September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

A story to remember

By Christine Reitsma- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

It seems like just yesterday I was worrying about moving into my University of Minnesota dorm room. Now, I am done with my first year and have moved back home to Pierz for the summer. Almost as soon as I had gotten everything unpacked, it was time to return to college. But this time I was headed to the College of St. Benedict's for the Dairy Princess Promotion and Princess Kay Finalist Selection Event. I acted as a student and a teacher during this weekend where over 80 county dairy princesses joined me in advancing our skills as advocates for the dairy industry.
During this weekend, I had the opportunity to speak to many bright young dairy princesses and inform them about my journey thus far as Princess Kay. I told them about my excitement of becoming a finalist, the overwhelming joy of being crowned as Princess Kay, the whirlwind of activities during the State Fair, and my events since then. One of the more recent memories I was able to share was being on the U of M campus for Agriculture Awareness Day. I seem to have grown accustomed to speaking to children at a sixth grade level or younger on my classroom visits, but this event involved talking to educated college students and professors who were extremely curious and asked in-depth questions. One man in particular made it his goal to question my knowledge on every aspect of agriculture. I informed the man that although I am positive I do not know everything about agriculture, I welcome the challenge whole-heartedly and was glad to share what I did know. This made for a beneficial story to tell county princesses because I wanted to express the fact that one should never stand down to someone that presents a challenge. Instead one should rise to that challenge and learn how to grow from it.
I also shared other challenges I have been a part of, such as those made at the Fuel Up to Play 60 Training Day at Mall of America Field. Minnesota Vikings player, Asher Allen, and former Viking, Matt Blair, were there to offer advice to the students on ways to get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. In addition to exercise, it is important to engage students in a healthy diet consisting of three servings of dairy every day. My learning station involved a lesson on the life of a dairy cow and how milk can be made into wholesome and nutritious dairy products.
Continuing on in sharing the nutritional facts, I was also able to exhibit ways that dairy products can be implemented in an active lifestyle on KARE 11. I was happy to make a delicious Peanut Butter and Banana Shake that included chocolate milk, a favorite among athletes to refuel muscles.
I shared these stories and many more with county princesses across the state as well as state dairy princesses from Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, who were able to join Minnesota representatives for the weekend. Another special advocate was also present. Betty Thompson, Miss Oklahoma and first runner up to Miss America 2012, spent an evening listening to stories from Midwest dairy princesses before proceeding to tell her own story. Besides capturing the attention of the over 27 million viewers of the Miss America pageant this past year, Betty is just like many of us in attendance. She grew up on a small Jersey dairy farm, which inspired her to take her platform, "Milk ... It Really Does a Body Good." Hearing Betty speak was truly inspiring as she connected her love of dairy with the need to stand up for farmers and educate other's on the many benefits of dairy products.
This weekend was filled with such memorable stories and intense, ever-changing emotions until the very last minute. The weekend concluded, with the selection of the 2012 Princess Kay Finalists. I can assure you that this year's butter heads are once again incredibly bright, passionate young women who are exceptional in their roles as dairy advocates. Although only 12 young women were chosen as finalists, I could not be more proud of each county princess in attendance. The fact that these women chose to spend their weekend learning and growing as a dairy advocate is an expression of their commitment to our industry. It is not a title or a crown, but the unique personality and passion of a young woman that will take each young woman further as an ambassador. Anyone has the ability to share a story; however, it is our duty to share a story to remember, a story that includes a personal touch, a humorous bit or a serious touch that will stay with our audience so that we may create a lasting and positive effect when speaking about the industry we know and love.

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