America’s Junior Miss contestants deserve better

First let me start of by welcoming the 2010 America’s Junior Miss contestants to Mobile. I hope you all enjoy your two week stay here and I think you all deserve better. I will explain this in a moment.

For those of you that are not familiar with the   America’s Junior Miss Scholarship Program.

From their website

America’s Junior Miss was founded in 1958 and is headquartered in Mobile, Alabama. More than 700,000 young women from across the nation have participated in Junior Miss programs at the local, state, and national levels. In addition to cash scholarships, Junior Miss participants are eligible for college-granted scholarships from nearly 200 colleges and universities.

On Monday I was walking around in Bel Air Mall when I saw these display boards.

AJM contestant board display at Bel-Air Mall

Scholarship information board at Bel-Air Mall

The first thought that came to mind was “Dang they don’t have Photoshop or GIMP available at their headquarters here in lovely Mobile; and does a display board printout of what could have been really pretty and elegant display of the contestants and info on the program really cost that much at Kinko’s.” Then the second thought I had was the definite contrast of attention these young women will receive during their two week stay in Mobile over Miss USA contestants which as of last month garnered more attention for their Victoria Secret like photoshoot. than what actually occurred during the pageant or what the officials say the mission statement of the Miss USA organization as follows

These women are savvy, goal-oriented and aware. The delegates who become part of the Miss Universe Organization display those characteristics in their everyday lives, both as individuals, who compete with hope of advancing their careers, personal and humanitarian goals, and as women who seek to improve the lives of others.

Now let’s look at the mission statement for America’s Junior Miss

The mission of America’s Junior Miss (AJM) is to empower outstanding high school women by providing scholarship opportunities, developing life skills, and encouraging positive values; and to impact the lives of all young people through the Be Your Best Self outreach program.

Both programs seem to have similar goals for the contestants that participate, but what I find incredibly sad is that one program receives more attention due in part to even though they want the focus to be on how intelligent their participants are at the end of the day people are focusing more on how great they look in a swimsuit or evening gown. Whereas with the AJM, which did start off as a pageant but as the program progressed the focus shifted to academic achievement and having a fitness routine as of the finale competition instead of having a swimsuit competition. Then again some pageant will consider the swimsuit part of the competition as showing how fit the young women are. Is Showbiz Tonight talking about America’s Junior Miss..nope, or any other media outlet that discussed the Miss USA photos but not young women that are headed off to college that are not scantily glad in front of a large audience trying to accomplish a goal that both programs share. Nope.

Even on the local level when the winner of the Mobile County Junior Miss was announced it was posted in a Sunday edition of the Press-Register in a 3×4 article. That had me thinking since the pageants’s headquarters is in Mobile why isn’t that the local County finals of the Junior Miss just as a big deal as the National Finals. I would love to see the local contestants daily journal entries on how they feel about the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill or whether the feel should there be ethics reform in the light of the events that occurred with former County Commissioner Stephen Nodine. I also have to wonder does the University of South Alabama offer a full scholarship to the winner of the Mobile County Junior Miss as they do with past state winners of the competition ?

I know I’m just a young women with a blog but I think these young women on the local and national level deserve a lot better than poor national media coverage and a shotty looking display board at a local shopping mall.

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