The Journey to Miss Indiana

Words cannot express how honored I am to represent the Miss Indiana Organization as the 2016 Miss Spirit of Indiana. From the moment I was crowned, I knew that this title has begun the start of an exciting, exhilarating, and incredible journey that lies ahead. I have learned so much through this process already, but know over the course of the next several months, I will feel that looking back I knew very little. 

With the state pageant being just over two months away, the momentum instantly propelled me, as well as my AMAZING directors Paige and Jeniece, forward (I will seriously never be able to thank them enough the more we continue throughout this process!). Our team is diligently preparing appearances, training opprotunities, community service events, and so much more. Though it's only been roughly two weeks from the moment I became grafted into this organization, I am thrilled to say we have already made so much progress as I prepare for the state competition in June. I'll keep it a surprise for now, but I can say that I am so very excited to share my talent with you at Miss Indiana :)

As my thoughts race and my heart pounds with all the exciting news I have to share, I find it fitting to thank every person who has supported me and encouraged me so far. To your facebook and instagram words of encouragement, your contributions to help me raise money for the Children's Miracle Network, and most importantly - your coveted prayers - I can truly say that I have never felt more loved, encouraged, and surrounded by community in this season of life. Thank you for supporting me and walking with me over the course of this journey. I could never have made it to where I am today without your help, and the Lord's hand upon my every step of this journey. 

To those of you who may wonder why I'm competing - my heart and passion for the Miss America Organization has only continued to grow as I become increasingly involved. Coming from someone who used to be somewhat critical of pageants, I can truly say that my eyes have been opened and perspective of what this organization means to me and so many others has completely shifted. You see, my involvement in the program began with a quest for scholarships, but quickly it has evolved into far more. Scholarships have simply become just added bonus to the service opportunities and friendships I've made through the process. The Miss America Organization provides numerous connections to mentor and encourage others. Relationships with other contestants, board members, and directors. Chances to serve the local, state, and national community. Opportunities to make a difference in this world, one person at a time.

I will never be able to say it enough, but this journey is so much bigger than just me. This is not a quest for a crown, but a continuous expedition to grow as a person, and help inspire others to do the same. Every aspect of this journey is a part of something bigger.

Walk in love,

Ashley