Holly Dysserinck

When I entered the Miss BC Program, it was the summer of my grade 12 year. I had just graduated high school and, while I had been accepted to attend the University of BC, I was still questioning my future. A few nights before the pageant, I emailed Gloria to withdraw. I was having some immense doubts and moments of insecurity where I was worried I was not “enough” to compete. Gloria promptly called me and convinced me to apply. Her phone call gave me the confidence to show up that first morning and go through with the pageant. She spoke to me kindly and encouragingly. I think this very accurately speaks to how much Gloria, Darren and Gary care for each contestant individually. They believe in what they do and the difference it makes.

Upon arriving, I became immediately invested in the values and purpose of the Miss BC program. I saw first-hand how this program can bring a new found view of oneself and one’s value, if you let it. I believe this weekend was pivotal in shaping my future. It gave me confidence to get involved in my university campus community and give back in any way I could.

I recently moved back to Vancouver after living in Illinois for 2 years while I completed my Master’s degree in counselling for students at the higher education level. I am currently working at the University of BC in Residence Life where my job is to coach and advise first-year students through their transition into university life. It is challenging but unbelievably rewarding. And, being back on the west coast feels just right (there is nothing quite like Beautiful British Columbia!) The next 5 years may bring about many changes as I begin looking into PhD programs in Counselling-likely bringing me back down to the United States of America once more.

The Miss BC Program promotes and values global citizenship and personal well-being in a unique and motivating way. It allows peer to peer learning and offers countless opportunities to inspire one another. In a world that still struggles with equality, Miss BC attempts to break down these barriers by encouraging us to empower one another as women. This experience can shift perspectives and bring about more opportunities for you, title or not-but you have to work at it. One piece of advice: don’t complain about the long days. Instead, take advantage of every minute to learn from one another and the staff who make this a possibility.

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