My Story

I was born with several severe Speach Impediments, which were discovered soon after my parents adopted me. The Doctors and Speach Therapists told my parents and me that I would NEVER be able to talk. So we, as a family, began to learn American Sign language and I had a picture book created for me.
From the start school was hard for me, no teacher or Special Education assistant in my small school of only 80(ish) kids spoke A.S.L, nor did they make the effort to wait for me as I pointed to the pictures to answer questions. I got behind really quickly, I had to learn the alphabet by sight, not by sound, there for my spelling was really bad and still is not great. People thought that just because I could not speak correctly I could not hear the nasty words they would say, I got called retarded, stupid, dumb, while these words aren’t that bad as an adult they cut deep when I was a child.
As my speech improved I thought the bullying would as well, but it only got worse. Through out Elementry school, I was the main victim, from graffiti about how dumb and stupid I was in the washroom stalls, to glue on my desk chair it continued in the worse form imaginable. Once I got to High School is when the bullying hit the absolute lowest. In grade 8 I would come to school and find my locker gratified with “freak”, “retard”, “slut”, and more. I would walk through the halls and hear the words following me, peers telling me I did not belong at a “normal” school. My locker’s lock had to be replaced almost once a month from my peers bashing it in. I felt hopeless, useless, but one teacher, Mr. David* decided to phone my house, and help me! That teacher did not know me or my family, but he really cared!! I thought there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. In grade 9, a teacher began to do more than just bully me, she verbally abused me. I walked into the band classroom, the first day of school very excited and ready to learn, as I had taught my self the flute all summer in hopes of impressing my new teacher, Ms. thorn*. A week or so into class my flute broke, and we found out there was a LOT wrong with it. I thought I could borrow the school’s flute, but Ms. Thorn had a different idea. As the school was moving she had me sorting and packing the music and HER office, for weeks. When I finally got my flute back I was too far behind to catch up, so Ms. Thorn told me to practice by the book in the practice room book, which was so small I could not stretch my arms across as there was also a piano stuffed in the room with me. From that day on I was sent to that room EVERY day, I was not allowed to be with the class, I began to feel hopeless, and not want to go to class. One day Ms.Thorn came in to review my process at break, I got scared and tried to leave, Ms. Thorn pushed me down and told me I was not to leave after I failed her review she told me that I should not be in music and maybe I should try art or something easier, but I refused as I had wanted to do band scene elementary school when music class was my escape from the bullies. That year she tried to not let me be in the class performance, which I did not participant n a single on, except for one where Mrs. Thorn told me I was not to play the flute as I was not good enough, instead only to play the bass drum, which she then waved at me to stop half way though. Mrs. Thorn even asked my parents to get me “checked” not only in person but also on my report card. Every day I went home crying and I begging my parents to let me stay home. I lost my will to continue, I thought there was no hope, none at all. I ended up phoning Kids Help Phone and they helped me feel less alone and worthless. After I was done in Mrs. Thorn’s class, my trust in teachers was lost, I faced anxiety every time I saw Mrs. Thorn in the halls. I still had that one teacher there for me though, and I now had him for French, and he took the effort to be there and to stand up for me. I had a safe place to be, at for at least one class a day I felt safe, french class was my only reason to smile. I could walk into that class and know that no one would insult me, no teacher will yell at me or treat me any less than equal. Mr. David was the only reason I stayed in school, the only reason I graduated, as he gave me hope that I could overcome my struggles.
In grade 10 I entered a Pageant, and it showed me that I could change what was happening in the schools, so NO kid ever had to g through what I did.
Though the bullying never stopped, and until my last day in grade 12 I still felt anxiety when it came to teachers especially Mrs. Thorn, as even if I saw her out of school my heart would begin to race. I have realized I can help those who have “special” needs like I did, those who are different. I can help those who are being bullied because of who they are feel welcomed and not alone. I had only one person there for me, outside of my family of course, but with the proper, training kids can have more teachers who care, more teachers who will change a life. A smile or a phone call can go a long way, something that is as simple as a minute long to you could stay with someone for a lifetime. For me, one teacher and one phone call kept me in school, saved me. To Mr. David that was one phone call nothing very special, but it saved me, and I will always know there is someone who cares, someone who took the effort to show it.

*Names Changed for Privacy

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Inspirational Queens!!

previewOver the past few months I have been making an Inspirational Queens Video, featuring 12 inspirational Pageant Queens and Ambassadors from around the globe. Along with the Video (which is featured below) I have created a Inspirational Queens Calendar, where each queen is featured for a month along side an inspirational quote. I am selling these calendars for $15.99+shipping, if you would like to order one please leave your email in the comments below or email sewellspeaker@gmail.com, to place your order.  All funds made will go to Live Out Loud Charity.

Thank You LOLC Family

Miss Worldwide Teen Canada
Photo credit, Kelsey Raber Photography

I had been given an amazing opportunity. As all of my followers know I have suffered from speech impediments and intense bullying in my lifetime.  And this is why I compete in pageantry, to create awareness for such issues. So I had an amazing opportunity presented to me in September, to be a worldwide title holder with Live Out Loud Charity (LOLC), or at least to apply to be one. So I did, I wrote an essay about my struggles and my dream of living in a world where no matter what struggles you may face, everyone is an equal. And soon after my phone interview with LOLC founder Sherrie, I received a congratulatory email stating that I have been awarded the national title of Miss Worldwide Teen Canada. One of the reasons I was interested in going to LOLC was because they focus on spreading awareness to Anti-bullying though community participation and fashion.  Holding this title gives me the opportunity to continue spreading awareness and hope to all those, who like me, have been told they can’t do something.  With LOLC I can share my story with an international crowd. And that international crowd is already making itself known, I will be (on November 18th) be appearing on International Talk radio with YouEffect talking about my story, I will also be in the upcoming YouEffect publication with other “inspirational” youth’s stories. If you follow me on Facebook, and I encourage you too, you will know that I am already working on my first LOLC awareness event/fundraiser. I have made a video (that will be released on November 13th), this video shows 12 girls and ladies, including myself, sharing their story’s with bullying, I am very excited for you ALL to see it.

 

Though I have only been with LOLC for little over a month, I always feel welcomed and at home. The other LOLC title holders welcomed me with open arms and took the time (on Snapchat and Facebook chat) to understand my speech, which I continue to struggle with. speech-impediment-1One Worldwide titleholder made my day by saying “you have a speech impediment,
I never would have guessed”. For one of the first times in my life during an interview the director, Sherrie, said nothing about my speech (which means more than you may think). I did not have to explain that I did not have an accent, it’s a speech impediment, nor did I have to argue that I WAS born in Canada, and I do not have a foreign accent. My new LOLC family has already changed my life. For me taking the time to understand me means the world, I only shared my story publicly a year ago, and now so much is happening because of it. Thank you to everyone, to my new LOLC family, to my community, and to my actual family, I look forward to this years as Miss Worldwide Teen Canada!

Samantha Sewell

On castanet.net

A huge thank you to Castanet for the beautiful article, I leave for Orlando tomorrow morning. Then let the pageant feed begin!!

Castanet.net

 

To read the Castanet article click here.

Samantha Sewell

HockeyVille Canada

Canadians Love HOCKEYThis year HockeyVille came to the Okanagan, and because Canada is famous for Hockey, Hockeyville is a BIG deal in here. One community across the country is chosen as HockeyVille Canada for the entire year. This year the Village of Lumby (which is just a few minutes from Vernon) was in the top 2. Over the past 10 years HockeVille has contributed over 2 Million dollars for arena renovations across Canada. The top 2 communities get a big party, and get to be on national television while awaiting the results. The arena in Lumby was definitely in need of an upgrade. I used to figure skate in that arena and I remember there were no girls change rooms so if there were boys also skating, we had to take turns in the change room, or you would have to change in the washrooms.

On TSN!!At the park there were all sorts of fun things set up for the kids like face painting, clowns and a bouncy castle, and Vernon’s own Andrew Allen performed on stage. Inside the arena Sports Net was set up and broadcasting live, which was very cool, because EVERYONE in Canada knows who these guys are. Throughout the day we were on TV cheering and screaming hoping for the announcement to come. Finally at around 2:00pm we were all called into the arena and the announcement came, but first the anticipation was being built up. They put Sports Net on the big screen The HockeyVille Trophy(which was broadcasting from Toronto)  the broadcaster opened the envelope and for a second it felt as if everyone stopped breathing holding there breath, you could see both Lumby (us) and the other Community (in Quebec) on the screen and then the guy on the TV yelled LUMBY!! We had won. The Okanagan is home to HockeyVille Canada, The excitement rose up as everyone screamed and hollered. We won. Now Lumby gets $100,000 in area upgrades (which is needed, as well as a chance to host a NHL Pre-Season Game.
The teams that will be coming to the Okanagan are the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburg Penguins, which is totally something everyone is looking forward to. Congrats LUMBY, very excited to come back to HockVille Canada!!

 

 

 

 

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A loco Easter

Love this chickOn March 28th I attended the Okanagan’s famous Loco Landing Easter Egg Hunt. I was honored to be on the special guest list next to the one and only Easter Bunny. I mean who can really say they have had their name next to the Easter Bunny!! This Easter egg hunt is more than just an egg hunt it has everything from crafts to surfing practice to full on relays. 12801220_1147552008617969_8587609032086272503_nOne of my highlights from this year’s event would be the egg hunt in the SS Sicamous, which is a vintage boat that once sailed the Okanagan waters; this boat is also rumored to be haunted. Though this boat is no longer on the water it was still very cool to walk around on. I was able to see the sleeping quarters, the mess hall, and even the captain’s wheel. I loved watching the children run from room to room searching for their Easter eggs. The loco landing Easter egg hunt is definitely an Okanagan favorite for sure.

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Easter with Emily, Miss Teenage Kelowna

With Miss Teenage KelownaJust before Easter I attended the Kelowna Victory Life Easter Egg Hunt with my good friend Emily, Miss Teenage Kelowna 2015. I am honored to have spent the last event of her reign with her. Throughout the day Emily and I enjoyed pancakes, helium balloons, dancing and more.

 
We even asked to hand Lovelyballoons out to the children who were at the event. At one point we even got to go up on stage and dance with a group of kids, who loved dancing with a couple of “queens”. The event was a hit as usual. And I had a blast. I am so very thankful that Emily spent the last day of her reign with me. Love you Emily, you will go on to do great things.

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Cowboy Festival

Barkerville girlsOn March 20th I attended the Kamloops Cowboy Festival, the largest Cowboy festival in Canada, and one of the Largest in North America. A few weeks before the festival I was honored to be put on their website as a special guest “Miss Teen Galaxy Canada”, this was my second year attending the and as always it was great. The people who come to this Cowboy festival come from all over Canada and the USA which is really cool.singing for Sam I was able to watch the rising star talent show and one man even sang in honor of my little friend Samantha Donovan, which was amazing. In the main room there was booth’s with everything from info to food, to things to buy. The girls from the Barkervillle booth really seemed to like me which was really fun. I especially loved how they dressed in vintage looking hats. I also got to watch the talent show. Now coming from someone who usually dislikes country music I loved the music at this festival. It was cowboy not country and it was great. There was also yodeling in the show which was definitely something else to hear.

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Team Super Everybody

My HeroLast year at Ronald McDonald House BC I met a wonderful little girl who is so inspirational. Her name? Samantha, my name twin. Samantha was at that time and is still presently fighting cancer. In March Sam was admitted to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice House. On March 13 a a fundraiser dinner was held to raise money for Sam and her family, so of course I attended. The theme was Sam’s favorite theme “SUPERHEROS”. It was great to see the community come out to help out a local family. We originally raised $7,615 but a local couple brought over a cheque for $385 to make it an even $8,000 for the family, which is just so amazing.

Before this event my family and I organized the Canadian Batman for SammyPacific Railway (where my Dad works)
staff to help out so I am happy to say CPR staff raised $2,500. When we asked CPR if they could donate to the family they weren’t able to, but they sent off $1,000 to Ronald McDonald House and $1,500 to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Sammy’s name, which is great!! Then we also had a couple of CPR employees auction off items, which raised another $400, then we also received another 225$ so all together CPR raised 5625$ which is truly amazing.

If you would like to help out this family you can donate, and read there full story HERE.

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My Story: Not just a Pageant Queen

I was born with a severe speech impediment; no one could understand what I was saying. My parents were told that I may never speak like everyone else, and may never be understood by most people. On my first day of school I was looked at oddly when I struggled to speak and be understood. I had to learn some Sign Language and carry a large picture book around with me so when someone spoke to me I could open my book and point at the picture that was the answer to a question. For those answers I couldn’t just point at the picture for, I would say the answer while signing and hope that somehow they would understand me. I’m sure you can imagine I was teased and called names because of this. People thought that just because I could not talk normally that I could not HEAR or UNDERSTAND them, but they were wrong and still to this day the words they would call me haunt me. Because of my speech I had to learn the alphabet by sight not sound I had to learn how words were spelled because I could not sound them out. I had to work twice as hard in school, so therefore I was always behind. As my speech improved I thought the bullying would stop but was I ever wrong I would go to school and there would be notes written on the bathroom stall about me. There would be whole games about not playing with me. I spent almost every recess and lunch sitting alone praying for the bell to ring. Then in high school it got even worse. I would go to school and someone would have broken my lock on my locker, and there would be obscene words written on my locker. I would walk down the halls and hear whispers say “that’s that retarded girl who can’t talk”. This is part of the reason I am so involved it the “spread the Word to end the word” campaign, because I know what it feel like to have the “R” word used to describe you. The sad thing is that eventually I started to believe them and think I was a worthless loser who would never do anything with my life. In grade 9 it reached the worst level of bullying and I would phone home begging to go home and beg my mom to let me skip school. Fortunately thanks to one French Teacher and a group of grade 11 girls I was able to move my locker so I was right beside the older girls who befriended me and between my mom talking to the principle and the French teacher the bullying eased off . This teacher is one of the only reasons I stayed in school. Now I still to this day have a speech impediment and I always will, but I now accept it as a part of me. It has gotten much, much better and people often think I sound like I am from New York. Due to all of the bullying I endured and because I’ve  had to fight all my life I started working with my platform of Anti-Bullying and Inclusion for all.

The inclusion portion of my platform started to form at the start of grade 10. I was in a class with my school’s Resource Room (class for Students with various special needs) I witnessed one girl being bullied and I knew I had to do something, because I knew how awful it was to be bullied for being different. So I went up and started walking with the girl who was being bullied. Soon after that she invited me to come eat in the Resource room. I have to admit my first reaction was stereotypical and I was scared and was going to say no, but I knew what it was like to have no one to eat with you so I went. That day changed my life. I walked into the Resource Room and all the kids looked at me and they looked scared. They didn’t know what I was going to do or say, and they were afraid of me. The moment I sat down the talking started and I noticed they were no different then everyone else. I began going into the resource room almost daily and I still do, now I am even starting my education to work with different people with special needs. I know all to well the frustration and the anger they and everyone who has ever been bullied faces. To this day I continue to be bullied and insulted but I now tell myself that it is not me who has the issue, its the bully. I want to put the end on this note, one out of three children will be bullied. For every person who reads this who either has or plans on having three children one of them will/are getting bullied, if you have two children chances are one of them is getting bullied. But the good news is WE can change it, you may not be able to change the Bully, there will always be bullies but we have the power to stand up for those who are being bullied, “Be Someone’s Hero Not A Bystander”. I also want to help educate people to use “person first” Language, which is saying the person before the special needs for example “a Person with Special needs” not “A Special needs person”. We shouldn’t be defined by our faults but rather by our attempts to reach our full potential!

🍁 TeenFest Canada 🍁

TeenFest welcome youTeenFest Canada is a one day exhibit festival that gives tweens and teens across Canada the opportunity to connect with other youth, their community and community leaders. My day started with welcoming the teens and the youth into the festival. I even got asked a few times to sign autographs which was really cool. At TeenFest they had filled the Tournament Capital Center’s race track with several vendor booths, games and performers. Teens were able to get hair and makeup done and they could also have a gem glued to their tooth. We watched some great performances from Telus and a karate school, Speaking at TEENFEST CANADAand then I spoke about my story, and how I have been bullied and about my platform (anti-bullying and inclusion for all) I will post my FULL story tomorrow so you can all read it then. After my speech I was overwhelmed with a really positive response including people crying. Knowing that people were so supportive as well as inspired by something that I have lived with my whole life was so humbling.
Afterwards I went out and got my hair, nails and makeup
done by one of the venders, and they did an amazing job. I also was able to try out “drunk goggles” Welcome and look at that crownwhich simulate if you have been drinking. Then I had to walk an obstacle course. I knocked over almost every cone and all other obstacles. (Please don’t EVER drink and drive) I walked around and tried every game that was there, and I some how managed to break the rope pulling record.
It was an amazing day and I want to thank the people from Teen Fest Canada for letting me come out and share my story with everyone.

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Lake Country Children’s Festival

baby goatOn February 27th Lake Country hosted their first ever indoor children’s festival, I was not expecting such a huge turn out and was really surprised at how many people and vendors attended. When I got there I was shocked the parking lots (even the streets) were jam packed and the inside of the building where it was hosted was also jam packed. Amazing turn out! From the second I got in the door little children were all over me some just coming to say hi others just coming to look. Walking around there was many cool exhibits to look at. My heroThere was a Lego land, a historical photo booth, clowns, gold panning and so much more. My Mom and I took a walk around the vendors, where venders gave us samples everything from apple juice to essential oils. Happily Holistic an essential oil place gave my mom and I 2 big samples of room spray to relax and be calm. The children’s Mickey Mouse bouncy castle was a riot to watch as it was an obstacle course and some of the kids were just jumping all over the place. Puppy dogThere was a place where little kids could try on a turban, and soon every child inside had a turban on. One guy from Hoof Print Barn Yard was carrying around a cute little baby goat which I posed for a picture with and it started bahing, then it snuggled in and fell asleep. Outside the firemen had a cute little obstacle course for the little kids to run, they even had little fireman jackets and helmets to wear when doing so. It was a very fun event and I had a blast attending.

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Fancy Nancy Tea Party

The princesses The Vernon Okanagan Library is infamous for putting on some of the best children events around Vernon. On February 11th I was at the Fancy Nancy Tea Party. The Fancy Nancy tea party was based off of the children book “Fancy Nancy”, it was organized beautifully. The children loved having me there. crown girlzThere was pink lemonade, and lots and lots of yummy treats. It was very cute that all of the children dressed up as little princesses, they were so cute  I had to get a picture with some of the most known princesses like Elsa, Anna and Cinderella. At the end of the tea party everyone made crowns, they colored them and put glitter all over them. The after math of giving children glitter is insane by the time the crowns were made there was glitter from one side of the room to the other. It was fun to watch all of the kids (even the brothers) put the crowns on and dance around. It was a great event, as the Vernon Library events always are.

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Family Day in the Park

Family DayOn February 8th it was family day in BC, also known as NO SCHOOL day. I was running a bit late for the family day event in Polson Park, but we still stopped to get the mail, and what was in the mail?? It as my CROWN!!! So we raced back home to get it unpacked and on my head. Then we went down to family day. Family DaySo for me this wasn’t just any event it was the first in my beautiful crown. At the event my crown was an instant hit, all of the kids loved the sparkle. At the event there were games, like the classic throw a bean bag into a hole only in this version of the game there was a fun twist. The kids had to throw a fish into a bear’s mouth.  In another game you had to catapult fake food into a pick-nick basket, it was really creative and fun for the kids. The local firefighters had a huge bonfire going where one of the Little Miss Carnival girls was giving out sticks and marshmallows and cookies to make S’mores. I got to watch the little skit which all of the children loved of Jopo and Jopet (the Winter Carnival mascot’s) It was a fun filled day that was perfect for families.

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BC Snow Sculpture competition

Snow compAnother very unique event, to not only Vernon but to BC and all of Canada is the BC  Snow Sculpture competition. These sculptures are not your average snowman, these are full on words, pictures and even music notes carved out of snow. This was my first year going up to Silver Star Mountain to see them, and they were so cool. (no pun intended) The teams can only use hand tools which is even more amazing.  The winner of the BC competition, Snow compwhich was I ❤ Posing, gets to go to Quebec and compete for the national prize and represent BC at the nationals. Up at Silver Star Mountain I got to see my new friends again the Silver Star Queens, so it was fun to say hi to them again. The snow sculptures were one of a kind and it must have been a real challenge to finish them in just a few days.

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Winter Carnival Parade

Princeton roylatyFebruary 16th I was in the Vernon Winter Carnival parade. Before the parade all of the visiting royalty hung out and took endless selfies and just chatted a bit. Then the Carnival Society took a beautiful group picture of all the royalty. Once the parade started I was shocked to see how many people lined the streets of Vernon which is considered to be small but since the Winter Carnival is Waving to the crowdfor all of the North Okanagan about 4 towns and villages got together to watch which was amazing. I love parades because the look on kids faces are priceless. The theme of the Parade was Mardi Gras, my mom had made a beautiful mask for me to wear, the crowd loved when I put it on. The newspaper even got a beautiful shot of me with the mask up. The parade was great, and it was fun to see all of the royalty from the surrounding communities for one last time during Winter Carnival.

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Bullying Rant

People should not judge other people minimally before they get to know them. How dare someone call another person a name before they know anything about him or her? Maybe that person didn’t acknowledge you because they can’t speak English, or maybe they can’t speak at all, maybe they can’t hear either. I hate it when someone calls a person with special needs a name or makes fun of them right in front of them, seriously do they think they can’t understand, that they can’t hear? My god who is the person that doesn’t understand? What are you so afraid of that you have to resort to name calling.

 

Kids are dying because they get bullied, which includes being ignored being teased being called names and being laughed at. I detest it one person is the loud mouth within a group of his or her friends and all the friends think that they aren’t doing anything wrong, because they aren’t doing anything, they don’t say anything themselves, some may laugh, but they think this is OKAY. Wake up! Your acceptance of this behaviour has made you an enabler of a bully. Say something to you blow hard friend, tell him to stop, be a hero, at least walk away and get someone that will intervene. You can tell yourself a hundred times over that it wasn’t you, you didn’t say anything. But Guess what, it was you, right beside your friend. News flash, you need new friends.

This song by Bars and Melody shows how you never know what is going on in someones life.

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Queen Silver Star the 56th

PeaceOn February 4th I was visiting royalty at the 56th queen and princess Silver Star coronation. This event was the beginning of a very busy week for me, it was the first event of the Vernon Winter Carnival, which is an annual event in Vernon that attracts people form across Canada to come and enjoy our little town. The queen and princess Silver Star are my town’s local ambassadors and represent Vernon across BC for the next year. At the show there was over 20 royalties who came from all across BC. This included the May Day Royalty that I watched get crowned last year it was great to see them again. The show begins with speeches from the mayor and the BC MP.
Then there was a beautiful opening number and the presentation of the top in Miss Okeefe Ranchtalents, the candidates were very impressive. Then the Fathers and Brothers of the candidates presented them to the crowd. This was followed by the question and answer round, and all of the candidates presented themselves very well. There was an intermission, during which the visiting royalty went back stage and had fun talking and taking photos. We presented ourselves to the crowd and announced who we were and which city or country we were representing. After all of that, the retiring Queen Silver Star gave her farewell speech about her year and the events she had attended. It was a great night to kick off Vernon’s Winter Carnival. Congratulations to the new Silver Star Royalty and to all the beautiful candidates, you are all great representatives of your local area and of BC. More Pictures located here.

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Happy National Flag Day Canada!

On February 15, 1965 our national flag was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill. Our flag is now 51 years old. Happy Flag Day Canada!!

Shriner’s variety show

showThe Shriner’s variety show was held on December 4 2015 and I was an honored guest!! All the money raised goes to the Shiners Hospitals for Children. The variety show was truly state of the art. It was amazing. There was a magician, a ventriloquist (who was my personal favorite) and others, including a guy who got his whole body through a tennis racket (minus the strings). The magician continued to cut his assistant in half which is a trick I always love. showAs for the ventriloquist his puppet was a dinosaur. I know that sounds odd but it was really cool and funny, and the other guy was a little of everything a comedian a juggler and a contortionist. He juggled over top of peoples heads, he juggled while on a unicycle. I don’t want to say too much to ruin the show if it comes to your town but it was a 10/10 show and I loved it!! Two thumbs up!

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🎅 Vernon Christmas Light Up 🎅

12314046_907364839351744_4965654575716435302_nOn November 29th/2015 I attended the Vernon light up. This is an annual event that happens every holiday season. I remember going to this event as a young child and loving it. I was at the letters to Santa station. The letter to Santa station is where a child would write a letter to Santa and if you include your address SANTA WRITES BACK!! 12108027_907612482660313_3032023435438068305_nAll of the kids were really excited to do this so it was really fun talking to all of them. I even met my buddy who I peer tutor at school and she hugged me and posed for pics. Lots of community members came by to say hello to me and this was great!!! Then at 6:00 it was time for the infamous lighting of the town tree which was sooo cool. All the way down the streets you could here the countdown. This day was really action packed between this and the Kamloops parade.

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Ringing the Bell for Charity

photo 4Twice in December I volunteered with the local Salvation Army to ring the bell at the mall. This is an activity that I did last year as well and loved it. This year I was able to do it on a sash and people just loved that. This year in Vernon alone there was 5500 hours by 1500 volunteers, which is a lot in a small town. This year the goal was to raise $150000 and I’m happy to say that the goal was surpassed and it was a record breaking year. The money from the Kettle campaign is the main fundraise for the food bank. The Salvation Armys also put on food drives and other events like teddy bear tosses. The Salvation Army is a big part of our community and I am happy to have been a small part of it.

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Kamloops Santa Claus Parade

12278720_1159753870719987_3885250301257624150_nNovember 28, 2015 was my first parade as Miss Teen Galaxy Canada, it was the Kamloops Santa Claus parade. In this parade I had a gorgeous Corvette sponsored by Smith Chevrolet in Kamloops. I loved the big bow they put on the hood!! When we got down to the marshaling area I was able to catch up with the local royalty (Kamloops, Summerland, Peachland, and Kelowna) since none of them had seen me with my new title, it was great to see their expressions and then take pictures together. I also was able to meet one of the British Columbia Ambassador’s. There were lots of community clubs in the parade, my absolute favorite (except for the royalty of course) was the cheer leaders it was cool seeing all of them practice before the parade started. Once the parade started I realized that I had underestimated how cold it was and I kept taking P1020345my gloves on and off. It was really fun hearing all of the people read my signs as we went by and the little girls waving at me with the “queen” wave. Then when the television (did I mention it was televised) was filming me my hand went numb due to the cold and I began to wave oddly. LOL. But we had a good laugh about it after. After the parade I was going back into town for the Vernon Light up……But that’s for next time.

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Encounters With Canada part 6 (last)

With our group leader
With our group leader

Friday, was my last full day at EWC with all my newly made friends. At 9:30 till noonish, we got free time in down town Ottawa, my friends and I went shopping in the mall. Jessica and I got lost at first and it was just her and I to begin with but by the end we had a group of about 6 of us. It was cool looking down the escalator and seeing a sea of the orange lanyards we had to wear you could see them everywhere you looked. After a long time shopping I tried something that is a bit of a delicacy in Ontario, A beaver tail, it is tastes like a donut but it is shaped like a beaver tail. It was so yummy. Back at EWC we did a clicker evaluation, about how much we liked different activities at EWC.IMAG2287 It was interesting to see what people liked and disliked about EWC. Then we went to our groups and had our last group meeting, which was sad to know that it was over, it was hard to know that tomorrow we would all be our way home. Then we all dressed up FANCY for the banquet, which was a special dinner that we all spent with our new friends. It was really fun, and we all exchanged numbers and snap chats. Then we watched a video of our week, and most of us broke down seeing all the fun we had all week, it was a nice video though. IMAG2292Before the dance my group leader had dancing classes, a few of us showed up and it was fun. Though we didn’t use any of our new “skills” during the dance. We ate pizza and watched people perform their “talents” which was great, everyone sang “Don’t Stop Believing” which was hilarious!! We took a break before the dance began to pack and this is when it really hit us that it was over, and helping some of my friends move there luggage downstairs because they would be leaving in a few hours, was sad. The dance then started and we had the time of our live’s it was so fun and so great, this dance went till midnight. That night I woke up every 30 minutes to say good bye to someone who was leaving. The worst thing was I was on the last bus to the airport so I had to say goodbye to everyone before I left. I made some amazing friends and memories to last a life time, and friends to last the same, it was an experience like no other.

IMG_20151113_224247The day after the dance we left at around 4 o’clock, and new people were already arriving for the next week. It was bitter sweet to come home as I didn’t want it to end but I also I was excited to sleep in my OWN bed. The airport in Ottawa was huge and we nearly got lost going though security. But we found our way, and made it back home. It was a fun week and I will NEVER forget it. Thank you EWC for having me.

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My Platform

My platform is anti bullying and equality for all. My motto for this platform is “be someone’s hero, not a bystander”. What this means is that you will never stop the bullies but the bystanders can be taught that they don’t have to enable the bully, and that they can stand up for the victim or get help for them. Another part of my platform that goes hand in hand with anti bullying is equality for all. What this means is that all people need to be treated equally and that race, religion or IQ should not be acceptable reasons to treat someone badly and that when this is done it is a form of bullying.
12801410_1126314430741727_4571105485161103891_nI want everyone with a disability to be able to know that they can do whatever they put their mind to, and that they have as much human worth as anyone else. When I was little I had a sever speech impediment and because of this I was bullied. I was called terrible names and made fun of constantly. As my speech improved I thought the bullying would stop but it didn’t. When I started high school it got really bad, but thanks to a teacher and my mom and a group of girls that befriended me I was able to get through this really horrible time in my life.  People need to know that words do hurt. I have learned that it’s not me that’s the problem it’s the bullies. It’s what’s wrong with their lives and what’s going on with them that makes them want to bully. I can’t change them I can only help their victims and stand up to them. Many kids with special needs are bullied and excluded by the mainstream. I befriended a girl with special needs when I was in grade 9 and through that friendship I started volunteering in the schools resource room. I learned that although we might all learn differently that we all just want to be included and treated equally.Speaking at TEENFEST CANADA I love to meet people and interact with everyone. As Miss Teen Galaxy Canada I would have the best opportunity to not only speak about my platform but to also show others how to interact with people with special needs, young kids, the elderly and people who are sick. I know what people feel like when they aren’t included and when they are bullied. I would love to travel to different provinces and speak at schools on this subject and to talk about ways to change things to reduce bullying and to treat everyone as an equal. I would promote the use of Kids Help Phone and Erase Bullying which is a program that is done through the schools where kids anonymously report bullying and then the bully is turned into the school principle. I believe ending bullying starts with changing the kids from bystanders to hero’s and equality for all.

Below is Taylor Swift’s award winning music video “Mean” this helped me to survive being bullied!1f451

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Encounters with Canada part 4

DSCN1291On November 11th , I woke up really early, at about 6:30am to get ready to go to the national Remembrance Day ceremony!! We also were fortunate to listen to Operation Veteran again and this presentation took place in the famous Canadian hotel “Fairmont Château Laurier”,
which is where the queen stays when she visits!! Then after the Operation Veteran presentation, which was great, we got to watch IMAG2249the national Remembrance Day ceremony, which was so cool. The planes that flew over after the minute of silence were so loud and we didn’t realize how close to the ground they would be it was a little scary. My favorite part of the ceremony was seeing some of my friends in the cadet parade and also seeing the older veterans in the veteran parade! We also got to see Prime Minister IMAG2315Trudeau, whose wife gave him a little nudge and got him to wave at us.. We tried tweeting him to come to the Terry Fox Center but he never responded, :(. Any ways the Remembrance Day ceremony was excellent. After the ceremony we listened to a woman speak, she was the first woman air fighter, she was so inspirational and so fun. When we went up for a photo she made us do IMAG2250the “air fighter pose” which is where you have your thumbs up. Then after she left, (which took a while as she was a crowd favorite!!) we wrote post cards to veterans about how thankful we were that they fought for us.

After supper was my absolute favorite speaker, Terry Kelly. Who is a singer/song writer who wrote and sung the famous song “Pittance of Time”. IMAG2255Terry Kelly is 100% blind, and he attended a school just for the blind. He spoke and told us how he did not let that define him or control his life. When he asked a question for the first time we all put our hand up and he told us that for him we had to clap, to answer which was cool. After a lot of singing, dancing and a conga line, he sung his sad but famous song a “Pittance of Time”, (I’ll put the video at the end of this blog). After that we had a group photo and I went up to talk to him, he called me an inspiration and wanted a photo with me, which was an IMAG2316honor because I had wanted one with him, lol. He told me to never stop dreaming and to reach for the stars. He was such a nice guy and I hope I can meet him again, soon. And that was the end of the day, I could not believe that my week was half over.

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Encounters with Canada Part 3

12241604_901604149927813_7359036829087207318_nOn my third day at EWC we left the center at 9:05am, to walk downtown Ottawa and take a tour of the war memorials across from the city center. We were able to see all of the famous memorials, even the National War Memorial where we placed our crosses in remembrance of veterans who had lost their lives on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There were so many stories to go with the several of the memorials we saw, I went a little crazy taking DSCN1282photos of them all, or most of them at least. The history and the stories about the wars were heart breaking and gave me a whole new perspective on War itself. After the memorial tour we hopped a bus and crossed the bridge to look at a few more memorials in QUEBEC, which was just across the river. On the way back to the center we stopped to look at the “Curtain Falls” which were water falls that shot straight down and looked flat, like a curtain hanging, hence the name. When we came back from the tour we had a presentation by DSCN1404the Director General and heard a story about one veteran who was kind enough to share his story. After supper we heard from the founder of Operation Veteran, who is fighting for veterans rights, and his stories were really heart breaking. And that was the end of day three I could not believe that three days had already passed. Wow how time flies.

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Looking foward to this…..

The past Galaxy Girls have had an amazing time at the international pageant can’t wait for August 2016!!2000px-Maple_Leaf.svg

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Photoshoot with Kelsey Raber Photography

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Kelsey Raber Photography

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