Peachland has a trio of musicians as its Ambassadors this year – and all three are keen to learn everything they can while contributing to our town.
Hunter, Dae-Lillee, and Sorsha are Grade 11 students at MBSS and they want to do Peachland proud, by learning about our town’s history, plus lessons in personal finance, etiquette and other life skills.
“I do get good kids,” says Linda Sarsons. She’s been running the Ambassador program (with the help of Leanne and Ernie Sarsons) since 2012. Just like in 2020, they won’t be travelling to other towns, and appearances at community events are of course cancelled. And while other areas have decided to nix going ahead this year, the Sarsons have decided to pivot:
“It was about a month ago I learned how to do Zoom,” Linda says.
“And the kids are quite happy just learning – they are all so interesting,” she adds.
“We met with the Mayor on Zoom and they talked to her for nearly two full hours. She drew them out and they were asking questions of her that just floored me. I sat back and I listened. It was phenomenal.”
One tradition that’s changed is the annual shopping trip for the Ambassadors’ outfits. This year’s trio kept in touch with Linda via text while they found what to wear at the mall. They ended up with a pink and blue theme. They’ve also met with Peachland councillor and Chamber of Commerce executive director Patrick Van Minsel to talk about financial planning and running a business, plus they’ve managed a socially-distant firehall visit. That was neat, says Linda, because Avery Takenaka, a former Ambassador, is now with the fire department.
“She showed them the fire trucks and the parts of it. One of our girls, Dae, was really interested, and so the fire department is her sponsor.”
Want to meet this year’s Ambassadors? Here they are!
Dae-Lillee: The Grade 11 student is really into music and practices trombone and piano.
“My main kind of focus in music is jazz,” she says.
“I really love jazz, and aside from that, I’m also really into film. I’ve got tons of old film cameras, camcorders, it’s always something I’ve been into. I even thought of going to film school.”
She’s hoping the Ambassadors can in some way, have a part in Peachland’s Canada Day celebrations this year.
“With COVID going on, it seems like this year won’t be as fun, but even through the Zoom calls and when we do get to meet up, it’s still connecting with each other, which I think is a really big part of it, which is nice to still have that. I’m glad we still have the opportunity.”
Dae-Lillee is sponsored this year by the Peachland Fire and Rescue Service.
Hunter: “I was visiting Peachland for Canada Day and I saw the Ambassadors on the parade float,” says the 16 (soon to be 17) year-old Grade 11 student.
“I thought that if I signed up, it could help me feel more inspired to be in public, and have less anxiety about that.”
Hunter hopes to get into the medical profession – like a first responder “or a maybe a fitness trainer, too,” he says.
Hunter is sponsored this year by the Peachland World of Wheels.
Sorsha: She’s also in Grade 11 and was a candidate in the Ambassador program last year.
“It’s a good group to be in,” she says.
Sorsha plays trombone and tenor sax, and she’s a dancer too.
“I enjoy that a lot, and I paint a lot too,” she says.
Sorsha is looking forward to meeting the community group who has sponsored her this year – the Peachland Community Arts Council.
Don’t these dogs look great? The Ambassadors planned their first-ever virtual St. Pawtrick’s Day parade, and judging by these photos, it was a great success! Check out the Peachland Ambassador’s Facebook page for more!
Good news from the Ambassadors! After having to cancel everything last year, they’re going to give a modified season a try for 2021. There was an information meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. (via Zoom, of course). Want more info? Email the Ambassadors at email@example.com, or message them on Facebook!
2020 was a year our Peachland Ambassadors could complain about being cancelled – but instead, they’re feeling grateful. Linda Sarsons sent this reporter a message recently that she wanted to pass on to you all:
“I’d like to put in a thank you to Peachlanders for all their support in our ongoing bottle drive,” she says.
“Ever since the pandemic hit in March, people have been so great about donating to the Ambassador program.”
Money raised goes right back into helping local kids gain confidence, friendship and lasting memories as an Ambassador. Hopefully next year they can get back to pageants and all the community events where we’re used to seeing their smiling faces.
Here’s a little more about the program…
From Christmas Light Up, to Canada Day, Peachland Elementary’s annual school carnival, to their own event, the St. Patrick’s Doggy walk, you’ll find the Peachland Ambassadors, wearing their trademark sashes and smiles, along with their eagerness to help.
The Ambassadors – headed up by the Sarsons family – Linda, Leanne and Ernie, have been a Peachland tradition for decades. This is the ninth year matriarch Linda has been at the helm, and this year, there are seven candidates and two junior ambassadors. This year is different, of course. For the first time in their 73-year history, their September pageant has been cancelled and they’re putting the program on hold until 2021.
More info: Anyone from the age of five and up can be part of the Ambassador program. Little Buddies go up to age nine, then there’s the junior ambassadors, and then by the time they’re 14 or so, the kids can become an ambassador. They are sponsored by a local business or service group, and must illustrate their poise, public speaking ability, etiquette and community involvement. The kids are coached along the way, while learning more about Peachland’s history and promoting our town to other communities with Ambassador programs.
See story Not Forever, Just For Now