Cranbrook girl representing Interior at Miss BC pageant

Jade Sharp

A local student is representing Cranbrook in an upcoming pageant — a program dedicated to supporting and empowering young women.

Jade Sharp, a Grade 11 student at Mount Baker is competing in the Teen category of the Miss BC Pageant, which is marking its 15th anniversary this year. The program’s mission of developing confidence and leadership, and community involvement skills is what promoted Jade to get involved.

“In the organization, you learn job skills, how to be confident, everything a young woman should know about personal development — and the importance of self-esteem and self-confidence,” Jade said.

Today, the degree of pressure that girls face has changed, Jade said.

“Nowadays, it seems there’s so much more judgement. There’s lots of bullying, more suicides, everything.”

She added that Miss BC is not about beauty, per se. “It’s about the skills you develop, about helping and encouraging young women to be who they are.”

The pageant runs July 1-3, 2017, in Surrey. But the public can vote for their Miss Teen BC pick in the People’s Choice Awards. The contest ends for this ends June 23 at midnight. To vote for Jade, go to here.

Jade is also seeking sponsorship, to help with the Pageant’s fundraising support of the charity Cops for Cancer. To help Jade, go to here.

More than 50 girls and young women are involved in the Junior Miss, Miss Teen, Miss and Mrs categories of the pageant.

“Hundreds of girls have come through our program down through the years,” said Gloria Storsley, a volunteer and organizer with Miss BC. “We’re very proud of them.”

Miss BC is not the kind of pageant that might come to one’s mind — a beauty pageant in the classic sense. It is a program that has evolved to keep up with the times, to keep pace with the challenges young women face today and help them take those challenges on.

“We don’t ask for photos from the girls, we don’t require them to be a certain height or weight,” Storsley said. “Most pageants do. There are no others like ours. Because that’s not what we’re focussed on. We’re focussed on the self-development of young women

“That’s what we’re all about, is raising self-esteem.”

The program trains girls in interview skills, “because everyone is going to have a lot of those in a lifetime.” There is also an emphasis on public speaking, manners and etiquette — even self-defence. “How many times do we hear of things happening nowadays,” Storsley said. “The girls need to know how to protect themselves.

“They will confident — they can go out and be leaders in the community.”

There is also a charitable aspect to the program. Miss BC has supported Cops for Cancer

Miss BC urges each candidate to hold a fundraiser in her hometown before coming to the pageant.

Each girl gets an email from the Cops for Cancer organization. They can get take out their own page on the Cops for Cancer site, and people can donate through that page and print off that receipt write away.

The first night of the pageant includes a talent performance, which is not mandatory. The community is invited, and funds raised from ticket sales go to support the charity.

On the day of the final pageant, hair and make-up artists donate their time and services, and girls can choose to pay $30 for those services, with all of that going to the charity.

In the past nine years that the program has been working with Cops for Cancer, more than $294,000 has been raised for the charity. The $300,000 mark will be reached this year, adding to the milestone nature of the 2017 pageant.

“Should Jade win a title, or anyone else who wins the title, they will be working with charities throughout the year,” Storsley said. “They get lots of activity in giving back to the community.”