Grace Wardle has enjoyed every minute of her reign as Miss New Westminster Ambassador.
Wardle was crowned before a packed crowd at Massey Theatre in April. Since that time, Wardle and the other ambassadors have represented the city at various functions and accompanied the Hyack Festival Association float to festivals across the Pacific Northwest.
"This experience has taught me so much about myself, as well as my community, but above all it has taught me that it doesn't matter who you are or what your interests may be, everyone has something to offer, to contribute to New Westminster," Wardle said. "Whether one is an athlete, intellectual, or an artist, the Hyack Ambassador Program welcomes all with open arms. To be perfectly honest the highlight of my experience has been seeing a little girl's eyes light up and while tugging on her mother's hand, saying quietly, 'look Mommy, a princess, I want to be just like her.'"
Wardle, an accomplished athlete at New Westminster Secondary School, said that being a role model to young girls in her community is a responsibility she bears with pride.
"It's not just wearing a crown and waving - it's embodying everything a young woman is. She is strong, she is respectful, she has purpose and she knows that home is where the heart is and my heart is in New Westminster," she said. "I am honoured to be part of the Hyack tradition and would like to thank everyone who has supported me, my deputy ambassadors and this program."
The deadline for applying for the 2013 ambassador program is Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 4 p.m.
"It's a development program that will help them in their future lives with school, with work," said coordinator Lynn Radbourne. "They meet people they would not normally get a chance to meet - mayor and council, other dignitaries in the city, other government dignitaries, business people in the city."
Radbourne said the program gives the young women a chance to represent their city, show their talents and have fun.
"It is for everyone," she said. "It is not a beauty pageant. It is a development program."
The program is open to young women between the ages of 16 and 19, who are Canadian citizens or landed immigrants, single and have lived in New Westminster for at least six months prior to Oct. 1, 2012.
Starting in November, Miss New Westminster Ambassador participants will attend weekly rehearsals on deportment, public speaking, civic knowledge and dance. Their training will culminate in a pageant that's being held at Massey Theatre on March 9, 2013.
All of the ambassadors attend events in the city and the Pacific Northwest on behalf of the city and Hyack. This year's other ambassadors are Natasha Bosnjak, Maggy Dera-Rodriguez, Cyndi Lei, Maggie Rogal and Rachel Sibayan.
Applications are available on the association's website at www.hyack.bc.ca, at the Hyack office at 204 Sixth St. or by calling coordinator Lynn Radbourne at 604-5245675.