I’ve been having a lot of fun lately helping the committee that produces the Miss Garden Grove pageant. Garden Grove is a city very close to my hometown of Placentia and has had a Miss Garden Grove pageant since 1954. The nice thing about their pageant is that they get a lot of girls who either have not competed in a pageant ever before, or are long time Miss Garden Grove contestants who try and do better each year. Miss Garden Grove 2011, Leah Cecil, was first runner up in the 2011 Miss California pageant, which was a very big deal for the community. Even better, Leah was able to win another local title this year, Miss Southern California Regional 2012, and she returned to the state pageant and took home the title of Miss California 2012! Leah will now go on to represent California at Miss America in January 2013.
Miss Placentia and the Miss America Organization
I became involved with the Miss America Organization in 2003 when my city’s local pageant, Miss Placentia, held an informational meeting at my high school. I’d grown up watching the Miss America pageant and always dreamed of what it would be like to win such a special contest, but I’d never realized how much actually goes in to the pageant. Kathi Baldwin, the director of Miss Placentia, explained that every girl that auditioned for Miss Placentia and was selected would earn college scholarship money- something that really appealed to me. The girl that won the pageant would win a $5,000 scholarship and get to compete at Miss California, winning even more money for college. Through competing that year, I learned a lot about myself. I realized that I had what it takes to pursue a college education and learned about public speaking and interviewing for a job. I also met a lot of great people, from the contestants that I competed with to the volunteers that made the pageant happen. Yes, you heard me right, volunteers. The Miss America Organization is a 501(c)3 organization. All of the local and state pageants across the country are put together by people who don’t make a penny- they just want to help foster excellence in young women in their communities and states.
Why Miss Garden Grove?
You might be asking yourself, “So, if there’s a local pageant in your city, why are you helping with a pageant somewhere else?” Good question! You should know that I love to help all sorts of causes, (not just pageants), and I’m not limited to helping any one in particular. I also help with a few other pageants (hi Team Orange County! I love you!!) and I adore the groups that put on the pageants that I competed in (the Miss Fullerton committee and the Miss Placentia committee are filled with absolutely wonderful people). But two things I always consider are: does this group need my help, and does this group want my help? For me, volunteer work is most fulfilling when I am able to work with groups that want, need, and appreciate my time and talents. When I met Stacy, the director of Miss Garden Grove, and we were able to discuss my background in marketing and social media, I knew that the skills that I could bring to the table would be very valuable for their group. I’m given an opportunity to teach young women how to market themselves, how to project a positive image about themselves, and how to consume media in a healthy manner. It’s something I’m personally passionate about and would love to share with more women (especially though out state and local Miss America programs)!
I can’t wait to see how my talents in Social Media can be used to further the mission of Miss Garden Grove, and hopefully, increase the amount of scholarship money they are able to award their titleholders and contestants annually! Garden Grove has many fantastic young women in their community that can benefit from this program, and I’m excited to see them grow through it.