A Week in the Treasure Valley

Last week I spent a couple days in Boise for some volunteer activities for Valentine’s Day. On Wednesday, I spent an hour and a half in the Pediatric Department of St. Luke’s. With it being cold and flu season, many of the children were in isolation, but I was able to visit their rooms and at least wave through the window or from the doorway. I love seeing a little girl’s face light up when she sees the crown! There were a few children on the mend who were not in isolation thankfully. Most of the little girls I visited enjoyed holding my crown and posing for a picture with it on her head. The majority of the little boys, however, were more interested in their game boys than seeing Miss Idaho…so the one little boy who did welcome me in to visit, Javier, made my day! He even got a picture with the crown on HIS head after he let his sister try it on as well.  Although I wasn’t able to keep any of the pictures, all of the children received copies, and I had a great day to include among many sweet memories from this year as Miss Idaho. Our children’s hospital is absolutely wonderful with the friendly staff and accommodations they make for each child. Malia, the playroom coordinator at St. Luke’s, showed me around 4th floor of the hospital where there is not only the children’s playroom, but the teen lounge that was created and inspired by teens. They have an Xbox, Rock Band, board games, music, movies, everything you could think of! No one wants to be stuck in the hospital, but St. Luke’s does a great job of making it a little more enjoyable.

Just after volunteering in the Pediatric Dept. I wish I could've kept the picture I got with the kids!

After my time at St. Luke’s, I drove out to the Robinson’s house, where they so graciously let me stay whenever I am in the Treasure Valley for appearances. It was so fun to catch up with Amy and tell her all about my Miss America experience. She has such a great outlook on life and has always been there to keep me grounded when “pageant-mode” clouds my vision of the grand scheme of life. Increased gratitude for the state of Idaho, my ever-supportive family and friends, the foundation values that make up my character, and the knowledge that my Heavenly Father has a plan for my life are just a few of the treasures that I walked away from Miss America with. After talking to Amy, I went back out to the garage to unload my car and before I knew it, this cute little blonde girl had run from the school bus and was glued to my side! J If anything can make a place feel like home, it’s a hug from sweet Bretta Robinson!

After catching up with my “Boise family” I got back on the road, and headed to Caldwell to grab some dinner with one of my best friends from high school. Morgan showed me around campus at College of Idaho, introduced me to a lot of her friends, and as we were sitting down for dinner, I ran into none other than Katy Lootens, Miss Idaho’s Outstanding Teen 2010. What a phenomenal musician, leader, and individual! Katy and I competed together the year that she won, and it was a blast to follow her year and see how well she represented our state at nationals. She is staying busy with school and continues to be a great role-model for those who recognize her from the MIOT (Miss Idaho’s Outstanding Teen) Organization.

After getting a little dose of college life again and catching up with Morgan, I met my director to talk about Miss Idaho Orientation and plans for the pageant this summer. It was a SWEET experience – literally, since we met at Cheesecake Factory. But before we started talking Miss Idaho stuff, it was so refreshing to just talk about life! After all of the support and training that Tami has given me for Miss America, it was fun to see more into the person she is outside of her role as Miss Idaho’s director. Idaho is truly blessed to have Tami and the other board members who put in so much time, money, and effort because they love this program and they love to see young women empowered.

Thursday (also Valentine’s Day!), I went to the Veteran’s Hospital for VIP Day. I went around with the Hospital Director (my Uncle Dave), and my escort Mike Smith from the Disabled American Veterans organization, to deliver handmade valentines to veterans in the hospital, under hospice care, and in the nursing home. Elementary school children from Caldwell made the valentines, with personal notes thanking each of the service men and women for their dedication to our country. We had a photographer follow us around to each of the rooms so that we could give photos to each veteran as well. But I was not the only person visiting Veterans on Valentine’s Morning. I met Coach Peterson of the BSU Broncos and Governor Butch Otter. It was a great day for service, and a lot of fun to learn from some of the experiences and stories of our Veterans.

With my escort, Mike Smith from the Disabled Veterans Org.
Getting a picture with one of the Veterans on Valentine's Day
Meeting Governor Butch Otter for VIP day at the Veteran's Hospital. Did you know his wife Lori was a Miss Idaho USA?
After visiting with the Veterans, I dropped off about twenty filled handbags to The Valley Crisis Center in Nampa and the City Light Home in Boise. It amazes me how many charitable facilities like these that we have in Southeastern and Western Idaho that provide for families in need. My last stop before heading home was to get my oil changed at Mike’s Boise Clutch and Automotive. They sponsored Miss Idaho this year with four free oil changes – and boy are those oil changes very needed! It was my third time going into Mike’s, and every time I have received great service. If you live in the Boise area, Mike’s is definitely the place to go!
Just dropping off some handbags to the Valley Crisis Center in Nampa

I'm excited to go to Teton Valley Curves tomorrow for the Open House!
Tomorrow I have an exciting day in Teton Valley helping at the Curves for Women Open House. I’ll be directing three fitness classes throughout the day and speaking about my experiences getting ready for the swimsuit competition at Miss Idaho and Miss America...stay tuned!

All my love,