DYW events this weekend

Published 12:17 am Friday, July 20, 2012

The 15 young women participating in this year’s Distinguished Young Women of Covington County program have been on a journey to define themselves.

Cathy Powell, DYW board chairman and program director, said the participants had to choose three words to describe themselves.

“Two of those words will be used in the opening number, the other in self expression,” she said, referring to the portions of the DYW competition set for this weekend at the Dixon Center on the campus of LBW.

“It’s been really interesting,” Powell said. “Some of the words have changed along the way. We kind of did that in a way of making (DYW) more about each individual girl, to talk about how they are unique in their ways.

The concept was difficult to put on the stage, she said, but the backdrop is graffiti of the words they chose.

The DYW program – long known as Junior Miss – got underway with an orientation tea. After they met for the first time, the 15 participants participated each week in different classes.

“What we tried to do was to really develop the be your best self them and to give the girls opportunity to make this a growing experience, not just about the competition,” Powell said. “I told them up front, if you wait until Saturday night to determine if this was a successful experience for you, you’ll miss it.”

Volunteer Katie King coordinated the weekly learning experiences, which

Sessions included a class on healthy living conducted by Shanda Best at All is Well that included information about healthy food, breathing exercises, and how to deal with stress.

Next was a yoga class with Nancy Blackmon, followed by a class on interviews.

“The interview session in DYW is one of the things participants are very anxious about,” Powell said. “For many, it’s their first time interview in front of a panel. Katie King’s dad, Jim Ferguson, came and led that for us. He did a lot of interactive stuff with the girls, getting them up to speak in front of the group. Emphasizing public speaking. They had an opportunity to form thoughts and opinions.

Then Jerri Stroud, talked to them about what to wear, how to act, and proper manners,” she said.

The result of all of those classes, plus lots of practice on the opening number, physical fitness routine, and individual talent performances, will be on display at the DYM program that begins tonight with the talent competition. The program culminates Saturday night.

Powell is a former Junior Miss whose daughters, Allyn and Lauren, also won county programs. She said they’ve been a tremendous help as she’s directed the program for the first time.

“It has been fun, and they’ve been a big help because they can read my mind,” she said. “I don’t have to tell them what has to be done. It really has worked out wonderfully.”

Other board members are Janna McGlamory, Paula Harr, Lenora Wishum, Debbie Posey, Gail Burnham, Catherine Jones, and Catherine Hammett.

General admission is $10 and reserved seating is $15. Tickets, which are available in advance at Harold’s and Ansley Place, are almost sold out.