It was a perfect spring, nearing the end to another year of school, for Felicia Schmutz of Emo—until she decided to answer an ad on hotmail.
The ad was for applications for the Miss Teen Canada-World competition. And little did Schmutz know the kind of effect that decision would have on her summer!
“From the moment I answered the ad things began to happen very quickly,” she recalled.
Two days later, she completed and submitted the online application. That afternoon, Schmutz was notified she was to have an interview via “Skype” with someone from Miss Teen Canada-World.
Shortly after that, someone from the organization phoned to inform her that she had qualified.
“They asked me if I could take part in the regional competition that coming weekend [April 24],” Schmutz remarked.
Since she already was in Winnipeg, she quickly agreed and asked her parents, Rachel and Jurgen, if they would be willing to attend.
“I was attracted to the idea of entering the competition because it is much more than simply a beauty contest,” Schmutz explained.
According to its website, the pageant offers Canadian teens aged 13-19 an environment where the girls can be recognized and appreciated for who they really are from the inside out.
“We provide Canada’s teen girls the opportunity to grow, and be a positive role model in her community,” it reads.
“At Miss Teen Canada-World, we foster diversity and acceptance all the while instilling confidence by educating young women in the areas of leadership, commitment, image, and self-esteem.”
The magic of the Miss Teen competition continued for Schmutz at the regional showdown as she was one of the girls who qualified for the national event in July in Toronto.
“As soon as the competition was over, they asked me if I would prefer to represent part of Winnipeg or Northwestern Ontario,” she noted.
Her immediate answer, of course, was Northwestern Ontario.
Schmutz spent this past weekend at the Home & Leisure Show in Fort Frances raising money for the competition’s charity of choice.
Each participant in the national event is asked to raise at least $400 for “Free the Children.”
“I will be collecting right up to the time I leave for Toronto, and would love to hear from people who are willing to donate to this worthwhile cause,” she beamed.
“I will also be approaching local businesses and individuals to assist me in the cost of attending the competition,” she added.
Last year’s hard-working teen participants raised nearly $50,000 for “Free the Children.” Schmutz hopes they can at least equal that amount this year.
The Miss Teen Canada-World competition provides the girls with the opportunity to be an ambassador for Canada, encourages all the competitors to take a leadership role in their communities, and motivates them make a difference in the world.
Schmutz said she wants to inspire young people in Canada to “be the change.”
She is looking forward to making a difference locally, as well as internationally.
This year, the slogan for the Miss Teen Canada-World pageant is “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful.” All the girls are encouraged to develop new interests, become a positive role model, and contribute to projects in their community.
They also get a chance to focus on academics, build self-confidence, and learn about all the qualities that help a young woman become a leader of tomorrow.
The next step for Schmutz comes in July when the finals will be staged in Toronto.
The competitors will be judged on the results of a personal interview, evening gown, swimwear, charity contribution, public speaking, and photogenic appeal.
“There is also an online aspect to the competition,” explained Schmutz, noting girls can make it into the top 20 competitors by receiving the most online votes and by collecting the most money for “Free the Children.”
“I’ll let everyone know when the online voting opens,” she said.
The title of Miss Teen Canada-World comes with a great deal of responsibility, including being interviewed by the media, attending gala events, and representing Canada at charitable events.
The national winner no longer represents her region, but instead the entire country.
Whatever the results, Schmutz plans on making the most of the opportunity she’s been given by promoting her causes, learning from the entire experience, and raising money for “Free the Children.”
For those who would like to make a contribution, Schmutz can be reached at 482-3203 or by joining her Facebook group.