Tuesday was a busy day, as I spent my morning at the Mall of America, where it was crowns and gowns galore at Toddler Tuesdays! This initiative is a free, weekly event for families to partake in at the mall to encourage a family-friendly shopping experience. I was able to read storybooks, make crowns, have tea time, and sign autographs for so many kids! Both Emily and I truly did feel like princesses. :) Thank you to Mall of America for inviting us to spend the morning with them and prepare for their upcoming 25th birthday celebration on August 11th!
I then traveled to Maple Lake, MN, for Visitors Day at Camp Cambria! This camp is very special to myself and my family, as they host an annual week-long camp for kids in Minnesota with Juvenile Arthritis. Cambria, a Minnesota-based company that specializes in stone-cutting and countertops, has made arthritis awareness their corporate mission and we are so thankful to them for their support! This camp provides over 130 kids with varying degrees of auto-immune diseases the opportunity to enjoy a fun week of camp activities, from a wheelchair accessible high-ropes course, pontoon fishing, photography, campfires, and more. I even got to meet Colorado Rockies (and former Minnesota Twins) star, Justin Morneau, who volunteers extensively with the Arthritis Foundation and was preparing a giant whiffle-ball tournament that evening with the kids! Spending the afternoon with Brenna and her friends in Cabin 3 as they scaled the high ropes and the zip-lines was a blast! They had so much fun and the friendships they were forming as they battle this disease together was amazing to witness. These sweet kids and their families are the heart of why I serve, and I look up to them more than they may ever know. Thank you to Derek Griffen for coordinating the day’s events!
I finally came back to Eden Prairie and had a great evening at the Sister-to-Sister sendoff with my forever Miss Minnesota sisters! To be among these incredible women is a true honor, and I am so thankful to them for the beautiful robe and gifts and more importantly, for keeping me under their care as I move closer to the Miss America competition! Sisterhood is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Thank you to all of the sisters who attended and a special thank you to both Shelia Bernhagen, Vicki Kueppers, and Dorothy Benham for planning this wonderful get-together.
Again, another day of preparations! Never a dull moment with me! :)
My morning started off with a corporate meeting at Schmitt Music at Brooklyn Center with the marketing team. Schmitt Music has so graciously sponsored a beautiful, brand-new Steinway baby grand piano for me to practice on at my host home for my talent practice leading up to the Miss America competition! When the piano first arrived, I was in tears, as music is so incredibly important and personal for me and who I am. I am so in love with this piano, it even has a name (Helene, after my favorite female concert pianist, Helene Grimaud), and I practice as often as I get the chance to on those “off” days. Thank you so very much to Alice Tillman and the staff at Schmitt Music for this amazing sponsorship.
I then traveled several hours down south to Pipestone, MN, for the Pipestone County Fair! This fair was filled with many amazing events, from the meet and greets with autographs, polka dancing with my new friend Jeremy, handing out awards to hard-working 4-H kids, hosting the Cattleman’s Association Beef-Feed with locally sourced food for all, riding the midway, participating in a hypnotist show (no, I was not able to be hypnotized!), and even milking an award-winning cow, I had a blast at the fair! Thank you so much to Traci Soyer and the Pipestone County Fair Board for an incredible day jam-packed with fun!
Friday morning was one of my earliest mornings to date….wake up time was at 3:30AM to be exact, as I had a 5:00 AM call time for a TV interview with ABC-affiliate KSFY, based out of Sioux Falls, SD! They did a news segment at the Pipestone County Fair and interviewed me about the upcoming weeks leading up to Miss America! It was a chilly, but fun morning on camera!
A unique fact about me is that my family of 13 has been to over 250 National Parks all across the United States! From the coasts of California to the Big Apple in New York City, we have seen and done nearly all! Before leaving that morning, my mom and I had to stop at one of our favorite national parks, Pipestone National Monument, located just outside of city limits. The park features pipestone quarries, used to make Native American peace pipes, and has magnificent walking trails filled with stone structures and wildlife. It was a great way to have fun and get a little workout in too!
That afternoon, I traveled to Hastings, MN, for the Miss Hastings recruiting event! This brand-new local will be inducted into our 2019 Miss Minnesota class, and I am looking forward to seeing the crown return to this community after a 33 year hiatus! Thank you to executive directors Wendy Latuff and Janelle Behny for inviting me to speak to future contestants!
I have run out of witty things to say about preparation at the moment…check back with me next week. ;)
On Sunday, I attended the Arthritis Foundation, Mini Grand Prix, which is an event that allows various teams of people to race each other in go-karts! It was a fun day of racing at the Stockholm Karting Center in Cokato, MN, with so many highlights. I was able to reconnect with Louis and the Grensteiner family (Lou’s Crew), who is a fellow JA family, and spend time with them. I also got to speak to everyone on behalf of our family, sign autographs, wave the green and checkered flags, meet Milwaukee Brewers player and Hall of Famer Robin Yount, and even race a go-kart myself! Thank you to Brekka Nessler and Lindsey Kumelin for coordinating the day’s events and to my local director, Kara Super-Peterson (aka the Super to my Salmon) for chaperoning me!
I traveled to Moorhead, MN, to spend a day with some amazing young people. I first visited the brand new Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo, ND, and spent the morning with several patients and tour the new world-class facility. Thanks to the services of the Children’s Miracle Network, this hospital had the latest and greatest technology when it comes to pediatric healthcare. Visits like these are incredibly humbling, as I am reminded of why I do what I do.
I then attended Addie’s Pretty Princess Lemonade Stand; an awesome event for area kids in the summer time! Thanks to the Sunshine Foundation (an organization that grants wishes to kids with illnesses and disabilities), Addie’s wish to meet Disney princesses at DisneyWorld was granted several years ago, and she now gives back to the community by having a free lemonade and cupcake stand and a meet and greet with Disney princesses and area royalty. It was a joy to be a part of this sweet event! Thank you to Marisa Bengston for organizing this event!
If you want to learn even more about me, I also did a live Facebook Q&A video on Monday and I encourage you to check it out!
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Thanks for tuning in to this week's "Monday Minutes with Miss Minnesota!"
Until next week, keep shining!