Cloverdale’s Haley Vanderheide is off to nationals.
The Grade 12 student at Lord Tweedsmuir finished as a finalist at the recent Miss Teenage B.C. 2022 pageant. She’s now looking forward to competing at the Miss Teenage Canada pageant in Toronto.
“I’m super excited,” said Vanderheide. “I want to use my platform to build a stronger sense of community amongst teens.”
Vanderheide said she wants to start building that stronger sense of community in Cloverdale and she’s already reached out to the Cloverdale BIA to see where she can jump in to help out.
Vanderheide also plans to promote the positivity of pageantry. She said her experience at Miss Teenage B.C. was unlike anything she could imagine.
“I met a lot of people there and what we thought was going to happen was the exact opposite of what happened,” she said. “It was so positive. It was so amazing. We got so much out of the experience.”
Vanderheide said the girls she met at the pageant were some of the kindest, most well-rounded girls she’s ever met.
She added that while there is some negative stigma surrounding pageants, she expected to be judged on her looks, she found the overall experience exhilarating and positive.
“I was happily mistaken and was judged based on my character and my confidence.”
Miss Teenage B.C. was held April 30 – May 1 at the Sheraton Hotel in Richmond.
Now Vanderheide hopes to take her pageant experience and transform it into a push for better community building for teens.
“I want teens to have more unity and confidence, as well as have everyone be more involved in the community, but also with each other.”
For her, that means promoting “everyday kindness” while supporting local businesses and giving back to the community.
“I want us all to want the best for each other, while we strive for the best for ourselves. I want true empathy for each other and a better mindset.”
She said this starts with strengthening communities and she wants to jumpstart this process through community building activities. She has a few ideas, but wants to partner with an entity, like the BIA, so she can get involved where real change is needed.
Her first event will be at the Cloverdale Bed Races May 19 where she’ll be fundraising for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“I hope to advocate starting programs accessible to everyone, including the less fortunate and children who face learning disabilities,” she said. “Sometimes we take a step back, but with the help of a strong community it would be nothing compared to the step forward we could take.”
Vanderheide will compete for Miss Teenage Canada in August.