On Friday, January 20th, 2017, a press release was announced regarding the annual Leadership Competition. Over the past several days, there have been some conflicting stories released by various media outlets. The Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Board of Directors would like to clarify some of the conflicting statements that are currently circulating.
For the past few years now, the Festival Board of Directors has been reviewing and amending the Candidate’s Agreement. Several amendments, including but not limited to those surrounding gender, co-habitation and having children, were actually retracted in a previous year’s Board decision, before the 2017 Candidate’s Agreement was released. These changes were not initiated by one sole community this year, but were an amalgamation of the efforts of previous Board(s) and community representatives.
This year’s Board felt that it was important to clarify the Candidate’s Agreement and questioned why the positive changes had not be made public. When the changes were confirmed, the Board felt it was important for the public to know that these changes are in effect, so that anyone between the ages of 18-23 that has graduated high school (or an equivalent program) feels that they are able and welcome to participate.
This portion of the Festival has truly evolved since 1933 to become a competition that at its very core strives to showcase Valley leaders and allow candidates to gain integral skills while being an ambassador for their respective community, and potentially the entire Annapolis Valley. The Board of Directors at the time of the change recognized that if the mandate of the competition were to focus on leadership, that this would require a change to the Candidate’s Agreement. As such, amendments were made to ensure the competition became more inclusive and it was renamed as the Annapolisa Leadership Competition.
If candidates of various genders enter the competition, the selected candidate will be given the title ‘Annapolisa’. If all candidates running identify as female, the awarded title will be ‘Queen Annapolisa’. If all candidates running identify as male, the awarded title will be ‘King Annapolisa’.
Communities from across the Valley are welcome to enter a leadership candidate into the competition. If you are from a community that does not currently have a designated representative with the Apple Blossom Festival and would like to compete, you are encouraged to contact the festival office for further information. The discretion of who will be the chosen ambassador for each community, lies with the respective community. This part of the Festival truly could not take place without the support and volunteerism of these community representatives.
While benefits to the Festival were not the reasoning behind these amendments to the Candidate’s Agreement, these changes will be beneficial in promoting inclusion within the entire Annapolis Valley. This will allow new leaders to come forward and be ambassadors for their communities, and will provide those who are interested in competing with a unique opportunity to gain professional leadership skills within the Annapolis Valley.
The response from the public has been overwhelmingly positive. We are grateful to have such amazing support from our Valley community and even further abroad. The Board of Directors is truly proud of the current Candidate’s Agreement and the Festival as a whole, and will continue to promote and support an inclusive environment.
If you have any further questions or comments, we ask that you please contact the festival office directly in order to ensure that you are receiving factual and accurate responses.
The Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Board of Directors