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Cowichan Lady of the Lake program evolving to include all

Program re-branded to ‘Cowichan Lake Ambassador Program’
Cowichan Lake’s Lady of the Lake ambassadors were on hand to paint faces and hand out special Canada Day cupcakes to visitors to Central Park on July 1 as part of the Canada 155 celebrations. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)

Cowichan Lake’s Lady of the Lake program has a long and storied history. There’ve been ups and downs, and bright spots and challenges throughout the years but the program has triumphantly carried on. It’s time, once again, for the program to adapt to meet up with the changing times.

“The Lady of the Lake program has been a beloved tradition in our community since it first began back in 1945,” said a notice on Facebook. “This once ‘pageant-style’ event has evolved into a leadership and skill development program that has supported the young women in the Cowichan Lake area for many, many years.”

The notice went on to say that beginning next year, the program will no longer be known as the Lady of the Lake program but will be offered as the Cowichan Lake Ambassador Program — “a program aimed at promoting and supporting the growth, confidence, and education of all Cowichan Lake youth. An inclusive offering of the former Lady of the Lake program, our new program will now be open to all genders.”

It’s a move the program’s organizers have been wanting to make for a while, now, said program coordinator Jocelyn Lundberg.

“We are very excited about this new chapter for the program,” Lundberg said. “In years past we had always maintained that if a non-female ever wanted to participate in the program we would welcome them, but upon further reflection, we realized that we didn’t want to put any young person in a position where they needed to ask — we felt it should just be.”

Lundberg said the program itself “offers many unique opportunities and experiences where past participants have seen tremendous personal growth, and that’s something we wanted to share with any youth who may be interested.”

The Facebook announcement delighted the page’s followers.

“This is awesome,” wrote Kristy Stroulger-Lotzien. “I remember when I was part of the royalty in 1997 there were both male and female ambassadors from some of the other cities/communities. This is such a great step forward for Lake Cowichan!”

The Lady of the Lake Facebook page will remain but will no longer be monitored, but the new re-branded Cowichan Lake Ambassador program page will be up and running soon.

“This is a pleasant step forward and I look forward to the roll out of this new inclusive ambassador program,” wrote mayor Bob Day.