November 4, 2011

National American Miss Discussion - How can we make 2012 even better?

If you have been following our blog for any amount of time, you have seen the focus of highlighting the great activities girls from our program are doing all around the country.  As we begin to publish dates and locations for the 2012 program, it's important to find out, directly from you, what can we do to make National American Miss even better in 2012?

This year will mark our 29th year producing shows in the pageant industry - the NAM program has become what it is today based on the feedback we received from you, our customers and as we like to say, our NAMily! :-)

Please take a moment, think about what you like or dislike about the program.  What would have made your experience more enjoyable?  How could we serve your needs better both at the pageant itself or throughout the year?  Is there something you love about the program that you want to make sure doesn't go away?

One of my favorite parts of pageant weekend is having an opportunity to meet with all of the parents while the contestants are in the Interview Competition.  As I say to them, fire away the question and comments, nothing is out of bounds; if you are thinking something about the program or have a question about how we do things, someone else has the same question so please, ask. 

Feel free to post any feedback you have right here on the blog if you would like.  Just hit the comment button below.  Or, you may call or e-mail me directly anytime. 

Thank you again for your honest feedback, looking forward to make 2012 the best year yet!

~Brian Cournoyer
State Director
National American Miss

Call Brian:  210-558-3360
E-Mail Brian:  bcournoyer@namiss.com


23 comments:

  1. This was my daughters first year at NAM and we had a BLAST the only thing that I would STRONGLY encourage you do for new parents coming in who have no idea what pageants are like is be more real with the pageant prep sessions. The girls in the pre-teen age group that made it to the top 20 definately have had experience but even during their introductions alot of them gave speeches about themselves vs what they told us in pageant prep just say your name, where you are from and what you want to be when you grow up. Even with the interview outfit ALOT of the girls who have done this before had the "nude" heels along with little suits that they wore. That is much different from the "church" outfit we were told to wear. Again, if we would have been better prepared I think that I would have felt for all the money we were spending it would have been a more level playing field. Another example is during the optional contests, we were told to pick something out of our closet for the runway optional. The girls that made the top all had outfits that were way beyond "casual wear" and so not only my daughter but others felt like it was a waste of $50.00 and I know several parents felt "duped". Again, now that we understand and we know the routine I feel it will be more of a level playing field when we return next year. One other thing, we were told for the resume sheet to just fill in the spaces given. The girls who were top 20 added alot more in those spaces provided. There were so many more things that my daughter could of added but there was not enough space, we were following instructions but next year again now we know. So my only complaint I feel it was inaccurately described to us and I felt if it had been my daughters outcome would have been much much different.

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    1. My daughter competed in the NAM Virginia State Pageant Jr. Pre-teen division for the first time in July. She was the 1st Runner-up out of 143 girls and 3rd runner up for the optional talent contest. When we entered the pageant I took it upon myself do a little research. We did not enter the in a bunch of optionals we just concentrated on the 4 basics and she shined. Our experience has been a blessing and we had a blast. We are currently trying to raise money to attend nationals. Truly a wonderful program.

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  2. Great feedback - thank you so much for taking the time to detail out your experience. I can see where you could have felt that way coming into your first show. This is definitely something we can work on. Thank you again!

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    1. AnonymousJune 27, 2013

      y not be real.... this is still the way its being done..... for 1st. timers its so hard to find out what you really need ....

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  3. I would like to see more truth in advertising, if you will. Any girl can not just win.

    All but one girl who placed in the Queen's Court (including the Queen) previously placed in the Queen's Court (or placed in Optionals) going back to their years in the Princess division. All of that information is on NAM’s website and if I’d seen it beforehand, I would have known not to allow her to participate. All of the Queen’s Court also won (or placed highly) in all of the Optional categories, and had for years. That’s not by luck, that’s by knowing how to win. These girls were polished (because of their experience) and knew how to win.

    I personally feel this is how you make your money; telling the over 100 girls in an age category they can win without coaching or experience, but knowing the 5 who place have all placed in the past. There is nothing wrong with that, it is your brand and you want it to be well represented, it’s just frustrating for the first timers.

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  4. Just a quick comment on the last post....

    My daughter went to her NAM pageant as a first timer and won, but I do agree there were a lot of girls in her group that had participated in the system before. One thing we did was study...study...and study You Tube videos of past NAM competitions and the NAM web-sites. Through doing this, she was prepared and didn't feel out of the loop in the competitions and with her wardrobe. That is the best advice I can give anyone new to NAM. We LOVE NAM and cannot wait until NationalS!!

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  5. I would agree with the first two posted on how unprepared a lot of us parents and our children feel when coming into this system for the first time. You can tell that a lot of the young ladies are seasoned pageant contestants. It is so true now that I look back at the event results for the last five years (California) you do see the same young ladies winning over and over again. I am not saying these young ladies did not work hard to win but after so many pageants it should be easy. In fact we were waiting for one of the rehearsals to start when one young lady (one that was in the top 5 Jr Miss) said she knew she was winning the spirit award and would it be OK if she received it later because she wanted to watch her younger sister that would be on stage at the same time, what was that about?????? I have heard NAM has a big turn over for new girl so I can see how these few girls are always winning. With so many new girls there really is not much competition is there? Now that we know what we are up against we have been following all the NAM blogs to get any pointers and I have noticed that you are not acknowledging any other girls accomplishment other than the National and State Queens and Advertising Title Holders (a young girl asked on your Facebook if the only girls on the blogs had to be Queens) I am sure there are many young girls that are in your system also doing wonderful things. It would nice if you put it out there that their accomplishments are important too.

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    1. I have to disagree with the first time parents participating in NAM. My daughter recently competed in the NAM Jr. Pre-teen Virginia state pageant. She competed among 143 wonderful girls from all over Virginia. She was the 1st Runner-up and it was her first pageant ever!! We only participated in one optional which was the talent, we didn't sell one ad (although I wish we had in hindsight)she truly had never participated in a pageant at all. She performed extremely well in the interviews and the personal introduction. I would recommend preparing your daughters by allowing them to speak publicly as often as possible. My daughter is nine years old and is very active in her community and she reads a lot which enables her to have the gift of gab. I also being a teacher felt that some research was in order. So I read about NAM and their expectations. My family loved our experience and look forward to nationals.

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    2. In regards to "she knew she was winning the spirit award"
      -- The Spirit (of America) award is given based on how many credits you earned based on the amount of optionals you entered, tickets sold, etc. Which you can calculate before you even arrive on pageant weekend. I don't think there was anything wrong with her asking..

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  6. In response to the first timers...

    The best thing about NAM is how it helps your daughters develop as leaders! That being said, yes, there are a lot of returning girls who have had experience that obviously do well. There are also lots of girls who have previously done well who don't place at all. We personally know of two first time girls who made the top 15 and won or placed in optionals as well. We have even seen first-timers win the title! We have also seen former Queens not even make the top 15. My older daughter won her first state title after 5 years of competing but she won after she developed greater poise and confidence because of her experience with NAM. Her winning dress and suit were homemade. I would like to encourage you that your voice will be heard and NAM will do everything to make your experience as wonderful as they can! But I would also like to say that its important to focus on your child and helping them to be all they can be. We have grown so much by participating in NAM and my girls have made wonderful life long friends. If we take home trophies, great! If not, we learn, grow, and applaud our friends that do!! We hope you will continue to enjoy the NAM experience just as we have!!

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  7. When i was at NAM i had a blast .I liked how friendly the staff was and lots of other things.though when we changed for the last show we only had a room.it would be better if we had easy to put up stalls or something.anything would help

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  8. In my opinion you should have the age requirement fixed so that the cut-off is their age when they actually compete and not when they sign up. For instance, some girls are six when they sign up for the pageant, but turn seven in the meantime and are then competing against 4, 5, and 6 year olds. The same theory continues for all of the rest of the age groups. The younger kids are at a disadvantage because of it. There would be less of a discrepancy if they signed up in the age group that they would be at the time of the competition and would level the playing field a bit.

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  9. One of the comments mentioned that we only highlight activities of our NAM Queens here on the blogs and not the rest of the state finalists. Quite simply, I post the materials that people send to me. It just happens to only come in from the royalty.

    If you are a current or former NAM State Finalist and have something to share, e-mail me. That's why my e-mail address is on the top of the blog homepage. bcournoyer@namiss.com. Happy to share noteworthy activities for anyone in our NAM family!

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  10. wonderful to hear, thanks

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  11. I would half to agree about the age requirement, my daughter participated in the princess division and was competing with a girl that was 7 and you could tell the difference between her and the younger girls.

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  12. Our oldest daughter began competing in NAM when she was 6, her first year she was 3rd runner up and had no training or experience. We went to Nationals and she did not make the top in any event, but she made so many friends. The next year she won the State Title, but again did not place in anything at nationals. She has competed every years since (that she was eligible to) and never placed in Jr. Pre-teen or Pre-teen. Our youngest began competing when she was 4, she did not place. This year was her second year and she made the top 5 and went to Nationals to make the top 5 in the All American Court. We to have seen girls with prevoious "titles" win and not place at all (my oldest for example), we have also seen girls with no experience win as a "first timer". In our opinion the social skills and friendships our daughters have made through NAM is what keeps us coming back, not if they win or not. Winning is a nice bonus, but do we want our children to believe they will always win in life? One of the first things my oldest says when she does not place is "I am proud of myself because I tried my hardest and I am so happy for the girl that did win, because she deserves it." To me her knowing this at 11 years old is the biggest reward!

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  13. To clarify the age requirement; your division is determined as of your age on January 1st the year of competition. So yes, while some girls have aged up to 7 for instance in the Princess division, that's okay because we used a fixed date for everyone.

    Let's say we based the age division on your age when you sign up. That would give girls the opportunity to play the system to their advantage by signing up at a specific time. Using one fixed date means that everyone is X amount of months older when pageant time comes around. It's the best way to keep a level playing field.

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  14. UM i got a letter saying my scores and that they would send me a returning girl letter between October and December.Its close to Christmas and i haven't gotten it yet.I really wanna go back ,but i need the letter for returning girl or my dad might throw a fit about the cost or something.so i was wondering if i should be concerned.I'd email but i don't have an email please and thank you.

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  16. I need some suggestion on what a 4 year old whould wear to an open call. There's one on January 27 and now I'm getting a headache because I can't figure out what she should wear. ANY FEEDBACKS WOULD BE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED.

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  17. My daughter has never entered any pageants exept for NAM. She has competed at NAM for 3 years now and has grown so very much from the experience! Having no pageant training has still made top 5 in spokesmodel two years in a row, top 20, 1st runner up for thank you note and even spirit award. NAM is the best thing that has happened to her giving her great self confidence and poise. Since NAM she's given speeches, won president of her studen body at school and people always comment on her strong handshake and speaking voice.
    My only thing would be that there are really no directions or what the judges are looking for in resume-thank you note and not instructions at all on what you mean by scrapbook. Would there be any way to give us an idea what the judges are looking for?

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  18. My 5 year old daughter just competed this last weekend at the Waterloo Pageant. This was her very first pageant and she did not place in the top 20 or even the queen's court but she did have a wonderful experience. After wiping away her tears, she told me she would try again next year and the year after that because she had so much fun and met so many new friends.

    I wish we had been better prepared on clothing and personal introductions. The 7 year old that won the Princess Queen title clearly had more experience than a lot of the other girls including my daughter who had prepared JUST what we were told at the pageant prep(Name, Hometown and their ambition.)

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  19. This will be my daughter's third year competing in National American Miss and here is my perspective so far....the first year she didn't place, but she won runner-up for her resume which we all thought was very cool! We went in thinking that if she won anything we would be in it the next year. So, the second time she entered, she didn't win anything but really enjoyed being there and came away from the pageant even more confident and determined than the year before. We are now beginning our preparation for her third year....at first I thought about hiring a pageant coach or a personal introduction writer but then I was reminded by my daughter that it wasn't ME who was entering the pageant, it was HER. And if she couldn't win based on what SHE put forth into the pageant then that was ok with her because it wasn't about placing, it was about gaining more self confidence, friendships and skills she could gain and use the rest of HER life. So, what are we going to do to prepare for the next NAM pageant? What we always have.....getting a pretty dress, working hard on the personal introduction, and continuing to improve on her interviewing skills all by ourselves :)

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