By Starrla Cray
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Do you know an extraordinary gal in fifth through eighth grade who’d be proud to represent Lester Prairie?
“We’re looking for girls who are kind and generous, and who have integrity and leadership qualities,” Lester Prairie ambassador committee member Melissa Williams said.
Any adult can nominate a student who attends Lester Prairie School or is home schooled in the district for the title of Lester Prairie Junior Ambassador for a Day.
“Girls can also apply for themselves,” Williams added.
To enter, contact Williams at (320) 395-8433, firstname.lastname@example.org, or PO Box 921, Lester Prairie, MN 55354. Include the nominee’s full name, grade, age, and qualifications.
Entries will be accepted until the end of November, and two junior ambassadors will be chosen in early December. One girl will be selected from the fifth/sixth grade category, and one from the seventh/eighth grade category.
The winners will each receive a $100 shopping spree with the current Lester Prairie ambassadors.
They will also get a crown, gift basket, and professional hair styling at Beyond Relaxation in Lester Prairie.
Additionally, the junior ambassadors will be announced at Lester Prairie High School’s SnoFest coronation.
“We would like to build great morale, and set some high goals at a young age,” Williams noted. “We are trying to prepare for upcoming ambassadors for ourcommunity.”
The Lester Prairie Ambassador Program was established in 2001. Candidates must be under the age of 22, but at least a junior in high school. They are crowned the third weekend of July, during the Prairie Days celebration.
The 2011-12 ambassadors are Nicole Simon, daughter of Camon and Darla Simon; Bethanie Bull, daughter of Brian and Joanie Bull; Amanda Williams, daughter of John and Melissa Williams; and Jessica Artmann, daughter of Don and Kari Artmann.
Jessica received the Miss Congeniality award, and Amanda was chosen as the Minneapolis Aquatennial queen candidate.
“I think it’s been great for the girls,” Williams said. “It’s fun to see them giving, coming out of their shells, and letting people see their great personalities.”
Williams became interested in the program after her niece, Josie Bull, served as the 2010-11 ambassador, and she officially joined the committee in May.
Other committee members include Joanie Bull, Darla Simon, Kari Artmann, and Nicole (Horsman) Jaeger.
Members typically meet quarterly, or as needed, and new members are always welcome.
“If someone would like to help with a specific event, but doesn’t want to join the committee, that’s fine, too,” Williams said.
Service and leadership
From introducing the football players at Lester Prairie’s homecoming game to volunteering at Lester Prairie Elementary School, the ambassadors have been busy representing Lester Prairie at many events since they were crowned in July.
The girls have also helped with charity fundraisers, made sandwiches for homeless shelters, and promoted school spirit through various activities.
“They take their leadership roles very seriously,” Williams said. “They’ve done a great job so far, proving that it’s not just a crown.”
All four of the ambassadors are in the post-secondary enrollment options (PSEO) program as a way to get ahead academically.
“Education is really a strong value for them,” Williams said.
The girls also know how to have a good time, and they enjoy participating in unique parades throughout the year.
The weekend of Halloween, for instance, they went to a costume parade in Anoka, wearing camouflage formals with orange and pink accents.
“The crowd really responded to them,” Williams said. “It was fun.”
Their next parade is in Cambridge Saturday, Nov. 19.
“Light is the theme, and they’ll be decorating their float,” Williams said.
Williams said she hopes the Lester Prairie Junior Ambassador for a Day contest will spark more interest in the ambassador program, and inspire more girls to have a positive influence in the community.
The ambassador program has changed over the years. The list of previous ambassadors includes:
• 2001-02 Miss Lester Prairie Martina Heinsch, princess Crystal Foust.
• 2002-03 Miss Lester Prairie JaNaye Jilek, princess Mindy Odenbrett.
• 2003-04 Miss Lester Prairie Beth Weisenburger, princess Krystal Alberts.
• 2004-05 Miss Lester Prairie Lori Hoof, princesses Britney Latzig and Becky Fiecke.
• 2005-06 ambassadors Catherine Pierson, Emily Angvall, and Nicole Horsman.
• 2006-07 ambassadors Alexandra Heuer, Maggie Pichotta, and Hannah Wortz.
• 2007-08 ambassadors Helena Fairfield and Rebecca Templin, and Miss Congeniality Corinne Goplin.
• 2010-11 ambassador Josie Bull.
• 2011-12 ambassadors Bethanie Bull, Amanda Williams, Jessica Artmann, and Nicole Simon.