Miss CT hosts 'Day of Confidence' for girls

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
South Windsor/Region - posted Fri., May. 20, 2011
Miss Connecticut Brittany Decker poses with South Windsor's Bridgette Sharos at the 'Day of Confidence' event on May 14. Photos by Steve Smith.
Miss Connecticut Brittany Decker poses with South Windsor's Bridgette Sharos at the 'Day of Confidence' event on May 14. Photos by Steve Smith.

About 30 teen girls attended Miss Connecticut's Day of Confidence – hosted by Miss Connecticut 2010, Brittany Decker – at Maneeley's Banquet Facility in South Windsor on May 14.

The aim was to boost the confidence of young women, through interactive workshops conducted by relevant role models – including Miss Vermont Caroline Bright, Miss Maryland Lindsey Staniszewski, image consultant Dianne Daniels, and WTNH's Sonia Baghdady.

Decker's presentation, which featured some videos of her trips to Cambodia and Haiti as part of her One World – Hope for all Children cause, asked girls to write down what they felt they could not live without.

“Once I showed my videos of what some children didn't have,” she said, “they wrote on the other side of the paper the things they didn't really need every day. I think they learned a broader image of what to appreciate in life."

Bridgette Sharos, 13, of South Windsor, said she wanted to attend the event, after reading about it in the ReminderNews, and said that Decker gave a lot of great pointers about “being confident in who you are.”

“I wanted to learn about confidence-building,” she said. “I knew there would be a lot of good presentations.”

Another presenter talked about her struggles with cancer.

“I thought that was very inspirational,” Sharos said, “and I liked when Sonia came, because she taught us a lot about reporting. That was fun.”

Daniels had the girls write down positive adjectives to describe themselves, then whittle that list down to 10, and then further down to four.

“By narrowing this list down,” Daniels said, “we're moving toward something. You're only going to recall so much of what happens to you today.”

Daniels said the four words become something of a mantra, which she called “defining word affirmations,” and asked participants to repeat the words to themselves daily for three or four weeks.

“I want you to believe those words about you,” she said. “You are making an advanced announcement of a future truth. Don't deny yourself that.”

Staniszewski's workshop (and pageant platform) was called “Beyond beauty for girls – building self-esteem and positive body image.”

“We touch on topics like body image, the images you see in the media and how they are not always attainable, good decision making, and defining yourself by your goals and your character,” she said.

Staniszewski said the girls opened up after she shared her past issues.

“It seems like girls want to talk about these things,” she said. “They really want to have an outlet to vent and express themselves.”

Bright's presentation was on the value of community service.

“Part of it is that I feel obligated to people who have helped me succeed,” Bright told the girls. “But, I mostly participate in community service because it's a lot of fun. You get to do some really neat activities, spend time with some really fun people, and you get to do things that help others, and that makes you feel really good.”

“It went very well,” Decker said. “I think that the girls that were here really benefited from the messages that were given from all the presenters.”

Decker said that, for her, there were some visible results of the day's success.

“One girl had opened up at the beginning of the day, and told a personal story about how she had lost a family member,” Decker said. “So, I think that some of the girls were pretty open, but not all of them. Some were very shy and reserved. A couple of them were sitting by themselves. By the end of the day, they were all participating and all getting up in front of the group, which is what I wanted.”

Decker said that, although her title of Miss Connecticut will be turned over to someone else in June, she still plans to host the event annually.

“Hopefully, it will grow more and more every year,” she said. “I really think the girls had a lot of fun, and I learned a lot from the other presentations, so it was a good overall day.”

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