So this past Saturday we had a bake sale and carwash to help raise funds to get me to Toronto! It went extremely well to say the least. Many people in our community donated baked goods for our sale, and even helped wash cars. Additionally, we were able to hold our event at the Shilo Fire Hall all thanks to the kindness of our local firefighters; they even cleared out their fire trucks so we could hold the sale in the bay! Even though the morning of the sale it rained, the clouds parted and we were able to sell almost all of our baked goods; not to mention we cleaned more vehicles then the rain did!

FTC Shells and HoneyAlso at the sale were some shell Christmas ornaments from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and tubs of honey from Bee Blossom Apiaries! All the proceeds from these products will be donated to the charity Free the Children. The shells were provided by Anna’s Art Gallery and Studio, and decorated by Christine Douglas. A big thank you to those two for donating them for the sale!

A friend came to help out!

My friend Meagan came from Brandon to help out. Another great example of community!

Finally, I am so amazed by my community at their ability to come together and support each other. Ever since moving to Shilo 3 years ago, I have really seen the strength of this community demonstrated through the people in it. Military communities may have their struggles, but they sure make up for it! A last thank you to all the people who donated, volunteered at, and visited my event; without people like you, I would never be able to achieve what I have so far.

Thanks for reading!

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Experiences write your storyI am a firm believer that the person you are today is shaped by the events in your life. Everything you do, or things that happen to you, will ultimately teach you a lesson if you look for it. That is the reason why I have decided to start this blog series; I want to further examine events in my life, big and small, to inspire people to try to learn more about themselves.

I will be posting an addition of “Learning from Experience” once a week. This week, being the first of many, I will cover an ongoing experience:

My Journey with Miss Teenage Canada

It was sort of a out of the blue decision, to enter Miss Teenage Canada. One day while scrolling through her Facebook feed, my mother came across it and asked me if it was something I would be interested in. Of course I thought “why not?” Then, within a few days I had done a telephone interview, and been accepted as a delegate!

Crowning PhotoNext, after many preparations including a social hosted by Forbidden Flavours Shilo, I was on my way to Winnipeg for regionals. There I was crowned Miss Teenage Shilo!

Obviously that was very brief explanation (I’m sure some of the other girls can attest to that) but really, that was only the beginning. After that I had started, and still currently am, getting out in the community. To be truthful, that is where the real learning comes in!

So What Did I Learn?

Well, it would be fair to say that I have learned many skills throughout my journey, but overall I would say that the biggest lesson was learning to put myself out there. It takes a great deal of confidence to even apply for Miss Teenage Canada, and it felt like a leap of faith or a long shot that I would be selected! However, I soon realised after my crowning that I had all the capability to succeed, and that it was just a matter of trying.

Another thing that leads me to this conclusion is getting out into the community. A good part of your final score in this competition is based on how you make yourself present in the community; that also takes putting yourself out there. Opportunities won’t just come to you! Making yourself stand out like that, even wearing your crown at events, can be scary. I just have to do it confidently, because now I have realized that I am capable and it is something I must do (and enjoy while it lasts).

Overall, being able to put yourself out there is crucial to success in more then just the pageant world. You won’t get a job if you don’t apply, you won’t make friends unless you make yourself known, and you won’t be happy if you don’t try! The key is to believe in yourself, really embrace the “why not?” attitude, and just do.

Because Experiences write your story

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Written by: Dana Tagged with:, , , ,

I’ve been pretty busy since the last time I posted; mostly school related things like projects and final exams. However, I am ecstatic to say that as of today I have completed all of my courses, and have come to the conclusion of my first year in high school! It has been an interesting and eventful year of my life, so I thought I should share with you all some experiences, and lessons I have learned.

Firstly, there was always such a hype about high school, and really everything that goes on within it. In fact, throughout my middle school career the main focus had always been to prepare me for it! To be completely honest I was pretty scared. I mean, it’s not unreasonable to be nervous when all your teachers would insist that you were in for a shock when you transitioned!

Preparing for my first day of high school- going to really fit in with that shirt!

Preparing for my first day of high school- going to really fit in with that shirt!

However, I found that “the shock” wasn’t surrounding the academics, though that was difficult to adjust to as well, but rather the social culture. Now, I’m not alluding to the whole Mean Girls, distinctively divided cliques idea. That perspective is held by those not actually in high school. While people have their groups, they aren’t divided by the characteristics of the members; It would be more accurate to say they are created by  friends who came to the school together, and those who share classes. Naturally, it can be difficult to make friends in this situation. Because when the clusters are so seemingly predestined, it almost seems like you need an access card to get in!

So, you may wonder “how did you make friends then?” Well, the first thing I learned is that the approach that you took in elementary, just waltzing up to everyone and asking to be friends, won’t always work. No, you need to be far more strategic than that. You need to find someone already placed near you so that you appear to have more reason to talk to them. For example, someone who sits next to you in a class, or is a few lockers down from you will work nicely. Start chit-chatting with this person, and as you get more comfortable with them you can move on to the next step.

It may be hard at first, but you'll make friends

It may be hard at first, but you’ll make friends

Now that you are developing a friendship, you can begin meeting other people they know. I found the group I eat lunch with by becoming friends with the person sitting next to me in art class. We are all really close friends now, and that’s because we all took the time to make these connections with each other. Just be casual, occasionally introduce yourself, and let your relationships grow more naturally. Confidence is key- just don’t be forceful.

Another thing I learned is NEVER procrastinate. Yeah, you are going to be stressed out at times, and you may be getting caught up in all the social aspects of high school, but putting your school work on hold will only make the stress worse. I learned that in the first semester of English class.

The sad reality of school sometimes

The sad reality of school sometimes

I had been swamped with English assignments, and at this point I hadn’t really figured out my priorities yet. For about a 2 week period my main focus had been on creating and maintaining friendships, so I got pretty behind. By the time I stopped and figured out a way to better balance school and friends, I was waist deep in work to do! I caught up, but I definitely learned something. When it comes to procrastination, avoid stress by doing the opposite of the Nike slogan: “JUST DONT DO IT.”

And my final piece of advice: don’t get in the habit of comparing your marks with others. If you are happy with what you received, don’t let those who may have scored higher bring you down. One of the biggest pet peeves I have in school is people who complain about how they feel they didn’t do well enough, even when they have already out performed everyone else! If you are a highly academic person like me, don’t verbally complain when you get less than a 100%. Someone could have scored lower than you, and think “well if a person like that is ashamed of their mark, that means I should be even more ashamed.” Be courteous to others, and keep your marks to yourself!

I hope that by reading this, someone will consider my advice. High school is all about learning (people skills included), and growing as an individual. Along the way you are going to come across some challenges, but you must be courteous to others, know your priorities, and try to be positive!

Wishing luck to all the future “freshies”

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Written by: Dana Tagged with:, , ,
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As it is nearing the end of the year, it is basically guaranteed to be a little hectic; with four exams coming up, and lot’s of pageant things to do it can really start to get overwhelming. However, this experience has taught me how to effectively manage my time, and how to deal with all the stress that comes with it. One of the things I have found that makes it entirely worth it, is giving back to the community! Here is a list of the things I have been up to since I last posted:

1) Serve Guests at the Shilo Volunteer Appreciation Night

WP_20150522_007Volunteers are the backbone of a community, because without people taking their time to help with events and programs, Shilo would not be the lively place that it is now. It is especially important to a military community where sometimes people really need something fun to distract from stresses. So therefore, I wanted to help the people who do this service to our families by helping out at the Volunteer Appreciation Night!

The Volunteer Appreciation Night is an annual event held in Shilo to recognize all the volunteers here in Shilo. It includes a free dinner, and entertainment as a thanks for their service. I took the job of keeping all the snacks filled up, and making the fruit punch. It was a very fun experience, especially considering there was a hypnotist as entertainment!

2) Face Painting at the PPCLI Family Day

I know, I know, you may be thinking ” didn’t she post about a family day already?” And you would be correct! However, there is a difference; the PPCLI family day is a bit smaller of an event for the families hosted by my Dad’s company instead of the whole base. Besides that, I basically did the same thing when I was there- face painting. Although, I can proudly announce that my painting skills have much improved since the last time!

Carly in a Gilly SuitAlso at the PPCLI Family Day, was a bunch of cool army stuff; one of the perks of being a military child is being able to see the equipment, and sometimes play around with it! I got to meet some snipers and learn all about the equipment they use, and how it all works. I know my sister was pretty pumped to play around with the gilly suit (it’s used for camouflage!)

3) Westman’s Dreams for Kids Country Fair

Dreams for Kids Group PictureYet again, more face painting! I guess everyone must be getting very tired of hearing about it, eh? It turns out, EVERY event needs a volunteer to paint faces! But regardless it was very nice to go there and see so many happy kids. I managed to get a bunch of them together for a group picture, it has to be one of my Painting Faces at Dreams for Kids Country Fairfavourite pictures from that event. I always get little girls (and even boys) wanting to try my crown on, and it is honestly the cutest thing; once you put it on their little heads, you’d swear you zapped them with a freeze ray! They just tense up with big smiles on their faces and won’t move- these are the kind of moments I’m going to be remembering when I compete in Toronto.

4) Make Coffee at the Tim Horton’s Camp Day

Finally, today I helped out at the Tim Horton’s Camp Day. This is a day every year across Canada where all the money spent on coffee goes towards sending kids who can’t afford it  to camp. It was also my fifteenth birthday today, so it was nice to spend it helping out such a great cause!

Making Coffee at Tim Horton's Camp DayI got to work behind the counter making coffee, and to my surprise it was much more fun than I would have thought. It’s neat to see how many people come to camp day and support this cause. There were lot’s of special guests volunteering today, and I had the honor of meeting Wheatkings player Tyler Coulter who was also helping out!

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately! I’ve had so many opportunities I would not have if I had not been involved with Miss Teenage Canada. I really thank the organizers of this pageant for making something like this for young women who may have low confidence, or in my case difficulty with stress. Just having these opportunities really puts some fun in my life where I may be feeling overwhelmed. One thing I have really come to learn, is that the fulfillment you get from volunteering will really improve you as a person. I would definitely urge more young people to get out there and contribute to their communities; you just can’t go wrong!

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Human rights museum in WinnipegYesterday was a very busy day; my social studies class took a field trip to the new human rights museum in Winnipeg, and to say the least, it was INCREDIBLE! This museum is not only an architectural masterpiece, but is also a centre of learning and acceptance.

Check out their website by clicking here!

As Winnipeg is a two hour drive away from Brandon, you can imagine the day started out quite early; in fact, I woke up at five in the morning! So as it is to be expected, my class mates and I were very sluggish when we departed our school at seven. Not to mention the fact that the bus was ridiculously hot! However, I should also add that it was all worth it when we had arrived.

When the museum finally came into vHuman rights museum entranceiew, the bus fell silent in awe. Even the pictures I have included cannot do this building justice; we felt as ants would to a boulder. This really was the first indication of how important the contents of this building are. The sheer magnitude of this structure to me, really shows how great the rights it represents are, and how they are so massively important in the lives of the individuals they protect. I really felt as I walked into that building all the passion for justice the minds behind this facility feel for human rights.

We started off our visit by listening to a presentation on Johann Trollman, a Sinti (often known as “gypsy”) boxer who was murdered in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. His story was a very sad one; though he fought for it (not just by boxing) he was denied the title of German Boxing Champion because he did not fight in the “German style.” He was forced to divorce his German wife for her protection when Hitler’s Law for the “Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring” passed, and when he was arrested, was murdered by a man he beat in a fight. Johann’s story teaches us that no one will just give you your rights, and that you need to fight for them.

Next, we were given the opportunity to just explore the museum’s seven floors. There is so much information to take in, that one would have to visit multiple times to even grasp a quarter of it! There is everything from world history, to places were you may post what you think about world issues, or what you imagine the future of human rights will be like. Another really cool part about this museum though, is the many bridges, balconies, and angles all over the place; in fact, you can even see the first floor from the seventh!

After my class mates and I werHuman rights museum towere finished looking around, we decided to go up in the giant spiral tower that extends from the seventh floor. Now I’m not really that afraid of heights, but when I was climbing that staircase I definitely had to hold my breath! However terrifying that climb was, once you got up there you had an AMAZING view of Winnipeg. That had to be the highlight of the trip for sure!

So that was our field trip! We all had lots of fun, and learned a lot about human rights that day. I would say that if ever you find yourself in Winnipeg, you absolutely NEED to visit this museum. It’s not only educational, but fun. I think that everyone should definitely take the time to learn their rights; so why not do it in a way you will never forget?

Thanks for reading!


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Written by: Dana Tagged with:, , ,
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Posted On: Categories:Miss Teenage Shilo

fivedeerToday was my first day back from May long weekend, which in my school division was a four day occasion. It was definitely nice to have a break, but I can’t help but feel that four days is quite a long time; especially when the weather decides to do a full cycle!

Friday was a beautiful day. We had just arrived at our trailer in Clear Lake the night before, and had the (brief) opportunity to enjoy the sunshine!  Additionally, my father and I spent some quality time together and went on a spontaneous wood cutting trip; it was neat! Click here to see the tree we cut down!> treefallingdown

Also on Friday, I saw some wildlife right off the bat; there were five deer all standing in a field at the campground. It was just my little sister with me at the time, so it was very cool that we got to share that moment together!

Saturday wasn’t so bad, aside from the rain of course. I noticed that most people, my family included, ended up going out anyways. Add a jacket, and off you go! Saturday was also the day when most of my friends, most of which I hadn’t seen in a year, began to open up their campsites. Every summer that we spend at the lake, everyone always has so much to talk about! Besides, you know what they say; distance makes the heart grow fonder.

Now whesnowyclearlaken the weather really started to pull a “Canada” on us, is when it snowed on the Sunday! I totally predicted it too; even last year it did the same thing. When I woke up that morning, the campground was blanketed in a thin layer of white. AGH! NO, IT’S THE MIDDLE OF MAY!

Finally, on my last day off we headed home. However, don’t think that that was a day of relaxation; I used that time to do a beer can/bottle drive for Free the Children right here in Shilo. With the support of my AMAZING community, I was able to collect an entire mini van full of cans/bottles! For those who didn’t have any at the moment to give, I will also be doing a pickup date June 15th.

So that was my May long weekeCan drivend. Despite the weather, I had lots of fun, and managed to support a charity along the way. I hope everyone else had an amazing weekend as well!


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Written by: Dana Tagged with:, , , ,
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Posted On: Categories:Miss Teenage Shilo

Boy, has it ever been an eventful few weeks! There has been so much to think about and do lately on top of my normal responsibilities: like sponsorships, community events, and fundraising. With so muHanding Out Noisemakers at Brandon Wheatkings Gamech going on it can be tiring, but I honestly would not trade this experience for the world; besides, it’s good to keep busy! Almost immediately after the regional pageant, I began networking and so far have accomplished quite a few things such as:

1) Volunteer at the Brandon Wheatkings’ Game.

I must sMiss Brandon and Iay, the very first thing I did after being crowned Miss Teenage Shilo has to be my favourite so far. Miss Brandon and I had the honor of attending our local WHL hockey team’s game to hand out noisemakers; and after the Wheaties’ overtime win, you could tell we handed out a lot!

2) Be Featured in the Brandon Sun With Miss Teen Brandon

Click Here to Read the Article!

3) Becoming a Youth Ambassador for the Natasha’s Wood Foundation

The Natasha’s Wood Foundation is an Natasha's Wood FoundationOrganization dedicated to improving the lives of military and 1st responder children through education, sports, and most importantly story telling. I think this organization is so amazing because it really pushes the value of reading, and being a military child I believe that story telling has the power to heal. Be sure to check out the Natasha’s Wood Foundation website, as they are having a contest. If you win, your artwork could be featured in one of four story books!

Click Here to View the Natasha’s Wood Foundation Site!

4) Do a Radio Interview With 101.1 the FarmInterveiw with 101.1 the Farm

Just two days before writing this I got to meet with 101.1 the Farm’s Tim Black for a pre-recorded interview. This was in regards to who I am, what I’m doing, and my platform of raising awareness of mental issues in military children. I am so excited to hear how this turned out, and will be sure to post about it when it airs sometime next week!

5) Did Face Painting at My Local Family Day Barbeque

Face Painting at Family DayToday I volunteered at CFB Shilo’s Family Day barbeque, and was given the task of face painting. Now, I am by no means an artist; in fact, my one semester of Art class was the only thing preventing me from complete failure today! Although, it should be noted that painting the cute, little faces of squirming children, is a completely different thing than painting a still canvas. However, you don’t have to be the best at something to have fun, and I think my subjects would agree.

6) Planning a Social to Fundraise in June

Lastly, my mother and I have been busy organizing a social here in Shilo to raise funds for my entry fee. This event will be taking place in June, and will also host a silent auction. So far we have a party planner volunteering to organize the event, and have acquired items for the auction such as a jersey signed by the current Wheatkings team, a two night stay at a hotel in Winnipeg, and a beautiful handmade quilt.

So that’s what I have been up to lately! Everything so far, though it has taken quite a bit of work, has been falling into place. I’m learning a lot so far about networking, written and oral communication, and how to manage my time. It’s only been a short while too; imagine what other skills I’ll be acquiring as I continue on my journey!

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Army CadetsHey there! My name is Dana, and I am a 15 year old girl living in CFB Shilo Manitoba. For those of you who haven’t heard about Shilo ( it’s OK most people haven’t), it is a military base just outside of Brandon; that’s right, military brat over here! In saying that, I guess you could say I’m not your typical teenage girl. I enjoy more traditionally masculine things, like being an Army Cadet, or fishing to name examples. However, even though I may appear tomboyish (I prefer to call it confident), clearly that hasn’t stopped me from pursuing a title in Miss Teenage Canada!

This year has beModelling Pictureen absolutely amazing for me; aside from the pageant, I began my freshman year of high school, and even signed a modelling contract with MMG in New York! In previous years where I had unfortunately suffered with bullying and stress, I would have never thought that I could achieve so much. So that is why I have decided to make my platform to raise awareness of mental health issues in Military children!

Firstly, military children have very special circumstances. Because of their lifestyle, they are required to move on a moments notice, and often have to cope with a loved one being away and often in dangerous places. This is very difficult situation to grow up in, and often leads to issues with depression and self confidence; I would like to be a voice for these children, and inspire them to speak out about how they feel.

I personally haveMy dad and I before he left for afghanistan had to deal with feelings of fear and anxiety as a result of this lifestyle, but it has also made me stronger. Of course it was difficult for me to see my father go away to Afghanistan not once, but three times; but it has also taught me to appreciate what I have. Not all military children are lucky enough to see their loved one come home; it is difficult for them. I want to speak not only for them, but all of these children so that they have the courage to accept the help they need!

Lastly, I can hardly express how excited I am to be moving on to Nationals! Judging from the lovely ladies I have met thus far in my journey, it certainly appears that there is a plethora of interesting people to meet; perhaps I will even make a lifelong friend along the way.

I guess that’s it for my introduction; see you all soon!

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Posted On: Categories:Miss Teenage Shilo