The dictionary defines ambassador as a “diplomatic official serving as permanent head of a country's mission to the United Nations or some other international organization.”They weren’t serving as a part of the United Nations or other international organization, but the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce Junior Ambassadors were serving their local community recently traversing the roadway along Bethel Road picking up trash during Texas Trash-off day.It was spring-cleaning time in Texas and on April 6 more than 82,000 volunteers took part in the 28th Annual Great Texas Trash-off, one of the nation’s largest one-day litter pickup events.During the morning’s event, the group picked up more than a dozen giant bags of trash left on Parker County roadways. But that’s not all the organization is responsible for. More importantly, it is designed to teach leadership, interviewing skills and the importance of volunteering in the community without expecting anything in return.Weatherford Chamber of Commerce President Tammy Gazzola said it was a pleasure to have an opportunity to work with the Junior Ambassadors.“Each year, I am always amazed at the quality of our applicants,” Gazzola said. “These are some amazing young people. When working with this group, you know you are working with some future leaders.”She added that the organization is always willing to help and the first to volunteer.“Though we miss them when they graduate, we always look forward to seeing their future accomplishments,” Gazzola said.Being a Junior Ambassador is not all work and no play. They also participate in team-building programs designed to teach leadership and confidence. This program also teaches teamwork and communication skills. An annual awards luncheon takes place each year to honor the accomplishments of the Chamber Junior Ambassador program.Peggy Hutton, Director of Development for the Chamber, and who works directly with the Junior Ambassadors, echoed similar sentiments.“Each year I have been associated with the Junior Ambassadors, I have experienced the emerging of leaders,” Hutton said. “The young people that choose to be ambassadors are willing to participate in activities and events that put them in the field of service. They are truly amazing young people and the future that we can be proud of.”The Junior Ambassadors adhere to a pledge to:• recognize responsibility to service;• be respectful to others;• obey the laws of Weatherford and the United States;• obey the bylaws of the Junior Ambassadors;• emphasize the importance of image, initiative and integrity;• expand their knowledge in order to better serve my community, state and nation;• share with others the talents they have;• encourage development of aspiring leadership;• apply honesty and respect to their every action;• be willing to unselfishly promote Weatherford as a City of Character.In turn for their service the Junior Ambassadors receive benefits in the form of: job reference letters, volunteer hours, community contacts and opportunities to make a difference in Weatherford and Parker County.Their goals and expectations are to:a bide by the School Student Code of Conduct: abide by the operating policies of the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce; schedule programs involving local officials; determine which activities to participate in and how to participate; provide support to events and programs deemed appropriate; and schedule educational programs that offer job training, interview training and other activities as deemed by the organization.During Trash Off Day, all total in Parker County, there were seven groups volunteering to pick up litter. The groups participating were: Enbridge Energy, Fort Worth Motorcycle Riders (FWMR), Springcreek Baptist Church, The Bessire Family, The National Vietnam War Museum and Weatherford Chamber Jr. Ambassadors.To become a Junior Ambassador call 817-596-3801 for more details. Research shows there are approximately 1.1 billion pieces on litter on Texas highways. The number of people and the amount of traffic continue to rise in Texas so more volunteers are needed to help pick up litter and debris. Help showcase Texas roadsides and take part in this event.
Lance Winter, 817-594-9902, Ext. 102 Twitter: @Lancewinter