On top of being feted as the township’s junior citizen of the year Tuesday, Ali Khan was named the first male ambassador in the Wellesley Fall Fair’s 169-year history.
“I’m very grateful for it. I appreciate it,” said Khan of the selection process that saw him named to the post. “ I’m really grateful for having this opportunity as well.”
Khan highlighted the fellow competitor in the ambassador competition, Alexis Boyd Koudys.
“I’m really grateful for having this opportunity and for competing with such an outstanding and well-spoken contestant as well,” he said
Boyd Koudys was named as a co-ambassador and will be asked to participate in events throughout the year.
Mirinda Schultz, director of the fall fair board, said that Khan and Boyd Koudys were evenly matched.
“You could see how both of them would bring a lot of passion and experience to the position, but also that they benefit them and it would push them even further,” said Schultz who is also on the ambassador committee which selects the ambassador.
It is “very exciting” to have Khan as the first male ambassador, Schultz said.
“He’s a bit younger than some of our previous ambassadors, so he has a younger perspective, the male perspective is obviously something we also need. And because of his vast volunteering experience, he’s done work in the community..he’s going to have, I think, a broader sort of toolbox of ideas to pull from which would be really great,” she said of the Grade 12 student, who attends Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School.
Outgoing fair ambassador Avery Flynn had one major piece of advice for Khan as he starts his journey as ambassador.
“I think the first piece of advice I would give Ali is to go out and do absolutely everything you have the opportunity for, even if you’re not sure, maybe this is the right thing for me or maybe this event, maybe I haven’t been to it before. Just go and experience it. It’s what the program is about to have new experiences, try new things, meet new people,” Flynn said.
While the ambassadorship provides a different experience for every person selected, Schultz says she hopes Khan has confidence in himself as he takes on the role.
“It’s OK to go out to ask and to talk to people and sometimes you flub up your words. You just learn to carry on. So I think, for him to feel more confident would be a really great thing,” she said.
Other awards handed out at the fair included citizen of the year Chris Martin and lifetime achievement award presented to Wendy Richardson.
Tuesday marked the return to some in-person activities associated with the fall fair, albeit on a reduced scale, following cancellations due to the pandemic.