Friday, September 08, 2006

Living (temporarily) with a crown: what does a dairy princess do?


When I first saw the Oregon Dairy Princess Anna Monroe do a speech earlier this year at a Dairy Herd Improvement Association meeting in McMinnville, I wondered at that point how many times she had already done her same speech over and over again about how healthy and nutritious milk is for people.

It was obvious she had the speech and all its statistics memorized by that point, as well as calculated how much time she had to do her presentation.

Last weekend, during the Oregon State Fair, we met again. She had time for an interview, and next week’s paper will profile the interview and some of her audio quotes will appear on www.capitalpress.com.

There were a few things that stood out when I meet her this time around.

First, how much her self-confidence has grown. This is one of the best things about any of these people that serve in ambassador positions, whether it’s a rodeo queen, a dairy princess, or some other position that represents an organization, an event, a community or a state. After doing so many presentations to different groups of people and often to schools, these young ambassadors mature and learn a lot of skills they can apply to other jobs later in life.

Another thing that stood out was how she was more comfortable and able to adapt to her audiences. She explained that one day she may talk to dairy farmers who have been involved in the business for years, and the next she may talk to 6-year-olds who ask questions about whether chocolate milk comes from brown cows or why isn’t there a dairy queen instead of princess.

In one case, a young boy was quite determined to become better than princess. Crying, he kept insisting he wanted to be a dairy queen some day.

And then there are questions from kids that a lot of us probably would not have imagined.

Like when do cows give milk. When they calf, she’d reply.

That would then open the doors to questions like, when do they calf, how do they calf, and how did the calf get inside the cow in the first place.

At times like that, Monroe hesitates, thinks again about what would be age-appropriate information to share, and can launch into rather detailed explanations especially if it’s a teenage audience.

For younger kids, it’s sometimes easier to say their teachers or parents should handle those questions.

Another lasting impression from Monroe last weekend was how close she is to her mom, who escorted her around the fairgrounds last weekend while Monroe did her duties complete with crown and sash.

It was evident that the mother was very proud of her daughter, but best of all they genuinely enjoy hanging out together, as Anna Monroe explained.

She said she had been in university a couple of years but being the dairy princess allowed her to spend this summer traveling around and getting to know her mother better. At the same time, her mother had a chance to see her daughter mature and grow as she performed her duties.

Often as reporters we cover events where we hear speeches done by these ambassadors. We do stories in the beginning when they first start these honorary positions, such as what is their background, what are their ambitions and goals and why did they think they won. We quote some of their speeches, and present the messages they have given their audiences.

However, we don’t always follow up later with how does the reign go, what have these people learned, and what are some of their experiences.

Last weekend's meeting with Monroe and her mother showed a temporary glimpse of her life beyond the crown, as well as when she's wearing it.

Stay tuned to the Capital Press website for the story next week.


1 comment:

Mr. Sasquatch said...

Wow, she seems like a really great girl!!!

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