Monday, June 23, 2014

Northern Lights Princess Program

I recently took on the role as the Director of the Northern Lights Princess Program, and I couldn't be happier with this decision!  Yes there is a lot of planning and yes there is a time commitment to do this; however, the smiles, memories and friendships made exceed any of these things!

The Miss Minnesota Scholarship Organization has their sister program, Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen and I like to think of my girls as their baby sisters: Northern Lights Princesses!  I was fortunate to not only meet 24 new Princesses, but I was able to experience this weekend through the eyes of my own daughter!  Callie was able to meet new friends, challenge herself to situations that she may have some anxieties over, and build confidence in herself...

Building confidence in young girls is the soul reason for this program.  We're not trying to convince these moms to sign their daughters up so they eventually compete in our organization.  We're not trying to encourage "Toddlers and Tiaras" or "Honey Boo Boo" - we're trying to give girls ages 5-12 years old, positive role models (your Teen and Miss contestants) who give back to their communities, are well educated, share their talents, have confidence and build great communication skills.  These little girls look up the "big girls" and through this, are able to develop their own strength, confidence and are able to be brave in their own ways.

During rehearsals on Thursday afternoon, our girls were able to connect for the first time.  They learned the choreography to the song "Happy" within a couple hours.  Being a former contestant, I know there are many hours laid out for the Miss contestants to learn their opening number...for our Princesses, they had 2 hours...and let me tell you - they ROCKED IT!  No offense Miss girls - but I am beyond proud of these girls :)

We had some downtime - and since our princesses DO NOT compete, there is no need for them to be reading up on their current instead, they join together and play on their iPads!  They are able to be "kids"!!!

Personal moment here:  I stuck around to make sure everything was ready for the preliminary competition where our Princesses would be performing, so my daughter danced onstage and was soon dancing with Adam - our sound and lights guru!  What a great guy for dancing to "Let it Go" :)

Here is my Northern Lights Princess display...last year there were 10 princesses, and this year, we had 25 of them :)  I can't wait to see how many girls I will have next year participating!!!

2014 Northern lights Princesses!  What a great group of girls!

Our Princesses with Miss America's Outstanding Teen, Leah Skyes!  She was such a wonderful young woman :)

Quick rehearsal before going out on stage :)  AHHHHHH!!!  Their nerves were kicking in!

Thank you, Mary for making this experience so wonderful for these girls, and for your patience in teaching them a wonderful and entertaining dance number!

On Friday, our Princesses were treated to a wonderful party hosted by Radio Disney at the Mall of America!  Angela, Felicia, Samantha and Doug, your generosity and kindness gave these girls a party and experience they will never forget!  I cannot even begin to thank you enough for everything you did for our organization!  For the Princesses, Teens and Miss contestants.  There were smiles from ear to ear all morning and the girls were still talking about it throughout the weekend.

I paired our princesses up with a Miss Contestant (the one they would be walking out with on Saturday for finals in evening gown).  They spent 2 hours together, bonding :)  Parents were able to hang off to the side and take pictures, mingle, and watch their little princesses build new relationships with an extremely positive role model...a friend!

Callie was fortunate to be paired with Miss Northwest, Chantal Wilson!  She is such a patient, kind hearted woman!  She is going to do some AMAZING things in her life, and I am so thankful Callie was with her :)  I am so thankful for their friendship they built!  Thank you Chantal for your patience, acceptance and loving heart!

Radio Disney played some wonderful Disney music for a fun dance party!  The girls were able to make their own wands, decorate their crown boxes (our garage floor now is pink and purple!), eat a delicious lunch together and mingle!

The AMAZING Radio Disney staff that put on an amazing party for our girls!  THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Look at all these smiles :)

So this became the exciting moment that all of our princesses have been waiting for!  The crowning of each princess as they became Minnesota's Northern Lights Princess!   No competing, no speeches, no talents to present...just encouraging girls to be themselves and build confidence in themselves!  Miss Minnesota 2013, Rebecca Yeh crowned each princess while their Miss handed off some Disney goodie bags :)

I can tell you -my daughter was THRILLED to be crowned!  Look at that smile :)

Grampa came and cheered Callie on and mingled with all the pretty ladies :)

Callie and Kayla Brown have a beautiful friendship already and Lauren Johnson developed a beautiful friendship over this weekend!  I am so thankful for you girls and your love towards my daughter!  Thank you for your kindness!

After our Princess Party, we brought our Teens and Princesses to Sea Life Aquarium!  Each Teen was responsible for 3-4 of our Northern Lights Princesses!  What a great time :)  Kathryn Kueppers, you are such a dynamic young lady!  You have a heart of gold and these little girls looked up to you so much.  I am so thankful they got to know you more!

We may or may not have had some "EVERYBODY MOVE" was getting a little crowded with the escalator!  Such troopers!

Our 2013 Miss Minnesota Local Teen Titleholders and our 2014 Northern Lights Princesses all together :)  

To everyone who made this event successful and memorable for our girls, thank you!  This was truly an exciting day full of giggles, smiles and friendships!

On Saturday - our Princesses arrived for a dress rehearsal for finals night of the Miss Minnesota Scholarship Organization and the crowning of the 2014 Miss Minnesota who will go onto compete in the 2014 Miss America Scholarship Pageant!

Bruce Vassar, thank you for your patience with my girls and for helping the pageant run as smoothly as it did.   You are a very talented man with so many creative insights!

I wasn't going to have Callie's hair done, but I decided to do something easy.  It was very cheap and the spray glitter was probably the key to her happiness :)

Boy did she feel like a real princess after this :)  

We went back to the high school to get dressed, put her crown on, and even some make up!  Good thing daddy wasn't here for the "getting ready" part or he would have thought I was crazy!!!

Seriously Callie Lynae, you have to stop growing up!  You are becoming a beautiful young girl so quickly and your confidence "constinance" is growing and starting to show more and more!  I am so incredibly proud of you for being so brave and making so many new friends!  You tried something new, had a blast, and most of all, you gained confidence in yourself!  I love you so much!

Callie and her new friend Lexi :)  What a beautiful, talented little girl!

Callie was so excited to see Gramma back stage: Miss Minnesota's Executive Director :)  Very proud of you as well mom :)  You had a great group of girls again this year, and you have a great board working to give these girls everything they hoped for!

Our 2014 Northern Lights Princesses looking their absolute BEST!

My beautiful mom and handsome dad!  I absolutely adore these two :)

Callie was a wee bit shy...but she really just wanted her Grampa :)

Dates for the evening :) :)  She is for sure a Grampa's little girl!

Mommy and Callie all dolled up and ready for a wonderful evening :)

I love this little girl so much!  I wish I could stop time, but instead, I am going to soak up every single moment that I can with her, take tons of pictures to remember these moments, and then blog about it -not only to share our weekend, but to be able to look back in 20 years and remember this exactly how it was!  So maybe I am a little selfish :)  Or obsessed with my kids...either way - I sure love all three of them!

A little backstage fun with some pretty amazing girls!

So many of our Princess parents had amazing photos, but I was fortunate to have some backstage photos!!!

Your Miss Minnesota Top 10 :)

Intermission - and yes, Callie did just wake up from snuggling with the front row...with a box of skittles!  

Our beautiful Princesses on stage with our beautiful Miss contestants!  This was their final walk and introduction of our Top 5!  I have to share this - our Princesses were not going to be walking out with our Miss girls, but after spending Friday morning together and getting to know them, our Miss girls REQUESTED they walk with their Princess!  My heart absolutely melted our Princesses were beyond thrilled to be with their new friend, their new role model, their very own Miss Minnesota (because let's face it, in the eyes of a child - they're all winners!)

Callie and Chantal waiting for the announcement of the Top 5!

YEAH!  Chantal made the Top 5!  Such an exciting moment :)

Half of our Princesses lined the side of the auditorium...

While the other half was on the other side!  The girls stayed here for the announcement of the new Miss Minnesota 2014!

With every name that was announced, Callie was getting pretty sad that "Chantal was not winning"...which in her eyes was sad...but in the eyes of an adult, meant Chantal was making it to the end!  This picture of Callie is absolutely priceless.  It is not staged, it was not planned, it just happened.  This, right here, shows the connection Callie made with Chantal!  She was so excited for her!  At one point, Callie was telling her friends around her that "I made the Top 5!"  when they explained that her "Miss" made the Top 5, Callie corrected them by saying, "No, we both did!"

Her friends were so excited for her :)  I LOVE THIS!  Chantal, LOOK at this impact you made on her!  She absolutely ADORES YOU!

Final two standing: Chantal Wilson and Savannah Cole!

Miss Minnesota 2014: Savannah Cole!  This celebration here was when Callie witness Chantal receiving her First Runner Up flowers...because in Callie's eyes, Chantal WON!

Congratulations to our new Miss Minnesota, Savannah Cole - you are going to amazing things on the Miss America stage and we are so excited to cheer you on!

To all the contestants this year - Thank you so much for your hard work, your dedication and your willingness to open your hearts and arms to these beautiful little princesses who are looking up to you with wide eyes...and yes, they all want to be just like you now :)

Chantal, thank you for being such an inspiration Miss to my Princess! 

Group shot of new friends!

Final group photo of our Miss girls and our Princesses!

Callie with her new friend, Addie :)

Callie with her new friends, Alayna and Brenna!  Alayna was in my kindergarten class several years ago :)

Bianca and Callie became friends and were Princesses together...but the neat thing - Amber and myself (mothers to these two beautiful Princesses) competed on the Miss Minnesota stage together :)  This photo right here...I LOVE IT :)  


She is so proud of you Chantal!  You are a winner and always will be in her eyes!  I can't wait to see what God has in store for your future!  Just know these little eyes are upon you :)

Chantal gave Callie some Princess shoes, because she knows how much Callie LOVES shoes :)

Callie gave Chantal a Princess Bear!

Callie and her friend Andi - another Princess who is full of Love and Spunk!

As the 2014 Northern Lights Princess Program came to an end...the friendships made will never be forgotten!  I can't wait to have our girls participating in new and upcoming events throughout the year!  I also can't wait to see you all back for our 2015 Northern Lights Princess well as many new faces!

As the Director and Mommy....I am beyond proud of ALL of these girls!