Brussels' Mitchell cracks top seven at CNE Ambassador competition
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Past-Brussels Fall Fair Ambassador and current District 8 Ambassador Sean Mitchell has placed in the top seven at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) Ambassador of the Fairs competition over the weekend.
Mitchell’s specific rank within the top seven is not made public, but after making it to the top seven, he was not one of the ambassadors chosen to advance to the top three. He triumphed over a field of just over 30 competitors. Mitchell says that is about half of the traditional number of competitors, which had likely shrunk for various reasons connected to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated years of cancellations. However, Mitchell says that didn’t change the level of competition, as those with their eyes on the prize came to compete, making for a very robust year of competition.
In an interview with The Citizen on Monday morning, Mitchell said much of the weekend the ambassadors spent together focused on professional development, which he found very helpful and interesting.
The group attended seminars on mental health in agriculture and networking in agriculture and then, of course, there was the ambassador competition itself. For his speech, Mitchell addressed labour supply in the world of agriculture, a one-minute variation on the speech that earned him the District 8 Ambassador title earlier this year. He says he has been working on a variation of the speech on and off for the last four months.
Making it to the final seven, Mitchell said he performed his speech and was interviewed by the judges and then had to perform his speech a second time, in addition to speaking on an impromptu topic. He says he felt he competed well, but that the level of competition was also very high.
The biggest takeaway for Mitchell, he said, is that he made about 30 new friends as a result of the process. Spending the entire weekend with ambassadors from across the province day in and day out was nice, Mitchell said, as he got to know more about his fellow Ontario ambassadors.
He also said he was impressed with the diversity of those who took part in the competition. Mitchell said he learned a lot about different aspects of agriculture through the process, as well as different methodologies and approaches thanks to the differences between all of the contestants.
While his time as the Brussels Fall Fair has come to an end, with Deanna Haanstra succeeding Mitchell, his work is not yet done.
Mitchell says he will continue to support Haanstra and the Brussels Agricultural Society in any way he can in the coming year, but he will also hold the title of District 8 Ambassador until the spring of 2023, so he will have work to do from that aspect of things as well.
He says these past three years have meant a lot to him and he’s come away with a much greater appreciation for the work of the Brussels Agricultural Society as a result.
Madelyn Grossi of the Sutton Fair and Horse Show, representing the Sutton Agricultural Society, was the eventual winner of the Ambassador of the Fairs competition. Emma Smyth of the Arthur Agricultural Society was the first runner-up, while Mary Fizell from the nearby Listowel Agricultural Society was named the second runner-up.
Joining Mitchell in the semi-final (top seven) round were Kennidi Howe from the Glencoe Agricultural Society, Shae-Lynn Seeley-Reesor of the Markham and East York Agricultural Society and Avery Flynn of the Wellesley (North Easthope Agricultural Society.