The Woodbury Ambassador Program Inspires Young Women to Lead the Community into a Brighter Future

The Woodbury community is overflowing with young, female leaders. You can find them at ribbon cuttings for businesses around town, reading at schools during I Love to Read Month, cleaning up trash along city highways and much, much more. These young women, from third-graders to college students, are part of the Woodbury Ambassador Royal Family, and their commitment to community and aspirations for personal growth have earned them an important opportunity.   

The Woodbury Ambassador scholarship program began in 1980 with the desire to create a Miss Woodbury, says former vice president of Woodbury Days and Woodbury Ambassadors historian Tim Schenk. “We have had an ambassador every year, except one, since 1980,” he says. “They just didn’t have enough candidates in 1994, so when they kicked it back off in 1995 they actually started giving a scholarship—I think it was more of an incentive.”

Both Schenk and Woodbury Ambassador program director Terri Steigauf emphasize that the program isn't a pageant, but a chance for young women to hone important skills and help build up their community. Participants are chosen based on their leadership and teamwork skills, attitude and willingness to grow. “We look for qualities that we can help them grow in,” says Steigauf. “It’s not a beauty contest. It’s not a talent contest.”

Once participants are chosen, the Royal Family is generally eight members strong (it includes Miss Woodbury, two Miss Woodbury Princesses, Little Miss Woodbury, two Little Miss Woodbury Princesses and Senior King and Queen). Ambassadors kick off their year at the Inver Grove Heights parade. “They learn right away about the networking,” says Steigauf. And although the parade is a great learning opportunity, it’s also
"probably the most fun,” Steigauf says. “They get to ride atop the floats, dance to the music.”

Throughout the year, participants will take part in about 100 events in Woodbury and the surrounding area. From Angels in the Outfield to Feed My Starving Children, the Royal Family is given a generous taste of what it means to serve. Joy Peterson’s daughter Kennedy is currently wrapping up her year of service as Little Miss Woodbury Princess. Peterson praises the program. “One of the areas where she has grown is her self-confidence,” she says. “Kennedy has a shy side, but I knew she had it in her.” According to Peterson, Kennedy loves participating in the parades and all of the friends she's made. Meghan Rice, this year’s Miss Woodbury, will also cherish her new friendships. “I really loved being able to meet different people that I would have never met before,” she says.
As summer wraps up, the reign of the current Royal Family will soon come to an end, and it will be time to crown the next set of young women leaders. “I just love this program,” says Steigauf. “It’s a year that they’ll never forget.”  


Little Miss Woodbury candidates must be entering the third, fourth or fifth grades. They must attend school in Woodbury, reside in Woodbury, or have parents that reside in Woodbury.

Miss Woodbury candidates must be entering their junior year of high school or greater. They must go to school in or live in Woodbury.

To apply to be a candidate for the Woodbury Ambassador program next year, visit Applications are accepted until July 1.