Leadership skills, public speaking ability, and knowledge of Canadian agriculture are some of the qualities fair ambassadors must possess.
Kaitlyn Dornhoff, who was born and raised in Caledon Village, will be putting these qualities and more to the test against fair ambassadors from across Ontario at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) this weekend.
Dornhoff is currently the reigning senior ambassador of the Erin Agricultural Society, an honour earned by winning the 2022 Erin Fall Fair’s ambassador competition.
That win secured her a spot in the 2023 CNE Ambassador of the Fairs competition.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the competition, a big milestone.
Natalia Perri, Media Relations for the CNE, said the CNE’s Ambassador of the Fairs competition is a longstanding tradition that’s goal is to educate and celebrate Canada’s rich history in agriculture.
“(Competitors) will be interviewed and judged on a wide range of criteria including: knowledge of the CNE, Canadian agriculture, poise, self-confidence, public speaking and overall passion/impression,” said Perri.
Dornhoff will be competing against over 60 other fair ambassadors to win the crown and represent the CNE for its run in 2023.
She said the Erin Agricultural Society’s ambassador program is like a youth leadership program. Budding ambassadors attend workshops to hone their public speaking skills and confidence, as well as work on projects together.
“There’s lots of different skills you develop,” said Dornhoff.
When she first found out she’d be competing at the CNE, Dornhoff said she was nervous but excited and ready for a new challenge. She said the crowd at the CNE Ambassador of the Fairs competition will definitely be the biggest she’s ever spoken in front of.
Promoting agriculture and environmental sustainability is a big part of the competition.
Dornhoff said being outdoors has always been an important part of her life, and she loves canoeing and swimming. She and her family keep a few different vegetable gardens at their house in Caledon and harvest fresh vegetables whenever they can.
“I’ve always had a love for nature and a respect for it,” said Dornhoff. “I want to make change where I can… every voice counts.”
Dornhoff said fairs are important for bringing rural and urban populations together, and added they mix fun with education.
As she prepares for the competition, Dornhoff said she’s focusing on the fact that it will be a learning experience and a fun weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Dornoff.
Zachary Roman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Caledon Citizen