They’re a royal family, but they aren’t standing and waving from a balcony; the Woodbury Ambassadors Royal Family is active and doing good work. Whether it’s serving at the American Legion’s fish fry or reading in schools during I Love to Read month, ambassadors have helped to make life in Woodbury richer for 40 years.
Lisa Boe, director of the Woodbury Ambassadors Royal Family, says the ambassadors benefit from the work, too. “It’s amazing to watch them grow … We once had a candidate for Little Ambassador who hid under a table when we asked her to tell us about herself,” Boe says. “We could see potential in her … By the end of the six-week candidacy period, she was walking into rooms and talking to people with confidence. She was selected the following year.”
Gitanjali Raman, Miss Woodbury, is a senior at the University of Minnesota and in the first year of the master’s program in public health. She says that one of the benefits of being an ambassador, in addition to the scholarship, is the experience in public speaking she’s received. “A big part of working in public health is communicating,” Raman says. “So developing those skills was important to me.”
Ally Murray, Woodbury Ambassador, says the program has filled a need for her. Murray was a stand-out soccer player, who suffered an injury that required surgery. Not playing soccer daily left her looking for something to fill that void. She hadn’t thought of herself as a princess. “I never wore dresses much before I entered,” she says. But once she was selected, she found a lot to like. “We really are like a family,” she says. “The younger kids … the Little Ambassadors … become like your sisters.”
Kris Patrow-Ogle agrees. “It truly is a family,” she says. “The ambassadors learn to be responsible for themselves and for the entire royal family.”
Patrow-Ogle’s family has been involved with the ambassadors since her daughter Sammy become a candidate in 2012. Since, her other daughter has participated, and explains when your child becomes involved, the whole family becomes involved. She’s enthusiastic that the program has given her daughters poise and self-confidence.