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.

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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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@HayleyWoodin

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My five day adventure has sadly come to an end, but it’s good to be back home.

I visited five cities (Osoyoos, Oliver, Peachland, Princeton, Williams Lake), participated in four parades (the one in Oliver is in two weeks), spent at least a full 24 hours driving to get to and from all of the places I had to get to, and spent my time with the B.C. Ambassador girls, Lytton, Oliver and Lower Nicola ambassadors, and royalty from Osoyoos and Vernon.

It’s hard to sum up the experience in a post: what made the trip so enjoyable were the inside jokes, goofy dance moves and the little moments shared with the friends I’ve made throughout B.C.

My fellow B.C. Ambassadors didn’t attend the Osoyoos and Princeton pageants with me, nor were they in three of the four parades.

I missed them dearly, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to have travelled alone: the experience pushed me to meet new people and socialize, and I only had myself to rely on to make sure I was where I needed to be and on time.

This trip was by far one of my favourites out of two years of travel.

Next stop, Kamloops from July 9-11. (I’m spending more time on the road than at home!)

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@HayleyWoodin

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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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@HayleyWoodin

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I thought that yesterday was the first official day of summer: it turns out that June 22 is the second day.

And because I completely forgot to blog yesterday, today, the third day of summer, is going to be my first day of vacation.

So happy third day of summer!

When my sister and I were younger, our dad used to print out calendars for the months of July and August, and each day we would draw a little picture depicting what we had done the day before. Thinking back to those calendars, our summer days used to be filled with countless trips to the water park, bike rides and playing in the backyard with our plastic lizards, dogs, cats and horses which we generically called “guys.”

This year, I plan on going to the Cultus Lake waterslides, bike riding around Stanley Park and playing in the backyard with my real dog Romeo.

My travels as a B.C. Ambassador include Osoyoos, Princeton, Williams Lake, Kamloops, Kelowna, Oliver and Lytton (it’s going to be a busy summer).

And on top of enjoying the lovely White Rock beach as much as possible, I’d like to complete a couple of things on my 10 Year List, namely white water rafting, reading, learning to dance, watching a movie at a drive-in and trying my hand at painting.

This is going to be a great summer.

Tweet me!

@HayleyWoodin

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