Meet four of Quesnel’s candidate ambassadors

Oliva van den Elzen is an Quesnel Ambassador Candidate for 2021, sponsored by William Lacy Real Estate. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)Oliva van den Elzen is an Quesnel Ambassador Candidate for 2021, sponsored by William Lacy Real Estate. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Naylene Runge is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Quesnel. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)Naylene Runge is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Quesnel. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Jessie Johal is sponsored by the West Quesnel Business Association. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)Jessie Johal is sponsored by the West Quesnel Business Association. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Bree-anna McCarthy is sponsored by Advanced Skin and Laser. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)Bree-anna McCarthy is sponsored by Advanced Skin and Laser. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

It’s been a challenging year for the Quesnel Ambassador Program. The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented much of the volunteering and group events couldn’t be held due to the virus, but seven candidates stepped up to potentially become one of three Quesnel representatives.

According to the ambassador program’s website, the first goal is to build leadership skills and improve public speaking.

“During the 6 month program candidates write and perform expressive speeches, learn financial management, are given lessons and opportunities to demonstrate appropriate social etiquette, and become immersed in many volunteer opportunities,” the website reads. “Lifetime friendships are made in this program as they connect through common interests in the community.”

The three ambassadors will be chosen from the seven candidates during a ceremony on July 2.

Here is a Q&A with four of the candidates.

READ MORE: Quesnel’s new Ambassadors crowned

READ MORE: 2021 Candidate ambassadors introduced to Quesnel council

Oliva van den Elzen is sponsored by William Lacy Real Estate

Why did you join the ambassador program?

“I’m very nervous about public speaking. I really wanted to build up more confidence in doing that.”

How have you dealt with the challenges of COVID-19?

“I really wish we could have gone out there more, and helped more people, did more events. It’s been a bit of a bummer, but it’s also been fun. I’ve made a couple friends.”

Did you get the experience you were looking for?

“I have, but it would have been nice to do a bit more for the community.”

What would you say to anyone thinking of joining the program?

“Definitely go for it. It will help for future skills. You’ll find new great friends, and it will be a wonderful experience.”

Bree-anna McCarthy is sponsored by Advanced Skin and Laser

Why did you join the ambassador program?

“A couple of my friends are in it, and they talked to me, and convinced me with all their ideas, how it’s fun and we get to kind of get into the community. It’s a little different because of COVID, but I’m still happy I joined because I got to learn a bunch of cool facts about our town that I didn’t know before.”

What are you taking away from the program?

“I’ve had issues with anxiety in my life, social anxiety, but I’ve kind of grown over that being around so many people, being able to be in a welcoming area, where people don’t judge you has been really nice helping me come out of my shell which was one of my hopes going into this program.”

What would you say to anyone thinking of joining the program?

“It might not seem small… When I heard it was six months, I kinda went ‘eeeh,’ but it’s a fun commitment. It’s only once per week, and you get to get out in your community and learn more about it. Be a part of life, and learn to meet more people.”

Naylene Runge is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Quesnel

Why did you join the ambassador program?

“Before COVID, I’ve been wanting to join for a few years since my sister joined it. I love the fact she could go to events and volunteer and help out the community. When COVID struck, I still wanted to join, because I thought it was a really great leadership-building program.”

Were you able to get what you wanted out of the program despite the challenges of COVID?

“Yes, definitely. All the self-confidence and self-esteem workshops and activities we have done. We’ve done life skills and so many educational meetings on numerous things from nutrition to mental health and physical well-being.”

What would you say to anyone thinking of joining the program?

“It is a great opportunity to meet new people, build yourself, your self-confidence, your social speaking skills. Even though we’re on screen, we still learned how to make speeches and public speak. It was really great. It will really help you.”

Jessie Johal is sponsored by the West Quesnel Business Association

Why did you join the ambassador program?

“I heard there was a lot of great opportunities, and I wanted to work on my public speaking skills.”

Were you able to get what you wanted out of the program despite the challenges of COVID?

“Not yet, but I’m hoping to.”

How have you dealt with the challenges of COVID-19?

“We had to do our speeches in front of everyone. It was scary. We had to do them on Zoom, too. It wasn’t that scary, but when we did it in person it was more scary.”

What would you say to anyone thinking of joining the program?

“I would say join the program. You get a lot out of it, and it will definitely help (your public speaking).”

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