Monday, May 23, 2011

Miss America-- who knew?

Caressa Cameron poses with Naja McFarland before Saturday's event.

I was asked to cover an event at ODU on Saturday, the third annual Conference for Girls and Young Women. It was a remarkable event. 
The keynote speaker was Caressa Cameron, the Virginia Commonwealth University student who became the 2010 Miss America. I wasn't sure what to expect from her as a speaker, but found myself blown away by the power and immediacy of what she had to say.

Miss Virginia and Miss America.

This event was attended by about 400 young women from the neighborhoods surrounding ODU, and Cameron held them in rapt attention.
Her remarks included the importance of positive action to achieve their goals, and the need to disregard the many negative messages in the media and society at large. She talked about the importance of choosing friends wisely, the dangers of boys, and the importance of keeping your own self interest in mind. One story that I recall was about being an eagle surrounded by chickens. A chicken, cameron said, would on its best day only fly six feet above the ground. If you are an eagle, and hang out with chickens, you too will not realize that you can fly higher, and that you were born to soar.
Inspirational stuff. I wished that the young women in my life had been on hand to hear her.

Workshop topics included sessions on healthy eating, body image, financial literacy and dream jobs. It was interesting to see how well attended the financial literacy sessions were.

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