The longest-running program in the City of White Rock may have run its course.
White Rock Youth Ambassadors program co-ordinator Debbie Ward says she’s hoping someone else will take over leading the program, something she has done since 2002.
The ambassador program has certainly been identifying a Miss White Rock and her royal team since the city was incorporated in 1957, but Ward said the program was established before the city was incorporated.
Ward told Peace Arch News Tuesday that for the last couple of years, the program has had low participation (only five ambassadors each of the past two years); potential ambassadors aren’t willing to commit the amount of time required; the program has low sponsorship and it’s a lot of work to co-ordinate.
“It’s hard for us to find events that even want us there representing the city or the youth,” Ward said.
“In my opinion, it’s kind of going away – this whole program. I just want to put that out there. Myself, I decided that I’m going to pass it on to someone else.”
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Ward, who has yet to find someone to take over the program, says she would be willing to help the new leader keep the program to its “true values.”
“If it’s anachronistic – a thing in the past – then so be it. That’s all fine, too,” Ward said. “It might just be something that used to be a good idea a couple years ago and now people aren’t as interested.”
Ward says she views the lack of interest in the ambassador program as a change in the local community.
“I’m OK with that, change happens,” she said. “It doesn’t really surprise me because I think the same thing is going on with the local clubs like Elks, some of the Rotaries here. We lost the Lions and Lionesses. I see that it’s a lot harder to get volunteers and participation and people to join things.”
Ward said that she loved the past 16 years she’s spent organizing the program.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s been really wonderful. It’s been a big part of my life. It makes me feel like part of the community and I really love it. I’m finding everything so hard. The recruiting didn’t use to be this hard, getting sponsors didn’t use to be this hard.”