Yesterday in my blog I talked about the great comments that I get about the pageant from parents and contestants. As part of my role as the state director I consider it my responsibility to inspire these kids to strive to be their best, to set goals, and be proud of who they are, just the way they are. Every pageant weekend I go into with this mind set, but more often I find myself being the inspired, not the inspirer.
A couple of years ago in Kentucky we had a young lady participate who had cerebral palsy. She chose to compete in the optional spokesmodel competition. She delivered one of the most powerful and touching speeched I have ever heard. Now keep in mind, simply get on stage alone is a feat of heroism all on its own, but as she spoke she reached every heart in the room. She talked about how she was “abled” and not “disabled”; what an amazing outlook on life! It’s so often when I find myself disappointed but something small and meaningless, imagine suffering from this disease like this little girl, and in the mist of it all knowing that her possibilities are limitless.
Even today I was inspired. I got a call from a mom who just wanted to call and tell me what was going on in her daughter’s life. During our conversation she told me about something that her daughter did at the state pageant that made her proud to be her mother.
For those of you who have been to one of my state pageants you will remember that as the girls come out of interviews, all the parents (whether it’s their child or not) cheer for them as they are escorted into the parent waiting room. Well this particular 15 year old, who’s name was about 2/3 of the way through the interview noticed that as she came in the crowd of parents had dwindled down to just those who where still waiting for thier child. This contestant chose to stay in the waiting room to cheer for every single last one of the contestants who came out of interviews. Her mom told me that she wanted every contest to have the experience of hearing people cheer for her as she completed her interview…….wow!
Always remember, no matter how old or young you are, you have the chance to inspire!
When I meet new people, they often ask, “What do you do?” With a grin, I reply “I’m a pageant director!” That always prompts them ask follow up questions and gives me the opportunity to tell them about our organization.
One of my favorite parts of being a director are the letters that I get after the pageant from parents and contestants. I literally have a file drawer full of them! I get the sweetest letters telling me how the pageant experience has impacted their lives. They talk to me about the confidence they have gained, the friends they made, how they were shy before and now have come out of their shell. I am often told that now they aren’t scared to try new things like running for student government, trying out for a team, that through the pageant they have gained that self-esteem to be able to step out and be a leader among their peers. The letters are truly inspirational.
One letter I got about a year ago was from the sweetest little girl. As a project for school they had to write a thank you letter to someone other than a family member, and she picked me! OK, first of all, how cool is it a an educator is teaching kids not only math, science and reading, but also to be thankful and grateful, that is so cool in my opinion. But most of how, how touched do you think I was that this little girl chose me to single out and say thank you to! I don’t care how bad of a day you are having, something like that puts a smile on your face. In this letter, she simply stated that she was so thankful for all the pageant had done for her, the confidence, the self-esteem, the friends, it truly was a beautiful letter.
My joy of this job comes from knowing that I am making a difference! I think as human beings we are all searching for purpose, and I have found mine. Through this program I have the opportunity to meet the most amazing kids and their families and play a role in their future.
To all of you, thank you for giving me a chance to be part of you lives, I have truly been blessed.
Hey everyone. My goal increating this blog is not only create a forum for people to talk about all things NAM, but also a chance for you to interact with me in an informal environment. If you have any questions, please post them! If you want to tell me about your NAM experience, please post it! If you have any suggestions for me, please post them! Do you see a theme starting here…. 🙂 I look forward to hearing from you.
So one of the questions I get the most is, “how did you get involved in pageants?” Well here’s the answer. I grew up in Hagerstown, Indiana. When I was 13 years old I started working for a DJ company call Heart Breaker Video Disc Jockeys. When I first started I was just a DJ helper at school dances, wedding receptions, stuff like that. As I got older I started working as an actual DJ for the company and worked for them all through high school and college. Well, in 1997 the DJ company gets a call from Steve Mayes, the Indiana pageant director at the time. He was at the Indiana pageant and wanted someone to come and do some lighting at the pageant. He literally found us in the yellow pages!
By this time I was one of the most experienced DJ’s in the company, so the owner, his son (Jason Black) and I went to the Indiana pageant to put up some fun lights. We had no idea what to expect. But as soon as I met Steve and Kathleen I immediately knew that this was a lot different than what I expected. I was figuring it would be like what I hear about on TV about youth pageants, boy was I wrong. I saw a staff that genuinely cared for the contestants, that had a goal far beyond giving out crowns, banners and trophies, they had a true purpose to see kids lives enriched for the better. I immediately knew that this was a program that I wanted to be a part of. After the Indiana pageant, I sat down with Steve and talked to him about working at some other events for him as a sound and light tech. That summer, I traveled to the Missouri and Washington pageants. The following year, I traveled to all the Mayes’ pageants doing the sound and lights. It worked out great since I was in college, it was the perfect summer job, traveling the country, working with an amazing group of people and mostly importantly, impact lives.
After about 5 years traveling with the pageants I started to express interest that I wanted to get more involved and in 2003, while I was working as an algebra teacher, Steve contacted me and asked me if I would like to be a state director. To say the least, I was more than honored that he would consider me. I said yes and that year I directed my first pageant, Tennessee. Then in 2005 they offered me Kentucky and South Carolina and then in 2008 I was offered Oregon and the rest is history.
The national pageant is 1 month away and I am so excited! This is going to be the best one ever, I mean, hello, we’re giving away 5 Ford Mustangs. The national pageant is always such a great event. Every year I am blown away by you guys. I am always so proud when I see people set goals and get involved in their communities. I can wait to see you there!
Hello everyone, welcome to my National American Miss pageant website/blog. I am the state director for the NAM system for the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina and Oregon. I am very excited about this new website. This will not only not only to be a resource to talk about NAM pageants, but also a chance to share my personal insights, thoughts and experiences. I look forward to interacting with everyone. Please stay posted, more content coming up soon.