#34 Break a world record

When I first put this goal on my 10 year list, I had assumed that it would be more of a long-term goal.

Lucky for me, it’s the seventh item completed on my list.

Josh Dueck, a Paralympic silver medalist, partnered with Worksafe B.C. set out to break the world record for the most high fives in 24 hours.

He started his mission on Aug. 27 at 6 p.m. and ended it at the same time on Saturday the 28th.

Within 24 hours, Dueck managed to high five 9,230 people at the Pacific National Exhibition and Empire Field, far surpassing the previous record of 3,130.

And I was one of those 9,230 people.

I’d like to think that I was the 3,131st person to slap his hand, but considering that I high fived Dueck mid-afternoon on Saturday, I highly doubt that was the case.

Regardless, I took part in breaking a world record, and I’m crossing it off my list.

7 down, 94 to go.

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My very last pageant, my own retirement pageant, took place this past weekend in Merritt.

I drove up early on Wednesday, my first time driving on the Coquihalla highway.

The 2010 B.C. Ambassador candidates had already been up in Merritt all week rehearsing and preparing for their events on Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday evening, I met the cameraman from Shaw Cable who would be interviewing us the next day.

It’s a small world: turns out he lived in White Rock, graduated from my high school several years before me and graduated from BCIT’s broadcast journalism program, the school I am planning on transferring to.

Thursday morning was our designated “press day.”

We were interviewed on the Kamloops Midday Show, and did a segment with Shaw Cable. The three of us did two newspaper interviews with local Merritt papers: the Merritt Herald and the Merritt News. Our final interview was with the Merritt radio station.

Friday, I co-emceed the candidates’ personal speeches in the afternoon, and their community speeches and talents that evening.

Saturday morning and afternoon were dedicated to hair appointments, rehearsals and a visiting royalty luncheon.

Finally, the pageant night had arrived.

The slideshow I’d spent hours working on displayed hundreds of photos of the 2009 Team’s past year and went off without a hitch. I received many bouquets of flowers, and walked through the audience in a brand new gown. I gave my retirement speech without blubbering, and I proudly crowned one of the three 2010 British Columbia Ambassadors.

It was a great night.

And even though the week leading up to it had been dramatic and stressful, the evening was nothing but positive.

I will miss being an ambassador, but I am looking forward to what lies ahead.

Equipped with many memories, friends all over the province and the skills I’ve learnt over the past year, I am ready for the next big thing.

I am, and forever will be, @HayleyWoodin, Miss White Rock 2008 and British Columbia Ambassador for 2009/2010.


This weekend was my last pageant as a B.C. Ambassador: in seven days I will be passing on my crown and banner to another deserving individual.

On Friday, I travelled to Penticton with the newly crowned White Rock youth ambassadors and Miss White Rock 2010/2011, my sister, @ChloeWoodin.

My mom chaperoned us, and we met up with my other two ambassadors in the city of peaches and beaches.

The gala was lovely, and the 14 Miss Penticton candidates all did a great job. As usual, the visiting royalty had the opportunity to bring their greetings on stage.

Saturday morning we rode in the Peachfest parade, and spent the afternoon mini-golfing and go-karting before attending the royalty ball that evening.

This weekend was special not only because my sister and I both got to go to a pageant together as sparkleheads, but also because the Penticton pageant was my first out-of-town experience as Miss White Rock 2008, and my last as a B.C. Ambassador.

It has been a full two years, coming full circle. And although I will miss being an ambassador, I am looking forward to temporarily retiring from the public eye.

Final stop, Merritt on Wednesday, the beginning of the end.

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Lytton is a small town, its city centre located about an hour outside of Hope. It’s known for it’s white water rafting, the First Nations population living there and on the reserves surrounding it, and it’s temperatures; Lytton is, after all, Canada’s Hotspot.

It’s also a very cool place geographically because it is surrounded by three distinct mountain ranges, and is situated where the Fraser and Thompson rivers meet.

This weekend was the Lytton Ambassador Pageant, so I spent three and a half days amidst excitement, culture and almost unbearable heat.

I drove up with the White Rock girls and coordinator on the Thursday.

As usual, we were running just a little behind schedule, so we missed the bus that was supposed to take the 25+ visiting communities onto the reserve for a Healing Gathering.

Our only option was to head up there ourselves.

After about an hour of off-roading through pouring rain, we made it to the Powow in time to watch the candidates give their speeches and to make our visiting royalty greetings.

We left shortly after due to the less than desirable weather, and on our way back to town, saw a black bear cub galloping across the road.

We met up with the sparklehead crew later on for a barbecue and pool party, even though it was still raining.

Again, we didn’t stay too long. Instead, we went exploring.

The Lytton Friendship Ambassador for 2009 took us on a tour to the West Side, a residential and ranch part of Lytton on the other side of the Fraser river.

We took a two-car reaction ferry across: a reaction ferry is propelled by the currents in the river, and also runs along several cables attached to each shoreline.

There used to be about 30 reaction ferries in B.C.; the Lytton ferry is one of five still in operation.

Besides ranches and houses, the West Side is home to the spiritual Stein Valley.

Hikers and adventurers can spend months hiking the entire valley with its many trails, but we decided to walk about 15 minutes deep to the Asking Rock.

This massive boulder was once decorated with First Nations paintings from over a hundred years ago. Today, you can still see the remnants of the art. It is a First Nations’ custom to bring a gift of tobacco to the rock as an offering to the ancestors who were once there.

After hiking back up, we returned to our hotel which was creepy and filthy to say the least, (it is apparently haunted, and is definitely inhabited by black widow spiders…)

Friday was my favourite day of the trip. After a delicious breakfast, we went to a resort just outside of town called Kumsheen, known for it’s white water rafting.

We spent a couple of hours in purple wet suits paddling the mighty Thompson river through rapids with six foot high waves.

To give you an idea of the size of the Thompson, it is the third largest commercially run river in the world, with a volume that day of about 48,000 CFS (cubic feet per second).

Perhaps the coolest part of our rafting trip was getting to hop out of the raft and swim down the river.

Like when I went last year, we swam in a calm section, in between rapids.

But this year we were allowed to swim through six foot high rapids!

This clearly would not have been possible without our life jackets, and I did swallow quite a bit of water, but it was totally worth it.

That evening was the talent and fashion show portion of the weekend.

Saturday we visited Hell’s Gates, located on the cliffs on the other side of the Fraser.

We took a short but rocky tram ride across and spent a couple of hours taking pictures, learning about the area’s history and browsing the fudge and ice cream parlour.

Finally, we attended the pageant itself, which lasted about five and a half hours.

The B.C. Ambassador team is very close to the 2009 Lytton royalty as both programs are run by the same coordinator.

The three of us were honoured on stage with hand-carved paddles, each with engravings unique to us: mine has a hummingbird backed by mountains, symbolizing inner and outer beauty.

We were also given beaded roses, four each to represent four of the world’s ethnicities: red for the East, black for the West, yellow for the South and White for the North. The bouquets were awarded to us for our work in bringing communities and people of all types together.

Sunday morning was spent with a nice sleep-in, followed by breakfast and the car ride home.

The Lytton pageant was a lot of fun, and I am simply ecstatic about my paddle.

Next stop, a weekend at home for the first time in weeks: the Miss White Rock Pageant and Spirit of the Sea Festival is five days away!

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I spent this past weekend in the Tournament Capital of Canada, Kamloops B.C.

I drove up with some of the White Rock ambassadors and organizer Donna Friday afternoon. We made it just in time for the dinner and dance (no impromptu Graces).

It was way too hot to dance, so the evening ended early.

Saturday morning was spent in the park where we had a lovely breakfast at the community centre, and a scavenger hunt.

Once again; way too hot to get too competitive.

Next we had some free time.

Last year, I went to the Kamloops pageant with Donna and my White Rock princess Niki. Donna took us to the Sun Rivers golf course where we drove balls on the mountain driving range and drove the golf kart in circles.

This year, I made a point of going back to the golf course with the girls.

For my second time golfing ever, and my last time being a full year ago, I did quite well. My swing and follow-through were good, and I consistently drove the balls 75 yards and in a straight line.

After lunch at the course and the pageant in the evening, we went out to dinner in downtown Kamloops before heading to bed.

I woke up Sunday with extremely sore muscles.

I don’t know how I did it, but I pulled my left hamstring. My right shoulder was also super stiff.

But the golfing experience was definitely worth it: all in all it was a fun weekend.

Next stop, Kelowna and Oliver. Three days away!

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Today was the first day of my five day adventure: three pageants, three parades and a whole lot of dinners, socials and driving.

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and left White Rock around 6:30 a.m. to catch what should have been the 7:25 a.m. Greyhound leaving from Langley to Osoyoos.

But the bus was late. And when I reached my transfer station in Chiliwack, my second bus was delayed because it broke down.

I didn’t mind the bus ride as much as I thought I would (the drivers handled my designer suitcase with care and my three gowns got to sit in their own window seat).

And it was neat getting to see the towns of Princeton and Hedley along the drive.

After nine long hours, I finally arrived in Osoyoos with half an hour to get ready for the dinner.

Now, at most pageant dinners or luncheons, Grace is usually said before the meal.

So it wasn’t unusual that the ambassadors and chaperones had to wait for someone to bless the meal before helping themselves to the dinner buffet.

As I was waiting patiently, chatting with royalty I hadn’t seen in a while, I heard the chaperone table calling me over.

Confused, I walked over, and the Osoyoos coordinator asked me if I would like to say Grace, and that I had 30 seconds to think of what to say.

I was mortified: not only have I never said Grace, I had no idea what I was supposed to say.

So I treated the awkward situation like an impromptu question (I have answered two, for the Miss White Rock and B.C. Ambassador pageants respectively).

In front of the crowded hall I stood, eyes closed, head bowed, hands crossed.

I thanked God for the food, and for the friends, family and loved ones to share it with. I’m pretty sure I mumbled something else about joyous occasions, but I can’t quite remember.

Nobody knew about my pre-Grace anxiety, and I was actually complimented on what is now being called my Impromptu Grace.

Crisis averted.

Next was the pageant, which included some public speaking on my part as well as some watery eyes as Osoyoos Princess Chelsea spoke on stage about how much our friendship has meant to her.

And after the crowning, a DQ stop, the evening social and a short drive to Oliver, I’m now catching up with some pageant gals.

In a couple hours I’ll be in the Osoyoos Canada Day parade; time to get some sleep.

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