YMCA Make a Splash

Miss Nampa, Audrey Powell, spent March 23rd through the 27th at YMCA Make a Splash. "I spent several hours teaching kids how to swim each morning! The kids ranged from 4-14 and were able to take part in the lessons due to a discounted rate. I appreciated having the privilege to teach kids to swim who otherwise would not have been able to take swimming lessons."

When asked what her best memory was she said, "I taught Jana (one of the cutest and sweetest 6 year olds on the planet) how to swim! On the first day she cried because she was so nervous to blow her bubbles but by the end of the week, she swam 15 yards by herself. This is exactly what my platform is all about."

Audrey walked away with 38 new friends. She loves teaching a lifelong skill. She also wants to remind parents to sign their kids up for lessons at a local pool! You can’t start lessons too soon and it’s never too late!

Miss Amazing

Miss Boise spent Saturday volunteering for another pageant program, "I was lucky enough to spend my Saturday afternoon working with the incredible Idaho Miss Amazing contestants! I got to help them with walking patterns for competition and prep the girls before their interviews. As fun as it was for me to get to spend time with the contestants, and get to know them a little better, I didn't have to do a lot of teaching. These girls were already pageant pros! I was the one that picked up a few tips from THEM to help me on my way to Miss Idaho!"

Miss Boise and STEM

One of my favorite hats (crowns?) that Miss America wears is her position as an advocate for women in STEM education. As a girl who grew up loving the arts, and eventually graduating with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, I might not seem like the obvious choice as an ambassador for science, technology, engineering, and math. But, as fate would have it, a recent shift in my career path has stuck me smack dab in the middle of a male-dominated STEM-based work field. Starting as a new weather forecaster was daunting enough, but when I learned I was the only full time female weather anchor in the Boise television market, I was downright intimidated! Catching up on the science behind the forecasts I put together every day was an uphill battle, and it made me wish I had a strong female role model growing up that would have encouraged me to dig a little deeper into the STEM career fields, I just might have found my love for weather a little sooner.

I recently partnered with Mathnasium, a math only learning center that tutors students of all ages in ways that make sense to them and learned what a wonderful place it was to foster budding STEM fanatics like myself! I was lucky enough to attend the ribbon cutting of their new location in Boise this past week and take a tour of the incredible Micron 60’ STEM Mobile Discovery Lab with some of their students. It was such a fun afternoon of learning and laughing! I am so humbled and grateful to be a part of the push to get more girls involved in STEM careers, because equal treatment and pay in the workplace begins with equal education and training. I think President Obama said it best in his address at Boise State University in January, “When we've got everybody on the field, that’s when you win games. I mean, think about if we had as many young girls focused and aspiring to be scientists and astronauts and engineers. That’s a whole slew of talent that we want to make sure is on the field.” I am looking forward to using the scholarship money I earn through my year of service as Miss Boise to pay for the meteorology certification program that I start this fall, and continue to be a proud advocate for STEM education and female scientists everywhere!

Miss Idaho 2013 || Week Three

It is now officially less than one month until I leave for Miss America! My time has been spent making appearances, preparing my interview, talent, and walking, and shopping! I feel so lucky to have the help of so many people. The saying "It takes a village to raise a child" is true, only it makes more sense for me as "It takes a community to prepare a contestant for Miss America." Thank you to all of the sponsors and individuals who have already done so much for me!

A belated congratulations is in order for our new titleholders! Miss Idaho Falls Cynthia Huntsman, Miss Southeastern Idaho Kayla Jepson, Miss Idaho Falls' Outstanding Teen Jackie Andreason, Miss Southeastern Idaho's Outstanding Teen Heidi Schwicht, and Miss Snake River Valley's Outstanding Teen Marissa McKinney. They put on a lovely show and it was definitely worth the drive.

I love attending local pageants and I LOVE appearances! I got to help with the Gem/Boise County 4-H Fashion Show with Miss Gem County Kim Ford, was a taste judge for two Cooking Matters classes through the Idaho Food Bank, attended a Rotary meeting in Emmett, was a video narrator for a grant application for community health equipment, and helped out at the Nampa Farmers Market with the University of Idaho extension program; we made seed bombs with the kids! Keeping up with a blog and social media is harder than I thought it would be, but I'm getting the hang of it. Be sure to "like" the Miss Idaho Organization Facebook page for all of the updates, including the Miss America Judges! This year there will be a separate panel for preliminary competition and finals night. CRAZY! Well, I'm off to a mock interview. 

Until next time...
Sarah Downs
Miss Idaho 2013

Miss Idaho 2013 || Week Two

I have the best news! My Miss America paperwork is finally turned in! After many days of filling out every question you could possibly think of, filming videos, and taking photos, it's finally turned in.

My focus is now shifting to making appearances and getting all of my preparations ready for Miss America (which might be more work than all of those forms!) I also get the pleasure of attending local pageants, and Miss Magic Valley was this past Saturday. I had a great time meeting all of the contestants and watching Emma Humphries and Sierra Sandison win the titles of Miss Canyon Rim and Miss Magic Valley. The teen winners were Mariah Thornquest and Sarah Christensen as Miss Canyon Rim and Miss Magic Valley's Outstanding Teens. This program is truly amazing - I was able to attend last year and it just keeps getting better. The set was amazing and so was the production. And a big congratulations to their director, RoseAnna Holliday, for her 20 year anniversary of being crowned Miss Idaho 1993! 

I am so proud of the outgoing titleholders for their incredible year of service - thank you Kalie Wright, Emily Hosman, Sierra Norman, and Macy Urrutia! This Thursday I will be heading to Idaho Falls for the Miss Idaho Falls program where Kaitlyn Anderson, Kayli Schwendiman, and Aubrey Campbell will be passing on their titles. The show starts at 7pm; be sure to come out and support our contestants! 

Now that I've had some time to reflect on Miss Idaho week and what lies ahead, I feel grateful and joyful. My goal for my year as Miss Idaho as a few parts. First comes Miss America. I am putting my whole heart into preparing so I will be the best Sarah I can be in Atlantic City. I want to make friends, have the time of my life, and take time to soak in all the events that take place. If I do not win, I will come back to Idaho and spend the year reaching out to the community, promoting my platform, and revving up our local programs. If you know young women who are looking for scholarship, recommend them to our program!

I'm looking forward to working with the board on wardrobe, interview, walking, talent, and all of the small details it takes to go to nationals. I also get to see Abby Bitzenberg, our Miss Idaho's Outstanding Teen, compete in just a few weeks in Orlando. Be sure to keep an eye out for a detailed post the following week that talks about Miss America Orientation. Thank you to some of our sponsors I've worked with so far: 
  • Taralynn Pugmire -photo shoot and headshots
  • Andrea Greenwood - hair for photo shoot and shampoo donation
  • Annita from the Edge Counter at Dillards -make up for photo shoot
  • Katilyn at Planet Beach Contempo Spa - full year  spa membership! Thanks Deidre Edmunds for the connection!
Miss Idaho LOVES her sponsors!!!

Until Next Time,
Sarah Downs Miss Idaho 2013