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My experience with West Coast Pageant Systems as a parent.
3 years ago I saw an ad in the Auburn Journal about a pageant. My daughter was looking to be involved in an activate other than Scouts or 4-H to help her earn several awards. I spoke with Toni and I immediately picked up that this was not type of pageant that most people associate negativity to. Toni stressed academics, poise, grace, speaking skills, and how to be a lady. We are not a formal family so dressing up for the pageant was fun and interesting. Toni helped us along the way and made us feel comfortable.
That first year my daughter received 4th runner up and was the essay contest winner. She was thrilled, as was I, but for a different reason. A young lady with new confidence had immerged from that rough and tumble pants wearing little girl. Last year my younger daughter was so inspired by her big sister that they both competed in the Jr. Miss Auburn and Young Miss Auburn pageants. My younger daughter had never even been on stage in her life. She made the practices, did the interview and she also won the essay contest. She made new friends and immerged as Young Miss Auburn "Sweetheart" and when the night was over she said "I am so glad I did this, I wanted to be Sweetheart!"
She is even more of a tomboy than her big sister and again a confident, lady immerged in both girls! I would recommend this pageant to anyone who believes in the importance of intelligence, poise, grace and confidence! It is a confidence building experience and positive from beginning to end.
Thank you Toni for my little lady tomboys!
Shawnna Hosie

To Whom it may concern:
It was an honor and a pleasure to participate in the recent Miss. Auburn Pageant.
It was exciting to see the wonderful young women who are active, in many positive ways, in our community.
All of the participants appeared to be educated, committed, and possessed a strong desire to give back. It is very exciting to see this level of involvement from youth in the community.
I believe the Community should do whatever they can to support more events like this as it not only rewards positive behaviors but encourages young women to advance in matters of education, careers, family, and civic responsibilities.
Thank you again for allowing me to participate in this wonderful event. Truly, it is people like these young women that will make a difference in the quality of our community.
Tom Grayson
Executive Director, Golden Sierra Life Skills

I started pageants at the ripe age of 16. It was the very first time I ever went on stage in a bathing suit, be interviewed face to face with judges, and speak in front of an auditorium of strangers. But through all of this I gained so much. I gained grace, how to present myself as a young woman, how to talk to adults when being interviewed, and learning to talk clearly for others to hear what I'm saying. Who knows, it could be important at any given time when applying for a new job, all the way down to gaining respect in your social life. It also taught me to be responsible in showing up to practices and how important it is to follow through with things once you start anything in life. As a young woman, we are challenged every day, judged, and pressured to do so many different things. But being involved in pageants, it has taught me a lot about myself. It gave me the assurance I needed to be myself and not care what others thought. Even-though you're being judged for a title, it's different learning these things and being judged by peers at school, a job place, or home. Participating in pageants gave me an outlet to make new friends, learn about the pageant industry, and fashion. The true "Girly-girl" came out then, but needed some polishing and being in a pageant helped that happen. I wasn't the thinnest girl on >stage, nor the semi-lean one... I was the largest one in all places >imaginable, but I did it, it was fun, and I felt great about myself afterwards. I held my head high in just accomplishing the stage on heels for one night, that I carried it forward to many years to come.

My biggest goal was to become a judge for pageants and this happened when I was 23 years old. After participating in pageants for six years, I felt that it was time for a change. To see what else was out there to be done now that I knew how the pageant system worked. That's when I began to judge for county pageants, Hawaiian Tropics pageants, and city pageants all over Northern California. This was a great eye opener and I wanted to truly stand up for bigger girls and to encourage them in anything they do in life. Believe it or not, there were some crowned winners who were the biggest of the group because of the confidence they carried when they were out on stage.

After judging for two years, I decided to head into helping out on staff and then becoming a co-director and backstage director for several pageants a year. It was great to see my hard work pay off when the contestants would go out on stage and do their thing. It was awesome to see them learn from start to finish exactly what I had gone through at the same age.

Fortunately, I was also blessed in adopting my niece who was easy to direct and teach for stage. Seeing her win many titles and become the little girl who she is today is a wonderful blessing. Not only did I learn to become a confident person through the pageant industry, but my child, sisters, and other nieces have too. Plus all the girls who I taught and encouraged along the way... who have since won titles of their own.

I was blessed to win special titles such as Miss Auburn's Ambassador, 3rd Runner up for Ms Sacramento, Miss Photogenic for Auburn, Miss Photogenic for Sacramento, Best Gown for Placer County, Best Interview for Sacramento, Best Attendance for Placer County and then at the age of 26, and five months pregnant, winning the Queen title of Ms. Placer Valley 2003-2005. These title are only trophy worthy to some, but to me... it describes my hard work that has paid off at starting at the age of 16 and returning the crown at the age of 28.

I look forward to participating in pageants still. I get excited to go watch others perform and sit by the television to see who's the next Miss USA, etc. But for now, I'm concentrating on my family. Being a mother of three now has me going places all of the time. I do miss all of the events helping out in the communities throughout the years that I've participated. Learning and teaching that having the glory isn't what it's all about. Giving back into our community, helping out wherever needed was just as >important as making sure you don't get a run in your nylons the night of a pageant. It's important to give back and that having a title isn't just to wear, but to give.

Thank you to Toni and Bobbie Foster for getting me started in the pageant industry. You gave me the foundation I needed to succeed in so many ways. You filled that void I had in my life as a young woman in teaching me the importance I needed to be a proper young lady. Due to my mother dying when I was a very little girl I didn't get the instructions until you showed me.
Thank you.
Heaven Barnett (Strothers)

Being a part of West Coast Sunshine Pageant as a judge in 2004 was a great privilege. I was able to witness and explore with the contestants, their own personal growth. From mere youths, they blossomed into competent and self-assured young women before my eyes. The personal features and biographies published in the local newspapers aided me in assigning ethics, goals and values to these young ladies as they presented themselves to the public as talented performers and future citizens.

Thank you, Toni Fossum, for allowing me to judge this scholarship competition, to come into the lives of these young contestants and help guide them toward self worth, self exploration and the foundations of success! They needn't be awarded a crown to be a winner! Putting themselves "out there" made them a winner from the very first moment they committed to and followed through with their involvement in the West Coast Sunshine Pageant.
Debi Davis Worth, MA
El Dorado Dance Academy, Director
Miss El Dorado Scholarship Competition, Producing Director
El Dorado County Arts Council Board of Directors

It is a pleasure having the opportunity to express my thoughts, and give my impression of the young ladies who participate in the pageants. From the perspective of a pageant judge and a previous manager for a large corporation who did the hiring of quality individuals, I can tell you that these young ladies are of the highest standard. There are many parallels between judging a pageant contestant and judging an individual to hire as an employee. These following attributes are the criteria to meet the qualifications of each; well educated, good presentation (personable), talent and ability, participation interests (enthusiasm to actively contribute to a successful campaign), courteous and polite (well mannered), good etiquette (class), articulate dialogue and enunciation skills, appropriate dress, assertiveness, positive attitude, compassion and consideration for others, and potential leadership skills. It is an honor and a privilege to acknowledge that these young ladies in my opinion are most exemplary of all of the above mentioned descriptions. They are such a breath of fresh air, and renewed confidence in the leaders of our future.
Rick Trammel

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