Candidates in the 2014  Trail Ambassador Program got a historical tour  and lesson from the historical society’s Sarah Benson as part of the program preparing young women to represent the City of Trail.

Candidates in the 2014 Trail Ambassador Program got a historical tour and lesson from the historical society’s Sarah Benson as part of the program preparing young women to represent the City of Trail.

Ambassador program in search of more candidates

“There's no cost. And it's not about wearing heels and dresses and being girly girl. It's about empowering the girls.” - Michelle Epp

It’s fixed, it’s too expensive and it’s just a beauty pageant.

Those are the top three fallacies Michelle Epp is hearing about the Trail Ambassador Program this season.

Since Epp took over what used to be called the Miss Trail pageant, there’s never been a shortage of young women ready to partake in the program’s 2009 “this ain’t no beauty pageant” revamp.

This fall it’s been different. Only three girls have come forward to be part of the six-month training sessions that include community service commitments, physical activities, speech writing and public speaking engagements.

“I am convinced there’s too many misconceptions,” said Epp, herself a former Miss Trail. “The worst is hearing that people think it’s fixed. That’s very hurtful.”

Another is that parents think the program is going to cost a lot of money, she explained, adding that there is no fee to join and events such as Cinderella’s Closet help reduce the cost of formal wear for the Silver City Days pageant.

“Having kids in sports and other activities is expensive so I think parents assume the program will cost a bunch of money,” she said.

“There’s no cost. And it’s not about wearing heels and dresses and being girly girl. It’s about empowering the girls.”

Ella Meyer, Trail’s current queen, reminds potential candidates that local organizations sponsor the girls and contribute $500 toward the cost of outfits and other incidentals.

She and Trail Princess Samantha Theobold have been actively campaigning for weeks, but so far their message about the program’s benefits is falling on deaf ears.

“We also hear that the time commitment is a problem,” said Theobold. “But this year the training is only on one day, Sunday. And it’s scheduled later in the day so it doesn’t interfere with church.”

There’s one other factor that Theobold mentioned could be deterring some girls from running, which is the influence of social media.

“We are ambassadors representing the city,” said Theobold. “So, we have to be careful about pictures and things that are put out on Facebook.”

Cheyanne Friess, a current BC Ambassador and Miss Trail 2013, maintains that a common misconception is that the Trail Ambassador Program only focuses on the materialistic side of pageants.

“While we do have gown modelling, it is to showcase confidence and poise,” she said. “The program is a safe haven for girls to grow and become confident at their own pace.”

Besides the age-old myth that the program only focuses on beauty, Epp has heard girls say they are too shy to talk in front of strangers, let alone walk across a well lit stage.

“These are the girls we want to work with because they get the most out of it,” she added.

Friess is a shining example of how the program supports teenaged girls build esteem, self assurance and faith in oneself.

“I went from being so shy I couldn’t even order a pizza over the phone,” she recalled. “Now I am someone who can speak in front of a crowd of strangers.”

Although Friess admits she still gets butterflies before putting herself in the limelight, her time spent in the Trail Ambassador Program was worth every moment.

“But without the experience, I wouldn’t be who I am today so I am truly thankful I took the plunge.”

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Trees blown over by a windstorm in forest owned by Anderson Creek Timber. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

Keith Smyth, Kootenay Savings director at-large joins children from the Kids’ Care Centre at St. Michael’s Catholic School. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Savings continues credit union’s tradition of giving

Funding totalling $48,250, is going to a wide array of Kootenay initiatives

From left: Karl Luedtke (West Arm Outdoors Club), Dale Williams (BCWF), Molly Teather (FLNORD), Gord Grunerud (West Arm Outdoors Club), Eugene Volokhov (Grand Prize Winner), Casey McKinnon and Lex Jones (Jones Boys Boats). Photo: Tammy White, Whitelight Photography
Balfour man lands big prize from angler incentive program

Eugene Volokhov of Balfour is now the proud owner of a sleek 18-foot Kingfisher boat

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Most Read