Blog

As I Cross the Halfway Point of My Year

The first half of my year as Miss Oregon has been full of new opportunities, amazing friendships, and surprises of all kinds. From watching Emma compete at MAOT, to prepping and competing for Miss America, to the many charity events and speaking engagements I have had, I never could have anticipated what these past six months would bring. They have surpassed all of my expectations and have brought so much joy and fulfillment, but not because of my own doing. Every experience I’ve had this year can be credited to the hard work and wholehearted dedication of the volunteers who make Miss Oregon one of the best jobs there is.

Miss America Competition LIVE on ABC

Miss America Competition LIVE on ABC

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.

 
Oregon Polo Classic

Oregon Polo Classic

One of the most valuable realizations I have come to this year has been the fact that the Miss America Organization - at every level: local, state and national - is only what it is because of every volunteer, sponsor, and contestant who dedicates their time and resources to building the program and continually improving it. It sounds obvious, but until you truly see and interact with the individuals who make up the program, it can be challenging to understand the degree to which it is true.

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.

Forever,      

Harley

 
IMG_8974.PNG