From Girl Scout alumna Katie Conn, Miss Centennial, from Colorado Springs and a current student at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs
I am proud to be a Girl Scout alum! I was a Girl Scout until I graduated from high school and earned my Bronze Award as well as traveled to Italy in 2009 with my troop, among other exciting activities. And on June 27-29, 2013, I competed in the Miss. Colorado Pageant. After 12 years of active Girl Scouting, I could see a lot of parallels between the two organizations. I think Girl Scouts helped prepare me for the pageant, because Girl Scouts is more than just selling cookies and Miss. Colorado is more than just looking pretty. I thought a good way to show what I learned in Girl Scouts and how it helped me prepare for Miss. Colorado was to talk about my Miss. Colorado experience as it relates to the Girl Scout Law:
Honest and fair: In competing for Miss. Colorado, the interview is a significant portion of your score. It is also the best way to let the judges get to know you as a person, to learn who you are and your personality. Being yourself is the best way to do that. The judges don’t want cookie-cutter answers, and “world peace” isn’t the go-to response. Honesty and personality will shine through into everything you say, and that’s the only way for the judges to fairly judge you in interview.
Friendly and helpful: Miss. Congeniality is probably a more rewarding title than Miss. Colorado. Miss. Congeniality is the contestant voted friendliest and most helpful out of all the girls there. It’s easy to see when someone is simply being nice just to win Miss. Congeniality versus when someone is truly the sweetest person in Colorado and is completely deserving of the title.
Considerate and caring: Part of the Miss. America entrance requirement is to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. The Children’s Miracle Network is a system of hospitals all around the country that does so much good for young people all around us. We visited the Children’s Hospital in Denver before our competition, and it brought such joy to everyone we visited to have these beautiful and kind women being so cheerful and sweet despite their medical problems.
Courageous and strong: It takes a lot of self-respect to get up on a stage in front of so many people, especially in the swimsuit portion of the competition, where you’re onstage in little more than your underwear. All the contestants prepared for the swimsuit competition by working out and eating healthy, things we should all be doing anyway. And just look at how wonderful they looked onstage! But the most important part of the swimsuit competition is your confidence. The prettiest part of a girl is her smile!
Responsible for what I say and do: As a Miss. Colorado contestant, you have a title (mine is Miss. Centennial). When you make appearances, such as our trip to Coors Field to be introduced at a Rockies game and to sign autographs, no one looks at you as a person, they look at you as sort of a celebrity. It’s a fantastic feeling, but everything you say and do is scrutinized carefully. You can’t speak meanly about anyone (even the other team) or run around like a banshee. You must be calm and eloquent and sweet, even if you make a mistake and spill ketchup on your shirt.
And to respect myself and others: Every girl competing at the pageant dreams of being Miss. Colorado. Every girl there deserves to be Miss. Colorado. You can’t put anyone down or judge them; that’s not your job. Your job is to A) be the best “you” you can be, and B) help others be the best “them” that they are. Compliments mean a lot to everyone, and at a pageant like this with so many beautiful, talented and sweet women, everyone feels a little insecure. The best outcome of the Miss. Colorado pageant isn’t winning the title of Miss. Colorado, but feeling like you’ve grown as a person.
Respect authority: Everything at the pageant is scheduled, choreographed and practiced to a “T.” The fantastic crew of people who work so hard to put this pageant on deserve so much respect. They not only handle the Miss. Colorado pageant itself, but all the local pageants leading up to the state pageant, all the paperwork for them, getting (and keeping) sponsors, signing up a panel of judges and making the information books for them, answering questions for the contestants, and making sure that everyone is on track. It is a job and a half, and on behalf of all the Miss. Colorado contestants, I’d like to thank them for all their hard work.
Use resources wisely: Competing in the Miss. Colorado competition does cost money! As it’s a scholarship organization, the entry fees aren’t what costs money, but the outfits do. Each contestant needs a swimsuit, an evening gown, an interview outfit, a talent outfit, an opening number outfit, an on-stage question outfit, shoes and accessories for each outfit, and a zillion other things. If you spend all your money on the evening gown, it will be beautiful, but the rest of your categories won’t look as nice. It’s a better idea to spread your money out. Buy what you absolutely need to, and any extra money can go to buying the dress that maybe isn’t your dream dress, but looks beautiful and fits your budget.
Make the world a better place: Each contestant is required to have a platform. A platform is some issue you feel strongly about or an organization you really support. Organizations are usually non-profits, not businesses. My platform was gathering money and support to build a place for homeless people to sleep at night to get them off the street, which is both a dangerous and unhealthy place to live. All the community service projects you do as a Girl Scout can directly relate to a platform, and if you find that your Bronze, Silver and/or Gold Awards are all related to the same thing, you have a platform already.
And be a sister to every Girl Scout: Competing in the Miss. Colorado pageant was a wonderful experience for me. I didn’t win, but I made so many friends there, and I’ll be proud to watch one of them take the stage at the Miss. America pageant soon. Although I was competing against them, these girls were a fantastic support network for me during the entire pageant. They made the first year I competed so much fun, and I will definitely be returning next year for a “Round Two!”
Posted by Amanda Kalina, PR Director, Girl Scouts of Colorado