SQUAAAAAAKKK

BAAAAAAHH

RAWWWWRRRR

 

Who? What? Where? Are those the noises of zoo animals? Correct! Today, I had a blast at the Clarington Family Outdoor Adventure Park! From baby goats charging at me to lemurs climbing all over me and from parrots trying to make small talk with me to baby lions munching on my finger, today was by far my personal favourite day of pageant week!

 

I thought I’d share a bit of my day with you all so enjoy the photos and be sure to visit the CFOAP to make your own memories with the cuddly… and not so cuddly, creatures!

   

But wait, there’s more! We also went to the Yorkdale shopping mall today! We shopped ’til we dropped – literally. A huge thank you goes out to Nine West for their generous gift card and Yorkdale Mall for all the discounts at selected stores.

 

Besides the shopping fun, we also got countless head turns and even photos from our little fans! Thank you Yorkdale, Nine West, and especially Miss Teenage Canada!

 

Sparkle and Shine,

Marina, Miss Teenage Southwestern Ontario 2017

Written by: Marina
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Guess who’s back? Shady’s back. Whoops, I was just jamming to some Eminem. Marina’s back, or should I say… Miss Teenage Southwestern Ontario 2017! I am back with some advice too – advice on my favourite place to visit in my hometown, Mississauga, Ontario.

Now I can be girly and tell you the mall is my favourite place, but you know me… the tomboy in a dress! My favourite place to visit on my spare time is known as The Riverwood Conservancy.

   

What is Riverwood? 

A place to wander where there is no wifi. A place where cell phones, tablets, laptops, and televisions no longer become a distraction. A place where technology is on pause and face-to-face communication comes to life again. A place where your number of likes is irrelevant and message notifications can wait. A place where your mind and body can be free.

 

Riverwood is a beautiful nature trail. It is a place I like to go to clear my mind and escape the busy city life. I find peace watching the river flow and comfort climbing up top to enjoy the scenery from a bird’s perspective. Despite my urge to go off trail and explore deep between the trees, I strongly suggest following the man-made path for your own personal safety *sarcastic tone*.

 

I find cute and interesting creatures at Riverwood such as squirrels, chipmunks, owls, ospreys, hawks, turkey vultures, white-tailed deer, red foxes, and salamanders. I also enjoy some unique and captivating plants, as the scenery is unlike any other.

 

Riverwood is known as the “lungs” of Mississauga, since it is purely filled with trees and living species. If you ever run out of oxygen, Riverwood is the place to refill (best advice ever, I know).

 

How did I find Riverwood?

Growing up, I would annually be a part of the cross country team and one of the most common race locations was Erindale Park. If you walk far enough at Riverwood, it turns into Erindale Park. While exploring Erindale, I discovered that there was a much more peaceful park nearby. Ever since then, my bike route has turned into a Riverwood self-reflection time.

 

What can you do at Riverwood?

Make it a date! Set up a picnic on the open field and eat some fruit with your partner whilst enjoying the scenery.

Bond with your family! Go for a walk along the trail. If you have a fishing permit, fish with your parents or siblings.

Take some Instagram bangers! Invite your friends and bring a good quality camera to have a photoshoot with the colourful autumn leaves or fresh spring vibes.

Steer away from the gym! Rather than working out indoors on sweaty machines, go for a run under the sun or bike through the bushes to burn off that bowl of pasta you just ate (and I did too…).

Explore with Fluffy the dog! Bring your pet when you visit Riverwood and explore nature together. Your dog will love to dig in the dirt and play fetch with the sticks you find.

At Riverwood, you will always create memories and have fun!

   

What do I like to do at Riverwood?

I usually bike down to Riverwood and find a comfy rock to have a seat on. I turn off my music and listen to the aesthetic sound of birds chirping and water flowing down the stream.

My advice is to either sit back and enjoy the view or go for a hike to explore hidden trails.

Don’t forget to check in with me here for updates on events leading up to the nationals!

Sparkle and Shine,

Marina, Miss Teenage Southwestern Ontario 2017

 

Written by: Marina
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Exactly a week ago, I experienced the most exhilarating feeling of my life – I went SKYDIVING! I mentioned this in my last post, but my stills and video footage just arrived in the mail and I thought I’d share them with you all. Enjoy!

 

My first time flying was at the Niagara Skydive Centre! I did a tandem jump with a sweet man named Peter, who ensured my safety and really helped me enjoy my flight. I would just like to say thank you to the Niagara Skydive Centre for giving me this incredible opportunity, as nothing can compare.

Word of Advice: If you are capable of going skydiving in your lifetime, I suggest doing it! It is far better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times. Free-falling is unlike any other experience, and it is the perfect combination of thrill and peace.

The video footage is attached on my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages – check it out!

Sparkle and Shine,

Marina, Miss Teenage Southwestern Ontario 2017

Written by: Marina
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*Enters and curtseys*  

 

Hello all, and welcome to my page! My name is Marina, but you may recognize me as Miss Teenage Southwestern Ontario 2017. I am pleased to announce that I will be competing at the Miss Teenage Canada Nationals competition taking place on August 13th. I look forward to making new friends from all across Canada. I also cannot wait to be the voice for animals facing extinction all around the globe! Follow my journey leading up to the nationals by reading on and checking out my alternate social media platforms!

How did it all begin?

Glitz and glamour, frilly dresses, crowns and sashes – before this all became my reality, I lived a simple life in Mississauga, Ontario. On a daily basis, I spend majority of my time outdoors, where I can enjoy nature and interact with the creatures surrounding me. Growing up, while some girls were getting into makeup and concerned about their style, I was the girl who was playing in the mud and climbing a tree. How did this tree-hugging wanderer find herself in a pageant? Easy, I wanted a change. Not only for myself, as a way to come out of my comfort zone, but for the animals who need a voice. I have always had a passion for helping animals, and this is my chance to shine bright and make a difference in society.

 

What brings me happiness?

*Stranger walks their dog* *Runs to pet the dog*

 

Animals! All types of animals – big or small, furry or scaly – you name it, it will bring a smile to my face. I find an innocence in animals, similar to the innocence in infants. For example, a dog’s loyalty is unlike any other, and a dog can demonstrate that unconditional love truly exists. Showing an animal love and feeling their love in return is what brings me sheer happiness.

*Birds chirping* *Sits by the waterfall*

 

Nature! Hearing crashing waves hitting the shore, feeling the blazing sun warm up every inch of my body, and watching the sand creep its way between my toes is what makes my mind at peace. It is important to not take what we have for granted by enjoying our planet and its beautiful scenery.

*Propeller noises* *Jumps out of a plane*

 

Adrenaline! Whether it’s zip-lining or skydiving, I always find a way to keep my blood pumping and energy level sky-high (literally)! I went skydiving just a week ago, and it was the most thrilling and incredible experience of my life. Skydiving is the ultimate feeling of freedom. The wind hitting my face as I enjoyed the beautiful view while free-falling was unlike any other feeling. I love trying new (and crazy) things! Jobs may fill my pockets, but adventures will fill my soul.

*Music plays* *Breaks out my dance moves*

 

Dance! Whether it’s dancing on top of the toilet seat with my mom by my side or on stage with an audience cheering and applauding (my mom being the loudest), dancing is one of my many passions. From ballet to acrobatics and from jazz to hiphop, I always find a way to keep myself moving and entertained. Dance makes the fire in me come alive.

*BEEEEP* *Dives into the water*

 

Swimming! Yes, I am very competitive, especially when it comes to swimming. You can call me Marina the mermaid… or should I say, Marmaid. *Laughs* Whether it’s swimming to get a toasty tan and enjoying the water or competing in a freestyle race, swimming always makes me happy.

Don’t forget to check in with me here for updates on events leading up to the nationals!

Sparkle and Shine,

Marina, Miss Teenage Southwestern Ontario 2017

Written by: Marina
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I grew up in a small town. We had one high school with under 500 people, and up the time I was 12 we only ever had two stop lights. My town may be small, but the compassion of the people in it make it one of the biggest and brightest parts of my life.

There’s an organization in Kingsville named the “Neighbourhood Charitable Alliance”.  This organization was founded in 2012 by people in my community and since then it has raised over $140,000 for 80 local families in need.

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For a small town, we sure have big hearts!

At the second annual Spring Bling gala, I helped to sell raffle tickets. This night was hugely successful and we raised a lot of money for those in our community who need it. I cannot wait to see the difference that this night makes in the lives of others.

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I was so honoured to be a part of such an amazing night!

I recently came across a quote from Helen Keller that I feel fits this night perfectly.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

When we work together, we can change the world. Similar to the Butterfly Effect, when we work together towards a common goal, we impact more lives than we can on our own.

Written by: Olivia
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While finishing up my first year at Guelph, I had the honour of giving Miss Teenage Toronto East 2016, Sakshi, a tour of the beautiful place that I have the privilege of calling home. As any proud Gryphon would do, I told Sakshi that she should choose to come to Guelph in the Fall. I mean, it’s only the best school ever! But showing her around and giving her the low down on what life in Guelph is all about, it got me thinking about why I chose to come to Guelph in the first place.

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Showing Miss Teenage Toronto East, Sakshi, around my dorm room. I can’t wait until next year when there will be two crowns on campus!

In high school, I maintained a 95% average, I played volleyball, tennis, track and field, and soccer, I was a member of the semi-formal planning committee, the Glee club, and student council. Needless to say, I was accepted to every University that I applied to. But when it came down to it, I narrowed my choices down to Western, Windsor, and Guelph. Growing up in Kingsville, Ontario, Guelph is the farthest of the three choices, but after touring all three campuses, I knew that I had to go to Guelph. From the moment that I stepped onto campus, something about Guelph just felt like home, and not once have I regretted my decision.

So here are the top 8 reasons why I love my University:

1. Flexibility.

When I first came to Guelph, I wanted to be a vet. Then for a little while, I thought I wanted to be a fashion designer so I was going to enrol in some business courses. By the time the year had ended, I had decided on becoming a dietician. The programs at Guelph are so flexible and the program counsellors are extremely helpful. I was able to switch programs without even having to get out of bed.

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It doesn’t matter what program I’m in. As long as I’m at Guelph, I’m happy!

2. I like food.

Guelph’s food has been rated as some of the best in the country, and after living there for a year, I completely agree! From crepes, to Mongolian grill, to fresh vegan and vegetarian options, there was always something for everyone.

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Ice cream at midnight? Count me in.

3.  I love animals.

And I mean REALLY love animals. From the crazy Guelph squirrels, to the service dogs in training, to the occasional pig on a leash, everywhere you look on campus you’ll see cute little furry things running around and that is 100% okay with me!

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Is it bad that a dog graduated before me?

4. I’m obsessed with Harry Potter.

I lived in Johnston Hall, which closely resembles Hogwarts, we were the Johnston Hall “Dragons”, my school colours are red and gold, we’re the Guelph “Gryphons”, and we have a quidditch team. Enough said.

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Just waiting for Dumbledore to come flying out of a window.

5. I love volunteering.

At Guelph, there are so many ways to get involved on campus and give back. There was always something going on, whether it be a blood drive, a bake sale, or a fundraising dinner. I love being able to make a difference so Guelph was the perfect fit for me.

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A dinner held at the University to support the Syrian refuge students at Guelph.

6. The dorms.

A walk in closet, wifi and an unbeatable view. What more could a girl need?

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And I only brought my favourites.

7. The school spirit. 

People that go to Guelph, are PROUD to be Gryphons and they are not afraid to let everyone know that! The energy and atmosphere around campus is unlike any other school spirit I’ve ever experienced. You can never cheer too loud or own too many Guelph sweaters.

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Red, black, a little bit of gold and a whole lot of Gryphon pride!

8. The people.

The people at Guelph are some of the kindest people I have ever met. From holding open doors, to leaving little stress buster kits in the library, Gryphons know how tough University can be sometimes and go out of their way to make it as easy as possible for their fellow students.

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It’s tradition to take pictures with the Gryphon at the beginning and end of every year.

So here’s to one of the best decisions I’ve ever made (besides signing up for the Miss Teenage Ontario Pageant), one amazing year down, and hopefully many more to come!

Written by: Olivia
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On Saturday April 12th, I participated in Relay for Life here at the University of Guelph along with 500 of my fellow students to help support the Canadian Cancer Society. From 7pm to 7am we walked, remembered, and fought back against this terrible disease.

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Each luminary represents someone’s battle with cancer. I hope that one day there won’t be quite so many.

During the event we were asked to raise our hand if we were affected or if we knew someone who’s life had been affected by cancer. Every hand in the room went up. This is my fourth time participating in Relay for Life and I do it so that one day, my children won’t have to raise their hands.

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I am so proud of my school for raising a total of $70,000 for cancer research. I am continually blown away by my student community and the size of their hearts!

I  stayed in the Ronald McDonald House in London while receiving treatment for my eating disorder. I had the privilege of meeting some of the most inspirational children who unfortunately have been affected by this disease. I walked/ran 40 km that night for them that night and every step was worth it!

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This is Hunter. I had the pleasure of meeting this little cutie while staying at the Ronald McDonald House. Our families instantly grew close and even though we live on opposite ends of Ontario, we still keep in touch.

Now it’s your turn to accept the baton. Check out the Canadian Cancer Society’s website to find an event near you!

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“I do not like cancer there, I do not like cancer anywhere” – here’s to our Dr. Suess themed Relay for Life.

Canadian Cancer Society Website: http://convio.cancer.ca/site/PageServer?pagename=RFL_CAN_NATL_homepage&s_locale=en_CA

Written by: Olivia
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On International Women’s Day, I participated in a 5K walk/run in order to raise awareness about sexual violence and demonstrate the large number of people in our community committed to supporting survivors of sexual violence.

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Taking steps towards making a difference and raising awareness about violence against women.

According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, less than 10% of sexual assaults are reported to police. This number is not okay! I would say that I would be happy when 100% of sexual assaults are reported to the police, but I won’t be. I will be happy when sexual assault is no longer a problem that our society has to deal with.

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No one should suffer in silence if they are being abused. It doesn’t matter your gender or your age, if you or someone you know is being abused, you should speak up.

I walked so that one day, I won’t have to worry that my daughter will be abused, because 1 in 4 women in North America will be abused in their lifetime. I walked so that my friends know that if they have been abused, they can come to me and I will help them find support. I walked for all of the amazing and beautiful women I know that have been abused in their lives. I walked so that one day, we will no longer need to walk to end sexual assault.

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They didn’t need words to express how much they cared about each other. This pictures says it all.

I’m lucky to belong to a family of some of the strongest women I know. There are no shortage of strong female role models in my life. I hope to one day inspire strength in young girls in the way that the women in my life have inspired me!

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Four generations women who know that we can do anything that we put our minds to!

So here’s to strong women! May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

References:

http://www.sexassault.ca/statistics.htm

http://www.canadianwomen.org/facts-about-violence

 

Written by: Olivia
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This year while I was studying at the University of Guelph, I attended a Syrian Refugee Dinner in order to raise funds for the living and study costs of the Refugees at my school. This year we had a refugee named Sarah who was at our school studying Biology and in the Fall we look forward to welcoming another Syrian student.

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This is Sarah. The night of the dinner I was honoured to hear her story. She told us about the path she took to arrive in Guelph from Syria and the adversity she faced while doing it. I was truly inspired by this young woman and hope that one day I can inspire others in the way that her strength and determination have inspired me.

Throughout the night, we were treated to Syrian cuisine, a traditional Syrian dance, and we got to hear the story of a woman who’s husband served in the army during a war in Syria many years ago. I felt honoured the entire night to be experiencing some of their culture. I am proud to live in a country where multi-culturalism is so abundant and to attend a school that cares so much about diversity and equality.

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The traditional Syrian dance performed by a local club in Guelph was absolutely beautiful! It was different than anything I had ever seen before and I was captivated the entire time.

Canada is planning to welcome over 25,000 Syrian refugees and there is no shortage of ways that we can help! You can donate through the link posted at the bottom of this page, you can volunteer in your community’s welcoming efforts, you can sponsor a refugee or a family, or you can simply treat your new neighbours with welcome arms and a warm heart.  We can all make an effort to show that we care.

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Love is infinite. We can all find room in our hearts to care for those who are suffering.

Link to the Government of Canada’s Syrian Refugee site:  www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/welcome/

 

 

 

Written by: Olivia
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