Discover STEM Day at Boise State

A few weeks ago Laura Hampikian, Miss Capital City, was able to volunteer at the Discover STEM Day at Boise State. "I volunteered with the Psychology Department, where I’m currently a graduate student in their Family Studies Certificate program. We taught kids and adults about conservation tasks. According to Wikipedia: “Conservation refers to a logical thinking ability which, according to the psychologist Jean Piaget, is present in children during the preoperational stage of their development at ages 4–5, but develops in the concrete operational stage at ages 7–11. Conservation refers to the ability to determine that a certain quantity will remain the same despite adjustment of the container, shape, or apparent size." She loved the interested so many young kids had in STEM and meeting the kids who outsmarted some of the tasks. Among all the kids that were there that day she made "a billion" friends. She said, "I think it’s an important feature of gender equality to encourage women and girls to go into STEM careers. I was thrilled to see so many of both young women and men interested in science, technology, engineering, and math!"

A Weekend in Teton Valley

My big event last week as Miss Idaho was the Teton Valley Curves open house. I showed up in Driggs at 9 am, ready to workout all day long! Cat, owner of Teton Valley Curves, showed me around the circuit to give me a feel the type of workout every lady is getting at Curves. It’s only 30 minutes total, and the hydraulic machines let you control the intensity of your workout based on how quickly you perform each exercise. At 10am, we had our largest RE-solution class of the day with about 15 ladies. I helped the coaches from inside the circuit, motivating each lady to push harder and envision their end goal. After the workout while the ladies were stretching, I shared a few of my experiences working towards the Miss Idaho swimsuit competition last June, and Miss America in January.
 Could you see this girl at Miss America some day!? I can!

 Two of the ladies I met at the 10am RE-solution class; 
It's so fun to see people's reactions when you let them wear the crown and sash!

 This is Amy, one of the coaches at Teton Valley Curves who is bilingual 
and can help even more ladies reach their fitness goals!

Following the 10 o’clock class, I ran some errands, making payments and bank deposits for the fitness club, as well as distributing flyers to people in the parking lot and recruiting them to come to the 2pm or 6pm classes. I was excited wen Cat from Curves hired me for a contract day job to do all the marketing for the open house and Curves club in general. It’s always nice to receive a little compensation for an appearance as well! ;)

On my lunch break, I found a restaurant unique to Driggs just off Main Street called Wrap ‘N Roll. They catered some of the food for the open house throughout the day, and I just couldn’t get enough of it! My Curry Chicken Wrap was heavenly to say the least! If you’re ever passing through Teton Valley, you ought to stop by. After lunch, I spoke to another group of ladies at the 2pm RE-solution class, and then headed off to the high school to speak to the Teton County Distinguished Young Women. The DYW always attracts such nice girls!!! I had a great time visiting with them, and I even ran into some of the students that I met back in October when I visited Teton High School’s choir and band classes. The whole city just has such a homey, laid-back feel. Gotta’ love Idaho!!!!

I returned back to Curves for the 6pm class, where I met Teton Valley Curves’ youngest member named Miriam. Throughout the class she seemed very shy, and she was extremely soft spoken. At the end of the class when I was packing up my stuff to head home, Miriam pulled me aside and asked, “Miss Idaho, if it’s not too much trouble, would you mind coming to dinner with me at my family’s Mexican restaurant?” Talk about heart melting!!! It was such a sweet end to a memorable day in Teton Valley. So Miriam helped me carry the rest of my things out to my car, and we headed down Main Street for Hacienda Cuajimalpa.

 This is Miriam on the left, her mother on the right, and her baby sister with the sash!
 I was also able to meet Miriam's older sister who was our waitress, and her father who runs the place.

At the restaurant, Miriam's little sister had fun being Miss Idaho for an hour!

Miriam told me that her family’s place was the oldest restaurant in town. She opened up even more, letting me into her personal life and future goals. As a girl who loves soccer, she plans to lose 10 pounds in order for her hip injuries to heal faster so that she will be able to play. When she loses those 10 pounds, her family has planned a trip to Disneyland! After we finished our Taco salads, I had the opportunity to meet the rest of Miriam’s family at the restaurant, and of course we all got pictures together. Miriam and the rest of her family proved to be some of the most kind-hearted, generous people I’ve met! Getting to know Miriam over dinner at her family’s restaurant is one of those sweet memories that I can add to the Miss Idaho collection and keep with me for the rest of my life. You can bet I’ll be stopping by Hacienda Cuajimalpa next time I go through Driggs up to Targhee. J

Until Next Week,

Whitney Wood
Miss Idaho 2012

Pancakes, Pageants, And Preparing for the Future

Last week was National Pancake Day! I had a blast going to IHOP in Idaho Falls to help greet all of the customers who came to get free pancakes and support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The proceeds from the Idaho Falls location go specifically to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake. It was fun to see people from all over Southeastern Idaho who came to support such a great cause. I even ran into a student from Teton Valley High School that I visited last October. Many high school students came on their lunch breaks – it made me feel so old that I didn’t recognize many of them from Idaho Falls High School! It feels like yesterday that I was in their shoes.

A group of girls from IF High after enjoying some free pancakes at IHOP.

A group of Shelley High students who were taking an "extended" lunch break. ;)

Just last night, I had the opportunity to speak to the girls competing for Bonneville County’s Distinguished Young Women next month. I was also able to help a few of them individually with their closing statements for their interviews, and I must say that I was blown away by the caliber of girls who are competing this year! WOW! It was a lot of fun to revisit the organization that jump-started and preceded my involvement with the Miss America Organization. The Idaho Falls area is so lucky to have such dedicated volunteers to run scholarship organizations like Distinguished Young Women and Miss Idaho Falls’ Outstanding Teen and Miss Idaho Falls.

Between a few speaking engagements at service clubs like Kiwanis International, elementary school visits, and teaching piano lessons, I have been trying to get my life organized to return to school. I finally have a housing agreement, the best roommate ever, and tuition paid!!!! It is such a sweet feeling to be able to use my scholarship money from Miss Idaho to further my education. I’ll be returning to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah for 2nd block Winter Semester classes, which start February 28th. However, my credit load will be pretty light so that I can return to Idaho Falls and Boise on weekends to do appearances. One of my courses is online through BYU Independent Study, and it will be a blessing to work on that course at my own pace, on my own schedule since I will still be traveling a lot. BYU Independent Study was a fabulous sponsor to have for Miss America this year, and they were a lot of fun to work with.

This week I’ll be in Boise to volunteer at the St. Luke’s Children’s Medical Center Pediatric Department, and for a Valentine’s Day VIP Celebration at the Veteran’s Hospital. And I’m hoping to deliver some handbags along the way. Keep on the lookout for pictures coming soon!

Until next time,
Whitney Wood
Miss Idaho 2012

Santa Joe Ho Ho Express

Miss Three Rivers, Bailey Wilson volunteered at the Santa Joe Ho Ho Express. Each kid was given $50 to spend on Christmas for themselves. "They were given $50 and free reign of Walmart... with someone to help they stay in budget." And that is where Bailey comes in. She spent the afternoon with the three girls (pictured to the left) helping them pick out what they wanted to buy with their money, making sure they stayed in budget, and sharing this very special Christmas moment with them. They spent the morning shopping and then enjoyed subway for lunch. Once they got back in Weiser they had the option of wrapping the presents they had purchased before heading home to celebrate the holidays with their parents.  Bailey said, "It was a great experience and I loved being able to help. I think my favorite part of the trip was finding the talking puppy that one of my little girls had been wanting for months. Being able to see her face after we found it was priceless and she didn't let go of it the rest of the time!"