What I Learned From Miss Georgia
If you’ve followed me on Instagram for quite a while you may have known that I’m involved with the Miss Georgia program. It’s not really something I write about or share much information about because it really isn’t related to home decor, decorating, and DIY, but today I feel compelled. I coordinate our local high school pageant which is a preliminary pageant for the Miss Georgia and Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen Pageant in Columbus, GA each summer. It is a preliminary for Miss America (in case you were wondering).
This past weekend I was in Columbus, GA for Forum weekend; a weekend filled with meetings about paperwork, requirements, production stipulations, and a little bit of fun thrown in.
Each year I am amazed by these young women (around 100) that travel to Columbus with their local title in hand with hopes and dreams of becoming the next Miss Georgia or Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen.
I know pageants often get a bad rap and for many of them, it is deserved. But this organization, the Miss America organization, is truly leading the charge in supporting young women of talent, substance, intelligence, and beauty. Each year I am so impressed by Miss Georgia and Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen and the former state title holders who attend. These women go on to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, and stay at home moms. They truly show with hard work and determination, you can become whatever you want to be and that is something to really be proud of. They don’t perceive a world of female oppression, but rather, a world in which their only limitations are their own.
We heard Amanda Kozak-Miliner speak about community service and standing for a charitable platform that is personal and meaningful. Amanda won the title of Miss Georgia 2006 and was 2nd runner up at the Miss America Pageant. After her year of service, she followed her dream of becoming an elementary school teacher and was then named Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2015.
Talk about being accomplished.
Talk about being a role model.
Talk about following your dreams and accomplishing them. Inspiring.
I’ve attended quite a few of these functions and have learned some lessons myself from these young women over the years. So here are my lessons from the crown. A crown I’ve never worn but has made an impact on my life.
Each year, state title holders from every state in this country travel endlessly to visit children in hospitals, elderly in nursing homes, school children, and visit state political representatives and local companies to not only put a smile on people’s face, but to promote the Children’s Miracle Network. They often do this between college classes and on the weekend, many times driving hours to make an appearance. They do it when they are tired, when they are feeling under the weather, when they would rather stay home and read a book. They do it anyway. Year after year I hear them say they do it because it is a privilege, not an obligation. It is a privilege to serve others…. (Lesson #1)
Of course, they need to show up on time and ready to go, but they also need to show up. She knows that child in the hospital has been waiting for her to spend some time with him. She knows that 2nd grader has been waiting weeks for her to read that book in her classroom. She knows that room of state politicians will be waiting to see what she has to say to them. She must show up…listen…be in the moment…make each interaction she has a positive one…make an impact…make each person feel special. Sounds easy right? Not so much. I may not have the platform she does, but I continue to try to show up in my life every day (Lesson #2).
“Oh, the places you’ll go!” if you dream big. Dreaming big is not just for the young. We always tell kids when they are young they can be anything they want…even the President or Miss America. As we get older we start to believe those big dreams aren’t possible; we think they are foolish. Want to know something amazing? Some kids have big dreams and then they actually go on to do it. At some point, they believed it could be them and that is so much of the journey. I’m dreaming big. I’m dreaming big for this blog. I’m dreaming big for my life. Why would anyone want anything less than a big life? Live a dream big kind of life. (Lesson #3)
Look The Part
This is actually the hardest part for me. Looking the part not only means you dress nicely, take time to do your hair and make-up, but also means that you are in good physical shape for your body. This organization is not a “skinny girl” contest. In fact, if you could see Miss Georgia, you would see these young women are active. They hit the gym and take care of their health. Too often I push my own well-being to the side with the excuse that it doesn’t fit in my schedule and I need to take care of my family first. The thing is, taking care of yourself really is taking care of your family. It’s an act of love to your family because you’ll be around longer to love on them (Lesson #4).
I know this is not the usual kind of post here on Slightly Coastal, but I just had to share this amazing aspect of my life beyond this blog. I feel so blessed to be associated with this organization because of the tremendous work they do in the community, but also for the furthering the development of the next generation of female leadership in this country.
FYI-I woke up that morning with the worst allergies (something in the hotel) and my face and eyes were soooo puffy. Not what you want when you are surrounded by 100 beautiful young women, but I persevered and bought some Benadryl.
By the way, today is National Pancake Day and many of the local and state title holders will be at IHOP restaurants around the country serving pancakes to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network. Go have a pancake and meet a queen. 🙂