Thursday, August 15, 2013

So Long, Sweet Summer!

    "I try to be grateful of the abundance of the blessings that I have, for the journey that I'm on and to relish each day as a gift."
-John McGreevey

   It is with gratitude and excitement that I write this post!  Since my last blog, I have been busy preparing for the Miss Seashore Line, Miss Coastal Shore, and Miss Cape Shores local pageant.  I've been working as an intern at The Volunteer Center of South Jersey, hitting the gym daily, and of course, serving the community! 
       I am now honored to say that on August 2nd, I was crowned Miss Seashore Line 2014!  Not only am I ready to serve our state as a Miss America Organization local titleholder for another year, but I am already looking forward to next June!  Miss New Jersey week was one of the best weeks of my life and I feel truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to experience it all over again next year.  Until then, it's time to focus on my next endeavors: sophomore year of college and Miss National Sweetheart!  
It's official!  Receiving my second local titleholder contract 
from our lovely field director, Lisa!
My new sister queens, Olivia and Cierra!

       Being named first runner-up at Miss New Jersey was unbelievably exciting-I had hoped to make top ten in order to perform for my family and friends who made the trip to Ocean City.  When I was named first runner-up, I was in such whirlwind of excitement, I completely forgot about the sweetheart pageant!  It wasn't until someone asked me if I was going to Hoopeston that I realized the opportunity was mine to accept.  As Miss New Jersey's Outstanding Teen in 2009, I traveled to Hoopeston, Illinois to cheer on our Miss New Jersey Sweetheart, Katie Hope!  Katie was my local sister, and a true role model.  I had an awesome time at the sweetcorn festival, and met so many wonderful people!  I cannot wait to go back and experience the festival from a contestant's point of view. 

My new photo for the autograph signing in Hoopeston!
Shout out to Richard Krauss for always hooking me up with great photos!

Here are a few flashback photos from Sweetheart '09.....

 Cheering on Katie in the National Sweetheart parade!
 I hope Pete the camel is at the fair again this year :)
A photo-op in the cornfields was a must!

        In the mean time, I’ve been enjoying my summer!  Of course for me, that means plenty of pageant events and service opportunities.  Back in July, I judged the Tiny, Little, and Pre-teen Miss Seashore Line, Coastal Shore, and Cape Shores pageant!  My pageant sisters Courtney Fairfield and Anna Negron judged alongside me, as well as our parents!  

       I got to see these girls again, as well as other Miss NJ contestant sisters at the Miss Delaware pageant!  Surprisingly I felt a lot more nervous in the audience than I did while on the Miss NJ stage.  Watching another state pageant after having competed in one made me appreciate my fan club and how they handle their nerves!
 Some of the Miss NJ class of 2013, Miss NJ 2011, Kathryn, and our reigning Miss NJ, Cara!

 Finally reunited with the fabulous Chris!
 Danielle was Miss Delaware's Outstanding Teen when I was 
Miss New Jersey's Outstanding Teen!  It was awesome to catch up!
Joan with two of her formers :)
       A tradition for 80 years, the Miss Pitman pageant took place on July 3rd.  I've been attending the pageant since I can remember, and still enjoy going each year as part of my July 4th festivities!  This year I reunited with my Miss New Jersey roomie, Kelcie, in the audience.  
Kelcie and I with Karlie, now a former Miss Pitman!

       I attended our beautiful Miss New Jersey’s Outstanding Teen, Alyssa’s, send-off party!  As a former Miss NJOT, I truly believe in the teen program.  Alyssa is currently in Orlando for the National pageant, and I am sure she is having the time of her life!  It was wonderful to show my support for her both at her send-off party, and our annual former teen luncheon.  Every year, the former NJOT titleholders and their mothers join the current Miss New Jersey’s Outstanding Teen, her mother, and our beloved NJOT director, Joan Cooper.  We share stories about our experiences, advice, and our best wishes. 

       I was honored to judge the Miss Peach Queen pageant to support the Gloucester County 4-H program!  All of the girlies were adorable and I had a great time taking part in such a county tradition.  Of course, one cannot leave the 4-H fair without indulging in some homemade peach ice cream!  Yum :)

 Jersey Fresh :)

One of the contestants trying my crown on for 
size after the pageant :)

       Since Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals serves as the Miss America Organization national platform, I was glad to take part in Dairy Queen’s Miracle Treat Day.  For Miracle Treat Day, participating Dairy Queen locations donate a portion of sales from each blizzard purchased.  My mom and I decided to treat ourselves for a good cause!  I decided on the Oreo mint flavor, and not only was it delicious, it benefitted MAO’s national platform! 

       The Miss Ocean City pageant, a tradition for America’s Greatest Family Resort, was last weekend.  I was excited to return to the music pier, this time as an audience member, to cheer on my friend, Sam!  Before the pageant, I visited Atlantic City to snap a picture with the famous Bert Parks statue, and to grab a few items to bring along as gifts for my new friends at the sweetheart pageant!  My mom and I were then able to meet up with my new director, Carol, and Sam's mom Patti Dowling for a nice, pre-show dinner! 

 Sam looked BEAUTIFUL and placed 4th runner-up!
 If I listen closely, I can almost hear "There she is..." 
While I was in town, I met up with our Trudi Gillifigan to purchase 
rubber ducks for the United way!  Trudi, a reporter for the Atlantic City Press, covered the Miss NJ pageant all week and it was great to catch up :)
Love the Ocean City boardwalk!

       Just yesterday, I spent the entire day with my Miss New Jersey little stars, Olivia and Brooke!  We played bingo with the seniors at Manorcare, grabbed lunch, did a little shopping, indulged in some frozen yogurt, and headed back to Manorcare to give residents manicures!  I love bringing the girls to volunteer with me, and they had such a fun time.  The residents of Manorcare seemed to love their company, too!
 The girls showing off their favorite nail polish :)
Who doesn't love fro-yo?

        As I wrap up my summer internship with The Volunteer Center of South Jersey, I want to remind everyone of our "Operation Backpack" project.  Outside of our office at Gloucester County College, there is a box for school supply donations!  The donations will go to less fortunate students!  I dropped off my backpacks chock full of notebooks, pencils, folders and more!  If you find yourself with any extra school supplies before this school year, be sure to drop by and help a student in need!

There's lots of room in this box for our supplies :)
Had to share this photo of the beautiful flowers my friends
at the Volunteer Center gave me on my last day :)

       As for the rest of my summer, I'll be busy packing for sweetheart and school!  Classes start in less than a week and just a few days later I will be back home again for a quick 36 hour pit-stop....just enough time to to emcee the Shore Outstanding Teen triple Pageant, attend our beautiful Miss New Jersey's send-off party and fly out to Hoopeston!  I promise to update you all with some fun photos and interesting stories about my time at the National Sweetheart pageant :)  
Until then...
Follow my platform twitter, @KCandVO for fun volunteer opportunities :)