Monday, July 31, 2017

"Hoyt Lakes" By Stephanie Welter


    Shortly after being crowned Mrs. Minnesota International, I got my first official request. How exciting! It was from my director Allison, sending me my very first appearance request as a new crown titleholder!
    She explained to me that this was a tradition amongst the international queens, that each year, the Minnesota International royalty made a trip to Hoyt Lakes which is in northern Minnesota to Crown local Hoyt Lakes royalty in this beautiful part of our state.
    That was three months ago, and I've done many appearances since then, but this week I finally got the chance to head to Hoyt Lakes for the very first time and be a part of this extraordinary tradition. Robert Bartholomew has been spearheading this beautiful crowning event for decades, but this year he's passing the torch on to a group of young women who are already prepared to carry it forth with excellence. Bob is a jack-of-all-trades as head of the Chamber of Commerce, a local business owner, a guitar player, and  a man that is highly respected in his community for his public service.
  As I made my journey 4 hours north of the Twin Cities, I passed rolling hills, tall Northern Pines, an occasional deer grazing near the tree line and lots and lots of lakes!
    As I pulled up to the event venue I caught a glimpse of the stage with all the beautiful young ladies in their perfect gowns and got excited.
Bob walked up to greet me warmly and we chuckled about the fact that we were both wearing royal blue. He escorted me to the stage, and up I went to take my place among the hopeful new royalty. I was given opportunity to say a few words, so I encouraged the lovely young ladies and talked about how much courage it took to be up in this position standing up in front of the community having worked very hard to win a local title. The fact that they all had promising futures ahead of them as strong, beautiful young women inside and out, and had the chance to talk briefly about my role as a representative not only for the state of Minnesota but also for the beautiful autism community, and how I would soon be given the opportunity to share the platform of Understanding the Puzzle of Autism with a national and an international audience.
    Within no time, the new Queen had the crown placed upon her head, and the mini’s in their beautiful little taffeta dresses came clicking up in their tiny shoes to hug her and take photographs with her. But, what struck me most was how all of the other young ladies her age turned to her to embrace and encourage her and spent time afterward chatting, hugging, and taking photographs together... as a group of friends. It really seemed to be a network of support and encouragement.
    Thank you Hoyt Lakes for showing me your beauty, and allowing me the experience of helping to Crown a group of truly exceptional and promising young ladies!

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