A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles- William Hazlitt

You know it’s been a busy month when my last entry was nearly a month ago! I would have to say that October has definitely been a month of excitement, unforgettable experiences, surprises, and certainly one of those months that I would be lost during without my daily agenda!

After coming back from working with Girl Scouts Beyond Bars in Pocatello, I was incredibly excited to start up my Vision’s Girl Scout Troop again. Visions is a program designed for 4th and 5th grade girls who may not be able to afford Girl Scouts, are unable to stay after school for meetings, and who otherwise may not have the resources and flexibility to attend Girl Scout meetings and events. So instead we get to meet once every week during their lunch time and they get to enjoy the benefits of a being a Girl Scout. I absolutely love being a Visions leader and adore my girls that I get to meet with. This year I am at Washington Elementary and have the most energetic group of girls, and along with that, are so sweet.

I don’t go in as Miss Idaho though when I lead the Visions meetings. Instead, myself (as Genevieve Nutting!) and another woman named Julie who is a senior at Boise State University, go in and focus on the girls. This year though, I guess my title had leaked out! As soon as I walked in, one of the girls gave me this shy little grin and waved her fingers at me as she said “Hi Miss America”. Well first off, I can’t correct her and tell her that she couldn’t call me Miss America, I didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot! So instead I put my hands on my hips and scrunched my nose at her as I grinned back and asked her where she had heard that! She then told me “Well, you just look like you could be Miss America!” (At this point I’m thinking, well isn’t she just a sweetheart, I know we are going to get along great!) and she added on “And my teacher told me you were Miss America”.
At that point I laughed and sat next to her as I explained that I was actually Miss Idaho and was preparing to go to Miss America in January. She looked at me, confused. “So does that mean you are getting married?” This wasn’t the first time I had been asked by a young girl if going to Miss America meant I was getting married. So I explained to her what Miss America was and what exactly it entails. She then asked me “Oh, so you aren’t getting married because you are a teenager!” At this point the other girls in the group were laughing with her as I told her I was actually 22, and asked her if I looked like a teenager! Her friend then jumped in and said “So you are an adult then. If you are an adult and are going to Miss America, then why aren’t you married?” I was getting drilled on the very first day! Finally I gave in and told them I just hadn’t found a guy who could put up with me and want to get married! The looks on their faces were priceless as they gave me a “poor Miss Idaho, she can’t find anybody to marry her” expression on their faces, we still laugh about this little joke.

After explaining to them what Miss America was, and why nobody was marrying Miss Idaho, we moved on with our first meeting. The first meeting involves learning about Girl Scouts which includes the Girl Scout Law and Promise.

The Girl Scout Promise
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

The Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

To help the girls remember the Girl Scout Law and Promise, we made friendship bracelets. The girls and both myself and Julie put on colorful beads for each part of the promise and law, then helped the girls tie the bracelets on their wrists as a reminder to incorporate it into our daily lives.
At the end of the meeting we always do a closing circle where we put our right arm over our left and hold the girls hands next to us. Each girl then says one thing they enjoyed about that day and then either a goal they have for next week or something they are looking forward to next week and gently (key word, gently!) squeeze the next girls hand and place their foot in the middle. Once every girl’s hand has been nicely squeezed and has said their favorite moment and goal, the circle spins out. It’s a nice finishing touch to a fun meeting!

The next day I woke up early to finish up some paperwork and final tb shot at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital for my annual volunteer check up. Then it was on my way to a final work out at Axiom Gym before heading up to Sun Valley for the famous Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree!
I headed up with De, our Miss Idaho Producer and also the most hilarious and fun chaperone! The drive up was beautiful with the trees all turning golden yellow and bright red along the river. When we got up to Sun Valley, we checked into our hotel for a quick change and went to the opening act Tom Rigney and Flambeau and to see the honoring of the “Lady of Jazz”, Bria Skonberg, a very talented and lovely young woman. I was able to open with playing Rhapsody In Blue on the piano and enjoyed my first evening at the jamboree.
That evening I met Jeff and Carol Loehr (the directors) the sweetest man Floyd (who would help me emcee later that week) and the beautiful and ever so sweet, Barbara Hazzard, whose husband had started the Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree. He had passed away in 2004, but not before telling her to “keep the Jamboree going- people need to hear America’s music!” And after a wonderful, and most memorable weekend in Sun Valley for the festival, I can definitely see why that would be his wish.

That evening, we went back to the Sun Valley Lodge where we met a few talented young men, John from Princeton, Alex from Chicago, and Alexander from Seattle, who were all from the Whiffenpoofs of Yale. We soon would become good friends with them! Since we were starving and hadn’t had time to eat yet, De and I went to grab some late dinner and meet up with Jason Wanner from California. I found out later that week that he is one of the most talented pianists I have heard. His music makes you want to sit on the edge of your seat and just listen forever.

Thursday was busy with trying to catch as many of the bands and singers as possible. De and I had a blast listening to bands from all over the country and then meeting with Cherie (De’s best friend and my other momma for the weekend! People kept thinking the three of us were related, after awhile we stopped explaining and just told everyone we were, so I had two mommas that weekend!) While we were out, I ran into one of the athletes from the Special Olympics named Jeff.
He remembered me giving him his award and gave me the biggest hug! He was such a sweetheart and was excited to hear all the jazz music. That evening, Cherie, De and I went to enjoy Forever Plaid, a musical about a male quartet from the 50’s who were in a bus accident and got teleported to the future and they had to perform to go back and get their plaid tuxedos. Needless to say, it was very enjoyable and I found myself laughing out loud through out the duration.

The next day was an early morning as Floyd and I were able to introduce all of the bands in the Limelight Room. We had a blast going up on stage and giving the intros as I got to share a little bit about my experiences as Miss Idaho and preparing for Miss America in January. Towards the afternoon, we got to introduce Coronet Chop Suey. One of the members of the band (who I believe played the trumpet) asked me to stay on stage as they played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to me. If ever a time were to bring tears to my eyes, this would be one of them as both he and another member got down on one knee as they played the final notes. Then, Brian Casserly (the trumpet player) asked for my hand in marriage! And what is a gal to do when proposed to in such a manner? He said he didn’t have a lot of money but would make me very happy. So I told him I wasn’t marrying him for his money and that was our little joke through out the weekend whenever we found ourselves in the same performance. Unfortunately, our engagement didn’t make it past that weekend but it sure was fun while it lasted!
While they played, I was asked to dance by the sweetest older gentleman with the bluest eyes. I told him I was a little rusty and he said he would help me out. We were the only ones out on the dance floor and I looked at him and saw these tears in his beautiful blue eyes. He apologized as he went to wipe them away and said he just never would have dreamt of a moment like this and he was so happy. I felt my heart just melt and I wanted to dance with him all afternoon. De and I also wanted to be able to go and watch Jason Wanner play piano though which was all the way across to the other lodge though. Fortunately, we made a good friend from New Zealand who was working at the lodge and was able to drive us over in what came to be our special golf cart for the weekend.
His name was James and what a riot he was and with such great manners! I had given him one of my autograph cards as a thank you and by the end of the week, he asked me if I had ever received a Kiwi. A kiwi? I told him I love Kiwi’s and he laughed, telling me he would bring me one the next day. I found out it was actually a patch with a kiwi bird on it! I loved it, and after that every picture we took we had to say “kiwi”.

Thanks to James, we made it there and back just in time to introduce the Whiffenpoofs from Yale. They came in singing in another language and were incredibly entertaining from there on. It was a nice mixture of beautiful arrangements to comedic acts. They each also had their own intros, and did that group ever have personality! In the middle of the performance, they asked if Miss Idaho would come up to the stage. I’m pretty good with spontaneity, but in my head I was thinking “what in the world is going on!” I had no idea what to expect. One of the men went to give me a chair and then another stepped in and another. After that, my new friends, John and Alexander, proceeded to sing “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You”. I felt like the luckiest girl in the room to be serenaded by these two amazing young men, and not to mention absolutely hysterical and talented! There may or may not have been a sparks flying during that moment as well! Thanks to momma De who got it all on flip cam! The rest of their performance was absolutely amazing as they sang “Midnight Train to Georgia”, “Rainbow Connection”, “The Boxer”, and many other favorites.

That night we went to do a little more dancing and I realized just how much my dancing skills were in need of some practice! I had made another friend who worked at the Lodge who was also from Boise named Braden who said he would wake up early to take a Peabody class with me. Well I was in no position to turn down that offer! Sure enough the next morning he was there and had his dancing shoes on. After a successful hour of managing not step on each other or anyone elses toes, we were Peabody pros and ready to strut our stuff on the dance floor that evening for the “Through The Decades” dance. We then had lunch with our new friends John and Alexander from the Whiffs before showing our BSU spirit that day for our game against Tulsa. We had a blast cheering on our Broncos with the crew from the lodge and other BSU fans.

We had time for a quick cat nap before heading back to the Limelight for the final dance. This time my dancing feet were all warmed up and I was ready to dance the night away. And that’s exactly what I did! I didn’t miss a beat of dancing with everyone from some of the high schoolers from Boise, De and Cherie, I even had the opportunity to meet one of our official sponsors of Miss Idaho. A man in suspenders and a bright orange collared shirt asked me to dance, and he had the best dance moves! He made me even feel like I knew what I was doing. After talking for awhile he told me his name was Lee Read, our official crown sponsor! It was such an honor to dance with thim and hear about how much he used to enjoy when he was able to crown Miss Boise.

Of course it wouldn’t have been the same had we not had our new Whiffenpoof friends there to dance with! Alex, John, and Alexander showed off their moves on the floor and before we knew it, John was going up on stage and being dressed as Michael Jackson. It didn’t take long until someone yelled out to have Miss Idaho go up and join. What a memory! Sadly, the last song came on and James and I decided to make that last song count. There was a huge dance circle going on in the middle where all the dance teachers were showing their skills and knocking everyone’s socks off. “You have to get in the middle of that!” James told me. Well, I am not much of a dancer, but I do love to dance! I told him I didn’t know if I could hold my own out there and before I knew it we were in the middle and it was like my good friend and amazing dancer Miss Meg Rowe had taken over my body.
Suddenly my feet knew what to do and before I knew it one after another, dancers were coming in and spinning and twirling me around. Little did I know, a swing dancer was inside me waiting to get out! I felt as if I had walked right into a Glee episode! I had the best evening but it didn’t stop there. We went back to the main lodge and listened as the Whiffenpoofs as they sang around the outside ice rink while the most beautiful figure skater skated beneath the moon’s glow. Talk about feeling like you walked right out of a movie.
I had also met a former Whiffenpoof that weekend who was from Boise. We were able to talk a lot through out the week and little did he know, but he really gave me a nice realization and motivation from our conversation. At one point, he came up to me at the end of the week and gave me some very good advice, and probably one of the nicest compliments. He told me “When you get tired, and you think you don’t want to do this, just know that your smile and presence makes people happy and they look up to you. You inspire them.” I gave him a smile and went to hug him as he said “now don’t go getting all Miss Idaho on me!” Kept me in check but still very inspired and touched by his words. His comment was something that I think everyone could take something from in life. Who would have thought I would walk away from that weekend with so many fond memories and a handful of new, wonderful friends.

I was sad to wake up that next morning and go back to reality, everything felt like it was a dream! Braden had said he would take De, Cherie and I out on the outdoor ice rink in the morning after breakfast for a last hoorah. After some delicious french toast and grapefruit, he met us with the most delicious hot chocolate and we went to the rink. It was beautiful with all the trees turning a golden yellow. We ran into Joel, one of the most amazing dancers whom I had had the opportunity to dance with the evening before. We also saw the beautiful figure skater from the night before as well. Skating outside on an ice rink has always been on my bucketlist so I was thrilled to be able to to it! Just as we got our skates on, it started to rain. Braden and I went out for a couple twirls around and then it absolutely poured! I was bummed, but happy I got to at least experience it. We then went back into the lodge where I was able to perform a couple of songs on the most beautiful wooden piano for my new friends before leaving for Boise. I love old pianos and this one just had the best touch to it. Thanks again to momma De for getting it all on the flip cam, she is wonderful!

We headed home that afternoon to get a little rest in before another busy week in Boise. Lucky for us, our new friends from Yale were performing at Borah High School so De, Cherie, myself, and our families went to listen to them as well as the Borah Choir which is now directed by my former junior high teacher, Heather Prinzing! As always, they were incredibly entertaining. Our new friend Alexander’s intro was even in Italian as he spoke about the amazing weekend he had had in Sun Valley!

The morning after coming back to Boise, I was able to see my old teachers and speak at my old Junior High, Hillside, to kick off Red Ribbon Week. I talked about staying focused and following your dreams while avoiding temptations to be involved with drugs. I talked about a boy I went to high school with who was wrapped up in drugs and then started to get his life back on track and was doing so well and going to college. I had a class with him and a few days went by where I didn’t see him in class, come to find out he had been in his apartment after a drug overdose and nobody found him for 4 days. Each time, the story breaks my heart but I think it was a reality check for some of the students and I could tell by their questions and saddened expressions on their faces at the end. It was a terrible thing that happened, but hopefully they can learn from it beccause nobody should ever have to go through that experience.

Right after that, I got to go to the Children’s Miracle Network Champion of the Year send off party for 5-year-old Gracy who has Wolff Parkinson White syndrome. Or as she puts it, an owie on her heart. But I have never met a girl with more energy and love. She doesn’t let it stop her from being playful and so endearing. The news wanted to interview her but she wouldn’t go unless I was right next to her holding her hand. Talk about heart warming! She told me her favorite animal was a monkey (which she thought was so exciting because mine was too!) Then she told me she wanted to play hide and seek.
Keep in mind, we were in the middle of Ace Hardware! So there I was, in the corner of the paint display section as this sweet little 5-year-old ran around with her “princess potato”. I loved running around the corner and hearing her cute little high pitched giggle whenever I would wrap my arms around her and yell “found you!” The Children’s Miracle Network truly does create miracles for young kids and is such a wonderful program.

Gracy was getting ready to tour Washington DC and then head to Disneyworld! As a send off gift, I gave her a princess coloring book, her own crown (which she was so excited to see that it looked just like mine!) and a princess potato. She asked what all the little white spots on it were and I told her they were the potato’s eyes. She thought that was too funny and we had to count how many eyes the potato had.
Inside I also gave her a signed picture which she had me read to her. At the end I had signed “Remember to always smile and have faith.” She asked me what faith was. I told her faith was knowing that no matter what happens, everything will happen for a reason and we will never be given anything we can’t handle. That God has a plan for us and at the end of the day we will always have a reason to smile. She told me she thought that was a pretty good word and rested her head on my shoulder. Such a sweet girl.

After that I went to meet Andre’ Gensburger from the Faces of Idaho online magazine. We had a great interview and shared many laughs while he asked me to play piano on his ipad (which had about 15 keys on it!) You can type in this link to watch it!


The next morning I met with my trainer to get a tough work out in to make up for the last week. And it definitely made up for it! I then headed to the Women of Today and Tomorrow Luncheon through the Girl Scouts. The luncheon honors women who are making a difference in their community and young women who they think will continue to make a different in their future. A few years ago I was honored to have been nominated and awarded the Women of Tomorrow Award so it’s always such a pleasure for me to go and see who is awarded each year. I had also been one of the speaker’s the year before so it’s always enjoyable for me to listen to what other women have to say about Girl Scouts and how the organization has impacted their lives.
I also love seeing the young Girl Scouts in their uniforms walking around promoting what Girl Scouts is about. Joan Endicott was the key speaker this year and talked about taking on a new perspective in life. Rather than saying “I have to do this, or I have to do that” it should be “I get to”. I get to wake up early in the morning and go to the gym or I get to drive around all day to run errands. Some people aren’t fortunate enough to be able to say that due to circumstances and she definitely made me change my outlook. So from now on I try to replace “I have to” with “I get to”.

After that I got to go to the Boys and Girls Club in Meridian to speak with 3rd and 4th grade girls about self-esteem. As soon as I walked in, a little girl came up to me and said “Hey, weren’t you here last year?” she had remembered me when I was Miss Meridian. I told her I had been and then told her about how I decided to try for Miss Idaho one more time and now I’m back as Miss Idaho. She said she remembered me talking about wanting to be Miss Idaho and she was so excited that I finally was Miss Idaho.

Thursday I had my piano lesson with Mary and then headed back to the Meridian Boys and Girls Club, this time to meet with 5th and 6th grade. This time a couple of the girls remembered me and had said they still had the notes I had left them in their self-esteem boxes. A year later and they still have them! I absolutely love hearing that from the girls in my workshops.

Friday I met back with my trainer again, still sore from Wednesday but he left me even more sore to last me through the weekend. How thoughtful of him! I then headed to Christine Donnell Elementary Carnival to sign autographs and mingle. All the kids were dressed up for an early Halloween. Cute little tiggers, penguins, princesses, fairies, and many zombies! I wish I had gotten the memo to dress up, but dressing up as Miss Idaho everyday for a year is a pretty great costume! While I was sitting down a little fairy by the name of Lacie came running up to me and wrapped her arms around my legs.
That is something that I will never ever get tired of, a spontaneous hug from a little kid who doesn’t even know you. Has to be one of the top 5 feelings in the world! Another little boy named Isaac kept looking over at me, smiling and then hiding behind his mom. He finally came over and said hi to me as his mom said “Well, is there something you want to tell her?” he then told me he thought I was the most beautiful girl as he proceeded to hide his face in his hands. I couldn’t help but pick him up for a big hug! He is going to be a real heartbreaker!

Saturday was another packed day starting off with the Boise State Homecoming Parade. My Miss Idaho little sister, Hannah joined me the parade while we wore blue and orange sparkly boas. We had a blast yelling out “Boise….State!” with the crowds on the side of the streets. Then myself and Spuddy Buddy (possibly my sister in disguise!) went around and helped raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. While I was out I met another former Miss Idaho 1972, Vicki Hackins who I found out was very good friends with one of my favorite Miss America’s! Phyllis George, Miss America 1971. She and I got to talk about our Sun Valley experiences as well as how her year was. Back then, they even had their own flight sponsor!

After that I went out to Kuna for one of the little sisters birthday party. Chloe had some of her friends over for a princess party and we all had a fashion show and then Chloe and I even had our own evening gowns made by the girls. The dresses were made out of table cloths, ribbon, rhinestones, and were so great I may have to use it as my Miss America gown!

I then worked the next couple of days and Tuesday, I got to see my Girl Scouts again, I had missed them so much! I told them all about my week in Sun Valley and this time we talked about inner and outer feelings. How it’s okay to show your feelings on the outside and tell people how you feel. They always leave me with the biggest smile on my face, they are such a special group of young girls!

That afternoon I went to the Boys and Girls Club in Garden City. This was the first place I had given my self-esteem workshops to over 5 years ago so it was such a great feeling to back again. I met with 3rd and 4th grade that day and had a cute little 6 year old, Alayna sneak in. The whole time she just sat and smiled at me, and she had so much fun she snuck back in when I came back on Thursday to meet with 5th and 6th graders.

On Wednesday I was able to meet back up with the Ryan J. Poe Foundation who I had seen earlier that summer. Russ Poe, his daughter Samantha Poe, and the man who taught Greg Poe how to fly, John Chambers talked to me a little more about the Ryan J. Poe Foundation. Greg Poe was one of the top 5 world pilots and a motivational speaker who spoke about Elevating Life, living up to our fullest potential and not letting anything get in the way of our dreams. Unfortunetly he passed away this past spring but the people who are a part of his foundation are still striving to keep his dreams alive. I felt so blessed to be able to enjoy flying up in his MX2, just like the kids who he would take up for writing inspiring essays about dreams. Did I mention that not only were John and I doing loops and rolls, but I was actually flying it. Let me repeat, I WAS FLYING THE MX2 AND MAKING IT DO LOOPS AND ROLLS! Now that I made that clear, let me just say it was absolutely amazing! I’ve jumped out of planes, flown a Cirrus, but never have I been responsible for making a plane go upside down. Such an intense feeling and so breathtaking, literally!

That afternoon I went to Roosevelt Elementary to speak to Daisy Troop 44 and the Cadette Troop for a girl I used to babysit way back when. As soon as I walked into the school, kids lined up waiting to have their books, papers, arms, anything they could have signed! A little boy named Ben came up to me and told me he got $5 from the tooth fairy the night before, that tooth fairy sure is more generous than when I was little! I first went to talk to the Daisy Girl Scouts, who are 5 and 6 years old. The thing I have comed to learn when working with girls this age, is that you truly can never guess what is going to come out of their mouths next! I love that they keep me on my toes and in a constant state of laughter. A few of the girls I had met at Girl Scout Camp earlier that summer, but for many this was my first time meeting them. The other thing I’ve learned about this age group is that with in the first 30 seconds of meeting, it’s as if you have known each other forever and before you know it they are hanging all over you like a group of wild monkeys! This group was no different as we all sat in a circle with them laying in my lap as we talked about goals and dreams and staying true to our goals in life.
One girl talked about how when she was younger (keep in mind she is 6 years old!) she wanted to save $100. But now that she’s older she already has $35 and therefore will be “rich, in like, 2 days”. Teach me your ways girlfriend!

I then went and spoke with the cadette girls about self-esteem and loving and respecting the person that we are. One of the girls in the group I had babysat as well as her brother who popped in for a visit. It was so wonderful to see how they have grown and that they are still so goal driven and passionate about their studies and activities that they are involved in.
The next morning started out with any early training session with Jake before heading to my piano lesson with my wonderful piano teacher Mary who had been so helpful the past couple of months in helping me get my talent piece where I wanted it to be, but also introducing me to many differnt types of music that I had never even heard of! And after 14 years of playing piano, that is often difficult to come by on my own.
After that I went back to the Garden City Boys and Girls Club to give another self-esteem workshop, this time to 4th and 5th grade girls with a couple of other first graders who snuck in somehow! Once again it was another successful workshop, so successful that the teen girls were feeling left out and wanted to have a workshop so we set one up for later this month!

I then headed over to Meridian to visit with Girl Scout Troop 836 who are currently working on their Silver Award. At that age, the girls are getting ready to head into high school and have so much on their plate that it can often be difficult trying to focus on earning their Silver Award. I’ve talked to a few different troops going through similar situations and I always tell them what I would tell anyone who has a goal but feels too busy and overwhelmed to accomplish it. Remind yourself why that goal is important to you. What is it that made you set that goal? Then think about how it will feel when you accomplish that goal and what your reward will be. Then I share a couple of my goals and how it took me three attempts at getting my Gold Award before my paperwork was even accepted for me to start the process of earning my award. And how it took me three locals before I could even go onto compete in Miss Idaho and even after that it took me four years of competing in Miss Idaho before I earned the title. After all of that, I can typically feel the energy in the room and love hearing down the road that the girls accomplished their goals. I know this troop will be no different and I can’t wait to celebrate with them after their earn their Silver Award!

Friday was another training session with Jake before heading into work that evening. I rested up that night because the next morning was “Spinning with Miss Idaho” for the New Beginnings Party for Axiom Gym. I love anything that keeps me active, running, yoga, dance, rock climbing, snowboarding, you name it! But spin classes, well let’s just say I’ve taken two my whole life and both have left me achy sore and wanting to never sit on a bike seat again! So an hour and a half of spinning, with my crown on, in the parking lot in front of dozens of experienced spinners, well I knew I was about to be very humbled! But the instructors who led the class made it pass rather quickly and the new Lance Armstrong Spin Bikes made for a smooth ride. Not to mention a beautiful sun rise and absolutely perfect weather. Definitely changed my mind about spinning and I can see this being incorrporated into my weekly work outs in preparation for Miss America. I worked for the rest of the weekend, which typically goes pretty smoothly for me, but this weekend all I could think about was how sore my body was from my work outs the past week and my spin class!

Tuesdays have become my new busy days! My I look forward to them every week, because that means I get to see my Girl Scouts! This week we talked about families and how every family has different traditions, backgrounds, and characteristics that make them each unique and special. The girls made their family seals which showed what made their families unique. I loved seeing the differences in each family. One family was all allergic to spiders! Another loved cooking together.
After that I headed to Hannah’s school to surprise her for her 10th birthday! The expression on her face was priceless as I walked into her classroom, she even jumped out of her chair and ran up to give me a hug. We got to explain to her class how she was my little Miss Idaho Sister and all the fun things we get to do together. I love our little sister program!

That evening I headed back into Boise to go to one of our Girl Scout Service Unit’s meeting. A service unit typically consists of a Daisy group, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, as well as seniors. So I had to make sure that my discussion on goal setting and dreams was relateable for all age groups. We talked about earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award as well as the importance of goal setting. When I went to bring up my example of goals, I started talking about Miss Idaho and what it feels like when it’s the final 5 standing. I asked if any of the girls had seen Miss America and knew what the top 5 moment looked like. Many had, but some hadn’t. So, trying to keep the attention of some of the 5 year olds, I asked for 5 volunteers. The girls all stood in one line and I asked them what state they wanted to represent. They chose California, Arizona, New York, Arkansas, and a new “state” this year, Germany! And I thought it was going to be tough enough with 52 other contestants, now I have to worry about Germany too! It was so much fun as the girls got into their roles and saw what it felt like to be in the top 5 and then the last 2 standing. Well, Germany ended up winning that Miss America, but the girls got to have a taste of what it felt like for me to accomplish my dream of winning Miss Idaho. So I told them to visualize what it would feel like to accomplish their goals.

At the end of the discussion, all the girls lined up for pictures and autographs. I’ve had quite the variety of autograph signings including pictures, scraps of paper, program books, arms, shirts, but never have I been asked to sign what I was about to be asked. A brownie (about 8 years old) girl scout came up to me and handed me a pink pen, I knelt down and asked if she wanted me to sign a picture. She opened up the inside of her Girl Scout vest and asked if I would sign her vest. Typically, I’m pretty good about keeping my emotions in and maintaining my composure, but I couldn’t help at that moment as I felt myself begin to tear up. For me, this was where it all began and my path started to shape me into the woman I am today. Girl Scouts was where I felt safe and comfortable to express myself, to think outside the box and find out who I was. There were no limitations on my dreams and goals I could set for myself. I knew that no matter what I wanted to do, where I wanted to travel, or who I wanted to be, I would have my Girl Scout leader as a positive role model to guide me and a troop full of supportive and encouraging friends alongside me. So to have a little Girl Scout ask me to sign her uniform, that meant everything in the world.

And it only began there, a couple minutes later another Girl Scout approached me with a pad of paper and pen. She asked if I would write a note for her, I thought she meant sign an autograph but she immediately corrected me and said “I want you to write me a note about gaining confidence. For those moments when I may need a confidence boost and can read something to help lift me up.” I gave her a hug and asked her to write down her address so I could have more time to think about it and put more thought into it. I wish I could see the look on her face when she opens up her mailbox and finds a letter from Miss Idaho in it!
That service unit also helped me to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network, which I was incredibly appreciative of! I walked out of there with the biggest smile and a huge banner saying “Welcome Miss Idaho!” with all of the girls names on it. Talk about a memorable appearance.
The next few days consisted of training, piano, yoga, working, and finishing up my Quality of Life Paperwork and other scholarship applications, hence why it has taken me so long to get this blog posted! All while fighting a bug that absolutely drained me! But that didn’t keep me from going to the Veteran’s Day Parade on Saturday and experiencing the first snowfall for Boise. It was so cold that day that the top to our convertable wouldn’t even go down! But we made it work anyways. I was so excited to see my wonderful friends from Mountain Home, Colonel Smith and his beautiful wife were all smiles and look absolutely wonderful that morning. I also made a couple of new friends that day.

We were at the state capitol looking around when I heard a little boy across the street yell out “Miss Idaho!” I waited for him and his friends to catch up and found out they had never been in the capitol before. So we all went in and I gave them a little tour, what good of a Miss Idaho would I be if I didn’t know a little bit about my state capitol and history! I then ran into a man by the name of Roger Guernsey (“Like the cow!” he told me) who was 91-years-young and had served in the Army. He had also been on the Legislature where he received his nickname of “Landslide” after winning a recount by 8 votes. We sat there and talked as he showed me all the pictures on his camera of the people he had met, his beautiful wife, the last rose in their garden, and his english teacher! He then went to give me a business card that read “Friend of beautiful women all over the country”. Well no wonder that man was such a smooth fellow, he had 91 years of experience! Unfortunetly he was all out because he said he had given out over 1500 cards. Mister popular!

The next boy I met was a tad bit younger, but just as charming. I met TJ as I was walking back to my car after leaving the Capitol. TJ is 6-years-old and came all the way from Dallas, TX to meet his new little brother “Little Joe” who his family was adopting. TJ was so excited to teach his brother all about math and watch Scooby Doo and Sponge Bob (both his favorite shows I later found out!) We went to take a picture and TJ suddenly clung to me “I’m a little nervous, of the stairs behind me” The cute little look on his face as he scrunched his little nose at me underneath his Scooby Doo Hoodie made me just want to fold him up and put him in my pocket! (As my Nana would say!)

What a month it has been! Tomorrow I get ready to take off for the National Girl Scout Convention in Houston, Texas to learn more about Girl Scouts and prepare to celebrate the 100th Anniversary next year! I am incredibly excited to be surrounded by 10,000 Girl Scout lovers and be in 70 degree weather, who knows if I will ever come home after this week!
Goals for this week!

1. I’ve kicked this sick bug to the curb, so I’m making sure I am getting plenty of sleep, drinking my Emergen-C and Green Tea, and getting plenty of vitamin C so I don’t get sick again the next couple of months.
2. Never, ever get a whole month behind on my blog! This is beginning to feel like a Harry Potter Novel!
3. Meet Katie Couric and take a picture for proof! She will be in Texas speaking at the convention, SO EXCITED! Not only was she a previous Girl Scout, but I think she is such an incredible journalist.
Much love and hugs!

Perfection is a stage that I hope to never reach, because there would be no challenges or joy in life after that.

The next week I had an interview with Boise Family Magazine, Beth Markley as well as Natalie Craig from the Arbiter. I was able to share about my experience competing in the Miss America Scholarship Organization as well as my personal story of being involved in Girl Scouts. There are 50,000,000 women in the US who have been Girl Scouts, it’s incredibly exciting to think that I am one of many who get to share their personal story of growth and the journey I experienced.

For the past 16 years, my mom, sister and I have ran in the Women’s Fitness Celebration Run. The race is now the largest women’s fitness run in the country with 15,000 women. On Friday, I helped out at the Axiom Gym Booth (previously known as Gold’s Gym) with a couple of their trainers. I talked with visitors about the welcoming environment the gym offers as well as the great equipment and nice facility. There was live entertainment and booths set up from all over. It was a great way to get everyone amped up for the race the next day!

Saturday morning, the Nutting girls put on their “Stunt Tater” shirts for the Idaho Potato Commission to get ready to race our little hearts out! It’s a gorgeous run with the course going through the heart of downtown Boise, uphill to the Train Depot, through a neighborhood overlooking all of Downtown Boise, and downhill back to downtown. At the end there is food from all over including the best bagels from a local bagel company. And of course huge women’s celebration! My mom and I each finished 7th in our age category and my sister placed in the top 25 in hers. I’d say we did pretty good!

The next morning I went to speak about “Living the Dream” through the empowerment of girls and women at the Soroptimist International of Rocky Mountain Region meeting. I talked about what it meant to live the dream, how it seems as if “the dream” is something that is perfection. There are no worries, no fears and everything fits into place. But that isn’t the dream, nor is it even close to reality. The dream is rather a stage where we do have worries, we do have challenges. But we find the strength and the courage to overcome those challenges to reach our full potential and in the process find ourselves making a difference not only in our life, but in the lives of others. It was definitely one of those days where you know your message meant something, because I felt like I was already a part of that group of women after speaking, even though we had just met that day.

Another woman talked about what it meant to live the dream. She had just found her husbands daughter who had been kidnapped back when she was a child. She received a phone call 6 months ago and it was her husband’s daughter on the other line. She is now in her late 20’s and has children of her own, and having his daughter safe and sound was her dream. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room after she spoke, and especially after she introduced us to her step daughter.

I then went to Paul Mitchell’s “Princess For A Day” where girls could come and get their hair and make up done and were given their own crowns. One group of girls were with their friend who was preparing to move to Utah. They wanted one last celebration and the mom’s even surprise them with a limo to pick them up when it was over to take them out to dinner!

The Miss America Organization also has a national platform, The Children’s Miracle Network. Founded back in 1983, the Children’s Miracle Network has raised over $4.3 billion to help fund Children’s Hospitals around the country. In Idaho, St. Luke’s is the only children’s hospital and is where the proceeds that I raise will go towards. I went out Saturday morning to the Nevada vs Boise State football game. I went around and met Bronco Nation’s Fans, and it felt great to be back on my home turf!
I also got to meet Stephanie Smith, Miss Idaho 1992 who also competed at the National Sweetheart Pageant. It’s always so nice to hear about what previous Miss Idaho sisters have done, but especially to meet one who also competed at Sweethearts. She was there with Roseanna Holliday, Miss Idaho 1993 and a very good friend of mine. It was so much fun to hang out with both of them as well as spread awareness of the Children’s Miracle Network.

Interested in making a donation? My goal is to raise $1000 before Miss America. Every penny counts and can help to make so many children happy.


A couple of days later I went to Spalding Elementary School to give a self-esteem workshop to a group of junior Girl Scouts. Though I’ve given my work shop numerous times, there is never one that is just like the last and I always take something new from it. This one was no different. When I came, the girls had a huge list of questions to ask. They ranged from “What’s your mom and dad’s name?”, “How big is your house?”, “If you could do it all over again, would you want to be Miss Idaho?” and one that said “How do you always look pretty and perfect?”. One thing that I talk about in my workshop is the idea behind perfect. I actually tell the girls I don’t believe in the word perfect and think it should be removed from the dictionary! Because if you reach perfection, then there is no where to go from there. There are no challenges to overcome, nothing to work for, therefore no growth. So when I answered the last question, my answer was that I make sure I take care of myself everyday, treat others well, and smile a lot (I told her it was probably the best accessory a girl could have!).

One girl stopped me and said she thought beauty was from the inside out though. I then explained to her how the way you treat someone comes from the inside, and that will reflect out. When I see someone treating others with respect, I think that is what makes them look like a beautiful person inside and out. She then nodded and said she understood and smiled back at me with the cutest little grin across her face.

I then travelled up to Pocatello, Idaho to give a self-esteem workshop at the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center for “Girl Scouts Beyond Bars”. I absolutely love everything about Girl Scouts, and had never seen a program quite like this. At any given time, there is roughly 300 women at the correction center. They are rewarded for good behavior, but it takes much more to be involved in this program. The must not have had any poor behavior in the past 6 months, go through different steps, and have the guardian’s of their daughters agree to have their daughters come and visit them once every month for Girl Scouts with their mothers. If they make one mistake or poor choice during that time, the mothers have to personally call up their daughters to explain why they can no longer do Girl Scouts. But for some, this is the only time they get to see their daughters.

I walked into the center, not quite sure what to expect. I had never given a workshop in an environment such as this, as was preparing myself for whatever could possibly happen. As soon as the mothers and daughters walked into the room, watching them embrace seeing their daughter for the first time in weeks made me feel so happy to be part of such a touching moment. One mother got to see her daughter about twice a week. For the other, this was her only opportunity to see her two girls. That workshop, we spent a lot of time talking about goals and motivation. What motivates us to accomplish those goals and to stay focused.

I asked the girls and mother if they had role models or things that inspired them to reach those goals when they felt like they were near impossible to reach. One mother raised her hand. She said that this program (Girl Scouts Beyond Bars) was the one thing that kept her motivated to be on her best behavior and not fall back. She held both her girls close to her as she talked about how this was the program that encouraged her to do better because this meant she would be able to see her girls. I could have stayed there all afternoon with them. I just wanted to go up to each mom and hug them, tell them they are such wonderful mothers for giving this to their daughters an that they are good people. I hope my smile helped to convey that to them.

It was one of the girls birthday so we had birthday cupcakes and then said our good byes. I gave each girl a Miss Idaho Spuddy Buddy of which they were so excited to have. One girl couldn’t wait to show it at Show and Tell! They then said good bye to their mothers of which I couldn’t stop looking. I can’t imagine going a whole month with out seeing my mother, but I was so happy that they at least had a few hours that day to spend time together. I think it will mean a lot to those daughters when they grow up and realize how hard their mothers worked so that they could treasure those few hours with their daughters. At the end we all held hands and stood in our closing circle. We were each to think one thing that we were thankful about ourselves and one thing we wanted to work on. I was thankful for that opportunity to have been there that day and promised myself that no matter how crazy things get sometimes, I will always look back to that moment and remember how important it is to cherish the small things.

Goals for this week!

1. Accept that fact that cold weather is coming in and I have to break out the fall/winter layers. This is a tough one for me this year for some reason and I am just not ready for winter!

2. Start going to hot yoga 3 times a week after I get back from Sun Valley. The nice thing about it being freezing outside, is I can’t wait to get into that 110 degree room!

3. The countdown is on! In three months I will be standing on the Miss America Stage at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. Each day until then, I will remind myself that rather than be intimidated by all the other 52 gorgeous, talented, intelligent, simply amazing women, to feel fortunate that I am up there with them! I am so excited to be reunited with each of them!

Much love and hugs,