Four former ambassadors take leadership of program
Right now, the Brussels Agricultural Society’s Brussels Fall Fair Ambassador program is being led by four women who know a thing or two about being in the position.
Maggie Speer, Nicole Noble, Morgan Deitner and Hannah McCutcheon are all in leading positions in the program, aiming to mentor the younger ambassadors in the years to come. All four women have won the crown in the past and they have remained involved with the society in an organizational capacity with the ambassador program.
Speer and McCutcheon share the role of program co-ordinator, while Noble is the ambassador committee advisor and Deitner is the Junior and Little Ambassador Co-ordinator, taking on a program founded by Pastor Sandra Cable several years ago.
Each of the women took the time to pen a special address on the program for this special issue.
A little over 10 years ago, Nicole Noble asked me if I could help her collect donations for the Brussels Fall Fair Ambassador competition. My kids were very young at the time, so helping Nicole was the perfect way for me to start getting involved in the ambassador program. As a former Brussels Fair Queen, I was excited to be aboard.
The roles have reversed. Now Nicole has the young family and she is helping Hannah, Morgan Deitner and me with the ambassador program. Our families are fully on board with our involvement and the time commitment it takes to run a successful program. They remember what a positive impact it had on the four of us as former Ambassadors and Queens. They might jokingly tell you they are “vol-en-told” however they never hesitate to help when asked and are always to the first to offer assistance.
When Sandra Cable started the Junior and Little Ambassador program in 2016, she was successfully able to separate their competition from the main ambassador, yet keep it all cohesive with the ambassador program and the fair in general. Since then we have always had three ambassadors working amazingly well together, even with the age gap. It’s like they become an ambassador family.
They have always worked as a great team and, because of the three ambassadors, we are able to attend more events, promoting our fair without stretching one ambassador thin with a hectic schedule. It is very rare that we don’t have at least one ambassador attending a requested event.
Anyone who has ever been involved truly puts their heart and soul into the program. Personally, I enjoy seeing the ambassadors grow as individuals. They become comfortable in their own skin. We work with them to become effective public speakers. With plenty of events to attend and last-minute requests to “please share a few words on behalf of your fair”, they learn to think quickly and speak with confidence.
I truly believe that effective public speaking and knowing how to present yourself in a positive manner are life skills that will help the ambassadors in school and as they venture into the world of employment. I know this for a fact because after a successful job interview, I asked my new employer why so many of my interview questions were focused on my time as fair queen. His reply was “when you are chosen by your community to represent your community outside your community that speaks volumes.”
The feedback we get from parents of ambassadors is heart warming. Shannon Bieman, mother of former 2017 Junior Ambassador Emily Bieman told us, “the ambassador programs [are] an exceptional way to aid the development of confidence which is something that one can never have enough of. It is great to have a program that focuses on the skills of public speaking, effective communication and learning how to deal with the public in an effective way. My daughter has her sights set on running in the next ambassador competition and as a parent I am delighted as I believe it can only strengthen her more as an individual. It is a pleasure to watch her continue to grow and develop in such a positive way with a very supportive volunteer group. I give kudos to the volunteers of the ambassador program who work timelessly behind the scenes to run such a great program. I would challenge all parents to encourage their children to run for any of the three ambassador titles whether male or female.”
We know we are having a positive impact on these young individuals and that is why we keep doing what we do.
After being crowned ambassador, my view and take on our fair, community and the ambassador program in general changed for the better.
I was the ambassador program co-ordinator for 10 years and during that time I met some wonderful, amazing and talented young individuals that truly inspired me to keep doing what I do. The memories and friendships I’ve made along the way I will cherish forever.
My wish is for this wonderful program to continue and thrive for many years to come. It’s more than wearing a sash/medallion and crown, it’s about representing your fair and community with pride and growing yourself into becoming a more confident and focused individual.
This program teaches you how to become a leader, by developing and perfecting your public speaking skills and interview skills. You learn about the fair and the many hours of time and dedication from our fair board and volunteers that make it come together year after year. The fair means more to me now, as a mother, than it ever has.
I want my own children to know, love and appreciate just how special our community of Brussels is and how important the fall fair is to our village. I want them to become giddy in anticipation of the fair every year when September rolls around and to know that it will be there for many years to come even in these uncertain times. I’m a proud member of the Brussels Agricultural Society and a proud ambassador program member and that will never change!
I have stayed involved since my year as ambassador in 2011/2012. I do it to give back to the community I grew up in and to help grow and maintain a program that was crucial to my early years of personal development.
The ambassador program taught me many leadership, business and interview skills that gave me the confidence and etiquette to acquire co-op placements in university and now have contributed to being in a leadership role in my place of work.
I am excited to continue to develop the ambassador program to focus more on personal development, building leadership skills, and learning business/workplace etiquette. This is the same approach that the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is taking. Some of the CNE changes include:
• Prohibit tiaras and gowns and instead require business attire
• Shortened formal speeches to one minute so that everyone has the opportunity to present (rather than only the top seven)
• All participants read a 140-character description of themselves. This 140-character description will be created by the participants while they are at one of the seminars during the ambassador program weekend at the CNE. This can be described as an elevator pitch/talk: the participant is meeting a potential employer on the elevator and they have to sell themselves before you reach their floor.
I am enthusiastic that these changes are being implemented and that it will be a more inclusive environment for everyone. One of my goals is to get more young men involved in the program. Current Ambassador Sean Mitchell has been a great advocate that this program is a networking and leadership opportunity for young men and women.
With the possibility of the CNE permanently closing due to a large loss in revenue this year as a result of COVID-19, I feel the program will be resilient. My guess is that the program will potentially be hosted by the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) if the CNE closes.
As a member of the Ambassador committee for the Brussels Fall Fair, I get the honour to continue the Little and Junior Ambassador program following the leadership over the last years by Sandra Cable. She created and executed a program that has allowed the youngest of our community to become involved, and I am filled with enthusiasm to continue that legacy.
The Brussels Fall Fair has always held a special place in my heart since I was a wee Kindergarten student walking the parade route with my classmates. From the rides and games, to the 4-H shows and tractor pulls all the way to the jams, quilts and school displays. There is never a shortage of ways to keep yourself entertained at the fair.
As a past ambassador of the fair I was able to experience the purest form of pride for my community, by being its representative. Leaving Brussels to promote our small, but mighty fair was an opportunity I never took for granted and cherish to this day. My hope and plan for the future is to instill a strong sense of community and pride into our youth through the Little and Junior Ambassador program that will stay with them as they grow and pour ideas, creativity, and hearts into our beautiful and ever-changing village.