The longest reign: Ambassadors to pass on crowns three years after being selected

From left, Cambridge Ambassador McKenna (Murray) Gordy, Kayley Gass and Myranda Brogger end their three-year reigns Friday night.

Three years ago — on June 14, 2019, to be exact — three young women were chosen to represent the city of Cambridge as its ambassadors, tasked with participating in community and business events across the state as positive role models in the community.

Little did Ambassadors McKenna (Murray) Gordy, Myranda Brogger and Kayley Gass know that a global pandemic would sweep through and prevent the ladies from relinquishing their crowns in 2020 and 2021. 

The three will finally — albeit hesitantly — end their reigns at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 17, during the “Makin’ a Splash” Crowning Celebration.

“They have been incredible,” said Laurie Solle, director of the Cambridge Ambassador program. “We couldn’t have been more fortunate to have them be so willing to serve longer than they signed up for.”

According to Solle, the Cambridge Ambassador Program is a “service-based organization empowering young women with poise, polish and a promising future.” The three women who have served for the past three years all recognize the importance of those attributes.

“I applied to be an ambassador because I knew of all of the opportunities that come with the program,” said Gass. “I’ve also always looked up to previous ambassadors in school, and knew I wanted to follow in their footsteps.”

Brogger entered because “it is a great program that empowers young women,” she said. “I saw it as an opportunity for growth because of all of the new skills and experiences I would gain.”

Getting chosen to be an ambassador requires a certain set of criteria, which, according to Gass, can be somewhat nebulous.

“The only real criteria that an ambassador must have is something that can’t be taught,” she said. “The selection team looks for genuinely nice girls that are magnetic — the kind of girl that people are drawn to and leave wanting more of their presence.”

“It simply boils down to being a nice girl that can interact with others,” added Gordy.

The ladies were only two months away from giving up their crowns in 2020 when COVID hit. It took very little time for them to agree to stay in the program longer.

“We did not have the ‘remaining in power’ talk right away because there were many other very important things in life happening, so there were no events we could attend,” said Brogger. “When things began opening up again and events were happening we had to discuss our next steps. Laurie told the other two ambassadors and (me) that we were no longer required to be at events because our year reign was over. 

“Of course, McKenna, Kayley and I wanted to help the program through COVID because it has helped all of us,” she continued. “We did not expect to be representing the community for three years, but I wouldn’t change anything.”

According to Solle, the ambassador program “provides opportunities for ambassadors to make an impact in their world” — a world that has seen great changes for each of the ladies, including graduating high school; attending college online and in-person; and for Gordy, meeting and marrying her husband, Zachary Gordy.

Those changes weren’t always external, though.

“The most obvious (change) being my marriage but also a lot in maturity and my faith,” Gordy said. “I usually am a very social person but after COVID and entering college, I was oddly scared to talk to people. I am never the one who would take the long way so I don’t have to talk to people but all of a sudden I found myself doing that. 

“Honestly, it wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I started to feel normal again and branched out with no problem,” Gordy continued. 

“The hardest thing I had to do as an ambassador was trying to juggle going to college and still hold a large role of the program,” added Brogger, who attended the Univeristy of Minnesota-Morris after graduating from CIHS in 2020. “This was difficult because I wanted to be in the community when important events were happening, but sometimes I couldn’t because I go to school three hours away.”

Gordy credits the program for helping to bring her out of her shell.

“I think it was because, at events, you simply cannot keep to yourself and you really don’t know anyone but your two girls — especially since all of our royalty friends passed down their crowns a year or two ago,” Gordy said. “So getting back into the swing of things pushed me once again to go out of my comfort zone, and man, am I so grateful.”

The ladies are also optimistic for their futures, something for which they credit the ambassador program.

“The Cambridge Ambassador Program has shaped me into the woman I am today,” said Gass. “I have gained countless friendships from this program and have also gained the skills needed in order to succeed in the professional world. I have a greater understanding of all types of people, from young to old.”

Continued Gordy, “I grew a lot internally and through this program. I got to grow in my communication and community skills, which is something I really needed after being isolated for so long.”

For future ambassadors, Gordy advised, “... take it all in! Even after three years, I wish I had more events. You definitely get out what you put in.”

Gass, too, is excited for future ambassadors “to experience all this program has to offer,” she said. “I love watching the current candidates grow throughout the candidate experience. I’m very proud of each and every one of them, and I love being their mentor. (I) can’t wait to see who’s next.” 

Gordy said serving the city of Cambridge has been something she will never forget. 

“Community is something that is taken for granted these days and this experience gave me the chance to see how great it truly is, especially during a time like COVID where I needed my people — even if we couldn’t meet face-to-face.”

Added Brogger, “I have learned so much about myself professionally thanks to the Cambridge Ambassador Program. I have learned to make connections, step out of my comfort zone, make conversation with people I do not know, and fight for what I want.

“Because of this program, I have big dreams and the inspiration to chase them.”

“Makin’ a Splash” will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, June 17  in the Richard G. Hardy Performing Arts Center, 430 8th Avenue NW in Cambridge.

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