Many Miss America’s Outstanding Teen state titleholders join together to form the AOT Sorority, an exclusive group of former national competitors whose wish it is to continue supporting and giving back to an organization that has meant and done so much for them. Sorority sister and Miss Pennsylvania’s Outstanding Teen 2006 Tawni Darby promises there’s no hazing going on in the AOT Sorority—just fun!
What does it mean to be a member of the AOT Sorority?
The purpose of the sorority is to get former titleholders involved in the organization again—to get the girls to come back to the national pageant and volunteer, whether it be with Teens in Training Camp, photo shoots, and so on. It’s designed as a way to give back and keep in touch. This year, we created a private Facebook group. It’s so easy to lose touch, but as soon as the group was started, girls were able to reconnect and found they have so many mutual connections—especially with so many former teens going on to win at their Miss competitions. It’s a good way to give back to an organization that has given so much.
Does the sorority host any events throughout the year?
I was so excited for the luncheon we held at MAOTeen this year. There were a lot of formers in town for the national competition. It was great, because many of the girls I competed with seven years ago are now married or getting their Ph.D.s, but we’re all spread out. It was nice to have a structured way to reconnect. When we got together to talk about our experiences, that’s when the brainstorming could start. And there’s something we share that no one else can understand. After competition, we go home and try to explain our experiences to friends and family. But there are inside things we experience just by being here—like Pam, the choreographer who has been here since the beginning and her mannerisms, or the crazy stagehand backstage who’s always making jokes. We really have formed a sorority-like bond.
What is the long-term benefit of being a member of the AOT Sorority?
This sorority helps reconnect girls who have gone through the organization. These girls are doing incredible things, and it’s amazing to see how much our lives can intertwine. We have a great talent pool, and sorority sisters can take advantage of that by networking—that’s how I got my internship with MAOTeen. This whole organization was born out of people connecting and utilizing talents and leadership. They’re people who probably wouldn’t have come together otherwise. That’s what we are doing with the sorority. We need the talents and abilities of former titleholders to build our team, and it’s important in an organization like this that is primarily run by volunteers. And that’s why it’s also important to stay connected. I believe that the formers are going to be the future of the organization. One could be the next president, or just a volunteer.
Who can be a member of the AOT Sorority, and how can they sign up?
Any former Outstanding Teen state titleholder that has competed at nationals since 2005 can join. We started small with girls from just a few different classes, but now we are more spread out. Ideally it would be amazing to have one or two girls from every state and every year.
Learn more about AOT Sorority membership at www.maoteen.org.