Children's Miracle Network!

Please help me reach my goal of raising $2,000 for the Children's Miracle Network. Every penny counts! Just follow the link below

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Letter to the MAO Board of Directors

If you agree, write them a letter! The more they receive, the more likely they are to make a change!

To whom this may concern:

Seven years ago, I had absolutely no idea that I was about to embark on a journey that was going to change my life forever. I was confused, lost, and felt so small in such a big world. I decided to take a chance and compete in my first Miss America local. At the beginning, it was a way to make friends, work on my interviewing skills, and generally have a good time. As the years went by, the friendships became stronger, my confidence level soared, and I started to develop a sense of competition, drive, and ambition to be named the next Miss America. Truth be told, this drive and ambition sent me on the ride of my life.

Six years and fifteen pageants into my Miss America career, I won my first local. Being named Miss Finger Lakes 2010, surrounded by my family, friends, and pageant sisters, was the absolute greatest moment of my life. Standing on the Miss New York stage I felt so proud to be representing my hometown. In that moment, I thought about the work I had done in my community, the strides that I had made in my education, the friendships that would last a lifetime, and the self confidence that I possessed that would not have been possible without this amazing Organization.

When I exited the Miss New York stage, I was not wearing a new crown, but was still proud and excited for the remainder of my local title's reign. The next day, I started the preparation process once again to become the next Miss America. During the preparation months of my last year of eligibility, I received a phone call from my best friend telling me that she had set the date for the most important day of her life and she had asked me to be her maid of honour. I was so excited and could not wait to support her on her journey. A few months later, on the way out the door for a Miss Finger Lakes appearance, I received a text message that put an end to my dream of becoming Miss America. The Miss New York State board of directors had just announced that they would be holding the pageant the very same day as my friend's wedding. After much contemplation and many tears, I chose to compete in one last local pageant; if it was meant to be then I would miss the most important day of my friend's life, but experience the most important day of my own life. At Miss Greater Rochester 2011, I performed better than I ever had at any pageant and was confident that I would be representing the area at Miss New York. Unfortunately for me, it was not meant to be. As much as I wanted to try again at another local, I had made a promise to myself and a promise to my friend that I would only have one shot. I sat on the sidelines and cheered on my friends as they competed for a chance to fight for the title of Miss New York; with tears in my eyes, I watched away my last year of eligibility. It is for that reason that I am writing you today.

Up until 1993, the Miss America Organization allowed young women to compete until the age of 28. I truly believe that it is time re-think the competition age limit. At such a young age of 24, I know that I still have so much growing to do within this system, I still have student loans that I need assistance with, and most importantly, I can still be a role model for this Organization. When I first began competing, I would not have had the courage to write to you or the confidence to believe that I could actually make this change transpire. It is because of the lessons that I learned from the Miss America Organization that I know if I want change to happen that I need speak up and make it happen. Year after year, I have witnessed girls age out of this system when they are not nearly ready to go. I ask that you consider this and raise the issue at your next board meeting so that a new age limit can go into effect for the 2012 season. If this change takes place, not only will you be helping thousands of young women to continue to go after their dreams, but thousands of young women will be helping in return as we continue to raise funds for the Children's Miracle Network, volunteer in our communities, and be advocates for the Miss America Organization. This Organization has changed my life, but I have more changes that need to be made and a dream that I am still eager to accomplish. Thank you in advance for considering this.


Amy Valenti

Friday, March 18, 2011

A picture's worth a thousand words...

The look of fear. It had already been announced the Heather Knowles had placed 2nd RU and Lorna Rose was 1st RU to Miss Greater Rochester 2011. Standing hand in hand with one of my best friends was a moment that I will never forget.... as we were both thinking "It could be me, but if it's me then she didn't place... it could be her.. but if it's her then I didn't place... it could be neither of us...I know that we both worked so hard for this..." I have never held another person's hand so tightly in my entire life... for one of us, it was the end of the road.

When the winner of Miss Greater Rochester 2011, was announced as Chlesea Prophet the emotions suddenly changed. You would think that it would, for Chelsea, go from nervous to overwhelmed with excitement.. which it did. And for me to go from nervous to overwhelmed with disappointment... which it did not.

In my farewell speech as Miss Finger Lakes 2010, I discussed the friendships that I have made over the years and how "A win for one of us, is an accomplishment for all of us". The look on my face and the strength of that hug in these photos were completely sincere and a true representation of the previous statement. Of course it was upsetting that my journey with the Miss America Organization had just come to an end, but one of my best friends had just been crowned Miss Greater Rochester 2011! I am so excited for Chelsea and know that she will be an amazing representative of the Rochester region.

But in that crowning moment, did my journey really "come to an end?"

A.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y. n.o.t.

As many of you know, it is my new goal to begin my own local pageant. The day after the pageant, I received an e-mail from Katie Martin and Calista Amering, the directors of the Miss Greater Rochester Organization. In their e-mail, they invited me to join the Miss Greater Rochester Board of Directors as the Fundraising Chair. I thought awhile before responding to this e-mail because of my desire to start my own local... but then I realized what an amazing opportunity this would be for me. The general plan right now (nothing is finalized) is that I will take on this role for the next year or so. If I am able to raise enough money through my fundraising efforts, we would like our pageant to be a DOUBLE crown. If this happens, I will have the opportunity to assume the Executive Director position of the second title holder, which I could not be more thrilled about. As the Fundraising Chair, I will start to learn the in's and outs of the Miss America Organization from a perspective that I have never seen before. I thought that this was important to do before I jumped right in to start my own local. So although my dream of being a Miss America hopeful has come to an end, my time as a Miss America supporter and volunteer will last a lifetime.

One of the judges at Miss Greater Rochester this year approached me after the crowning and asked me if I remembered her. I apologized and said that unfortunately I did not. She then told me that she didn't remember me either... which made me look at her with complete confusion. She told me that she judged me way back in 2005, and the Amy that she had met today was unrecognizable from the Amy that she met at the beginning of this journey. She continued on and told me that my interviewing skills had soared and that my confidence had reached a level that she did not think would be possible.

I am proud to say that I am a product of the Miss America Organization. I will never forget where I started as a scared and clueless young girl and how the friendship, challenges, and hard work led me to the ultimate ending of a polished and confident young woman.

Thank you to every volunteer and supporter of the Miss America Organization, you changed my life.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Looking back

Standing there one year ago, I knew that I prepared as much as I possibly could, I knew that I gave it my all, I knew that I wanted it more than anything, but I had know idea how my life was going to change when my name was called. I always said that if I ever won a title, I wasn't going to waste any time, that I was going to take full advantage of it and live my year with no regrets. As I look back on the past year, I am proud to say that I did just that.

In the past year, I have had the most amazing experiences, here is a look back at just a few of my favorite appearances...

Two Doors Fundraiser

First Annual Veterans Day 5K

Waitressing Meals on Wheels Pancake Breakfast

Get in the Game Mondays at the Corning Youth Center

One of multiple Wal-Mart fundraiser for CMN - total amount raised $1,689

Meals on Wheels Duck Race

CMN Bachelor Auction

Presenting a portion of the money I raised for CMN to the Finger Lakes Region

Juding the National American Miss Pageant

Judging Miss Colonial Days 2010

One of many parades

CMN Golf Tournament

This year has been a blessing and one that I will never forget. Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey and best of luck to the thirteen young women who will be competing for the opportunity of a lifetime, Miss Finger Lakes 2011.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Miss Fulton County

When I began my journey in the Miss America Organization 6 years ago, I would have never guessed that I would drive 5 hours in a snow storm to get to a pageant that I wasn't even competing in! However, the weather could not keep me away from supporting one of my favorite people that I have met through this organization, My Miss NY roomie, Kieren Sheridan.

After the whole driving through a blizzard ordeal was over with my mom, sister, and Vicky Ripple, it was time for the pageant! My pageant sisters Keelie Sheridan and Courtney Sheridan as well as Miss NY 2010 Claire Buffie were in attendance. I have never been to Miss Fulton County before and I picked the PERFECT time to go, as it was the 40th anniversary of the pageant! Titleholders from the past 40 years gathered at the venue for a night of entertainment. This year, the Miss Fulton County Organization awarded ELEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS in scholarships to all of the contestants.

Miss Congeniality, a $440 award, was a three way tie between Kieren Sheridan, Colleen Gagne, and Misty Lyn Hilts. I am so excited for Amanda Boyer, who won both Overall Interview and Talent. I have had the opportunity to watch her grow throughout her Miss America Journey and am so proud of her success last night.

2nd Runner up: Amanda Boyer
1st Runner Up: Danielle Trumbell
Miss Fulton County 2011: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!KIEREN SHERIDAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, for what you have all been waiting for - the Miss Fulton County Crowning Moment :D

Congratulations to all of the girls who competed! And a big congratulations to Miss Fulton County 2011 KIEREN SHERIDAN :D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Move it and Lose it Challenge #9

I met the ladies competing for Miss Finger Lakes 2011 today at the first annual Miss Finger Lakes workshop. I hope that the new titleholder will carry on this new tradition :) Will you know who the new Miss Finger Lakes will be the moment that it happens? I will!

February 26th at 7 PM at the Union Hall... Be there!

Move it and Lose it Challenge #9

Use a smaller plate! If you use smaller plates then you will eat smaller portions because the plate will be filled faster. I know, I know, difficult concept... But it really works!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Move it and Lose it Challenge #8

I was watching the news the other day and a story immediately caught my attention and inspired Move it and Lose it challenge #8. A recent study was conducted that showed that people who eat lunch/dinner in front of a computer/television eat more than they would if they were to eat at the kitchen table. Guilty as charged. Not only do I eat my lunch at my desk at least 3 days a week (on a good week) but what is the first thing I do when I get home? If your thought was watch TV.. I wish. I reopen the computer and start studying for my exams with my dinner by my side.

The study concluded it that since your mind is distracted by the screen, you do not realize when you are full. I also agree with this because the other day I made it through almost an entire bag of pretzels without even a second thought. Oops.

Now this part wasn't in the study, but I have also found that it takes me way longer to eat when I am trying to work than if I would have just taken ten minutes to actually enjoy my meal. This may be due to the fact that I am eating more because I am distracted, or it may be because I am a bad multi -tasker. Either way, your challenge this week is to break away from the screen during meals. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The true test

A few months ago, I was honored and overwhelmed with excitement when my best friend asked me to be the maid of honor in her wedding. She told me they had finally set a date. June 18th. Two weeks later, I was walking out the door for a Miss Finger Lakes appearance when my phone beeped, it was an e-mail that I had been awaiting from Kenny Mack.. the dates and location for Miss NY were being announced! The tears started coming on faster than I could read. June 13-19. I was devastated, as this is my last year of competition.
I dried my tears and immediately said, well that's it, I am choosing friendship, my time as a contestant in the MAO was over. How could I not be there for her on her big day? I tried everything that I could think of to get around the problem, even searching on the Internet for hours to try to find a possible issue with the date the Miss NY Organization chose. (didn't work)
As the days passed, my decision never left the back of my mind. It was all I could think about. I went back and forth for weeks over what I should do. Tonight, I made the hardest decision of my life. I called my friend and with her full support, I will not be ending my journey quite yet. I will be competing for Miss Greater Rochester this year only. If it is in the cards and I become Miss Greater Rochester 2011, then I will see you at Miss NY 2011, if it's not, I will be smiling as I watch my friend walk down the isle.
I contemplated sharing this story with everyone because the last thing I wanted was a debate over how bad of a friend that I am on the nasty board. But I decided to share it because this organization means more than anything to me. It has helped me to become the woman that I am and I am not ready give up on my dream. So I have one last chance. Please mark your calendars and come support me on March 13th for my very last local pageant.
P.S. Passed my second CPA exam today. OOOOhhhhh we're half way there!