Ambassadors workshop ideas

Guest speaker and event organiser Matthew Petty.

Past, present, and future Rural Ambassadors came together at High Country Droughtmasters in Eskdale on Saturday 6 April to share ideas, experiences and lessons at the inaugural Rural Ambassador Workshop.

The workshop was hosted by Toogoolawah Show Society and West Moreton Brisbane Valley Sub Chamber’s (WMBVSC) 2023 Rural Ambassador, Stephanie Laycock, and Marburg Show Society and WMBVSC 2022 Rural Ambassador and Queensland Rural Ambassador Community Spirit Award winner 2023, Matthew Petty.

Stephanie said the event was well attended, with representation from WMBVSC and further afield to Maleny, Gold Coast and the Darling Downs.

“We’ve had some really good group discussions, everyone’s been quite engaged with the speakers, speaking freely and creating some really good discussion points for everyone to consider in the future,” Stephanie said.

“We’ve had a good mix of people already entering into the competition this year as well as people who aren’t sure about the competition.”

Stephanie is currently in the program and will compete at the 2024 Ekka.

“I, myself, have really found it quite interesting to listen to people who have done the program in the past, and what they’ve got from it, and what I can look forward to this year,” she said.

“Being able to see all these people like me wanting to get more involved in the community and promote the industry, it’s been really good to see there’s more people out there.”

Guest speakers Brianna Hurley, Jack Fogg, Ben Drynan, Matthew Petty, Paul Laycock and Stephanie Laycock discussed public speaking, rural matters, program requirements and the Next Gen committee, shedding light on what it meant to be a Rural Ambassador.

Matthew Petty is the WMBCSC delegate to Next Gen, the Queensland Ag Shows youth steering committee.

“We’ve had a lot of interests throughout the guests here today just talking about issues on where to find competitions and where to go and who to speak to,” Matthew said.

“I look forward to putting that towards the board and getting things rolling.”

Matthew said the roll of a Rural Ambassador does not end when the competition ends.

“Once you’ve done it, a lot of people hang the hat up, but I don’t want to hang the hat up, I want to keep going and leave a message behind,” he said.

“I want to be there for people and support them, due to the people who supported me in the past.

“I’m looking forward to the future and I’m looking forward to seeing where these people go, and I’m always here to help them and be there for them.”

Linville’s Danika Brooks attended the workshop and said she learned a great deal from the guest speakers.

“They all had their own unique take on the Rural Ambassador program and they had their own experiences,” Danika said.

“It made me realise that the everyday person can do it, you can get up there and be a public speaker and an advocate for the agriculture community and you don’t have to be everything at once.”

Danika said the workshop gave her more confidence.

“I’m going for Show Girl at Esk this year, so I’m going to focus on that and then maybe next year I’ll look at doing Rural Ambassador,” she said.

“Today has made me feel more like I could actually do it.”