Distinguished Young Women

I was a little girl when my mother took me to my first Junior Miss program. The girls wore long white dresses, sang and danced, and at the end of the night one of them got a medal. Part of me wished it was a crown, but then I likened it to the Olympics and felt ok:) 

Years later I became Jones County’s Junior Miss, and I’ve been lucky to be involved with the Hinds County program ever since I moved back to Mississippi .

I say lucky because Distinguished Young Woman (as it’s now called) teaches girls skills I don’t believe they’d learn anywhere else at 16. They’re rewarded for thinking critically about current events, expressing their opinions in tough interviews, raising their GPA’s and SAT scores, honing their talents and perfecting push-ups:) If you’ve never see a DYW fitness routine– it’s no joke. 

This weekend four girls competed for the Hinds County title. Yes, four is a small number. Spring break and other school commitments kept other would be contestants away. But our four girls blew me away Saturday night. 

We had one medal to give away at the end of the night, but I bet if you keep an eye on those girls over the next few years you’ll see they all won something…confidence, a new skill–maybe just a perfect push-up…but something that will be with them forever. 

2016 Contestants with Outgoing DYW Riley Kellum

DYW Winner Emily Box, 1st alternate Taylor White and me

amazing choreographer Tee Land and my bump hiding sequins from Rent the Runway


Scout’s Honor 

I think being a Girl Scout is right of passage.

For two years, my little friends at Presbyterian Christian School and I sold cookies, earned patches and pretended we were part of Troop Beverly Hills. Or at least I did.

I liked it so much– I spent a week at Girl Scout camp. While I admit I avoided the outdoor “adventure” activities–  I did play the lead chicken in our Parent’s Day play, and earned the “Miss Manners” award for my instinctive use of “yes ma’am” toward our instructors:)

Like many girls- I gave up Scouts when entering middle school. But this weekend I wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t….

Saturday I helped the Tall Pines Girl Scouts (Madison/Jackson area) with their first Desserts First fundraiser.

Five area chefs made a dessert using the Samoa cookie. I sampled bread pudding, cheesecake even popcorn based around  the coconut chocolate cookie. So. Good.

I also found out that scouts are so much more than cookies. Girls who stick with it through high school go to Europe, spend weeks camping outdoors, sleep in trees– learn survival skills I’ll never have. These are smart, driven, well rounded girls…who can also tie a mean knot.

I had a great night with them:)

Gorgeous Setting at the Jackson Yacht Club

Folks just arriving for the party

She asked to take a selfie:)

My new troop:)