Thursday, March 6, 2014

Why I Love the Miss Genola Program

Last year three of my daughters participated in the Miss Genola Program, one as a "Miss Genola" contestant, one as a Junior Miss participant, and one as a committee member. We were all hesitant to get involved at first, because I have never been in a "pageant" in my life, I've never had a desire to do so, and my girls have pretty much followed my lead on that.

However, last winter my oldest daughter, Jessica, was asked by Kristy Green, to participate on the Miss Genola committee. Jessica loves Sister Green so readily agreed to help. When she heard what the program was going to be all about, she said to herself, "Now THAT'S the kind of program I want to be involved with!" Once she agreed, Jessica set about to convince her sisters that they should all participate. She got a lot of push-back, because... well, I already told you why - we just don't do pageants.

But then Jessica mentioned to 16 year old Katilyn that there would be a scholarship for the winners of the program. This started to get our attention a little! So, we decided to go to the Introductory Brunch and see what it was all about. By the time we left, we were psyched about participating in Miss Genola! 

Why? I'll tell you why! This is no ordinary program!

In fact, it's not really a typical pageant at all, in the sense that many of us think of pageants. First of all, it's very far removed from being a "beauty" pageant, because the contestants' scores are based only 10% on appearance. Yeah. Really! No swimming suits, no prancing about, no immodest attire. In fact, the program focuses primarily on inner beauty, service, building strength, and developing friendships. 

If it's not a Typical Beauty Pageant, then What's it All About?

Well let me tell you about one of our gatherings, and you decide for yourself.
At the first meeting, Kristy Green had 3 delicious looking chocolate cakes up front. She asked the girls, "who wants a piece of cake?" and of course, everyone did. She proceeded to serve up the cake one at a time, and talk to us about them. Here's what we learned about the cakes: 
  • Beautiful on the Outside, Fake on the Inside - The first cake was gorgeous - it looked like a double-decker double chocolate fudge cake. And if you have ever eaten anything made by the Greens, you'll know why we all wanted some. But when she tried to cut it to serve up a piece, we could see that she was struggling to cut through it. Why? Because there was no cake inside - it was made of styrofoam plates covered in chocolate frosting! She talked to us about how being beautiful on the outside doesn't mean as much if you're fake on the inside.
  • Genuine on the Inside, but with a Careless Presentation - The second cake looked similar to the first, but she promised us there was real cake inside. When someone said they wanted some, instead of slicing a nice piece, she dug her hand into the cake and plopped a big chunk of it down on the plate. Yuck! Needless to say, no one wanted to eat it. She talked to us about how even if there's genuine cake on the inside, presentation makes a big difference.
  • Beautiful on the Inside, with a Nice Presentation - The third cake was smaller than the other two, but it was truly delicious cake, AND it was served up nicely on the plate. Kristy talked to the girls about how important it is to make sure you are genuine on the inside, and take just a little time to learn how to present yourself at your personal best.
  • Too Much Decoration - Lastly, she took one more piece of cake and started putting on toppings. Whipped cream, sprinkles, candy, syrup, you name it. Did anyone still want it? Not really. It was just too much sweetness in one piece of cake. She talked about how if you go overboard on "decorating" yourself, it's not as good as if you let your genuine inner beauty shine through.
This cake demonstration was just the beginning of an incredibly thoughtful program that focused on helping these young women learn to love themselves for who they are. Here's some of what we experienced during the Miss Genola Program 2013. . .

Miss Genola Contestants (ages 15 to 18): 

  • Mother-Daughter PJ Party - We all came in our PJ's and heard incredible stories about some of the world's most noteworthy women. Inspiring! We also heard from a young Mom who had an incredible story of strength and endurance. She had gone through a difficult trial where an outside influence was telling her that she wasn't good enough - she shared with us her personal journey of how she found her inner strength, escaped the negativity, and learned to truly love herself for who she was. We were pretty much all crying by the end, it was amazing. After the stories, Moms and daughters washed each others' feet in little tubs of soapy water and lotioned up each others' feet and painted each others' toenails. It was awesome!
  • Dance Night with Dads - All the girls and their Dad's (or Grandpa's, or escorts of choice) came to learn the waltz together. They learned how to dance gracefully on stage with their partner, even in heels! On the night of the program, they danced with their Dad's while the announcer read a letter written by their father expressing his feelings about his wonderful daughter.
  • Super-Woman Shoes - The girls learned about Kristy Green's "superwoman shoes" - her tall black boots that she puts on when she needs a lift and really wants to feel fantastic! They talked about how what you wear can affect the way you act, and how there's a time and a place for different types of clothing, shoes, and actions. Everyone learned how to walk with confidence and be proud of who they are.
  • Passion Search and Presentation - Instead of doing a "talent" show, the Miss Genola program 2013 focused on helping the girls learn how to find their "passion" and do a presentation on it. This was my daughter Jessica's role on the committee. She talked to the girls about finding what they really loved the most, and worked with them one-on-one to decide how to showcase their passion on the night of the program. We had all sorts of topics that night, including authorship, speech & politics, drawing, crime prevention, singing, and even soccer! It was truly a passion presentation, not the typical "talent" show.
  • Inner Beauty with a Nice Presentation - The girls had an expert come talk to them about the best ways to apply makeup to bring out their natural beauty. Not too much, not too little, but just right. Most importantly, they were encouraged to always put their best foot forward without being fake.
    Here's me rappelling down the cliff. . .
    It was terrifying and awesome!
    The girls were such great examples to me...
    After they all did it, I knew I *had* to!
  • Rapelling off a Cliff! - This was my personal favorite, because I'm so proud that I actually did it myself! All the girls and a few of us adults climbed to the top of a small cliff with our fearless leader, John Black. He taught us repelling safety, and had all the right equipment and backup measures to make sure we would be able to proceed without injury. I think everyone was scared to death, but every single one of us did it! It was a great way to feel good about knowing that you can accomplish anything if you have the right tools, the right help, and have confidence in yourself. We had an incredible bonding experience up there that cannot be gained any other way. 

Junior Miss and Mini Miss Participants (ages 4 to 14):

  • The younger girls were separated into three different groups, according to age, and worked a little each week to learn a modest dance routine, performed to a song with positive lyrics about loving yourself for who you are. 
  • After the performance on the night of the program, all younger contestants got to walk out on stage in a beautiful dress and receive a tiara and a rose. It was their chance to be a princess for a night.
  • This year, I've heard that the Junior Miss contestants (ages 11 to 14) will also be doing an essay contest about "Why they love living in Genola." The winner of the contest will be crowned "Junior Miss Genola."

Starla Dredge
Genola Rose 2013

Special "Genola Rose" Award

  • Last year they started something new called the "Genola Rose" award. This is given to a woman who is at least 60 years young who is a resident of Genola representing timeless beauty and service. This year nominations will be taken from all residents, with the final winner being chosen by the Genola Town Council. Hearing the presentation and life biography of the woman chosen last year was truly an inspiring moment for everyone there. 

Miss Genola Scholarship

  • There will be a scholarship account set aside specifically for Miss Genola royalty. All money raised by the contestants will be put into this fund to make sure that winners get something tangible from their participation. As the program grows, the scholarship will grow.
SO - That pretty much sums up my thoughts. All I can say is that if the 2014 program is anything like the 2013 program (and I've seen the schedule - it is!), I can hardly wait to see what each new week brings! 

And THAT'S why I love the Miss Genola Program. 

I'm sure that you'll love it too -Come join us for a great 2014 program!


Frequently Asked Questions:

When we ask people if they want to participate in the Miss Genola program, what we usually hear is:
  • "Oh, it's just not my thing." 
    • After reading the above, you may have changed your mind! If you're unsure, grab all your girlfriends and your Mom and come to our information meeting on Saturday March 8th at Kristy Green's home. It can't hurt to listen in and decide! If nothing else, you'll get to eat a yummy treat prepared by the Queen of Cooking herself! ;)
  • "How much does it cost?"
    • This is the incredible part - it's only $5.00 for the younger groups, and $25 for contestants age 14 to 18. And as far as costumes, you don't have to buy anything fancy. In fact, last year many of the girls used clothing items they already owned, or they borrowed things from neighbors and friends. Sign up at the Town Office.
  • "What will the contestants get?"
    • Mentors!
    • Friends!
    • Fun!
    • Self Confidence!
    • And in increased a love for themselves and others.


Need we say more? 

For more information, contact the Genola Town Office 801-754-5300
Or, ask to join the Miss Genola Facebook Group here:

Last Year's Miss Genola 2013 Participants -
Beautiful Inside & Out!

Katie Scott

Jesse Ekins

Josie Harold

Amanda Ewell

Hailey Baxter

Katilyn Ward

Kayla Raven

Rachel Coleman

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