Former White Rock Youth Ambassador Emma Rose Harvey is vying for the B.C. crown, and is hosting a charity dance to support hospice along the way. (Contributed photo)

White Rock teen taking a swing at B.C. Ambassador title

Upcoming ’50s dance doubling as a fundraiser for Peace Arch Hospice Society

A former White Rock Youth Ambassador is hoping residents of all ages will break out their poodle skirts, neck scarfs, checked shirts and ‘strides’ (men’s slacks) to help raise money for the Peace Arch Hospice Society.

“We’d like people, if they’d like, to dress for a ’50s sock hop,” Emma Rose Harvey said Tuesday, in chatting about the upcoming ‘White Rock Through the Ages’ dance she’s organizing.

Co-ordinating the April 11 event with support from the current WRYA team, hospice executive director Beth Kish, Telus regional market manager Josh Weston and the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce, Harvey said she set her sights on the fundraiser as part of her candidacy for one of three B.C. Ambassador roles.

“Part of that program is fundraising,” the 18-year-old said, explaining that in addition to raising funds for charity, she must come up with at least $750 in order to participate in the provincial program.

Half of whatever is raised at the dance will go to the hospice society, while the balance will go towards Harvey’s B.C. pageant efforts. She said she’s hopeful that at the end of the day, she’ll be able to hand hospice a cheque for $1,500.

Harvey, who graduated from Earl Marriott Secondary last year, was the 2018-2019 White Rock Princess and Friendship Ambassador.

In pursuing a B.C. title, she follows in the footsteps of a handful of former White Rock Youth Ambassadors, including Freda Zhang – who earned a provincial crown in 2011 – and Madeline Dudley, who placed tops in the PR promotion category, earning a $750 bursary in the 2017 competition, plus $500 for participating.

READ MORE: ‘Princess’ now B.C. ambassador

READ MORE: Scholarship win for White Rock youth ambassador

Open to anyone 17-24 years old who has previously held an ambassador title, the program tests candidates on everything from their general knowledge of B.C. and prowess at public speaking, to fundraising and formal wear.

Harvey said the WRYA co-ordinator reached out to the 2018-2019 team members to encourage them to participate, and it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

“I decided that it would be good for me to do because I can apply the skills that I learned (as a WRYA)… and gain a bigger platform for the things I’m passionate about,” she said.

She anticipates that the skills she picked up through the local program, such as public speaking, volunteerism and confidence, will serve her well on the B.C. stage. Plus, it’s an opportunity to spread the word about the community she grew up in, she said.

“I’m excited to be able to represent White Rock on the provincial scale,” she said.

“It’s really great for making friends outside of your community – people you wouldn’t normally meet.”

Harvey said community is important to her, which is why she chose the dance theme – to pay tribute to a bit of the city’s history, as well as to the people who called it home, both then and now.

“My vision was … I’d like to celebrate the old and young,” she said.

“I want to try and bring the community together.”

She chose hospice to also benefit because of its importance in the community. It’s “good for everyone to be aware of it,” she said.

As well, the WRYA team has a history of supporting hospice, she said, including by volunteering at the annual Hike for Hospice.

“I just think it’s a really good fit.”

Tickets to the dance – to be held at the White Rock Elks Hall, with a dance hall downstairs and a 19-plus lounge upstairs – are $12, and are available through eventbrite.ca. If it doesn’t sell out in advance, tickets will be available at the door.

The night is to also include a silent auction, a 50/50 draw and refreshments.

To donate silent auction items or become a sponsor, email Harvey at erh@wrya.ca

Recruiting is also underway for this year’s White Rock Youth Ambassadors. Harvey, who is the program’s recruitment co-ordinator this year, said so far, there are seven potential candidates and “we’d be happy to have anyone else who’s interested in the program.”

Those interested may reach her at the same email (erh@wrya.ca)

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