Six young women vying for top tiara

Trail Ambassador Program is bringing popular pageant
back this year

The Trail Ambassador Program is hitting the stage with a competitive field of six girls vying for the crown this year.

Organizers are happy to bring the program back to its traditional format after last year’s decision to split the responsibility when only three girls signed up.

An element of surprise will again be unveiled when Miss Trail and Trail Princess are selected at a pageant in the spring.

Keandra Billingsley, Trynity Turnbull, Caïa Gagnon, Naomi Savage, Nicole Johnson and Hannah Flick have met with their sponsors and are ready to represent at an upcoming event scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at the KP Hall.

The debut will showcase the candidates, who will introduce themselves and share a speech on their sponsor — be it Trail Firefighters (Local 941), Kiwanis, Knights of Pythias, Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 11), Colombo Lodge or Shoppers Drug Mart. The girls will then be adorned with a sash and given the “Miss” title that goes along with representing a local organization or business throughout the program.

The Trail Ambassador Program continues to enrich and enhance the lives of young women by teaching life skills and promoting the City of Trail, according to coordinator Michelle Epp.

The seven-month program brings together area professionals to train candidates aged 15-17 in topics such as public speaking, resume writing, interview skills, tourism, Trail history, nutrition, hair and skin care, money management, and much more.

“The results” keep Epp committed to running the program, with help from Bev Benson.

“Watching from the beginning to the end and seeing what they learn and what they get out of it really motivates me,” shared Epp. “Every year there is a surprise, a situation that might come up, that we haven’t experienced, and we have to deal with it and learn from it.”

This rings true to last year’s low enrollment numbers and the decision to simplify the program with the trio acclaimed to the ambassador role. Trail Ambassadors Timberlyn Miles, Gina Oostlander, and Serena Deadmarsh shared the onslaught of volunteer opportunities, pageants and parades throughout B.C. and Washington to promote the city.

“It was neat having them all equal instead of having a queen or princess, where one is viewed in the hierarchy as better,” added Epp. But the community missed the annual Miss Trail Pageant during Silver City Days and so did organizers.

Epp is always floored to see each individual’s journey showcased at the Charles Bailey Theatre.

Some girls slip on their first pair of heels or formal gown, others break out of their shell and find the confidence in communicating to a large crowd, and some learn the importance of volunteering and how to manage a busy schedule.

“We like to open it up to every type of personality because everyone can benefit from it,” she said. “Sometimes we have people who we think, ‘Are you sure you’re going to get enough out of this?’ … and they always do.”

She’s pleased to see former ambassadors move onto other competitions like the British Columbia Ambassador Program, which Ashley Horrill is currently vying for. Epp said Horril was crowned princess in 2012 and is a real example of how Miss Trail can help shape young women into confident community leaders.

This will be Trail’s third ambassador to go after the higher title with Carley Henniger and Cheyanne Friess winning the provincial title in 2012 and 2014 respectively.

“It shows that they enjoyed what they did and they got a lot out of it and they just wanted to keep with it,” said Epp.

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.