Happy = Healthy

While there are many amazing opportunities wrapped up in becoming a titleholder within the Miss America Organization, I think the greatest part is the ability to promote a personal platform. Having a title allows young women, like myself, to act as public figures pushing for change. What could be more amazing then that?!

My platform, Happy = Healthy, focuses on decreasing childhood obesity rates through amplifying education on proper nutrition and by inspiring young people to get out and be active! With approximately 12.7 million children in our nation suffering from childhood obesity, it is extremely important to address the prevalence of this statistic and work towards reducing it.

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Childhood obesity not only has detrimental effects on a child’s well-being, but can lead to severe health issues later on in life; hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, just a few to name. With heart disease being the number one killer of our current population, it’s vital to acknowledge and educate our populace about the devastating effects of childhood obesity. By investing in our children’s health now, we are investing in the future health of our nation.

In Jefferson County alone, there has been a three percent increase in childhood obesity rates in the past three years. This is unacceptable. With all the push from national campaigns to create a healthier nation, it is alarming to see our rates increasing. Armed with this information due to my studies, I decided it was time to meet with local officials and ask them their thoughts and what their ideas were to effect change.

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I was honored to meet recently with Assemblywoman Addie Russell, who represents the 116th Assembly District. I told her about my platform and the need for change, not only in our community, but in our state. Ms. Russell offered wonderful insights and informed me about a very unique bill that she is trying to get passed: the Farm-to-School Bill will allocate funds to schools in order to buy fresh foods from local farms and producers. For example, most fruits served in schools currently come from out-of-state, but with the passing of this bill, fruits and vegetables will come from our local farms! On top of offering more fresh and nutritional options for kids, this bill could offer a boost for the local economy.

Our meeting was extremely insightful and reassured me that our local officials are, indeed, striving to make our communities healthier. I look forward to my next meeting with Ms. Russell, and other local officials, as well as helping out however I can to achieve passage of the Farm-to-School Bill.

During our lives, many find a cause or hobby about which they are passionate; it helps to add meaning and fun to our lives. For me, my passion is health. I am excited to take childhood obesity head on with my platform and continue to push for change as I Segway from pageantry into a fulfilling career in nursing.

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

The month of December has been packed with appearances and fun and I can’t wait to see what the new year has in store! Here is a recap of the wonderful events I had the opportunity to attend.

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear- or in the case of the Miss Thousand Islands crew decorating christmas trees, attending christmas parades, and helping out with local charity events. I am so glad that we were able to give back to our community and show the true meaning of Christmas.

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On the first day of Christmas my true loves gave to me- an enormous amount of ornaments all generously donated by members of the Golden Sisterhood! This holiday season I had the pleasure of decorating a Christmas Tree for the “Festival of Trees.” The event is held every year in order to raise funds for Children’s Services at Samaritan Medical Center and for our local YMCA. The theme for the tree honored our very special Golden Sisterhood and was full of sparkly gold ornaments, galore! I had such a wonderful time decorating and couldn’t be more thankful for all the beautiful ornaments that were donated.

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I was also able to attend the Sugarplum Ball which supported Children’s Services at Samaritan and our local YMCA. The event was Polar Express themed and filled with fun decorations (including the trees from the Festival of Trees!). There were so many adorable little girls at the event who were having fun dancing, hanging out with their dads, and meeting Santa! I was lucky enough to attend the event with my Mom and we both were able to meet Santa.

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While the weather for this past month of December has been unusual, I could not have been more grateful for it during parade time. I had the wonderful opportunity to ride in the Watertown Christmas Parade with my teen and princesses! We waved and wished all our community members a Merry Christmas; what a wonderful way to spend the holiday season. My teens also attended the Clayton Christmas Parade and did such a fabulous job of representing our community and the Miss Thousand Islands Organization.

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To me, the most important part of the holiday season is being able to give back. The Miss Thousand Islands Organization was able to give back to our community and help with a Toy’s for Tots event and bell ringing for the Salvation Army. Brianna and I had so much fun hanging out with all the children and our friends at DPAO during the Toy’s for Tots event. Seeing the smiles on all the faces of the children when they saw Santa was priceless! We were also able to ring the Salvation Army Bell and bring in donations for our local chapter. Brianna, Joelle, Giovanna, Francesca and I had so much fun and were happy to help.

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With the new year approaching and Christmas behind us, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope the new year brings happiness and good health to you and your family- 2016 will be an amazing year.

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XOXOX,

Kristina

Squad Goals

Have you ever been so excited that you are at a total loss for words? Well, that pretty much sums up all my emotions for last weekend’s festivities. The Miss Thousand Islands’ Outstanding Teen pageant was held at LaFargeville Central School on Saturday, and I had the honor of cohosting alongside my Golden Sister, Kristina Blackford. We had so much fun with all the contestants who, might I add, did a FABULOUS job! Congratulations to every contestant on a job well done!

In attendance were some of the women from the Golden Sisterhood. It was so nice to catch up with them and see all the support they had for our teen contestants. This is just a small testament of the true dedication each and every member has for this organization; I am truly blessed to be a part of it.

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The best part about this weekend, though, was the addition of four new sisters into our sisterhood. I am so excited to tell you all about them, and look forward to our journey together throughout our reign.

Brianna Lockwood is your new Miss Thousand Islands Outstanding Teen, and one of my new sisters! We met through the Miss Thousand Islands Organization and instantly became friends. We’ve shared fashion advice, cider doughnuts, our love for science, and many giggles. Brianna is the sweetest woman I know, and always brightens my day. Bri is a junior at Watertown High School who excels inside and outside of the classroom. She is a phenomenal dancer and is sure to captivate you with her elegant moves! Her platform, “BElieve in YOUrself – You Are A Limited Edition,” focuses on the acceptance of others and yourself and encouraging positive peer pressure to end unrealistic standards of beauty. I am so excited to share our year together, and our journey to Miss New York!

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Joelle Leek is your new Miss Northern New York’s Outstanding Teen and my new pageant sister! Joelle and I met a few years ago through the Miss Thousand Islands Organization and immediately bonded over our love of Oreos and basically anything sweet. Joelle is a sophomore at LaFargeville Central School, where her extracurricular activities are just as extensive and amazing as her course load. Her vocal performances are spectacular and show that she is a talented and seasoned performer. Joelle will forever be the strongest and most courageous woman that I have ever known. Her platform “Concussion Awareness – Understanding the Invisible Injury,” focuses on educating peers and adults about the seriousness of concussions and how they can’t be taken lightly. I am beyond excited to share our reign, as well as Miss New York together!

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Your new Miss Thousand Islands Star Princesses are Giovanna Lettiere and Francesca Prior. I’ve had the privilege of knowing these two adorable girls since the day they were born. They have grown from delightful toddlers to sophisticated young ladies – just as much beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside! Both Francesca and Giovanna are extremely intelligent, loving, and caring (and know how to give the best hugs!). They fulfill all the qualities for perfect princesses and I am so excited to share our experience as titleholders together!

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No titleholder is complete without her “squad,” and I am so lucky to have these girls in mine! I cherish the memories that we have already, and look forward to all the new ones ahead.

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Again, congratulations to every contestant who participated this weekend! I look forward to seeing you all compete again!

XOXOX

Kristina

Adventure Awaits

Have you ever noticed how truly amazing our hometown is? From the vast landscapes to the many seasons we experience (sometimes all in one day!), our region is magnificent. In the past month of my reign, I have done a bit of traveling and have been pleasantly reminded of why I love my home so much. As a representative of this area I feel it is my duty to remind you too, of all its wonders! Here are just a few of my favorites….

From its pristine waters scattered with beautiful islands to the towering arches of the Thousand Islands Bridge, the St. Lawrence River is guaranteed to take your breath away. Flowing at 744 miles and between two countries, the St. Lawrence River has drastically helped shape our economy. If you’re looking for a relaxing trip or a weekend getaway, the river is sure to do the trick!

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Hop on a boat or set sail to check out all 1,864 beautiful islands of the St. Lawrence! Did you know in order to be a legitimate island, the piece of land must be surrounded by the river, be above water year-round, and support at least one tree? Even if you don’t have your own watercraft, you can still take in the sights from an Uncle Sam’s Boat Tour! If you’re really lucky, they will even let you steer the ship!

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One of a kind boutiques and delicious restaurants surround the charming area of Clayton, NY, home of the Miss Thousand Islands Pageant. Take a stroll down the main drag and grab some cheese curd, or head over the Antique Boat Museum for some unique history! Still haven’t caught your eye? Well then, the brightly colored chairs down in Frink Park sure will! Take a breather and sink back in the large adirondack chairs perfectly placed to take in the best views of the river!

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If you love adventure like me, then the Black River is sure to tickle your fancy. From its scenic views and raging rapids, it is sure to leave you with a sense of excitement. Young or old, the Black River has something to offer everyone.

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This time of year, everybody loves cider and donuts, and there’s no better place to grab them both than the Burrville Cider Mill! I visited with Miss Northern New York’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Brianna Lockwood just a few weeks ago, and we bonded over these delicious fall treats.

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While there is much more to see in our neck of the woods, these are just some of the iconic sites that make me love my home even more. What makes you love this region? Get out and explore- adventure is waiting.

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Miss Thousand Islands 2016

On August 8, 2015, I competed among 12 outstanding women for the title of Miss Thousand Islands 2016. I had never met such a fantastic group of women, who were all so kind and intelligent. Before walking onstage for show time, there was an undeniable sense of unity that proved even though we were “competitors” we were also friends, and pageant sisters foremost. As the night progressed, we laughed through the different stages of competition, always offering a helping hand to take a photo or zip up a dress. As we prepared to go onstage for the final crowning moment, I knew that no matter what happened I would walk away a winner. I had gained a newfound sense of confidence, a wonderful group of genuine friends, and memories that would last a lifetime; what more could anyone want?

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As we began the crowning moments, I could not have been happier for my pageant sisters who took home scholarships and awards in so many well deserved areas. I cannot stress enough how well qualified and deserving every single woman was for the title. Which is why I was totally unprepared for what happened next. As the winner was called for the title of Miss Thousand Islands 2016, I could not believe what I had heard. Was I dreaming? It had to be a dream, and if so it was the best dream ever and I NEVER wanted it to end! Did they call my name? Yes, they did. And luckily, I wasn’t dreaming- I was incredibly honored to have been chosen as your new Miss Thousand Islands. I am extremely excited to begin my journey promoting my platform “Happy=Healthy:Healing Sick Children One Smile At A Time,” and I endeavor to represent our region with grace and integrity.

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This was a moment beyond my wildest dreams, but I couldn’t have done it alone. Pageants, and more importantly pageant girls, are more than just a pretty face onstage with a crown. They spend countless hours of hard work, practice, and education to prepare; all of which would not be possible without the help and support of a community. They always say “it takes a village to raise a child,” and the same goes for preparing for a pageant. I have been so lucky to have such amazing and supportive friends and family in my life and I cannot thank you all enough for the love and support you have given me.

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To All the Miss Thousand Islands Sponsors- This pageant truly would not be possible without the support from all of you. You dedication to the Miss Thousand Islands Organization is undeniable, and we are so grateful! I look forward to a fun filled year with all of you!

To The Golden Sisterhood and My Pageant Sisters- Thank you for being you. Throughout the years I have met so many absolutely amazing women, and I am so grateful to have you all in my life. The kindness and support that you have shown is unbelievable. Thank you for the memories and all the good times we shared on this journey together. I can’t wait to watch you all grow on your individual journeys and do remarkable things.

To Shelby, Sue, and Gary- It’s simple- what you do is truly amazing. You have built an organization that generates young women who are both poised and powerful. You spend countless hours working on the pageant, and I can assure you it does not go unnoticed. You have instilled confidence in so many young women and forever changed their lives. Sue, Gary, and Shelby, you have given me the opportunity of a lifetime and I will never be able to thank you enough. I am beyond excited to share this journey with you!

To My Mentor and Friend- Morgan, I will never be able to say thank you enough for the time you spent with me! Your countless hours of pageant prep, mock interviews, and late night texting conversations helped prepare me for the road ahead. I am forever grateful, XOXOX.

To my Friends and Family- Thank you for your support throughout the years and throughout my time with the Miss America Organization. I would not have been able to get where I am today without you. The warm wishes that I received before the pageant really helped to show me how truly loved I am!

To my Mommy and Daddy (and Robert too!)- I could spend a whole lifetime saying thank you for all that you have done, but that still wouldn’t be enough. The countless hours you have spent raising me into the woman I am today, do not go unnoticed. I could not have made it this far in life without your guidance, love, and support. You are the best parents and brother in the world and I will never forget that. I cherish all the memories we have made so far and look forward to all the new ones ahead of us! I love you forever, and ever.

Miss TI 2016 Mom and Dad