador, Brouwer, was unavailable.
Friesen, a South Kamloops Secondary Grade 11 student, said she joined the ambassador program to gain new skills in public speaking.
“Just going out into the community, you have to learn how to public speak, so it was something I had to work on,” Friesen said. “If you would have met me six months prior to now, you would really see the growth.”
One of the things Friesen said she likes most about the program is that people have to work as a team.
“We all worked close together to get to the same point,” she said. “We helped each other out a lot. I’m really glad I got to work with the group.”
Being an Indigenous youth, Friesen said she hopes to make a difference in the Indigenous community by improving their representation.
Friesen said she worked closely with her sponsor, speaker Ashley Callingbull — a model, actor and First Nations activist who was the reigning Mrs. Universe 2015 — to gain new experiences and skills for the ambassador program.
“That was definitely an experience,” Friesen said. “I still get to work closely with her for the next year to come. I’m excited about that.”
Cloet said being part of the program is a way to learn about the city, get involved, give back and volunteer.
“Most importantly, to make connections with people,” Cloet said.
Cloet said after graduating next year from South Kamloops Secondary, she plans to attend Thompson Rivers University to continue her passion for gymnastics, while pursuing a career in the medical field. Presently, Cloet is busy with two part-time jobs, one as a gymnastics coach for the Kamloops Gymnastics and Trampoline Centre and as a front desk reception for her sponsor, Tournament Capital Strength and Conditioning.
With the program now including youth of all genders, Cloet said she thinks anybody can be an Ambassador regardless of how they identify themselves.
“Seeing Ambassadors of all genders in the public eye shows younger people that it doesn’t matter who you are. If you’re right for the job, then you’re right for the job,” Cloet said. “It doesn’t take away any opportunities for anyone.”
Other awards presented at the July 9 gala:
• Knowledge of Kamloops Award, sponsored by Tourism Kamloops: Alexis Cloet;
• Public Speaking Award, sponsored by NRI Distribution: Alexis Cloet;
• Sponsor Presentation Award, sponsored by Kamloops and District Chamber of Commerce: Alexis Cloet;
• Butterfly Award (for most personal growth during the program as determined by the Kamloops Ambassador Society Committee): Bethany Mahoney;
• Friendship Award (decided by peers): Sarah Brouwer.
Program dates back to ’20s
The Kamloops Ambassador Society comes from a tradition that is almost 100 years old.
What began as Dominion Day Carnival Queen in the 1920s evolved into Carnival Queen, Miss Spoolmak and, eventually, Miss Kamloops in 1952, with Peggy Kelly holding the title.
In 2021, the society transitioned into three equal Kamloops Ambassadors representing the city as a team.
The program has included more than 860 candidates since its beginnings. Several alumni have gone on to hold titles such as runner-up to Miss Dominion of Canada, Miss Interior of BC, BC Ambassador, first runner-up to Miss Teen Canada and candidates for Miss Canada.