When I speak with people who are unfamiliar with our program, I tell them how National American Miss is about so much more than crowns, banner and trophies. Its about letting these kids know that no matter what, they have our unconditional love and support. We should take every opportunity to raise these kids up, to celebrate them and truly show them how special and wonderful we think they are. When I speak at orientation, I talk about the three goals that we have for each of the kids: 1) To gain self-confidence and self-esteem; 2) To have a family fun weekend; and 3) To make new friends.
As I have written in the past the best part of my job is seeing the contestants faces light up with pride and joy. When they come off stage they are standing taller feeling more confident, knowing that they tried their best! The letters the I receive from parents and contestants alike speak of amazing pageant stories. Parents tell me how their daughters are more out going now and are ready to try new things.
In a time when none of us have enough free time its easy to let the things that we take for granted fall by the wayside. Whenever we get crunched on times, what’s the first thing that most of us cut out: family time. We live a hectic, fast paced society where kids are busier now than they ever have been in the past. Its school, then practice, then dinner at the drive thru, then dance class, just for her to end the day falling sleep while doing homework. Our goal at the pageant is to create moments for the family to have fun together: go to the pool, have dinner together, take a family picture.
This past January I was invited to a wedding of a former contestant. While at the wedding I quickly realized that her maid of honor was a former contestant as well. Years ago while at the Washington State pageant these two women met. They fostered that relationship and over time it grew into an enduring friendship. This is just one of the many stories that I have and have heard of the years. Many of the kids that have participated in our program have made life-long friends at National American Miss. I like to say that you have the chance to meet your college roommate or even your maid-of-honor!