Inside the Chamber column: Miss Strawberry Days is an ambassador and volunteer for Glenwood Springs | PostIndependent.com

Inside the Chamber column: Miss Strawberry Days is an ambassador and volunteer for Glenwood Springs

Joni Bates
Inside the Chamber

Joni Bates

It's that time of the year again. This sounds like an adage from days gone by, but, with Strawberry Days and summer knocking at our door, it really is almost that time of the year. You can smell it in the air with flowers blooming, grass growing and the soft spring rain.

Since having been employed at the Glenwood Springs Chamber for the past 16 years I have been very involved with the Strawberry Days Festival and the Miss Strawberry Days Scholarship Competition. In January, I embark upon preparation leading up to the scholarship competition. Our desire is for Miss Strawberry Days to be a very special event for all the interested students in the Re1 and R32 school districts. Some have dreamed of participating since they were little girls, and some are second- or even third-generation candidates.

What is Miss Strawberry Days all about? Miss Strawberry Days has evolved over the years to keep up with current times. What is now a scholarship competition used to be a beauty pageant where contestants modeled bathing suits at the Glenwood Hot Springs. Nowadays, the beauty pageant portion is a fashion show. The show has the contestants modeling three different outfits, which are the latest spring/summer fashions from local boutiques, their own creation relative to the current theme (this year's theme is "Oh, the places we'll go") and the beach attire portion. There is also an entire day devoted to interviews, individually and in groups, with the judges; a volunteer day; professional photo shoot; creative projects to be assembled from volunteer day; and resumes as well as biographies that must be submitted.

Miss Strawberry Days is designed to provide an opportunity for local high school girls to acquire substantial scholarships to help pay for college. Scholarship recipients are selected based upon leadership skills exhibited during the competition, volunteerism, poise and representation as a true community ambassador.

Miss Strawberry Days is designed to provide an opportunity for local high school girls to acquire substantial scholarships to help pay for college. Scholarship recipients are selected based upon leadership skills exhibited during the competition, volunteerism, poise and representation as a true community ambassador.

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Miss Strawberry Days is not a beauty pageant or a popularity contest. While the winning contestants earn substantial scholarships, they are not judged on academics but must plan on attending college or some type of continuing education within two years following the competition.

Through a fun and interactive judging process, judges who are new to the community or have no special interest, select the best possible representative of Glenwood Springs.

The qualifications to participate are:

• Being a resident of either the Re-1 or Re-2 school districts.

• Age 16-20 by May 31, 2018.

• Plan on attending some type of continuing education in the next two years.

The entire event would not run as smoothly as it does if not for all the volunteers and sponsors. The volunteer co-chairs work with the contestants in many different aspects. They engage a nonprofit where the contestants donate their time for the volunteer day, which this year is at Mountain Valley Developmental Services. The volunteers also ensure the contestants get off in the parade without any glitches. Bighorn Toyota sponsors the scholarships and has done so for many years. The Glenwood Hot Springs sponsors the fashion show portion of the event and generously donates the beach attire that is modeled during the fashion show to the contestants. Ron Milhorn, KMTS, emcees the event at the fashion show and final crowning. We also have six different members of the community each year that donate their time as judges.

In 2017 there were 17 local students that participated. The 2017 Miss Strawberry Days and her court were as follows: Miss Strawberry Days — McKinley Jade Mueller, $3,000 scholarship; 1st Runner-Up — Lindsay Busk, $2,500 scholarship; 2nd Runner-Up — Madison Starbuck, $2,000 scholarship; and Miss Congeniality — Alexa Fiscus, $500.

To quote Helen Keller: "The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves." We cordially invite you to see and learn about the unselfish cheer these amazing contestants and upcoming leaders will bring as they begin their journey. Please join us at the kick-off to Strawberry Days weekend on Thursday, June 14, at the Miss Strawberry Days Fashion Show from 6-8 p.m. at the Glenwood Hot Springs. For a complete schedule of the weekend events go to glenwoodchamber.com/events.

Joni Bates, IOM is the VP Membership Development at the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. Please contact her at 970-945-1514 or joni@glenwoodchamber.com.