Former Miss Trail Cheyanne Friess has stepped out of the limelight in Trail but onto the provincial stage as one of seven candidates running in the British Columbia Ambassador Program.
The 18-year-old Trail resident is in the midst of planning fundraising events, volunteering, studying B.C. history and practicing her speeches in preparation for the pageant held in Merritt Aug. 15 and 16 when three candidates will be honoured with the title.
“It is a ton of work but I think the outcome is all worth it, and seeing how supportive and kind Trail can be is such a blessing,” she said. “I also wanted to run because I think it will offer me valuable life skills, especially on planning and organizing events and seeing the true worth in volunteering.”
The B.C. program is open to young men or women between 17 and 24 years old who have held an ambassador or royal title in the province. The program promotes motivation, self esteem and education with money fundraised awarded to candidates through bursaries. Program organizers also go after post-secondary scholarships at appropriate schools based on studies of interest.
Much of the preparation is done at home before candidates face a long week of training and rehearsal prior to the big show.
Candidates prove their commitment by fundraising and volunteering in their community, writing and performing two speeches (one personal and one on their city) and creating a table display that captures the important aspects of their city with a creative twist. They are also quizzed on the history of their province and of course take to the stage in an evening gown presentation and impromptu question.
Some of this is old hat for Friess, who just completed her year as Miss Trail and passed the title off to this year’s Miss Trail Ella Meyer at a pageant held during Silver City Days.
Nowadays she still represents Trail but on the provincial stage, thanks to backing from the Knights of Pythias.
While she goes after the graduated title with poise and confidence, it wasn’t that long ago that Friess found herself shy and lacking self assurance.
“My reign really cemented in my new confidence and helped me gain so many valuable life skills and lessons,” she said.
Pageants offer a glimpse of what these programs offer candidates, she said, noting her growth during her time firstly as Miss Italo Canadese.
She holds Michelle Epp, program coordinator, and Bev Benson, pageant coordinator, partly responsible for her transformation and highly recommends young women get involved.
“Through history lessons, high heel training and lots of speech practice it was never a dull moment and people should know it helps shape girls and give them the confidence to tackle their goals and pursue their dreams,” she said.
“Behind the crown there is a girl who makes it sparkle.”
The community can get behind her by voting daily for the people’s choice award by visiting www.bcambassador.com and selecting “People’s Choice 2014” on the left-hand side.
Friess will be at various events throughout Trail and asks residents to stop in and show their support by taking a business card, donating or buying a T-shirt.
She intends to put any financial backing won through the program to good use when she pursues dental assisting with an eventual goal of further orthodontic studies at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook.
To find out more about Friess and her journey, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BCAPCheyanneFriess