By Elizabeth Bodvin
Hi. My name is Elizabeth Bodvin and I’m a Juliette Girl Scout in South Central, PA. One thing that I have always taken from my Girl Scouts experiences is to always leave the world a better place than when you arrived. This phrase ties in and fosters my love of community service and giving back to society.
In 2016, I partnered with the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey, PA for my Bronze Award and filled their Toy Treasure Chest right before the holidays. I worked with my school, my dance studio and some organizations my parents and grandparents were involved with to make this happen. This endeavor did require me to work on my speaking skills and get over those “nervous jitters” when talking to larger groups. The Ronald McDonald House was so thankful for my efforts I knew I wanted to help them more!
The next big impact I had on the Ronald McDonald House Organization was in 2019, when I partnered again with the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey, PA and also Baltimore, MD for my Silver Award creating “Glam Bags” for pre-teen and teenage girls who are utilizing the Ronald McDonald House for either their treatment and/or a family member’s care.
The Glam Bags contained makeup, hair products and nail care products, all placed in a cosmetic bag for the girl to help them feel special about themselves. In doing so, I also educated the attendees at my function about Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which was a hereditary disorder that a pageant friend of mine suffers with on a daily basis. The Glam Bags were so well received at both locations and I was told that a lot of times the older kids don’t have things to comfort them because many of the toy donations are for the younger children. When I returned several months later to serve a meal at the Baltimore facility, they remembered me as the girl who brought the makeup bags. It put a huge smile on my face knowing that I did make an impact.
I began participating in pageantry as well because of the community service opportunities and passion that each woman has around their personal platforms and helping others. Not many people understand the amount of work someone competing in a pageant must do, it’s not all about being a pretty face. I started my pageant journey as a princess with the Miss Maryland system. A princess is mentored by one of the older girls and gets to go along with them to appearances, community service events and even cheer them on when they compete for the title of Miss Maryland or even Miss America!
After I became too old to participate in the Princess and Pre-Teen programs at Miss Maryland, I found myself looking for a pageant system that had the same foundation of community service. It was then that I found The National United States Scholarship Program which also supports the Ronald McDonald House by collecting soda pop tabs for them!!! My first year with the National United States Pageant I was awarded the title of Miss Pennsylvania Junior High United States 2020. I served an entire year representing the State of Pennsylvania and Junior High Students and when I competed at the National Pageant, I received a first runner up placement to the National Title of Miss Junior High United States.
The motivation to serve continued and had me requesting an additional year to serve under the National United States Scholarship Program and in 2021 I was awarded the title of Miss Pennsylvania High United States 2021. In July 2021, I competed for the title of Miss High School United States 2021 and I won the National Title. Not only did I win the National Title and get to represent High School students all across the country but I also won Best Interview, the High School Overall Community Service award, the High School Academic Award and the President’s Gold Level Volunteer Service Award among others.
Girl Scouts provides such a wonderful foundation for young women of all ages. The encouragement that they provide to get involved in your communities, speak to others in your community, achieve academically and strive to be the best version of yourself has helped me reach the goals I have achieved for myself.
What’s next? I will continue serving as Miss High School United States until July 2022 when I will have the pleasure of crowning the next young woman to have this title. After that, I’ll likely turn my focus on obtaining my Gold Award, applying for colleges and seeing what lies ahead in my future! Always remember, you can shoot for the stars but it’s likely you are already among them!!!