June has been one of my favorite months for the past 9 years – since I became involved with the Cambridge Ambassador Program committee. One of the things I talk often about is doing something you love and being involved with things you are passionate about. CAP is definitely near the top of my list!
With that being said, I’ve been away from my blog for far too long and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with all of you! In an effort to reconnect, I wanted to share with you a little about what I’ve been up to the past month.
I was recently asked by the Isanti County News if I would be willing to be a feature story for the paper. The idea was brought to them because I was a Cambridge Ambassador in 1995 and am currently serving as a Captain for the Minneapolis Aquatennial. I’m excited to share what I have been putting together in response to some of the questions I was asked. Through these answers you’ll learn a lot more about me and what I love!
Before I share my answers with you, allow me to tell you briefly about the Cambridge Ambassador Program (CAP). CAP is a wonderful program for young women. For approximately three months, we focus on the candidate experience where we provide many opportunities for volunteerism, personal growth, public speaking, enhanced self-confidence, etc. What I love most is watching the young women that start our program and then seeing the young women they become as they embrace the magnificence of themselves! It’s truly inspiring and transformational. At the end of the candidate experience, we have a crowning celebration where we recognize and honor the young ladies and the hard work they have put in during the previous months. Three of them are then selected to be Ambassadors for the community of Cambridge.
Now that you have a background, I’ll share some of my answers . . .
Why did you try out to be a Cambridge Ambassador? What was your reaction when you were selected?
I remember being younger and seeing the girls on the float during the Swedish Heritage Festival we used to celebrate in Cambridge. I always knew it was something I wanted to be a part of but when it came time to do it, I was very nervous. I didn’t have much confidence in myself. Then, I received a personal letter from Laurie inviting ME to be a part of the program. I remember feeling shocked that she would invite me. My parents had divorced a few years earlier and they weren’t ‘big names’ in the community so receiving the letter was very impactful. Originally, I was planning on being a candidate the year I graduated – 1994. However, I needed to drop out that year because I had moved down to live with my aunt and uncle. The following spring, I was back in the area and heard about the program. Since it was still in my heart, I knew I needed to be a part of it.
I participated in the program knowing that I was in it to have fun. I was hoping to learn as much as I could. In fact, the skills that I learned as a candidate helped me to get a job that I wasn’t necessarily qualified for – but I had a wonderful interview!
Because of my attitude going into the program, when I was selected I was blown away! I remember being overwhelmed with emotion and in such awe that I was chosen. I remember being so excited because I KNEW they had selected me because of ME and who I was. It was such an incredible experience and little did I know how it would impact the rest of my life!
What would you say to other women to encourage them to participate in the Cambridge Ambassador Program?
With the program, we aren’t there to change you. Instead, we are there supporting you to be your best self. I would encourage them to participate because of the opportunities and experiences. We make sure that it isn’t a program that focuses solely on the three girls that are selected, our primary focus is the candidate experience. I would share that I have seen the changes and impact the candidate experience has had on the young women in our community.
Life is about the moments and experiences and we know you’ll enjoy this experience!
What was the process for being selected a co-captain of the Aquatennial? When were you selected?
I firmly believe that everything leads back to relationships and being selected shows this to be true. The Cambridge Ambassador Program has a long relationship with the Minneapolis Aquatennial and Joe Johnston. Joe, along with his sister Gena, has been an emcee of our program for many years. Joe is extremely involved with the Aquatennial as a former Commodore and former President. Through our friendship, Joe felt that I would be a great addition to the program as a Captain. He knew that I had the experience along with the passion of supporting young women.
Initially, I was invited by Joe, an Alumni of the Aquatennial, and then he brought my name to the board of directors. I then had a follow up conversation with our current President, Ted Zwieg and Lindsey Peterson, a former Captain and current VP of Ambassador Family. We had our discussions in December of 2010 and I was brought on as a new Captain in February of 2011.
Do you feel your experiences with the Cambridge Program helped prepare you for your role as a captain with the Aquatennial?
It has certainly helped because I have been able to witness the transition and growth opportunities that are available for the young women. Additionally, coming from a festival community like Cambridge, I know firsthand the impact that the Minneapolis Aquatennial has on the young women in the communities. I feel I have a great advantage because I experience the best of both worlds – supporting a local community like Cambridge and also supporting a highly respected state program, the Minneapolis Aquatennial.
Additionally, one of our current Key Initiatives with the Minneapolis Aquatennial is our Training and Leadership Program. We really have such a wonderful opportunity to expand. Leadership and Development are such important aspects of this program for the young women and I’m delighted to be a part of it.
I know that a few short paragraphs does not encompass either of these fabulous programs in their totality. I invite you to learn more about the Cambridge Ambassador Program by checking out their facebook page. I would also strongly encourage you to check out the Minneapolis Aquatennial. You can learn more about the current ambassadors along with the Queen of the Lakes Scholarship Program at their website. And you can learn more about the fun events that are happening during the Best Days of Summer, July 15th – 23rd.