For a young woman who has no problem recognizing her own competitive spirit, the recipient of this year’s Princeton Youth Ambassador crown says the ambassador journey is not about winning, but about friendship and cooperation.
“Normally I’m very competitive,” said Gabe Oliver in an interview with The Spotlight. “But throughout the program it wasn’t about that. We were there to support each other and cheer each other on.”
Oliver, 16 and a Grade 11 student at Princeton Secondary School, was named the 2016 ambassador at the coronation ceremonies on the Canada Day weekend. Miranda Crucil was crowned vice-ambassador and Colton Heron received the title of friendship ambassador.
“I would definitely encourage people my age and younger to get into the program when they have the chance to,” she said. “Sometimes when you say you are a pageant person, people think it’s like Toddlers and Tiaras and you are just there to make yourself look good. When you explain it’s about empowering yourself and the confidence you gain from it, they become more positive.”
Oliver got interested in the ambassador program when her close friend Hannah Gould became ambassador last year.
“I went to her events and watched her go through it. I thought it was awesome. I wanted to do it because when I first moved here I wasn’t that confident and I wanted the confidence that she had.”
Contestants for Princeton Ambassador participate in several judged events throughout the spring, including a speech and talent night, and a fashion show. They also take instruction in etiquette, write a test on Princeton knowledge, and volunteer at municipal events in the run up to the crowning.
Oliver said the most satisfying part of being named ambassador was receiving the crown from Gould, as a friend, and “that both my grandparents were there, that was the most emotional part for me.”
Oliver enjoys playing soccer, basketball and volleyball on her high school’s teams, and is also active in a local youth group, and at PXA events.
Over the next year she will attend local events with the other ambassadors in her court, and visit neighboring communities on most weekends, representing the Town of Princeton. Ambassador duties can take up to ten hours a week.
She works at Little Creek Grill in Princeton, and Doug’s Homestead near Hedley. Doug’s Homestead was her sponsor in the program. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Oliver plans to pursue a post secondary education in medicine or law.