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Idaho: Rolling Up Their Sleeves to Empower Women, Provide Scholarships

Friday, 31 May 2013 12:25

Miss Idaho Scholarship Program state titleholder Whitney Wood readily sings the praises of Idaho. The state’s program deserves plenty of praise, too: It has a close-knit, family-style togetherness. It sets the bar for success as high as Table Mountain. And its volunteers don't mind rolling up their sleeves in the name of women’s empowerment and scholarship.


Although small in numbers, Idaho’s contestants are well-prepared, career-focused women. And while Idaho titleholders sometimes have to go door-to-door to solicit appearances, the practice actually works out to the girls’ benefit. “Most contestants at the end of their year have a passion for marketing. It’s what they’ve done all year,” said Tami Urquhart, Miss Idaho Organization executive director. “They found it wasn’t easy to market themselves, but I think that gives them a great opportunity to feel empowered.”

Miss Idaho 2012 Whitney Wood is a proponent of just that. When selling advertising for the 2013 Miss America program book, Whitney approached for sponsorship. It was a big step to reach out to so huge an organization, Tami said, but months of marketing experience with the Miss Idaho organization helped make Whitney successful. “Pageants are often stereotyped, but I wish people would realize how it empowers young women instead of objectifying them,” Whitney said. Tami’s advice for other titleholders is to “first have a reason to market, then go do it. When you have the title, you’re linked with something people recognize and think highly of.” 

Just as the state organization continues to grow each year, titleholders also see development—in their skills. As Tami notes, Whitney’s year has overall been a time to grow and mature in self-confidence. And Whitney will never forget the lessons she learned serving as the state’s representative. “One of the biggest things to keep in mind is a wide perspective,” Whitney said. “There are so many days with so many appearances, and some people expect you to be perfect—everyone is watching what you do and say. But you have to realize that this is a stepping-stone in life, a launch pad for the rest of life.”

Read more about state organizations in each issue of fourpoints magazine! Check out the Miss Maryland Organization feature in the June issue, and stay tuned in August for more information about the Miss Nebraska Organization! 

Written by: Erika Fifelski, fourpoints staff writer