After having spent nearly six months with the title of Miss Oregon, I have been able to see the inner workings of this organization from a unique perspective. I have seen the endless hours that volunteers tirelessly devote to make the program successful, and to ensure that the young women within it are provided opportunities to grow, serve, and attain their educational goals. I have witnessed volunteers pull all-nighters sewing costumes for contestants (okay, it was for me actually); have watched them take on countless tasks for the Miss Oregon Program while balancing careers and families; and have seen them patiently assist with contestant paperwork for hours on end over the phone just to give young women the best possible chance at success.
I have also had the privilege of getting to know a number of our wonderful sponsors. I have learned that not only do these sponsors contribute generously to the program, but most of all they genuinely care about the contestants and titleholders, and want to have a positive impact on our lives. Though the material gifts and scholarships provided by sponsors are very much appreciated, what means the most to me has been the personal relationships I’ve built, and the many instances when sponsors have gone above and beyond to ensure the wellbeing of the program and of us titleholders.
IN LIGHT OF...
In light of recent events with the Miss America national office and board, it is now more important than ever to realize that this organization is nearly 100% volunteer-based and maintains a grassroots-style of operation. While having capable leadership that represents the values of Miss America is vital to its long-term success, it truly is the extensive volunteer base and the dedicated contestants and titleholders who keep the organization moving forward. That being said, looking forward I am hopeful and excited about Miss America and the new directions I am almost certain it will take. In the months and years to come, I hope to see the organization become even more relevant than it is today, and to see it led by women who contestants can relate to and aspire to be like: women who are driven, empowered, and who represent a diverse cross section of society. Although this rough patch in Miss America’s history is full of heartbreak and disappointment for many, I am confident that these new beginnings will bring greater success and opportunity in the organization’s future.
As I cross the halfway point of my year and am reflecting on the past six months, I feel endless gratitude towards those who have been by my side throughout this journey. For the remainder of my year I will keep this sense of gratefulness close to my heart always, as it inspires me to strive to be the best Miss Oregon I can be. In these final months before I pass on my title, I look forward to getting to know as many local contestants and volunteers as possible as I travel the state. I also hope to visit and to thank one more time the many Miss Oregon sponsors who have supported me throughout the year. In the coming months, I will also be speaking about my platform, Intercultural Community-Building, at a number of community groups, clubs, and events. Finally, I look forward to meeting each and every member of the 2018 Miss Oregon class, and to supporting them in every way I can as they prepare to compete for the incredible position of Miss Oregon 2018.