Vision For The Future

The first time I competed for Miss Omaha/Miss Douglas County, I was contestant #23.  This year, 11 young women competed in the local pageant.  It’s not clear why the numbers are lower than they were years ago, but it is discouraging to say the least for all of us who volunteer.  It’s FUN, it’s a great source of scholarship money, you meet wonderful people; I could (and have, on this blog!) go on and on about the positives women take away from the Miss America system.  My hope is that more women and teenagers will hear about Miss Nebraska, check it out, and see if it’s right for them.

This year, a 16-year old student from Lincoln Southwest High School did just that.

steffany

MISS DOUGLAS COUNTY’S OUTSTANDING TEEN 2015 STEFFANY LIEN

(Photo courtesy of Jenn Cady Photography)

“Baton twirling is one of the reasons I decided to compete in a local competition for MNOT {Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen pageant}, because of the talent portion of the competition,” Steffany told me recently.

Steffany isn’t just ANY baton twirler, she’s a 5-time world champion.

twirling

“I am on the United States Baton Twirling Team, and will represent the US in Italy this upcoming April,” said Steffany.  The junior is also the feature baton twirler at Lincoln Southwest, and teaches baton and dance to children.  Her performance to win the title of Miss Douglas County’s OT was nothing short of incredible, a routine jam-packed with difficulty, including at one point, twirling the baton on her back.

Yesterday, I tripped standing up from my chair at Panera.

Steffany’s grace and skill are widely known; in February, Miss Des Moines’ Outstanding Teen Sophia Aguirre posted on the Miss Omaha/Miss Douglas County Outstanding Teen Facebook page: “Steffany Lien is one of my inspirations in the baton twirling world! I am SO happy she was crowned Miss Douglas County’s Outstanding Teen! I wish her and your program nothing but the best!”

A connection spanning state lines (and state pageants!), hopefully the first of many for Steffany.

“I believe the Miss Nebraska Organization is a wonderful opportunity for contestants to make friends, learn critical life skills, and speak about a cause that is important to them,” said Steffany.

hanging with a girl from peru  dancing with children from a peruvian orphanage  giving toys to peruvian children

For Steffany, that cause is vision health for children.  The pictures above were taken last September, when Steffany traveled to Peru on behalf of the Peruvian Lions Club Organization, delivering 400 pairs of eyeglasses to those who need them.  She also spent a great deal of time interacting with children at a Peruvian orphanage; sharing toys, dancing and exchanging hugs.

“When I got there, I saw the great need for health care in South American countries,” said Steffany.  “The trip taught me many things about life, including the importance of vision health.  I would like to do my part here, in the United States (starting with Nebraska), by helping people before they have lifelong vision problems.”

Steffany has also embraced partnerships between the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program and local businesses,  benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network of hospitals, like Omaha’s Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.

pancakes  steffany

Steffany at a local IHOP Restaurant for National Pancake Day, and at a local Dairy Queen for Free Cone Day.  Both nationwide events raised thousands of dollars for CMN Hospitals.

This girl is a PERFECT example of the wonderful, symbiotic relationship between young women and the Miss America Organization.  Someday, the little girl in this photo may compete in a pageant because she met Miss Douglas County’s Outstanding Teen Steffany Lien.  Steffany has found another venue to perform an innate gift, all the while growing as a young woman, and person.

 “I have realized it is much more than talent,” said Steffany.  “Preparing for MNOT has improved my speaking skills and confidence, which will help me now and later in life.”

These pageants aren’t about shellac’ing on makeup and waving from the stands; they are about recognizing the young women in our communities who have talent, a passion for service, intelligence AND beauty inside and out.

Do YOU know an Outstanding Teen?

Steffany is.  She’s one of the 11 incredible young woman who want to be the BEST in the state of Nebraska, and will hopefully inspire a new generation of Miss Americas.  They have goals, they work hard, they are driven and they never stop smiling.  That alone should inspire all of us.

twirling 2

Follow Miss Douglas County’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Steffany Lien

on the Miss Omaha/Miss Douglas County’s Outstanding Teen Pageant on Facebook.  To contact Steffany for appearances and events, please contact omahadouglascountyOT@gmail.com.

Click here for a special feature on Steffany on the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Facebook page!

For more information about how to become a contestant, contact Director Kelsey Ellis at 402-980-1984 or by email at omahadouglascountyOT@gmail.com.

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The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant will take place June 5, 2015 in North Platte.  Click here to visit the organization’s website or the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant on Facebook and on Twitter.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Kool-Aid Days 2015 Brooke Ludemann

NEXT.. Miss Panhandle’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Marie Kliewer

To read more about the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Class of 2014, click on the ‘There She Is’ link at the top of the page.

6 thoughts on “Vision For The Future

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  2. The numbers are dropping in every state. In NY last year we had 2 pageants with only 5 girls each. This year there was one with 8 another with 9. But 2 years ago there were 20+ at every local. Its strange. We can only keep embracing the local crown as the heart of the organization and hope through serving as community rolemodels we’re able to attract new girls.

    Liked by 1 person

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