In 1989, the Miss America Organization founded the platform concept. This concept has each contestant select a topic/issue that she is passionate about and that reflects the community around her. Contestants across the country use their influence to address their platform through community service, use of social media, and engaging others.
I believe that the platform concept of the Miss America system makes it unique! Yes, there are aspects of the competition that make this system different than any other pageant system, but the platform makes the contestant shine through their own actions and words. Your platform is your brand. You live it, you breath it, you create it. It is your legacy.
Here are the 5 steps I recommend to figure out your Platform:
1. What things come easily to you? What are your skills? Whatever you are awesome at, write it down. Are you a great speaker? A great writer? Write it down.
2.Who do you want to help? Who are the groups of people that you care most about? This is your WHO.
3. Why does it matter to you? Why is this important? You can’t get others involved if you don’t know why it matters.
4. Make a list of challenges. Create solutions to each problem and decide what time and effort you can put into each. MONEY is never an issue. There are always ways around money issues. And there are always people wanting to help you succeed.
5. Implement your program in your community! Create a group to help you start spreading the word about your cause! Use social media to help create a movement.
When I started competing in the Miss America system two years ago I knew exactly the type of platform that I wanted. I grew up as the daughter of a United States Navy officer, and I had a hero closer to home than I could have ever imagined. My entire life was full of many homecomings, and countless sleepless nights, never knowing if my father would return from his deployment. This stressful atmosphere made me appreciate the difficult lives of servicemen and women and their families. From a young age, I have had a passion to be in the United States Navy and have been able to begin my service to my country through a program called Operation Support Our Troops!
This organization was founded in 2003 as a grassroots effort to support the members of our military and their families. It is now one of the largest volunteer-based military support organizations in the country. The mission of this organization is to support troop morale and well-being by providing comfort, resources and education to them and their families, both at home and abroad. Operation Support Our Troops allows communities to send comfort packages of items that are not readily available to the troops in their deployed locations, along with personal letters, cards and notes of support.
This year with my platform, I have ran 22 miles for Veteran Suicide Awareness and have sent over 200 (and counting) care packages to troops deployed overseas in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. These care packages were put together by college students, girl and boy scouts, titleholders, elementary school children, the Gem State Young Marines, and the Treasure Valley Mothers of America. It is a small thank you to those brave souls who sacrificed so much to protect the freedoms that we love!
If you would like to know more about my projects with Operation Support Our Troops please contact me or search #operationsupportourtroops on all social media platforms. I am always collecting supplies to send in care packages and looking for opportunities to educate the community on Military support.
Katarina Schweitzer, Miss Ada County 2017