by Ashton Spritka, Miss Door County 2019
My involvement in the Miss Door County Scholarship Program began when my sisters became involved in the princess program. After seeing the impact that the women had on my sisters, I decided to compete for the title of Miss Door County’s Outstanding Teen 2015.
That year I was lucky enough to win the title, which became a pivotal year in my life and for my future involvement in the Miss America Organization (MAO).
Reflecting on my year as Miss Door County’s Outstanding Teen 2015, I knew my work in my community and my time in this program was not finished. Motivated to serve others and continue my work through my social-impact initiative, Read, Lead, Succeed: Promoting Literacy in our Communities, my thorough preparation and humbled mindset manifested in earning my dream job of Miss Door County 2019.
As Miss Door County’s Outstanding Teen 2015, I started developing and promoting my social-impact initiative.
Growing up with my father in the Coast Guard, consistency was hard to come by. Reading not only helped me to become academically strong, but it gave me the opportunity to use my imagination and strengthen my creativity. Literacy is critical for the development of individual and community well-being. Developing early literacy skills builds strong academic skills, which are the basis for success in every subject.
The main goal of my social impact initiative is to encourage young children to read and instill the mentality that reading can be a fun activity with many positive effects.
Another way it can be used is to serve as an outlet to relieve stress and anxiety, as it does for me.
As Miss Door County 2019, II have collaborated with the Door County Partnership for Children and Families to implement Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Door County. This program offers children from birth to five years old an opportunity to receive new and free books every month.
I have presented the initiative to more than 200 students in Door County, making connections about the importance of literacy, crafting bookmarks and handing out used books to every child in each classroom. I will continue to go into schools to help students find a love for reading – as I have – while raising the literacy rates throughout Door County, one book at a time.
The Miss America Organization has given me the tools to become independent, confident in my abilities, and socially and politically aware. It has supported me academically with more than $6,000 in scholarships. In fact, the organization is the largest scholarship program in the United States for women. The scholarships I have earned have allowed me to pursue my bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I am majoring in human development and family studies, earning a certificate in education and educational studies, and am a pre–occupational-therapy student. I will then pursue my master’s degree in occupational therapy to become a pediatric occupational therapist, helping kids get back on track developmentally and emotionally so they can focus on just being kids.
The job of Miss Door County has challenged me to reflect on my personal beliefs, pushed me to advocate for myself and others, and taught me life skills that I will carry with me throughout my educational and professional careers.
My involvement in this organization for the past six years has shown me what it means to be empowered and to live life in the service of others.
Are you the next Miss Door County? Candidates are being accepted until Nov. 30, and the competition will be held Feb. 8, 2020, at the Southern Door Community Auditorium. If you have questions, email [email protected], visit missdoorcounty.weebly.com or check out the Facebook and Instagram pages.