Not Bad for a First Timer

In November of 2014 I decided I was bored. With only 3 more semesters left in my undergraduate degree, I felt unsatisfied in my experiences. I had accomplished a lot no doubt. I was in fact proud of everything I had said yes to and the person I had become – no regrets. But I wanted more. I believe it is very important to challenge yourself. If we are not growing or learning we are not living. So there I was asking myself, what else is there?

Rewind to September 2002 - I was a third grader. We watched as Katie Harman not only wowed the judges with her amazing vocal performance, but took home the crown as Miss America. I watched in awe. Miss Oregon won. The place I was born! Just one state over. For the first time the dream of competing in Miss America seemed tangible.

It was that moment that popped into my head during my boredom. I began to ask myself, “Why not?” There were many fears.  I knew I did not know anything, or frankly anyone in the Idaho pageant world. I knew people would tilt their heads. “Why the heck is she doing pageants?” I knew it would take some financial investing. I knew it meant some sacrifice of time…and Chickfila nuggets. Failure was one thing I wasn’t scared of, and that’s what convinced me. The only failure to be scared of was not trying. And thus there I was, sending in my first pieces of paperwork with two weeks to go until my first pageant.

The point of this blog is not to blab about my whole pageant story, although I would be happy to share it with you over coffee or tea some time. This is indeed just a small sliver of my thoughts. No, the point of this blog is to say that when I thought I had nothing else to learn at my position in life the Miss Idaho Organization pushed me further.  In the most humble way, I want you to see that someone who is actively involved, loves public speaking, has a large and vast community service resume, and blah blah blah can STILL be challenged immensely through this program.

I know you have heard a million times that “we are not just stupid beauty queens”, but it is the truth. This group of women is incredibly driven and passionate with purpose. And that is where my brain has been flipped over and shaken up. I have always known that I have wanted to change the world. My hope is that everyone who comes in contact with me has a little better morning, day, or life because of that occurrence. I yearn that those who are around me feel comfortable and accepted the way they are. My wish is that because of my fiery spirit and loving nature that they will be inspired to conquer and claim something incredible. But never in my life before working to compete in Miss Idaho 2015 have I ever been challenged to know “how”. I guess you always think a magical fairy tale will happen and you will find yourself feeding starving children in Africa or something. But through every titleholder, past titleholder, director, and board member I began to realize I had to claim that fairy tale. I did not have to wait. In fact it seemed almost selfish to wait. The world was waiting, and I needed to deliver.

Want to know my how? I hope you all will join us on June 19th and 20th as I strive to make my positive mark on our beautiful state and hope to begin to change the world through the title of Miss Idaho.

Taylor Lance
Miss Tri-Counties 2015

Project Youth: College for a Day

Miss Idaho Falls, Katelyn Strobel, has been busy with her platform. On March 20th she hosted a huge event at her University. “I am the director of a program called Project Youth. I brought 1000 5th and 6th graders from low-income schools to my college campus at Brigham Young University. The elementary students are lead by a student group leader and are taken on a campus tour and STEM presentations given by faculty and clubs. The goal of my program is to encourage these elementary students to reach their full academic potential and to excite them about all the possibilities at the university level. At the end of the day all the kids and volunteers attend a Power Rally with performance groups, keynote speakers, music and slideshows.

With an event this large, it is easy to be distracted by the sheer number of students in front of you. However, my favorite part of my Project Youth events are the small and quiet moments I have with individual children. During this event, I was eating lunch with a boy named Ethan. He told me that this was “the coolest fieldtrip he had ever been on” and that he was excited to “go back to school and work harder in science class” so that he could graduate from college with a “degree in Chemistry and save the world.”

Conversations like that, while simple, are the reasons why I chose to promote higher education as my platform. I believe that everyone is capable of accomplishing great things, sometimes we just need vision and an encouraging voice.

My platform “Go On: Promoting Higher Education”’s purpose is to hold these Project Youth events on college campuses. After my event at BYU, the number of students that have participated in my program REACHED 5000!

My goal before Miss Idaho is to present to 10,000 students! This upcoming month I am putting on “Go On” assemblies at nearly every elementary school in Idaho Falls. Look for me at your local elementary school!!!”

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!

Third Season of Dancing Queens Launch

Miss Southwestern Idaho, Megan Wilson, is launching her third season of Dancing Queens on April 1st. She said, " Dancing Queens is a self-awareness program for preteen girls where Megan discusses topics like self-esteem, peer pressure, personal wellness, and goal setting while teaching the art of Polynesian dance. This season is held at the Boys and Girls Club of Ada County. The girls will perform at the B&G Club Parent Night later in April." Megan's favorite part about the program is getting to meet the girls she will be mentoring for the next month. Some will be girls she coached in Girls on the Run last fall. 

"I have a personal connection to my platform, At-Risk Prevention: Helping Girls Reach Their Full Potential. Dancing Queens is all about helping girls go into their teen years with a toolkit to avoid risky activities that could hinder their future success."

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!"