Dance Marathon

It’s February and I’m so excited! No, not for Valentines day because #single, but for one of the most incredible charity events of the year! BOISE STATE DANCE MARATHON! This month on February 24th and 25th myself along with hundreds of Boise State students and supporters, will dance 17 hours, 3pm to 8am, through the night for the kids at St Luke’s Children’s Hospital here is Boise!  

What is Dance Marathon?

Besides incredible, Dance Marathon is an event that occurs all over the nation in many different states. The primary goal of DM is to raise funds for ill children and their families through Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. This is a non-profit organization and all money raised stays local!

One of the most special aspects of this event is that college and high school students are the driving forces behind making a difference. A team of students work throughout the year to put on fundraisers with the help of community businesses and supporters, raise awareness and ultimately host the biggest dance party of the year! At my university, Boise State, Dance Marathon first began in 2012 when it was founded by Stephanie Pyles and Bryan Vlok. Since then, it has grown every year and become an iconic event on campus. Check out how much Boise State has raised over the years #FTK!

2013- $5,000   

2014- $37,000     

2015- $66,000    

2016- $114,000

2017 - ???

Why Do I Love DM?

If I explained every detail of why I loved Dance Marathon, this blog post would literally be a book! So I’ll try to condense the love into a few paragraphs…

From an outside perspective anyone can appreciate what Dance Marathon aims to do. Seeing college students come together to raise money for such a worthy cause is moving. I love the support that comes from Boise State, community sponsors, friends and family. I love that we are making a difference.

However, my true passion for the event comes from the personal experience and connection I have to what, or rather who, we are actually dancing for. In the Miss America Organization we are partnered with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to raise money, bring awareness and volunteer for them throughout our time as titleholders. My true love for this event can be summed up by saying,

Beckham. Prescott. Angelica.

These three and so many more, are the kids we dance for. The kids that are going through or have gone through things in their life that nobody should. Yet, when you meet them they are some of the happiest, loving and positive kids you’ll ever meet. They are truly incredible. Angelica, a 9 year old little girl that has gone through lung surgery and a kidney transplant. I met her at Miss America and she is an extremely talented little girl with the most infectious smile and spirit. Prescott is a Champion kid here in Idaho that I got to spend time with at an event raising money for CMNH. Beckham, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and an extremely rare blood disorder, is the CMNH Champion for Idaho! He is such an amazing boy that is funny, smart and hopeful for the future.

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They are why I dance.

How Can You Get Involved?

Listen up! If you can take part in Dance Marathon at Boise State, DO IT! If you have any opportunity to take part in a dance marathon at any high school or college, DO IT! I promise you it’s one of the most fun, entertaining, moving, emotional, exhausting events you’ll ever take part in. It’s remarkable the energy that you gain from the people around you when you think you are too tired to keep going. You are reminded that the kids and families you are dancing for go through this exhaustion not just for 17 hours, but for days, weeks, months and years. We dance for those that can’t. We dance for a future where they can one day dance too.

If you aren’t able to actually be present at Dance Marathon there are other ways for you to make a difference and be involved. Everyone participating has a donor drive where we take donations that help us reach our ultimate goal which this year is…$140,000! Any donation is greatly appreciated, is tax deductible and stays local right here at St. Luke's Children's Hospital! If you would like to join my team and make a donation #FTK click here!

I thank you from the bottom from my heart for supporting me as Miss Idaho and as a dancer in this years Boise State Dance Marathon. Let’s do it FOR THE KIDS.

(Last year at Boise State Dance Marathon 2016)

Follow Boise State DM on social media to keep up with the excitement! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Kylee Solberg, Miss Idaho 2016

What Friendship Means

Most of you know the 4 points of the crown, but for those of you who don't know they are Style, Success, Scholarship, and Service. The Miss America Organization is all about these 4 points, but today I want to talk about something that is just as important in my life:  Friendship.

All my life I have been an outgoing girl that never had problems making new friends. I moved to a whole new state when I was 10 years old and on the first day of school I made my forever friend. I will never forget that day. I was completely lost at this new school and as a small 5th grader I had no idea what was going on. I finally found my way to my teacher’s classroom and there stood a girl with short brown hair and brown eyes. She looked at me and smiled and said “Hi my name is Brooke. Wanna be friends?” Over 7 years have gone by since that date and we are still best friends.

My best friend has been there for me through all of my ups and downs in life and I have always been there for her. Life is a roller coaster and I wouldn’t want anyone else sitting right next to me to enjoy the ride with. If any of you are Grey’s Anatomy fanatics like I am then you’ll know what I mean when I say that she is my person. I think that everyone should have someone in their life that they can see as their “person.” Being able to talk to someone about anything that is going on in your life is something that everyone should be able to have. If while reading this someone came to your mind then that person is probably that one person for you.

No one is limited to having just one best friend though. Friends are like chocolate-- you can never have just one. My sophomore year of high school I made a new friend and I have been thankful ever since. My new friend, Tori, has been a blessing in my life the past 2 years and I wouldn’t change them for anything. She has been one of my number one supporters that has always pushed me to be the better me. And now as we end our senior year together, we are moving to Pocatello to attend Idaho State University together.

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I am pretty lucky to be able to say that I have a really close relationship with my mom, and I see her as one of my closest friends as well. She has always been a mom first in my life and a friend later, but as I grow older we have become even closer and I wouldn’t change it for the world. My mom is my number one supporter and is always there cheering me on no matter what I am doing. Here is a picture of the night I won the title of Miss Gem County.

Friends are also not limited to just humans. My dearest love is my furry friend, Daisy. I have had her since she was just a small pup, and now she is 6 months old. She has brought so much joy and happiness in my life even if she does chew up everything I own! She has taught me to forgive the ones I love and continue to move forward in life instead of living a life of hate. I encourage everyone to live a life that makes them the happiest and to never forget who they are or who their friends are.

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I hope reading this brought you a little joy and also made you think of all your closest friends, whether they be a childhood friend, a new friend, a family member, or even a furry friend. People come into your life for a reason, and I am so grateful for the ones that have entered mine. I hope you are as thankful as I am for the friendships that I have. Make sure all the special people in your life know just how thankful you are for them to be in your life.

Abigail Besselievre, Miss Gem County

6 Years, 6 Wishes: The Advice I Would Give My 13-year- old Self

Even though the age thirteen was just a mere six years ago for me, I have since undergone a transformation of far greater caliber. Six years ago, I was overweight and lacked the discipline to take care of my body. Six years ago, I felt ashamed to be a 5’11’’ eighth grader who was the worst player on her basketball team. Six years ago, I was bullied for wearing glasses and braces. I was the girl who preferred reading to recess and inhaling spaghetti over sports. Six years ago, I was not Nina; I was “Ni-nerd” and fondly reminded of it daily by my classmates. Six years ago, I was afraid—afraid to be different and most of all, afraid to be myself. 

I told myself that if I was skinner, people would like me. If I was athletic, people would want to know me. If I wore contacts and hung out with the cool kids during break, I would have friends. What I did not realize at the time is that people cannot like you until you learn to like yourself. So, I did.

I stopped slouching in class to make myself seem shorter and reminded myself that my confidence should match my height. I quit basketball, because the combination of repeatedly failing to catch the ball and being the team benchwarmer brought me no joy. Instead, I joined my high school tennis team and worked my way down to a healthy weight. The braces I resented eventually came off, and I immersed myself in activities other than reading books. I learned to love myself, and love the things I used to think made me flawed. Because ultimately, the “Ni-nerd” I was six years ago, or the Nina I am today would now still follow the same advice: be fearless, be bold, be un-apologetic, be YOU.

Nina Forest, Miss Treasure Valley 2017

17 Fun Facts About the Miss America Class of 2017

Happy New Year! I hope 2017 is treating everyone well so far! I had an absolutely incredible year and was blessed by 2016. I have high hopes for the future and look forward to what 2017 has in store!

Rather that share typical new year's resolutions or bore you with my reflections on the past year I thought in honor of 2017, I would share 17 “fun facts” about the Miss America class of 2017.

1. We will forever be the class that is known for the iconic and incredible Landon the Intern. Not only was he a vital part of our Miss America experience, he continues to be apart of our lives today. All us contestants felt it was 100% necessary that he be included in our group chat.

2. The Miss America dressing room is stocked with food and drinks to keep us going throughout rehearsals. The two items that had the most demand: Costco bags of M&M’s and COFFEE!

3. What other Miss America class can say they filmed their Parade of States introductions in a Hurricane? Just add dancing in violent winds to our resumes!  Don’t believe me?! Check out the behind the scenes video called "Blowing away in AC”.

4. We were the first class to have our orientation in Washington DC. We had a full itinerary from visiting the White House, going to Arlington National Cemetery and a special night at the Lincoln Memorial. Not on the itinerary...the  lockdown we had at our Nation's Capitol building! Scary!

5. Curling Iron Mayhem! My curling iron broke 2 hours before my interview, Miss Iowa, Kelly Koch, realized she forgot her curling iron at her apartment when she got to the airport to leave for Miss America (mom came to the rescue) and Miss Vermont, Rylee Fields, dropped her curling iron on her leg 45 mins before going on stage for swim suit.

6. At Miss America it wasn't uncommon for us girls to break out into song at any given moment. One day at lunch we had a 15 minute Disney sing along! Take a look at the video!

7. During the live show, when we would go to commercial breaks, whether it was our nerves or love of group sing alongs, it was automatic that we broke out into song!

8. We love to NAP! On the floor, in a chair, on each other or in the special room they had for us called Sleep Hollow, it didn’t matter!

9. As a class we decided to do a secret santa in December! We all got matched up to another contestant through an online program and got to surprise each other with little Christmas gifts! I received a gift from Miss Mississippi, Laura Lee Lewis and sent a gift to Miss Kentucky, Laura Jones!

10. Wanna know something crazy!? When I went to the National Sweetheart Pageant I was paired with Miss Arkansas Sweetheart as my roommate and at Miss America my roommate was with the one and only Savvy Shields, Miss Arkansas and now Miss America!

11. A British accent was automatically required whenever saying “Jitney” or “The Golden Nugget”. Jitneys were the buses we took to get around Atlantic City and The Golden Nugget was one of the host hotels.

12. Miss Hawaii, Allison Chew, blew us all away with her gift to each contestant. A special tree planted and dedicated to each one of us in Hawaii that helps reduce our carbon footprint!

13. The Miss America Organization creates a powerful sisterhood but many of us have another sisterhood of incredible women! Several contestants are a part of a sorority at their colleges. A few to list are: Miss Louisiana: Kappa Delta, Miss Minnesota and Miss Iowa: Gamma Phi Betas, Miss Nebraska: Alpha Pi, Miss Delaware: Delta Gamma, Miss Georgia: Phi Mu, Miss Wyoming: Delta Delta Delta, Miss Mississippi and Miss Texas: Chi Omega, Miss Indiana: Zeta Tau Alpha and me, Miss Idaho: Alpha Sigma Alpha!

14. I golfed for the very first time at Miss America! Channeling my inner Kira Kazantsev! Want to see how this shot ends? Check out the video here.

15. With the help of Landon the Intern we decided to give out a few superlative awards on finals night! Our class clown award went to non other than the hilarious Miss California, Jessa Carmack.

16. In the Miss America dressing room there is ONE bathroom. Literally everyday at every second you would realize that not only were contestants covered in Sally Hansen tanning products but so was every inch of the bathroom.

17. All contestants have official state titleholder social media accounts! You can follow anyone of us by searching at Miss America and the state's abbreviation. For example to follow Miss Idaho @MissAmericaID! Follow us all on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook!