Reception in Yund’s honor to be held Saturday, Nov. 19. at CIHS
By Rachel Kytonen
From the moment she was crowned a 2010 Cambridge Ambassador, Cayla Yund’s life has forever changed.
Yund, the daughter of Steve and Cindy Yund, and a 2011 graduate of Cambridge-Isanti High School, was selected a 2012 Aquatennial Princess following the Queen of the Lake Scholarship Program held in July.
Yund feels it was her involvement in the Cambridge Ambassador Program that prepared her for the Queen of the Lakes Program.
“I was given opportunities to make strong connections with communities, serve as a volunteer at various events, and represent the community I had grown up to love,” Yund said. “At each event I learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. It was an experience that made me step out of my comfort zone and I am so grateful for that.”
Friends, family and supporters of Yund are invited to a reception in her honor on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Cambridge-Isanti High School. The public is welcome to stop by to enjoy refreshments and offer their congratulations. The entire Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador family will also be in attendance, and a short program will begin at 2 p.m.
As an Aquatennial Princess, Yund serves as a public relations ambassador for the city of Minneapolis. She works to build relationships with communities that participate in the Minneapolis Aquatennial celebrations as well as serve on a local level in Minneapolis.
“I serve to promote the spirit of volunteerism throughout the state of Minnesota and honor volunteers in different communities around the state,” Yund explained.
Laurie Solle, organizer of the Cambridge Ambassador Program, is proud of Yund’s accomplishments.
“Cayla is very charismatic and is able to communicate well and make connections with all kinds of people,” Solle said. “She’s very mature for her age and knows exactly what she wants out of life and how to achieve it. One of the reasons I’m motivated to keep working with the Cambridge Ambassador Program is seeing the incredible personal growth in the young women who participate. Cayla’s parents have done a fantastic job providing her with varied experiences and life lessons, so our program just gave her more opportunities to strengthen the interpersonal skills she already possessed.”
Yund first became familiar with the Cambridge Ambassador Program when she was selected as the 1999 Little Miss Cambridge, and spent her year with three incredible women who inspired her.
“After being selected Little Miss I have attended every single Cambridge Ambassador coronation,” Yund said. “I was able to see each and every Cambridge Ambassador crowned and when it came time for me to run, it was a very easy decision. I loved the fact that all of the emphasis of the Cambridge Ambassador Program was put into the candidate experience. I didn’t become a candidate to be selected as an ambassador; I became a candidate because I knew I would be able to grow from the experience.”
Solle mentioned this is a special year for Cambridge’s involvement with the Minneapolis Aquatennial.
“Although Cayla is the 4th representative from Cambridge to wear a Princess crown for the Aquatennial, the whole Aquatennial experience was like a fairy tale come true this year because 1995 Cambridge Ambassador Jennifer (Parlin) Brentano is one of this year’s Captains,” Solle explained. “So not only did Jen get to be on stage with Cayla when she was selected, she also gets to escort her to the majority of her appearances for an entire year.”
Yund, who was selected to participate in the Queen of the Lakes Program at the end of her 2010 Cambridge Ambassador reign, said she had been looking forward to the experience.
“Being a candidate at the Minneapolis Aquatennial is somewhat like a marathon,” Yund said. “There are so many activities planned that I was pretty much running on adrenaline the last three days. I never expected to be crowned. That wasn’t my goal for being a candidate in the Queen of the Lakes Scholarship Program. I was excited for coronation because it was a time to celebrate my week as a candidate with the girls I had grown so close to all year.”
Yund said she never expected to be crowned an Aquatennial Princess.
“When it came time for the crowning I was completely calm,” Yund said. “I never expected to be selected. Once my name was announced it was utter disbelief. I feel like the pictures from that night capture my emotions exactly. There was so much going on all at once that I had my Captain Jennifer Brentano whispering in my ear when to walk and what to do. Without her I don’t know what I would have done. I was so humbled to be selected as a 2012 Aquatennial Princess and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity.”
Solle said she is proud of all the Cambridge Ambassador candidates who go on to participate in the Queen of the Lakes Program.
“All I ever want at Aquatennial is for our candidates to represent our community well, which they always do,” Solle said. “Being selected at Aquatennial is a very special honor which reflects a huge commitment on her part, and I am especially proud of the fact she had the desire to represent us for another year through the Aquatennial while being able to balance her Princess and college schedules.”
Yund was selected as an Aquatennial Princess from a candidate pool of 44 women from all across Minnesota.
As a candidate, Yund stayed for six days in downtown Minneapolis, being interviewed four out of those six days along with the judges observing the candidates’ communication skills, poise and professionalism. Along with four interviews, she had two events at which she had the opportunity to publicly speak, as well as other activities with Aquatennial Alumni and people of Minneapolis. At the end of the week, the Queen of the Lakes coronation is held and two Aquatennial Princesses are selected along with the Queen of the Lakes.
“It’s an incredible experience to just become a candidate for the Minneapolis Aquatennial,” Yund said. “I went into the experience with the goal of representing my hometown with pride and to be myself throughout the whole process. My Christian faith had a large role in my time as a candidate. Before each interview I prayed that God would give me the words to speak. After praying that prayer I knew that at the end of the week, no matter the outcome, I would be proud of myself.”
Besides serving as an Aquatennial Princess, Yund is currently a freshman at Northwestern College in St. Paul majoring in public relations with a Bible minor.
“My future career goal is to work for a non-profit organization doing Christian outreach, in hopes of someday working for World Vision,” Yund said. “However, I am very faithful that God has a plan for my life and so I am completely open to His will. Growing up in Cambridge gave me a great Christian foundation to base my life upon.”