Local youth ‘beyond excited’ to lunch with Will and Kate

Brittney Brown has picked out a dress and ordered a bouquet of flowers to offer the Duchess of Cambridge, but she’s still unsure of what to say to Prince William and his wife, Kate, on Friday.

Dawn Flanagan

Dawn Flanagan

Brittney Brown has picked out a dress and ordered a bouquet of flowers to offer the Duchess of Cambridge, but she’s still unsure of what to say to Prince William and his wife, Kate, on Friday.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to speak,” she said on Wednesday. “I’ll be in so much shock.”

The Elnora teenager is one of the five individuals involved with the Youth and Volunteer Centre in Red Deer to be invited to a royal reception the Government of Alberta is hosting at the Calgary Zoo.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’m getting,” the 16-year-old said.

Brown will be joined by Dawn Flanagan, program director of the Youth and Volunteer Centre, Sue Barthel, a long-standing adult volunteer, and two other teenage girls who have utilized some of services the centre offers.

Brown, a youth staff member, has participated in the Elnora Boys and Girls Club since it started.

One of the other teenagers is currently involved with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program while the other formally used the Youth Shelter to turn her life around.

The three girls were selected by the centre’s volunteers because they are the most likely to benefit from and appreciate the royal encounter, Flanagan said.

“It’s a great opportunity for our youth. I mean, they are beyond excited,” she said.

“It’s just a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Friday’s reception was planned so the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge can meet some of the young people that benefited from their extravagant nuptials in April.

The prince and his bride requested that charitable donations be made in their name in lieu of wedding gifts.

The Government of Alberta made a $25,000 donation that was divided between all of the provincial youth shelters.

The Youth and Volunteer Centre received $2,000.

The five Central Alberta females are eagerly anticipating the chance to meet the newlyweds who are on their first international tour.

Barthel has even been practising the proper way to curtsy and address the royal couple according to the guidelines printed on her invitation.

She plans on framing the elegantly understated crisp piece of stationary.

Brown plans on keeping hers as well.

“It’s something I can show my kids when I’m older,” she said.

Approximately 250 guests are expected to be at Friday’s reception at the ENMAX Conservatory.

All of the young people will likely have at least a brief opportunity to talk to either Prince William or Kate, said Tom Neufeld, a government spokesperson for the Alberta portion of the royal tour.

“It will give these youth the opportunity to share their stories of the challenges that they’ve faced and the success they’ve had,” he said. “They can share those with the royal highnesses.”

The Royal couple is expected to arrive around 11:30 a.m. and will stay for about an hour.

Culinary arts students from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology will prepare desserts for the reception, which Premier Ed Stelmach will also attend.


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