When I decided to compete in my first teen pageant over 4 years ago, my thoughts were focused on the beautiful crown. My sister had always been the one who loved pageants, and although I thought the girls were all really pretty, it never really occurred to me to compete. I sat in front of my computer for over a month, contemplating whether I should compete in the Miss Western Idaho’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Program. At the 11th hour of the last day to submit my forms, I hit send. What was my motivation to do this? I’m not really sure – the sparkly crown maybe? After all, I was only 15 years old! The decision to hit “send” was the beginning of an incredible journey.
Much to my surprise, I won that first pageant. When the crown was placed on my head, everything changed. I quickly learned that there is so much more to being a title holder than sparkles and beauty. Holding a title in the Miss America Organization is about service (addressing an important issue), style (looks AND character), scholarship (importance of education and pursuit of personal goals) and success (the growth that happens during the competition and the final outcome – win or lose).
My first year was filled with so many opportunities to serve my community. Here are some fun memories from my first year in the Miss America Organization.
I knew when I decided to compete that I had to come up with some sort of platform. Because of my passion for kids, I knew I wanted to find some way to improve their well-being. I decided to create a platform that encompassed four aspects of health:
· Nutritional Health – Choosing healthier alternatives to snack on
· Physical Health – Get out and move!
· Mental Health – understanding how learning can be fun!
· Spiritual Health – Having a belief in a higher being
I called my platform “Healthy - Happy - Youth” because I knew that living a healthy/balanced lifestyle would cause young people to feel genuinely happy.
When I gave up my title at the end of that year, I felt like my work wasn’t done. I realized that the crown represented so many incredible things; it gave me the opportunity to promote health and serve my community. So, I competed for a Miss title.
Needless to say, my first Miss pageant was a humbling experience. I was not accustomed to failure, and when I lost that local, I had to really reflect on what was important. True, it wasn’t my time, but there was more to it than that. My heart and passion were not in it like they had been back in 2013 when I won my teen title. I had competed with the expectation to win, and the judges saw that. After competing in another local, I ended up with the title by default – so I had the privilege of competing for Miss Idaho in 2015. After Miss Idaho, I was really determined to understand and embrace the passion I had a few years earlier. I decided to compete in another local pageant shortly after Miss Idaho. This time, I focused on maintaining a positive attitude and making a genuine effort to help the other contestants. Because of my positive mindset, I went into that pageant confident, happy and prepared.
The positive attitude made all the difference. I had an amazing time competing in the pageant and walked away with the title of Miss Three Rivers!
After I was crowned, I worked really hard to understand the Children’s Miracle Network. Through that, I also learned how important Ronald McDonald houses are and how integrated they are with CMNH. Through one of my local fund raisers, I caught the attention of the President of the Board of Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, CA. He was so impressed with my devotion to the CMNH, he invited me to come spend a full day at the hospital and learn about what they do.
My year as Miss Three Rivers has been incredible so far. I am so thankful for the service opportunities that I have had over the past 11 months. Here are just a few shots of some of the community service projects that I worked on this year in preparation for Miss Idaho….