Ms Wheelchair America.
There are so many great things I could say about the Ms Wheelchair America pageant. But in the interest of you actually reading this blog all the way through, I will keep it to the point.
The week in Des Moines was, in one word, energizing.
We arrived on Monday to sign in and settle before our welcome dinner. The hotels were connected with a skywalk, which actually connects all of downtown Des Moines. I’ve never seen anything like it, and it was pretty cool.
On Tuesday, we rolled about 9 blocks to the Science Center and spent the day playing games and roaming around with other contestants. It was great ice breaker day, and I learned so much about the other girls in these few hours.
Wednesday, Thursday, and most of Friday was judging and workshops. We learned about things like advocacy history, social media, legislation and grassroots advocacy efforts, as well as the stories of a few of the women who put this year’s event together. So much information. So much fun.
Friday night, each of us presented our platform speech to the judges and an audience. I was nervous, but I knew that no matter what happened, I was never going to be more ready. I think that after Friday night, nobody really knew who would be a front runner because everyone did so well.
On Saturday, we mainly primped and relax waiting for the crowning night. I had a small section in the audience to cheer me on. Greg’s parents and niece and nephews came as well as my brother, his girlfriend and his daughters. Delaney and her family was there also. My co-workers, Mandy and Phil and their kids made the drive too. And of course, my mom, Greg and Reagan.
The crowning ceremony seemed to go rather fast to me. It seemed like we were up there, they announced top 5, asked more questions, and there was the winner. It was straight forward and on schedule.
The winner, Dr. Alette Coble Temple, was so, so deserving of the title of Ms Wheelchair America. Her platform is about adoption equality for persons with disabilities after she and her husband were denied many times before finally adopting their daughter, who is now 11. She is already a great Ms Wheelchair America.
All of the girls had very unique stories and platforms, and I feel like I connected with each of them on some level because I believed in each platform that was presented. From things like accessibility to friendship to advocating for parents with disabilities, every sinlge lady had a good point and good information to share.
We are already planning a reunion for the class of 2016 Ms Wheelchair America contestants! And many of us plan on making it to next year’s event in Michigan.
One thing I have loved so much about the Ms Wheelchair Kansas organization and the Ms Wheelchair America organization is that I feel so at home with these women. They get my issues and can relate on a very personal level, rather than just empathizing with me about them.