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).

Reigning Miss Georgia, Patricia Ford
Reigning Miss Georgia, Patricia Ford                                                             Photo by Matt Boyd Photography

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.

Photo courtesy of @missamericaga Instagram Account
Photo courtesy of @missamericaga Instagram Account

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.

Reigning Miss Georgia's Outstanding Teen, Kelsey Hollis
Reigning Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen, Kelsey Hollis                                 Photo Courtesy of Matt Boyd Photography

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.

Miss Georgia 2006, Amanda Kozak-Miliner
Miss Georgia 2006, Amanda Kozak-Miliner

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.

Miss Georgia 2016, Patricia Ford
Miss Georgia 2016, Patricia Ford                                                                                                                                         Follow Miss Georgia on Instagram @missamericaga

Serve Others

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)

Show Up

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).

Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell (Was Miss Georgia)
Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell (Was Miss Georgia)

Dream Big

“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)

Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields
Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields                                                                                                                                    Follow Miss America on Instagram @missamericaorg

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.

IHOP National Pancake Day

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.  🙂

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  1. Lois Munn

    March 7, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Love your blog but so frustrated that right in the middle of the content is a box asking you to leave your email to receive daily posts. I’m already signed up. No way to erase this is very annoying !

    1. Nancy

      March 7, 2017 at 8:11 am

      Sorry Lois. I’m in the process of hiring someone to fix some of the technical stuff on the blog. I’m so not good at the technical stuff. I’ll work on fixing it because the last thing I want anything to be on here is annoying. Thanks so much for letting me know. 🙂

      Have a great day!



    March 7, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Nancy, what a blessing you are to this wonderful organization and all these lovely gals!

    May you always have joy in your heart as you work with them!


  3. KariAnne Wood

    March 8, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Thank you for this! My twins love Savvy Shields and they follow her on Instagram. 🙂

    Happy day friend!

  4. Shirley@Housepitality Designs

    March 10, 2017 at 8:38 am

    The Miss America Pageant is my very favorite…the contestants are all so very talented and are truly an inspiration and role model for all. What a great organization to be a part of.
    P.S. If I forget my pillow when traveling and most of the time I do, if there are Down pillows, I have to ask for a non-down one, as I would wake up puffy too!!

Comments are closed.