There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something- Henry Ford

Coming into the last couple months of my year as Miss Idaho, I have been making sure that I take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. That has made this past month one of the busiest I’ve had my whole year, which says a lot!
My month started off with a visit to my alma mater, Capital High School, for their Honor Society induction ceremony.

All through high school I was involved in the Honor Society, so to be the keynote speaker for that evening’s ceremony was such a, well for lack of better words, honor. I conveyed the message that there is life beyond high school and the importance of focusing on your future and not letting anyone hold you back.

My next morning was an early one as I headed off to Rupert, Idaho. I am thoroughly convinced that “The Windy City” of Chicago needs to give up its title to Rupert after my weekend there. I kept joking with all the students that I talked to that day that I was literally “blown away” by Rupert. They thought that was pretty funny, and one little boy told me he had a suggestion for a potential career option for me, a weather girl. That day I spoke to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders at Rupert Elementary School, then spoke to 4th and 5th graders at Acequia Elementary, followed by a heart to heart at Mt. Harrison Alternative School, and ended with speaking to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls at West Minico Middle School.

The Soroptomist chaperoned my visit to Rupert and were very generous to set us up in a remodeled old building which is now Henry‘s At the Drift Inn. We enjoyed having dinner with them and were even able to meet the Violet Richardson recipient of that year.

That next morning I spoke at Rupert United Methodist Church to the Soroptomist, Job’s Daughters, 4-H, and Girl Scouts about empowerment and worked on self-esteem bubbles with them. Each person was to fill the bubble with people, memories, and items that build their confidence and help them recognize the incredible person they are.

That next week I got to spend some time with a few of my favorite women in the whole world! Every year, we sign up for Beat Coach Pete, a race put on by Boise State to raise scholarship money. Boise State’s football coach Chris Peterson donates $5 for every person who beats him across the 5k finish line. It’s a blast to see all the blue and orange bronco pride and run with friends across the blue turf to receive a shirt that says “I Beat Pete” or “I’ll Beat Pete Next Year”.

We were very excited to have crossed the finish line and receive our “I Beat Pete” shirts, so excited we had to celebrate with some homemade French toast!
A couple days later I met with Frank Muir from the Idaho Potato Commission for one last meeting before the new Miss Idaho was crowned. It was so nice to be able to sit down with him and hear all about where their potato truck for Meals on Wheels had been traveling and prepare for the Idaho Academy of Nutrition and Dietics Conference. The next day I presented a self-esteem workshop to the Kuna LDS Church where I talked about living your dreams and staying true to your beliefs, values, and the person you are.

I spent that Friday at Washington Elementary in Nampa with Mr. O’Brien’s gym class with former Mr. Cosmo Idaho, Luke Howarth, who is also an exercise enthusiast and loves working with kids! We spoke to all different ages about the importance of goal setting, surrounding yourself with positive role models, taking care of your body, and how to exercise and have fun at the same time.

We were also able to engage in some of our own favorite childhood activities that promote a healthy and active lifestyle including ball tag, circuits, rock climbing, and shark tag with a parachute (everyone’s favorite!)

That next morning I was a keynote speaker at the HAM Convention. One of my goals from last month was to find out what exactly a “HAM” was. I found out that frustrated commercial operators gave them this name because of their radio interference, however, amateur radio is now a great source of spreading community service across the nation, helping friend communicate long distance, and is a common shared hobby for others. Having no experience in HAM radio, I definitely had to do my research on what exactly HAM radio was, and how I could use my experience to relate with what they do. I decided everyone enjoys a little good, clean humor, so I started my speech with a few

“You may be a HAM if….

When you book a hotel room, your decision is solely based upon if you can put out an antenna and if it’s a good spot.
If you check a potential new car for its antenna mounting possibilities before you take it for a test drive.
Your wife said ‘Let’s go see Aunt Anna’ and you thought she said ‘Antenna’”
I then tied the four points of the crown (service, style, success, and scholarship) to their five components tied to their motto “Always Be Prepared- Advocacy, Education, Technology, Membership, and Public Service.” Little did I know, the Miss America Organization and HAM radio have more in common than I thought which made for a pleasant surprise to what I thought was going to be a challenge to connect to.

The following week marked the start of my tour of North Idaho and one of my busiest weeks I’ve had. I packed up my Miss Idaho Spuddy Buddies and flew into Spokane (my birthplace!) to meet up with the lovely Debbie Love who had helped to line up appearances in North Idaho and works with the Eastern Washington and North Idaho Girl Scout Council. We then drove to Lewiston to rest up for all the traveling that lay ahead of us. That morning, we headed to Weippe to speak at Timberline High School to speak to the girls about self-esteem and emphasizing the importance of setting goals and respecting themselves and others. I also shot a little b-ball in heels and a dress (first time for everything!) Next we headed to Lapwai to give a “Free To Be Me” workshop with Nez Perce and then head back to Lewiston to visit the Lewiston Community Center where I spoke to Girl Scouts about my experience as a Girl Scout growing up.

I love meeting Girl Scouts who are working on their Gold Award since only 5% of Girl Scouts nationwide will earn this high honor. This trip I met many women who were working on theirs!

The next morning I spoke to Lewiston High School’s, The Bengal’s Purr Journalism class. Can I just say, what a group of incredible individuals! I talked to them about my experience in the journalism world and how it has helped me to accomplish my goals. I was incredibly impressed and proud of them for making it into the top 10 nationwide! As I left, they gave a shout out over the loudspeaker which was the best start to my morning! Next, I headed over to Moscow to meet with a Gold Award recipient to view her project. I followed up my visit to Moscow with another self-esteem workshop and then met with the University of Idaho’s Kappa Delta Zeta Chi to talk to them about their partnership with Girl Scouts. I must admit, I was a little nervous about being a Bronco and stepping into Vandal territory, but the women were all so sweet and genuinely interested in how to make the best connection with Girl Scouts.

Next, we headed up to Coeur d’Alene where I spoke to Lakeside Elementary about setting goals and surrounding yourself with positive influences and people who support you and encourage you. We talked about why it was important to have friends who put us up, not bring us down. I had the sweetest little boy raise his hand in the middle of my discussion and ask me if I would be his friend. My heart just melted, I’m never one to turn down a new friend anyways but there’s no way you could say no to this sweet little face! I then gave a “Free to Be Me” workshop at the beautiful Salvation Army Kroc Center. I was so thankful that Miss Spokane, Miss Yakima, and Miss Spokane Outstanding Teen came out to my appearance and joined the “Mom and Me” Girl Scout event. They then treated us to a delicious and absolutely beautiful dinner at the Coeur d’Alene Resort and Miss Spokane’s Outstanding Teen presented a clever little basket filled with every type of apple! She told me that she thought to herself “What would Miss Washington’s Outstanding Teen do?” and that’s how she came up with the idea. I loved it!

The next day I went to Sandpoint to visit Sandpoint High School’s Journalism I Class, Yearbook Staff, and Cedar Post Newspaper where I spoke about my journalism experience, Girl Scouts, Miss Idaho, and even played musical chairs. The biggest surprise was when a boy raised his hand and asked if he could ask a question. He came up to the front of the class and told me that Prom was coming up, then he got down on one knee, pulled out a beautiful arrangement of flowers and asked me if I would be his date. I could have died! It was the same week of Miss Idaho, but I have no doubt a sweet guy like him will have any problem finding a date. I then got to head to Southside Elementary and read one of my favorite books “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” to the kindergarten class, 1st grade, and 2nd grade classes. I’ve said it before, but I love working with children and hearing the questions that they have. One little boy asked me if my dad made Idaho and that was why I was Miss Idaho. Another little boy asked me if Jesus glued the crown to my head. I won’t forget the huge group hug that they gave me as I had to say farewell, they even all brought their little stuffed puppies that they were taking care of as part of a reading project they were doing! I then presented another “Free To Be Me” self-esteem workshop for Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts in Naples and dinner with the Love family and friends at 2nd Avenue Pizza in Sandpoint. It was absolutely delicious!

The next morning I woke up early to drive to Spokane Valley for a local food drive, the back to Coeur d’Alene for the food drive at America West Bank, and followed it up with the Girl Scout’s 100th Anniversary party that a group of Girl Scouts organized in Coeur d’Alene. I loved competing in the potato sack race, revisiting my favorite childhood activity (jump roping!), and holding a day old baby lamb! I had the best week up in North Idaho and am so thankful and appreciative to everyone who made this trip a success, I can’t wait to come back up and visit this summer.

I got back into Boise, I had a day to catch up on work, a little bit of laundry since a week packed with appearances requires a month’s worth of clothes, and crossing things off my to do list. Then it was off to Sun Valley for the Idaho Academy of Nutrition and Dietics Conference. Sun Valley is one my favorite places in the world. The drive itself is gorgeous with all the trees and hills, and by the time you get to Sun Valley it looks as if it’s simply sitting in a cloud (I think some would call it heaven on earth). After a busy week it was just the place I needed to be and I was even more excited that one of my favorite people would be up there! Deidre Edmunds and I helped out at the Idaho Potato Commission booth and were able to listen to keynote speakers discuss healthy lifestyles, diet myths, the real story behind energy drinks, and how to squeeze in your daily exercise even with a busy schedule. One evening we even participated in the “Fun Run” and enjoyed a rainy, but beautiful, run across Ketchum.

I came back to Boise that weekend just in time for the Little Sister breakfast. I love that Miss Idaho is such a great mentoring program to young girls and enjoy being able to be a mentor to our little sisters. At this breakfast, each little sister found out who her big Miss Idaho sister would be and a few interesting facts about her. From now until Miss Idaho, the big and little sisters will exchange emails, give each other little clever notes and gifts, and will build a relationship that often will continue even after Miss Idaho takes place. I still am in contact with my first ever Miss Idaho sister from nearly 5 years ago!
A couple days later I traveled to Fruitland, Weiser, New Plymouth, and surrounding areas of Western Idaho where I helped recruit contestants and also helped to present an interview workshop.

Later that week, I payed a surprise visit to one of my Girl Scout Troops that I’ve known since most of them we’re 5-year-old Daisy Girl Scouts, now they are in junior high school and some are even getting ready for high school! I shared with them my Miss America experience, winning the Fourpoints Scholarship, and what I have been up to since. They talked to me about their Bronze Award, what they were doing to earn their Silver Award, and potential Gold Award ideas. They also told me about how they are pen pals with a Girl Scout troop in New York! I loved getting to catch up with them and was so happy to receive a little poster they had made up consisting of all the pictures that were from their Miss America Party and inspiring words from them all on the back.
The next day I drove up to Garden Valley for their Mother Daughter Girl Scout Tea. Their church had been set up with numerous different themed tables from princesses to safari, to Hawaiin and Chocolate, and even a miniature size table that was Toy Story themed that I sat at with my new little friend Kami. I then talked about my experience growing up with Girl Scouts and how it’s helped me to be where I am today.

That week, I also got to meet our new Children’s Miracle Network Champion, Brenna who had just celebrated her one year anniversary of being a Leukemia survivor. I talked about my experience volunteering with St. Luke’s and the Children’s Miracle Network and Brenna talked about how CMN helped her and about her story. I had a blast getting to know her and her twin Anna and learning Anna’s happy dance! Not only did she teach me her happy dance, but she also told me when she’s incredible happy she pulls out her eyebrows and runs around telling everyone that she just pulled out her eyebrows!

I can’t even believe I have less than 3 weeks left until I crown the next Miss Idaho. But I understand that with each transition in life comes a whole new excitement and adventure waiting to happen! My goals this week are centered around this idea

1. Today I’m going to run in the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon! Though I’m just running the 10k, I hope to make it across that finish line and beat Mr. Idaho! And of course have fun at the same time, but it’s always fun to have a little competition. Watch out for this “hot potato”!

2. I have many people who have made this year as memorable and wonderful as it was. I’m hoping that I will be able to squeeze all those memories and people into my farewell slideshow. Three and a half minutes to narrow down thousands of pictures!

3. I want to end my year with a bang! And hopefully it won’t be a bang with me tripping on stage. Thought it wouldn’t be a first! Most importantly, I want to simply enjoy every minute of the last few weeks before I give my title to the next lucky woman. Savor and remember to live in the moment.

Much love and hugs!