The Benefits Outweigh The Bagels

One of the things that has been most constant while being Miss Vermont is the questions. People ask me questions every where I go. I love answering them, and telling them more about who I am, and why I'm there, and what I'm all about. But if we're being super honest, I get about the same 10-15 questions everywhere I go. Which, is totally fine. The one I get most?

Why did you want to be Miss Vermont?

Really, I think this stems from the fact that a lot of people still don't get why girls my age are involved in pageants. There is still a really dated idea that we are somehow putting ourselves in a bad situation, something that we might later resent or regret, by doing pageants. Often the implication is more, 'why would you do that to yourself?'

Oh, let me list the ways.

1. It is hard, challenging, rewarding work for you.

I actually first decided to compete when I was an overweight, unhappy, bored sophomore in college. I did it as a challenge to myself. I knew I wasn't pushing myself in any department. I wasn't lifting anything other than bagels from The Rot. I wasn't practicing anything other than my ability to sleep way more than necessary. And I certainly wasn't finding ways to make myself better.

I needed the Miss Vermont Organization more than I knew. And within two Development Days (that year I was a preliminary titleholder, Miss Washington County,) I was hooked. I was so scared that I wasn't measuring up to everyone I was meeting - and simultaneously so inspired by each of the women that were involved in the program. It forced me in to a state of growth without my even realizing it. It forced me to work harder, and smarter, to make the person I wanted to be.

2. There really is a network of women that become your people.

I'm the older sister to one brother. I never had sisters before I became part of the Miss America Organization. I now have three classes of Miss Vermont sisters, one class of Miss New Hampshire sisters, and a whole class of Miss America sisters. Is that not the wildest thing ever?

These are women that have goals like mine, they have passions like mine, they have big dreams, and ideas. They are women who want to change their communities. They are women with loud independent voices that know what they want to say. They are my kind of sisters.

Beyond all of that - these are the women that know your life, they know your struggles, they know your successes, and they have been there for your failures.

And they are some of the most understanding, generous, and downright kind women you will ever meet.

3. You win even without a crown.

The beauty of this program is compounded by one simple word: scholarships. You get scholarship dollars, every time you place. And no one is going to tell you that that is some big horrible thing that you'll regret.

But beyond that, you get out of this program 10 fold what you put into it. Even if you never place, even if you never win, you will be a better person for being involved with a Miss America Organization affiliate (local or state, contestant or volunteer.) This program fosters growth, regardless of where you land.

Of course, I could talk for days about the good things these programs have given me. But the proof is in the pudding, y'all. I truly attribute my success as a human in large part to the skills and opportunities I have had because of my involvement with the Miss America Organization.

I know, without a doubt, that I am where I am today, because I took a leap and said, "You know, I think I'm going to compete for Miss Vermont this summer." 

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