Hello everyone! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. In all honesty, I took a step back from the pageant world after Nationals, having worked unbelievably hard in the months leading up to the competition and being extremely let down by the results of the weeklong event.

Since then, I’ve taken time to experience life more, and take in all the opportunities that this wonderful world has to offer me! I traveled to St. John’s, Newfoundland for a lovely IMG_0789vacation, resumed my intensive joint program at the University of Winnipeg and Red River College to further my dreams of becoming a sports broadcast journalist, picked up a weekly volunteer position at the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, and continue to work three (yes, three) jobs! In addition to this, I celebrated my 20th birthday in November, and have been named an ambassador for Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (The organization I’ve been working with for to support my platform). Needless to say, the past five months have flown by for me!

FullSizeRenderThough I haven’t been as active through social media as I would’ve liked to been in the past months, my appearances at events throughout the community definitely haven’t stopped! During the last week of August, I attended an event at the Assiniboine Park Zoo called “Wildest Dreams”. For this event, the Zoo partnered with CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, The Salvation Army, St. Amant Foundation, MaryMound, The Dream Factory, Art City, SMD Foundation, Variety: The Children’s Charity of Manitoba, and MuIMG_0752scular Dystrophy Canada to identify children facing health and/or socio-economic challenges, who would benefit mo
st from a once in a lifetime interactive zoo experience! After greeting guests at the gate with the Winston, the Zoo’s mascot, I was offered to take part in the festivities as well. During my adventures I befriended a miniature pony named Princess. A perfect match, right?! Needless to say, my time spent at Wildest Dreams was definitely a memorable event.

In November I attended the 2nd annual Princess Ball, in support of Cystic Fibrosis. On this day, I got to dress up in a wonderful ball gown (which just so happened to double as my graduation dress from three years ago), and spend an afternoon at a ballroom in the12628595_596346087187935_666917181487188849_o Fort Garry Hotel with my fellow titleholders Miss Teenage Eastman, Miss Teenage Winnipeg, and Miss Teenage Central Manitoba. The Princess Ball is day where young girls are invited to step into a dream, forget about their worries, and dress up as a princess for the day! They are then able to dance, do crafts, eat cupcakes, and make new friends with the 30+ volunteers, who are dressed head to toe in their best “princess gear” as well. It was truly amazing to see all the smiles on the faces of the young kids. One of my favourite moments was when a young girl grabbed me by the pinkys, started to dance, and said “I’ve always wanted to meet a real princess.” It is these moments that make all the hard work of being a titleholder absolutely worthwhile!

The following day a group of titleholders went to Winnipeg We Day! We Day is a celebration of youth making a diffe12249585_750276495105166_1648345398504829659_nrence in their local and global communities, created in 2007 by Free the Children founders Mark and Craig Kielburger. We Day is the call that brings a generation together. We Day is the movement of our time, inspiring a generation to act. Fuelled by the desire for change, and the hope that the world can be a better place, We Day is inspiring. On this day, over 16 000 change-makers gathered in the MTS Centre, to mark the 5th anniversary of Winnipeg We Day.

Since the other Manitoban delegates and I all raised money for Free The Children as requirements for the Nationals, we were treated with Honoured Guest seating in a suite close to the stage! There, we received gift bags, a catered lunch and the opportunity to bump into a few of the speakers after the show. To me, the most inspirational speaker of the day was deaf actress and activist, Marlee Matlin. Known for her portr11-MelanieShieldsPhotographyOttawa-1466ayal of Melody Bledsoe on the ABC hit series Switched at BirthMatlin used American Sign Language (ASL) to share with the audience how, despite her inability to hear, she’s always worked for her dreams, and hasn’t allowed barriers get in the way of who she’s always wanted to become. I found this so inspirational, as I’ve chosen a career path that will have bumps along the way as well. Though a very small percentage of television sports broadcasters are female, I know that with hard work and dedication, I’ll be able to achieve whatever career goals I put my mind to!

After the day ended, one of Marlee’s quotes truly stuck with me. As her interpreter spoke into the microphone, she signed “The real handicap of being deaf isn’t in my ears, it’s in my mind… barriers come from minds of those who want to handicap you.” I came to realize that, deaf or not, this quote is true for anyone trying to pursue their dreams. In your life, there will always be people who tell you you’re not good enough, or not “the right fit” for whoever you desire to become. Like Marlee, we all have to push back and tell ourselves “Yes. We are good enough.” Once the moment comes where you start to truly believe in yourself, other people will follow.

In December, I was happy to join forces with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Commission, to promote the sale of five different non-alcoholic beverages at liquor marts across Manitoba. This was an exciting opportunity for a8391e_b0567368b5bc49babc78227462952df6.jpg_srz_810_508_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzme, as I was able to hand out samples of alcohol-free champagne, beer, mojitos, as well as red and white wine during the holiday season. Though drinking can be part of a good time, driving drunk is not. These beverages provide designated drivers with the option to drink with their friends, but stay safe and sober while doing so! I’m proud to say that the trial run provided a high success rate, and that these beverages are now readily available at Liquor Marts across the province.

Over the final two months of my reign, I look forward to all the exciting opportunities that await me. Stay tuned, as I have some exciting events occurring in the next few weeks. Though I’m extremely saddened to give away my title in mid-May, I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished over this past year. As a celebration, a week after handing off my crown I’ll be travelling to Eastern Europe for a three week adventure of a lifetime! I’m excited, and cannot wait to add to the list of countries I’ve visited already.

Happy March everyone, stay tuned until next time!

Devon

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Happy Saturday everyone! I hope each and every one of my reader’s is having a fabulous Lion Encounterstart to their weekend. The past two days of Nationals have been full of fun events, but definitely busy. On Thursday, the Miss Teenage Canada delegates were treated to a surprise at the Bowmanville Zoological Park, as we received a close encounter experience with the zoo’s two newest cubs, a lion and tiger whom were both under 6 months of age! It was absolutely amazing to see these animals interact with one another, as well as being given the chance to interact with them. Afterwards I had a ring-tailed lemur jump from the zookeeper’s shoulder onto my own… Definitely a lot of fun!

After exploring the zoo for an hour, we loaded back onto the bus and headed to the Toronto Eaton Centre for lunch. The 2015 Miss Teenage Canada delegates were treated to a fresh, fantastic lunch, supplied by the Ritchtree MarketToronto Sign Taco Truck… I had the chicken tacos, and they were fantastic! Following this, a group of the girls were selected to do a promo for the Miss Teenage Canada video advertisement. As one of the two girls that went from Manitoba, the group of us walked through the underground tunnel of the Eaton Centre and eventually came up right near the “Toronto” sign that was advertised throughout this year’s PanAm Games! It was fun to be outside and take photos with my fellow delegates.

YorkdaleAfter leaving the Toronto Eaton Centre, the two busses filled of Miss Teenage Canada delegates headed to our next destination… Yorkdale Mall! Each delegate was generously given a $10 gift card to Yorkdale Mall, as well as a VIP shopping experience card. As there is so many delegates in the pageant this year, a mall sponsor of any kind is greatly appreciated! I enjoyed browsing through stores such as Top Shop and Zara, since we don’t have these located in Winnipeg.

The running around done at the mall caused all of us delegates to develop an appetite once more… As the bus rolled up to Medieval Times, I was excited for a new experience. Medieval Times is dinner and a show, where you’re taken back to the 15th century. All of the staff is dressed in medieval clothing, including people who are dressed as kings, queens, knights, jesters, and servants. As youmedieval enter the “competition ring” and take your seat, knights on horses ride into the stadium and follow a storyline as they begin duelling each other swords, shields, and other medieval weapons. Throughout the show, “servants” serve you food… The catch? People in medieval times didn’t use cutlery, so we couldn’t either! The four courses served were all eaten without utensils. Soup was sipped from the bowl, chicken, potatoes and corn were eaten with your hands, and dessert? You got it! Eaten with your hands. The show was quite interesting, and though it wasn’t something I ever had desired to see before, the experience was enjoyable and something I’d definitely recommend for family fun or birthday parties.

Following our trip to Medieval Times, it was back to the hotel we went. We were all thrilled to hear we were able to sleep in until 9am the next morning, which is definitely considered “sleeping in” during pageant week! We needed the rest, as the following evening was preliminaries.

The hours leading up to prelims was jam-packed with activities! Swimsuits were being fitted, shoes were being fixed, rehearsals were being done, and hair and makeup was being completed. For those of you who had always wondered how the Top 20 are determined, it’s a variety of things leading up to finals night. Your attitude, charitable contributions, blogging, platform reprPrelimsesentation, as well as your evening gown and swimsuit score from preliminaries night are all taken into account… In other words, prelims are a big deal! The evening began with swimwear, and boy was it fun. I attempted to gather ll of the Manitoban representatives for a photo beforehand… Though we missed two of the gals, I was so proud of the work we had all put into our fitness in order to get the bodies the way we were on the night of preliminaries! Following swimwear, we moved into the evening gown segment of the show.  This was my favourite part of the evening, as I got to see everyone’s evening gowns for the first time. I always find it so interesting to see the wide variety of gowns selected, that all represent a person’s personality and style! After my graceful evening walk, it was time to change and eat some supper. As it was 11:30pm, I was definitely ready for food and bed!

Day five and six of Nationals were tiring, but definitely enjoyable and memorable experiences!  I cannot wait to see what the next few days bring me.

Until next time,

Devon

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Taco TruckAs delegates in the Miss Teenage Canada competition, us ladies are always on the go. Yesterday, by the time we finished a close encounter with lion and tiger cubs at the Bowmanville Zoo, as well as a long bus ride following, all of us were exhausted and hungry. Luckily, we were taken to the Ritchtree Market Taco Truck in the Toronto Eaton Centre, and treated to a fantastic lunch!

The staff at the Ritchtree Market Taco Truck were absolutely amazing, as they had an assembly line that was fast, efficient and friendly. The first staff member would take yourMe & Taco Truck order, and the assembly of the meal would continue down the line. The menu included fish, chicken, beef, as well as vegetarian tacos and burritos. When I received my food, I couldn’t be happier! I chose the chicken tacos and was pleased to see that all the ingredients were crisp, fresh, and had an awesome kick of spice! Whereas franchised fast-food taco places focus on profit and speed, you could tell the Ritchtree Market taco truck focused on quality. It was a fabulous experience, and I’d definitely go back!

As this is my second time at Nationals, I’ve visited Toronto once before. Both times I’ve been to the Eaton Centre, anRitchtree Taco Truck Social Media Tagsd both times I’ve been jealous of the food selections at the Richtree Natural Market. With four locations across Ontario, the inspired menu items use all-natural, fresh, local and in-season ingredients, including antibiotic and hormone-free meats… Definitely tastier than your typical mall food! I I can only hope that Manitoba thinks of an innovative restaurant-market idea such as this sometime in the near future. Don’t forget to check out the Ritchtree Market taco truck’s social media handles, so you could check out their food for yourself!

Until next time,

Devon

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Good evening everyone! Yesterday was Day 4 in Toronto, and personally I think it was the best day yet. As many of my readers already know, travelling is a huge part of my life. 2015-08-05 08.38.37I view every place I visit as an opportunity to experience something new! Sightseeing throughout Toronto today was definitely something I enjoyed.
The morning started off bright and early, as Gracie & I woke up at 6:50am, out the door and ready to be loaded onto the bus by 7:30. After a quick 15 minute bus ride, the 81 other delegates and I arrived at Egglicious Cafe, an all day breakfast diner! Swapping out crowns for our Miss Teenage Canada hats today, I walked into the small establishment amongst a sea of pink… There were so many delegates that we filled the whole restaurant! After a lovely breakfast of hashbrowns, grilled vegetables and eggs we headed back onto the bus and made our way to Port Credit Pier!

Port Credit Pier is an absolutely beautiful area where boats could dock and launch from. Icredit pier couldn’t resist taking a picture with the beautiful, blue, Credit River water behind me! Following this, we traveled to an open space in a nearby park, where all 82 of us lined up in rows and watched as Marc Gagnon (one of chaperones for the trip) taught us our swimsuit runway choreography! Being able to work the “runway” out in the fresh air was fantastic, and the people walking by who paused to catch a glimpse of our rehearsal was good practice, as come preliminaries on Friday night we’ll all be showing off to a crowd much bigger than that!

Next, the Miss Teenage Canada delegates boarded the bus and drove to the Mississauga Canoe Club, the place of our 3rd destination! The evening before, delegates were told to bring swimsuits, casual clothes and our hats, because we might be getting wet! After hours upon hours of debate, the plan was finally revealed to us… Miss Teenage Canada 2015 delegates were going to learn how to dragon boat! For those of you who don’t know, dragon boating is a human-powered watercraft, that usually holds 20 paddlers in a long, slim boat. In addition, there’s a drummer to keep beat and yell out when the team should Dragon Boatingrow together (on the count of “1, 2, 3, 4”) plus a team member called the “Cox”, who stands at the back of the boat and steers in the direction their team is required to go.
Fun fact: A dragon boat is a boat of traditional Chinese design. They’re given their name due to the fact that these boats are usually decorated to resemble dragons! After being given a quick lesson, 21 of us at a time took off onto Credit River for a wonderful hour of dragon boating. This was something I had never done before, but since experiencing it would definitely take the opportunity to try it out again! A barbecue for the delegates and opportunity to relax in the sun after boating was the perfect afternoon for me.

Following our trip to the Mississauga Canoe Club, we boarded our respective busses and were told to settle in for an hour and a half bus ride… Thogh I usually don’t like being in loud, moving vehicles for that long of a period, I was excited about all the places we could possibly be going! Eventually, the bus rolled up to a large building… Staring out the windows into the venue, I realized we had arrived at the Greg Frewin Theatre in Niagara Falls! For those of you who are unfamiliar, Greg Frewin is one of America’s top magicians, who settled in NiagaraGreg Frewin magic shop Falls to preform nightly dinner/magic shows! The food served at the theatre was set up buffet style, and I must say I slightly wished I didn’t have to be strutting my stuff in a bikini in two short days! The food variety ranged from hot and cold salads, to fried potatoes drizzled with a cream sauce, grilled eggplants, peppers & other vegetables, fish, chicken (with a fresh chunky mango and pineapple salsa), fall-off-the-bone roast beef, as well as a wide array of fresh fruits and desserts! The level of temptation to go back for a second, third and fourth plate was definitely high that night. As we ate, the magic show began! It was relatable to a show you’d see on the Las Vegas strip, as Greg escaped a straight jacket while encountering a dangerous situation, made a car (as well as tigers and doves) appear from absolutely nowhere in the middle of the stage, and called upon random members of the audience to be a part of his show. During intermission and after the show, guests were able to check out the magic shop located in the south end of the venue, and select from a wide array of merchandise to buy if they desired!

Following the show, my favourite part of the night began. Our busses dove through downtown Niagara Falls, and it was lit up like a big-city skyline… So beautiful. TheNiagara Fallsn, for ten minutes, we got to visit the Falls. I must say, it was an absolutely amazing event, and I’m so thrilled to have experienced it with so many other wonderful individuals. It was my first time at Niagara Falls, and it was definitely something I’ll remember forever! Until visiting, it was never an attraction I had desired to see. Once viewing it in person however, I was undoubtedly shocked that I never considered the falls as something beautiful to see. Though we had to leave before the fireworks started at 10pm, it was definitely something I’d come back and visit for.

Day four of Toronto was absolutely exhausting, but I had a great time! Snoozing on the bus ride back to the hotel was definitely a must. Stay tuned for my next blog post, which will be discussing today, day number five of Nationals!

Until then lovelies,

Devon

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HeRehearsal  ready!llloooo from Toronto ladies and gentlemen! Today was a busy day, but definitely a fun one. The morning started off with breakfast, followed by rehearsals for the final show. With a water bottle in hand, I made my way up to the rehearsal room for a long day of (fun) work. With 82 delegates competing for the crown this year, there’s a lot of people to choreograph! Luckily we were able to dress in comfortable clothes, and meet the fabulous Shawn Cuffie, choreographer of the Miss Teenage Canada pageant once again this year! For those of you who are unfamiliar with pageants, there are multiple walks that are necessary to learn, as well as (typically) two opening number dances per competition. To begin, all delegates were taught “pageant stance”, meaning that your back foot faces “2 o’clock”, while your front foot faces “12 o’clock” (directly in front of your back foot’s toes). From there, you’d transfer your weight onto you back leg, pop your front knee, and BAM! You’ve learned the pageant stance. From there, we were taught turns, our evening gown parade, as well as Top 10 choreography. After lunch, we began learning our routine for the opening number dance. I won’t say too much about it at this moment, but I will tell you that it’s a remix, upbeat, and definitely something you’ll want to dance along to! Stay tuned for Thursday’s blog post, as I may reveal some more information about it and our swimsuit number following our second choreography session.

Around 5pm we headed to our rooms, and began getting ready for our evening out. Until walking mtctoday, all of the delegates had not stepped a foot outside since checking into our hotel rooms on Sunday afternoon… You could imagine how excited we were when we were told that we’d be going out for supper! The five minute walk from the hotel to supper was absolutely lovely, as the fresh air was definitely welcomed. On top of that, I loved seeing people driving by slowing almost to halt on the busy main road, simply to see what 82 girls wearing crowns could possibly be doing in the middle of Toronto!

For supper, we ate at Lone Star Texas Grill. As I work two serving jobs, I understand what a hassle large parties could be at times, so I must applaud the staff for their fast, friendly, and efficient service throughout the night! As we sat down, a bowl of tortilla chips and homemade salsa was placed on the table. As “chip refills” were free, let me tell you that some of the pageant ladies definitely took advantage of it! FoLONE STAR GRILLllowing this, we were brought sour cream, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, tomato-cumin rice & soft, warm tortillas to our tables. After a long day of dancing in rehearsals, we couldn’t be more excited when we heard that sizzling chicken and steak fajita mix would soon be on the way! I couldn’t be happier with the company I enjoyed throughout supper. Starting from the left, I shared a table with Vienna (Manitoba), Jerica (Ontario), myself, Kelsey (Saskatchewan), Gracie (Saskatchewan, and also my roommate) as well as Sienna (British Columbia). Getting to know so many amazing people from across the country has been a fantastic experience so far, and I look forward to what the rest of the week brings!

As the evening concluded, we said our goodbyes to the staff at Lone Star Texas Grill and made our way back outside. Before doing roll-call (where each delegate hollers their assigned number when their turn comes in line, just to make sure we always have everyone), I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to get a photo with this year’s Miss Teenage Canada, Francesca McFadden. Here’s an interesting fact you may not have known:

Francesca (Cheskie) and I have already known each other for three years!

Yes, she’s from Ontario and I’m from Manitoba, so you may be wondering how. Her and I actually competed together at Miss Teen Canada-World in 2012. It was so exciting to see aMTC Queens past fellow delegate of mine come back a second time and win her provincial pageant, followed by the National one as well! Francesca joining Miss Teenage Canada again and winning Nationals was one of the things that convinced me to come back and compete. She proved that, even if you fail the first time, working hard to achieve your desired dreams/goals is something truly important, that can benefit you greatly in the long run! I  am a passionate believer in fighting for what you want to achieve in life, and I want to achieve the title of Miss Teenage Canada. I have so much passion, and so much I plan on accomplishing when I’m crowned. I have made a huge transformation in my physical & mental fitness since the first time I competed, and plan to keep working on them both all the way up to the international Miss Teenage World competition! The title of Miss Teenage Canada would truly be a blessing, which is why I hope to follow in Francesca’s footsteps, and wear the 2015 sash in five short days!

After our walk back to the hotel, we headed to our rooms and got ready for bed. As tomorrow is an early morning (that’s all we’ve been told, as the activities are being kept a surprise), the chaperones wanted us to get a good night’s sleep for the eventful day ahead of us!

I can’t wait to fill you in on all of tomorrow’s adventures.

Until then,

Devon

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Being crowned Miss Teenage Manitoba 2015 has been one of the best experiences in my lHeadshotife. At the age of nineteen, I’ve learned more about myself than I thought I would have known, even years down the road. I’ve volunteered and made a difference in my community. I’ve traveled across the country by myself, and I’m currently experiencing the beginning stages of creating lasting memories and friendships with people nationwide. Now imagine, for a second, if I wasn’t there. Just completely, and utterly gone.

Today, this is happening to too many people. The teenager living in the house on the street corner has suddenly stopped getting the paper in the morning and waving to you, something you considered to be a morning ritual. Your peer from college abruptly stops coming to her favourite class. Why? It’s not because these young adults are moving away from home. It’s because they are dying. Today, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 25 year olds. Alcohol is a factor in 55% of these crashes. My platform is to raise awareness against the dangers associated with drinking and driving, to ensure that no more lives or families are torn apart due to the unwise decision that one person chooses to make.

Why did I choose this platform?

As I’m nineteen turning twenty, my friends and I are now at the age that we can go out, have a few drinks, and enjoy a nice summer evening. Last May, my friends and I decided to do just that, and enjoy a social gathering down in Victoria Beach. Five of us arrived at the party, however around 1:30am, only four of us left. Our fifth friend, Alex, decided to spend the night at the cabin. Something changed, however, and around 3:30am Alex made the decision to get in a car with a driver who was intoxicated, and go for Alex, Devon and Lisaa ride. This turned out to be once of the worst decisions he could have ever made. Shortly after they embarked on the trip, the driver took a turn on a gravel road going 160km/h. The vehicle proceeded to flip three times, and land upside down in a water-filled ditch. Remarkably, no one passed in this accident, however injuries did occur. The accident left Alex in a medically-induced coma, followed by a long period of recovery time. Not knowing, for the first day or so, if Alex was going to survive, was emotionally devastating for his friends and I, as well as his family. This made me realize… We aren’t invincible. Drinking and driving is so unsafe, and has horrible consequences for everyone involved. No longer, do I want people to experience the emotional trauma that Alex’s friends and family were put through in the weeks following his accident, which is why I strongly believe in raising awareness of all the consequences that are associated with this criminal offence.

What would I do with my platform as Miss Teenage Canada?

The truth is that drinking and driving tends to be a societal issue that effects OUR generation. We are not seeing the middle-aged, mother of two, being pulled over for operating a vehicle while impaired. We are seeing our peers. We are seeing our 19 year old neighbours down the street. Today, we are seeing an increasing number of teenagers choosing to make the reckless decision of drinking and driving. As Miss Teenage Canada, I could, and would, woDid you knowrk with an organization such as Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) not only province-wide, but nationwide as well. As I currently volunteer with the Winnipeg chapter of MADD, my next step as Miss Teenage Canada would be stepping up as a nationwide ambassador, who travels and presents at school assemblies dedicated to safe driving throughout the year. Following this, I plan on creating an organization geared towards teenagers, that raises awareness of the dangers associated with drinking and driving. The reason I’m volunteering with MADD is because currently, in Manitoba, there is not a single student-run organization focusing on intoxicated driving. As young adults are the age bracket most influenced by drinking and driving, we should be the ones who care. We should be the ones who take action, and work to put an end to intoxicated driving. Being Miss Teenage Canada would be an absolute honour, and allow me to promote my platform even better than I could if I stayed Miss Teenage Manitoba. I truly hope that his becomes a reality in six short days, as I am so excited for the opportunities that the title of Miss Teenage Canada would bring to me and my future!

Talk to you all soon,

Devon

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Toronto BoundGood evening from Toronto everyone!

Well, the week has finally come. Today I embarked on my journey to Nationals, and what a journey it was. My morning began at 6am, as I (against my wishes) rolled out of bed to catch my morning flight! What does a pageant queen bring to a National competition, you may ask? Here are just a few of the things I had to remember to pack for this exciting week:

  • Nine dresses (these include, among others, my evening gown, photo-shoot, talent gala and orientation night dresses)!
  • Necessary documentation, including consent form, “Events Attended” & “Media Shoes!Interviews” lists, as well as my scholarship essay, which was an optional category I entered in the pageant.
  • Toiletries a non-pageant contestant would ever consider… Double-sided tape, butt glue for the swimwear category, a sewing kit, glue gun… You name it, and it’s probably in my bag!
  • Ten pairs of shoes… High heels truly are a girl’s best friend! Wedges of all colours, stilettos, sandals, runners, pumps… The list is truly endless.
  • My crown and sash. The whole reason I’m at Miss Teenage Canada is because I won the title of Miss Teenage Manitoba 2015! As contenders for the top title, us delegates may as well bring our provincial crowns and sashes along for the ride, to show off the accomplishments we’ve already achieved.

Saying goodbye to loved ones at the airport terminal was not fun, however I knew that they’d all be cheering on for me this week from home! As I walked through the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, I met up with Vienna, Catherine, Dana and Cheyenne, other Manitoban titleholders who were all on my flight! Luckily, Manitoba Delegatesmany of us were seated close to one another and were able to catch up during the trip. Halfway through our journey a flight attendant tapped me on the shoulder, asking if she could borrow my crown… After agreeing, she took it from me and brought it to the front of the plane, where crew members proceeded to take pictures with it! It was definitely a sight to see. Soon after, the five of us landed safely at the Toronto Pearson International Airport, and proceeded to the hotel to meet the other delegates.

This year’s pageant has a record high number of contestants, with a total of 82 contestants competing for the crown! Getting to know them all at orientation was challenging, thoughGracie due to my unique ability to remember names extremely easily I feel like I’ll be able to name everyone by the end of tomorrow! (I’ll get back to you with an update on how that goes). This year, I was paired with Gracie McCullough as a roommate, Miss Teenage South Central Saskatchewan. Her and I are truly the dream team… Dancing, singing and goofing around in the room? That’s definitely us. Though it’s only been one day, I’m already able to tell that rooming the rest of the week with her will definitely be a fun experience.

Delegate Supper

After we got settled into our rooms, the delegates moved upstairs to the Delegate’s Supper! There, we mingled with our fellow contestants, were served a dinner of pizza, salad, and a pink “welcome” cake (cut by the one and only Francesca McFadden, Miss Teenage Canada 2014), and were given some treats from our National sponsors.

Without further adieu, I’d like to say thank you to:

  • Angeline McDonald, of Bells and Bows Bridal in Lethbridge, Alberta, for her donation of beautiful opening number earrings and necklace jewelry sets. Did you know that Bells and Bows Bridal has been voted the Best Bridal Shop in Lethbridge for the past five years?
  • The Miss Teenage Canada Organization for the custom-made Miss Teenage Sponsor GiftsCanada ball caps.
  • Me to We, for the Rafiki Friend Chains. Did you know, that with your own $10 purchase of a Rafiki Friend Chain, you would be supporting a person in a third-world country with a basic necessity such as clean water, health care, nutritional meals or school supplies?
  • Golden Glamour Goddesses, for their “heathy skin care package” of bronzing lotion, body butter and a loofah. If you’re searching for the glow of a sun-kissed tan, without the harmful UV rays, look no further than Golden Glamour Goddesses!

After the delegate supper, Gracie and I headed back to the room to call it a night. Though tomorrow we get to wake up at 9am (AKA “sleeping in”, in Miss Teenage Canada time), it’s important that we’re well rested as the photoshoot, video, and panel interview are being completed tomorrow! Day one of Toronto was an exciting experience, and I’m definitely looking forward to the week ahead of me.

Until tomorrow,

Devon

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Hello everyone! I am so excited to say that in one short day I will be boarding a plane, and heading off to Toronto to meet the many amazing delegates from across Canada, who’ll be representing their home province as we all compete for the title of Miss Teenage Canada 2015. When I joineNationals 2012d the Miss Teenage Manitoba pageant the first time around in 2012, I genuinely did not expect that it would lead me down a road of amazing changes that I was to make in my life. I believe that every opportunity in life is a learning experience, and with these experiences come learning curves. After not placing in the Top 20 at the national pageant in 2012 I became driven, not deterred. I had nothing but feelings of extreme gratitude to the Miss Teenage Canada organization, as they helped me realize the strong, unique, confident individual I was at that moment, and the potential I held to become even stronger. I’m a firm believer in the phrase “If you don’t succeed the first time, try and try again”. At the age of 16,  I knew that I would come back in the years ahead of me, and compete for the title once more. As my final post as Miss Teen Southern Manitoba-World 2012, I made a vow to achieve my dreams of becoming a provincial titleholder… I’m proud to say that three years later, I did.

My Transformation

In January of 2015, I hit a point in my life where I wasn’t happy with who I was anymore. The stress of university hit me hard, personal issues were springing up left, right and centre, and food had become the number one thing to console me. Finally, I realized ITransformation needed to make a change for the better! It was at that moment I joined Miss Teenage Manitoba 2015, and I haven’t looked back since. In addition to practicing the eloquent nature of my speech, I knew obtaining a great personal level of physical fitness was something I slightly lacked in my first appearance at Nationals. I had to change this the second time around! It is without any shame that I post this before and after picture, as I am so proud of the transformation I’ve made. With a goal set in my mind, I began sculpting myself into the best form of “me” I could be. Though I probably won’t be the slimmest person on stage come time for Nationals, I will step out onto the stage with pride and confidence, as I have made such a huge transformation in my physical health over the course of the past five months!

My supporters… Thank you!

Winning the title of Miss Teenage Manitoba 2015 was only the beginning of hurdles I had to jump along my journey to Nationals. From the bottom of my heart, I’d love to thank the organizations who have backed me, and the people who put out a helping hand for me along my trek! Thank you to IBEW Local 2085, Manitoba Building Trades, Coughlin Insurance and the Co20 Questionsnstruction Labour Relations Association of Manitoba for your monetary donations, which have helped fund my trip to Nationals, as well as my flight. Thank you to Zhanna Polishchuck of REC Photography, for you brilliance behind a camera that led to amazing official pageant photos. Thank you to Wade Chessman and the estheticians at Scinn Studio Spa, for providing me with pageant perks such as manicures, pedicures, eyelash extensions and teeth whitening for my trip to Toronto. Thank you to the residents of West St. Paul, Selkirk, and Crowning momentsurrounding municipalities for being so supportive of my determination for the title. An additional thank you to Brook Jones, editor of the Selkirk Journal, for giving me some fantastic coverage in the local paper over the course of the past few months. Finally, thank you to my family. Without your loving words and endless support, I surely would have gone crazy by now! Thank you, to all of you. Everyone mentioned above has played their own special role in helping me achieve my goal of becoming Miss Teenage Canada. As you’ve all done your part, I promise to take it to the stage this week and do mine.

Final Thoughts

When I’m asked the question “Who is Miss Teenage Canada?” I do not think of a specific person, rather a set of specific qualities that person needs to hold. Miss Teenage Canada is smart. Miss Teenage Canada is helpful. Miss Teenage Canada desires to make a change in her community. Miss Teenage Canada is a confident and successful role model for young women across the country, who is proud of the person she is, and excited for the person she can become. I know I possess these qualities. I know I have the desire and the drive to be a successful National titleholder, who makes the most of every second they wear the crown. I am beyond excited for the week ahead of me, and cannot wait to meet my fellow delegates, make lasting friendships, and enjoy the whole experience from beginning to end!

As I step onto the plane tomorrow morning, I will be thinking of you all. Thank you, so much.

Devon

Written by: Devon Tagged with:, , , , , , , , , , ,
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Posted On: Categories:Miss Teenage Manitoba

Hello everyone! Three days left until I board a plane to Toronto for Nationals, can you believe it? The past two weeks have been chock-full organizing clothes, preparing Free the Night_POSdocuments, finding sponsors and attending events. This past Friday, July 24th, I held my largest event when friends, family and acquaintances freed their night for my “Free the Night” social! Funds raised through this event are being donated to Free the Children, the Miss Teenage Canada organization’s charity of choice for delegates competing at Nationals this year. In addition, I partnered with Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for this event as part of my platform, to ensure drinking and driving would not occur as a result of my fundraiser. Both Free the Children and MADD are wonderful organizations, which I believe everyone should know more about.

What is Free the Children?

Free The Children is an international charity founded Craig Kielburger in 1995. Craig was only 12 years of age when he begun developing the charity, one that is now one of the largest charity networks in the world! Craig’s determination to make a change after reading about another boy, Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani child who was forced into bonded labour at the age of four then murdered at the 12, proves the notion that youth truly can make a difference!

Free the Children’s key values:

  • Believes in a world where all children are free to achieve their fullest potentials as agents of change.FreetheChildrenLogo_950x505px
  • Believes today’s generation of young adults should switch their attitudes from “me” to “we”.
  • Working to break the cycle of third-world poverty through their holistic and sustainable development model, “Adopt a Village”, which focuses on multiple methods of community development.

Why should you donate to Free the Children?

  • If you have running water, a home, bed to sleep in and food to eat, you have more than most people in the world today. Not just you and your friends, but everyone, should be able to have the basic necessities life requires.
  • A small act goes a long way. You should feel good knowing that by choosing to skip out on Starbucks once a week and donating to FTC instead, you could be providing a child with a school kit, or a family with a bundle of baby chicks that would grow, produce eggs, and provide a source of sustainable income for a mother and her family.

As eighteen is the age of majority in Manitoba, I was easily able to have a social in order to raise funds for Free the Children. The event took a lot of organizing, but moved along smoothly thanks to Kristi Stoesz and her team at Whiskey Dix Nightclub, who gave me the venue, designed, and printed my social tickets free of charge! We came to the agreement that I would keep all money I raise through advance ticket sales, while Whiskey Dix would receive at the door as well as liquor sales. As alcohol was being served at the venue, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about my platform, discussing the dangers associated with drinking and driving.

Why is this my platform?

My platform is something I am sincerely passionate about. I’m sure that at one point or another, as teenagers, we have all thought we were invincible. I know I did. So did my friend Alex. Last year, we went to a social gathering out near my friend’s cabin. Instead of leaving when we did, Alex chose to stay longer. Later that night, he got into a vehicle with an intoxicated driver. The driver took a turn going 160+ km/h, and rolled the car 3 MADD Logotimes,landing it in a water-filled ditch. Though, thankfully, no one was killed, the accident left Alex in a medically-induced coma, followed by a long period of recovery time. I do not want anyone to have to experience the emotional trauma he, his friends, and family were put through during this horrific time, which is why I believe it’s so important not to drink and drive. Mother’s Against Drunk Driving is an organization that I’ve begun volunteering with in the recent months, as they’re on a mission to end impaired driving, and help victims affected by this crime.

How did I represent my platform at the social?

According to Stats Canada, the number one excuse for teenagers caught drinking and driving is “I had absolutely no other way of getting home”. Because of this, I came up with the camArrive Alive Cardspaign I call #ArriveAlive. Using the slogan “Arrive Alive… Don’t Drink and Drive”, I printed off business cards with three local taxi companies, after receiving approval from their head offices. Thank you to Spring Taxi, Duffy’s, and Unicity Taxi for supporting me and my platform! As guests walked into the venue, their social ticket was exchanged for one of these business cards. In addition, the bathroom attendants agreed to hand out the cards to guests using the facilities, as those who came without a pre-purchased ticket would not receive one at the door! I’m proud to say that an approximate 100 business cards were handed out that evening. Though it would be their responsibility to hail a taxi, I felt content knowing that guests at least had a sure fire way of contacting one.

My supporters

“Free the Night” was a great success, as I raised my goal amount for Free the Children fundraising. It was filled with fun and friends, who’ve been some of the best supporters throughout my Miss Teenage Canada journey. I am proud of the way I promoted my platform through my event, and truly hope that the next time one of my older readers picks up a drink, they’ll put down their keys.

Until next time,

Devon

Written by: Devon Tagged with:, , , , , , , , ,
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Posted On: Categories:Miss Teenage Manitoba

Oh Canada, how I love you so. With Canada Day just behind us, I’ve decided to dedicate tCanada Dayoday’s blog post to my favourite country out there… Canada! What makes the hockey-loving, poutine-eating, forever-apologizing people of the North so great? Definitely an abundance of things. Without further adieu, let me share my top eight reasons about why Canada (and the people within) are absolutely fabulous.

8. The humour. 

Believe it or not, I’m not the only funny Canadian out there! Canadians should be proud to call some class acts their own, such as John Candy, Mike Myers (who could forget Wayne’s World, or Austin Power’s franchise?), Russell Peters and Jim Carrey (best known for his role in Dumb and Dumber), just to name a few!

7. The people are polite… Like, really polite. 

Have you ever been in a rush at the shopping mart, bumped into another person’s cart as you quickly turned a corner, and had them blurt “sorry” at the same time as you, even though it was entirely your mistake? If so, you were probably in Canada. A study done by Queen’s University, (creatively titled “Sorry… I’m Canadian”), reports 90% of Canadians aged 18-25 apologize if a stranger bumps into them! A little politeness goes a long way in my books.

6. The freshwater lakes. 

KenoraThere’s a reason why Northwestern Ontario is referred to as “cottage country”. This photo was taken on Lake Kenora, one of Canada’s more than 3 million lakes… More than any other country out there! In the summer these beautiful lakes (which account for 1/3 of the world’s freshwater supply) are perfect for swimming in, fishing, boating, and attempting to waterski on. Mostly surrounded by lush green forests, the lakes of Canada are definitely a breathtaking view.

5. The food. 

What is crunchy, creamy, and cheesy, all at the same time? Poutine. This is a dish that Canadian’s take great pride in (and they should, because it’s absolutely delicious). Said to be developed in Quebec in the 1950’s, this traditional dish of fries, gravy and cheese curds has now taken off into a world of it’s own, with restaurants such as Smoke’s Poutinerie opening up across Canada. Check out their crazy menu here! Sweet maple syrup is another Canadian favourite, as it’s harvested directly from one of the thousands of maple trees that are scattered throughout Canada. The maple leaf is also symbolic, as it’s the image on the Canadian flag!

4. Multiculturalism 

Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world. It is a nation of newcomers. The nation was originally inhabited by Aboriginal people, and the immigration began starting with the French and British colonization in the 17th century… One of the main reasons that CanaFolklarama Ambassadorsda has not one, but two, official languages (The other one being French.) As of 2014, Canada is home to more than 200 other mother tongues, including Mandarin, Punjabi, Chinese and Spanish! This is not unlike other countries, who welcome immigrants with open arms. What is unique in Canada though? The unity of the cultures. Every year, a two week-long festival occurs called Folklarama, right here in Winnipeg, Manitoba! Folklarama is the longest largest and longest-running multicultural of its kind in the world, as determined by the International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts (what a tongue twister, eh?). This festival has approximately 50 pavilions, all representing a different culture. I was lucky to meet some of these ambassadors during one of my recent pageant appearances! The festival, which celebrates the diverse cultures in Canada through food, music and dance, is something that definitely makes Canada great.

3. Canada’s hidden patriotism.

Canada is often considered the quiet and likeable neighbours of the United States. While volunteering for the USA-Australia game at this year’s 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a fellow volunteer pointed out how Americans seem much more patriotic than Canadians. I believe that she was incorrect in this. Just because they are not tooting whistles or blowingCanada Day horns at every chance they get, it in no way means Canadians are any less patriotic! Here I’m pictures handing out treats to children, all decked out in patriotic colours, at this year’s West St Paul Canada Day celebration! Canadians get loud where it counts. If you don’t believe me, see it for yourself. During the 2014 Winter Olympics Men’s gold medal hockey game, my friend Lisa and I were one of the hundreds of Canadians that squeezed into Sharkclub, a downtown Winnipeg sports grill, at 5:30am to watch the magic unfold. Her and I just so happened to be filmed on television as a local news station covered the event!

2.Tim Hortons. 

If you’re Canadian, you know that nothing can beat Tim Hortons. At the age of five it was where you showed your Timbit’s soccer jersey to get a free bottle of peach juice after the game. At the age of 12, it was where your dad took you to warm up with hot chocolate before an evening of skating at one of Canada’s many outdoor hockey rinks. At the age of 19, it’s where you go to get your coffee before you pull your first university all-nighter… The first of many. No matter the occasion, Tim Hortons coffee chain supplies, and will continue to supply, great Canadian memories for all.

1. Hockey.

You may be wondering, how is extremely cold temperatures one of the things that make Canada great? Well, because of these extremely cold temperatures, many Canadians grew up on th2014 Olympic Teame hockey rink. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say some started out on skates not even a year after they started walking! What does this do? Create amazing hockey players. Hockey is the game of Canada, and boy are us Canadians proud of it. Currently, just over 50% of National Hockey League players call Canada home. Second in line is the United States, with 25% of NHL players hailing from that country. Oh, and which country holds the highest amount of gold medals for hockey in the Olympics? I’ll let you take a guess.

So, those are my top eight reasons on why Canada is great. Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below! If you’ve been keeping up to date with my blogging, you know by now that I love traveling. But Canada? You’re the only place I’ll ever truly consider home.

Written by: Devon Tagged with:, , , , ,
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Posted On: Categories:Blog Assignments