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Ambassador, 13, heads for Europe

Christine Ina Casillas
Special to the DailyStudent Ambassador Chelsea Linman, 13, has raised enough money to almost pay for her trip to Europe this summer for a worldwide student ambassadors conference. She's hoping a garage sale today will help put her over the top. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 499 Mesa Drive in Eby Creek in Eagle. Half of the proceeds will go toward the sons of Eagle Valley Charter School teacher Bobby Silverman, who died suddenly last week.
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Eagle Valley Charter Academy eighth-grader Chelsea Linman has a lot on her plate.

A student ambassador at the charter school, Linman, 13, is responsible for being a young voice in helping promote world peace. The mission of ambassadors, a program known nationally, is to promote world peace “with countries that might have bad impressions of Americans,” Linman says.

“The war doesn’t have a lot do with the people (in America),” she says. “And we want to get that across to other countries and cultures.”

But promoting world peace comes with a price. For example, Linman spent time in Australia last year, her first year as an ambassador. But the cost of the trip was a little tight.

“The first trip, I was really concerned about her,” says Linman’s mother, Kelly Paulsen.

This year, the soon-to-be high school freshman paid for most of her next trip – a $5,000, three-week journey to Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy – using money she made from dog- and babysitting. A majority of the funds came from a fund-raiser at the Brass Parrot in Beaver Creek, where she raised $3,000.

“It’s hard to save money,” she says. “My friends would ask me to go shopping, and I’d have to tell them “no’ because I was trying to save money for this trip.”

To raise more funds for her trip, Linman is having a garage sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at 499 Mesa Drive at Eby Creek in Eagle. Half of the proceeds from the garage sale will go toward the two children of Eagle Valley Charter Academy’s Bobby Silverman, who died suddenly last week. He was 34 years old. Linman says items, small and large, that people might want to donate.

While she’s traveling from country to country, Linman will not be alone.

About a dozen delegation leaders, members and other ambassadors, mostly from Iowa, will be going with her this year, she said.

Through the program, she already has made some friends. Some, she suspects, might have nominated her for the program. She says she also suspects a teacher nominated her as an ambassador for the program, but she doesn’t know who nominated her or how she was selected.

To become an ambassador, a student must be nominated by a teacher; a former student ambassador can nominate a student, too, although high student assessment scores are required for selection. After the student is selected, he or she must undergo an interview process before getting accepted into the ambassador program. The ambassadors meet once a month.

But who truly enjoys meetings? Especially on a Sunday?

“I love the meetings,” Linman says.

Local ambassadors ventured to Denver last month for a scavenger hunt, she said.

Other times, the ambassadors participate in suitcase Olympics, where an obstacle course is set up to motivate and energize the members, she said.

“They set up the course where you have to bring a suitcase and drag it with you over all of the obstacles,” she says. “You can’t pack too much. I’ve had that experience. … I’m an over-packer, and it’s not fun.”

For her trips, Linman keeps a journal, and looking back at them she remembers bits and pieces of her travels, the people she encountered and the cultures of the country, she says. In Australia, for example, she found the direction of the flushed toilet water entertaining, she said.

Linman was one of the 77 student ambassadors chosen to attend the world leadership forum. There, she was one of the students chosen to greet the first lady of Egypt, she says.

“Learning the culture and the language … that was the best experience of my life so far,” she said.

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at ccasillas@vaildaily.com.


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