Rockton Fair selects new ambassador

Community Feb 06, 2020 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

The Rockton Fair has a new ambassador.

Jenna Erkelens will represent the Rockton Agricultural Society this year and she is very much looking forward to her new role.

“I’m really excited for the year coming up,” she said.

The Brock University student won the crown after competing alongside Courtney Vanderhout for the title at the society's annual Rockton Fair Ambassador competition Jan. 25.

It’s a moment she has been dreaming about since she was just a little girl.

“It sounds silly, but I walked into the fair building where all the pictures are … and I’d always look up and I’d basically dream of being on that board,” said Erkelens, who succeeds 2019 Ambassador Kathryn Lilko.

The two entrants vying for this year’s title took part in a multi-part selection process, which included an interview with a panel of judges. They were also tasked with delivering a speech focused around the theme Farm to Fork and answered a series of impromptu questions.

Erkelens, sponsored by the Strabane Women’s Institute, said she pulled from her accounting studies to develop her speech, which touched on food subsidies and the struggles farmers face in the wake of urban expansion.

“I tried to tie everything together and basically say, as a rural community, we need to stay strong and continue to represent our roots,” she said.

When it was announced she would represent the society this year, “I almost started crying,” said Erkelens.

Erkelens is looking forward to representing the agricultural society at a number of sanctioned events, including the upcoming Rockton Dinner Theatre. She’ll also compete at the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies convention in Toronto and meet with festival-goers at this year’s Rockton World’s Fair.

As the daughter of greenhouse business owners, Erkelens has seen firsthand how changes over the last decades have affected the rural community.

“The list of what we can and cannot use on the products is becoming more and more constricting,” she said of the chemical licences greenhouses must adhere to.

And then there’s the shrinking rural footprint.

“We live really close to the county line so the infrastructure and everything is really shrinking the rural area between Hamilton and Brantford,” she noted.

No stranger to the rural way of life, Erkelens is keen on promoting the community and giving back when and where she can. She has served as president of the Lynden Junior Lions and during her tenure raised funds to support Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. She did so “just to show the kids in my community that we can do something,” she said.

As Fair Ambassador, Erkelens wants to travel to schools in the area and share her story with local youth in the hopes of inspiring them to one day want to take on the role of ambassador.

“I just want to inspire kids to take initiative and start volunteering and working with the Fair,” she said, adding she developed soft skills like teamwork and collaboration through her time in the Rockton community.

“It’s a lot of small world effects because it teaches you so many things and lets you know so many people that’ll help you in your future.”

Rockton Fair selects new ambassador

Community Feb 06, 2020 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

The Rockton Fair has a new ambassador.

Jenna Erkelens will represent the Rockton Agricultural Society this year and she is very much looking forward to her new role.

“I’m really excited for the year coming up,” she said.

The Brock University student won the crown after competing alongside Courtney Vanderhout for the title at the society's annual Rockton Fair Ambassador competition Jan. 25.

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It’s a moment she has been dreaming about since she was just a little girl.

“It sounds silly, but I walked into the fair building where all the pictures are … and I’d always look up and I’d basically dream of being on that board,” said Erkelens, who succeeds 2019 Ambassador Kathryn Lilko.

The two entrants vying for this year’s title took part in a multi-part selection process, which included an interview with a panel of judges. They were also tasked with delivering a speech focused around the theme Farm to Fork and answered a series of impromptu questions.

Erkelens, sponsored by the Strabane Women’s Institute, said she pulled from her accounting studies to develop her speech, which touched on food subsidies and the struggles farmers face in the wake of urban expansion.

“I tried to tie everything together and basically say, as a rural community, we need to stay strong and continue to represent our roots,” she said.

When it was announced she would represent the society this year, “I almost started crying,” said Erkelens.

Erkelens is looking forward to representing the agricultural society at a number of sanctioned events, including the upcoming Rockton Dinner Theatre. She’ll also compete at the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies convention in Toronto and meet with festival-goers at this year’s Rockton World’s Fair.

As the daughter of greenhouse business owners, Erkelens has seen firsthand how changes over the last decades have affected the rural community.

“The list of what we can and cannot use on the products is becoming more and more constricting,” she said of the chemical licences greenhouses must adhere to.

And then there’s the shrinking rural footprint.

“We live really close to the county line so the infrastructure and everything is really shrinking the rural area between Hamilton and Brantford,” she noted.

No stranger to the rural way of life, Erkelens is keen on promoting the community and giving back when and where she can. She has served as president of the Lynden Junior Lions and during her tenure raised funds to support Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. She did so “just to show the kids in my community that we can do something,” she said.

As Fair Ambassador, Erkelens wants to travel to schools in the area and share her story with local youth in the hopes of inspiring them to one day want to take on the role of ambassador.

“I just want to inspire kids to take initiative and start volunteering and working with the Fair,” she said, adding she developed soft skills like teamwork and collaboration through her time in the Rockton community.

“It’s a lot of small world effects because it teaches you so many things and lets you know so many people that’ll help you in your future.”

Rockton Fair selects new ambassador

Community Feb 06, 2020 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

The Rockton Fair has a new ambassador.

Jenna Erkelens will represent the Rockton Agricultural Society this year and she is very much looking forward to her new role.

“I’m really excited for the year coming up,” she said.

The Brock University student won the crown after competing alongside Courtney Vanderhout for the title at the society's annual Rockton Fair Ambassador competition Jan. 25.

Related Content

It’s a moment she has been dreaming about since she was just a little girl.

“It sounds silly, but I walked into the fair building where all the pictures are … and I’d always look up and I’d basically dream of being on that board,” said Erkelens, who succeeds 2019 Ambassador Kathryn Lilko.

The two entrants vying for this year’s title took part in a multi-part selection process, which included an interview with a panel of judges. They were also tasked with delivering a speech focused around the theme Farm to Fork and answered a series of impromptu questions.

Erkelens, sponsored by the Strabane Women’s Institute, said she pulled from her accounting studies to develop her speech, which touched on food subsidies and the struggles farmers face in the wake of urban expansion.

“I tried to tie everything together and basically say, as a rural community, we need to stay strong and continue to represent our roots,” she said.

When it was announced she would represent the society this year, “I almost started crying,” said Erkelens.

Erkelens is looking forward to representing the agricultural society at a number of sanctioned events, including the upcoming Rockton Dinner Theatre. She’ll also compete at the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies convention in Toronto and meet with festival-goers at this year’s Rockton World’s Fair.

As the daughter of greenhouse business owners, Erkelens has seen firsthand how changes over the last decades have affected the rural community.

“The list of what we can and cannot use on the products is becoming more and more constricting,” she said of the chemical licences greenhouses must adhere to.

And then there’s the shrinking rural footprint.

“We live really close to the county line so the infrastructure and everything is really shrinking the rural area between Hamilton and Brantford,” she noted.

No stranger to the rural way of life, Erkelens is keen on promoting the community and giving back when and where she can. She has served as president of the Lynden Junior Lions and during her tenure raised funds to support Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. She did so “just to show the kids in my community that we can do something,” she said.

As Fair Ambassador, Erkelens wants to travel to schools in the area and share her story with local youth in the hopes of inspiring them to one day want to take on the role of ambassador.

“I just want to inspire kids to take initiative and start volunteering and working with the Fair,” she said, adding she developed soft skills like teamwork and collaboration through her time in the Rockton community.

“It’s a lot of small world effects because it teaches you so many things and lets you know so many people that’ll help you in your future.”