By MIKE CHAIKEN
When local golfers come out to support the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Organization on May 15 and take their turns on the greens at Stanley Golf Course in New Britain, they will experience a special treat afterward.
Miss America 2018 Cara Mund, who was crowned last September in Atlantic City, will be a keynote speaker at the event, which will support the women from Connecticut vying for a chance to be her successor or the next Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen.
The Miss Connecticut and Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen pageants will be held June 8 and 9 at The Palace Theater in Waterbury.
Since she was crowned last year, Mund has been on the move, traveling across the country representing the Miss America Organization. Now the former Miss North Dakota is making her way to the Nutmeg State.
“I absolutely love traveling,” said Mund in an email interview. “Since I was a little girl, I have had the goal of visiting all 50 states by the time I was 25. Prior to becoming Miss America 2018, I had traveled to 39 states. Based on my current travel schedule, I will likely travel to over 25 states and the District of Columbia throughout my year as Miss America.”
“Although I have already visited many of these states before,” said Mund, “I will likely finish this year with only six more states to go before I reach all 50.”
Connecticut is one of the states that Mund can count as a repeat customer for her visits. “I have been to New Haven, Uncasville, and Hartford,” said Mund of her previous jaunts to Connecticut. When she does arrive in the state, Mund said, “In addition to the golf course, I would love to tour the New England Air Museum.
“I enjoy traveling because it furthers both my historical and cultural perspective of our nation,” said Mund.
“One thing that has surprised me is I am always able to identify something unique about each state I visit; yet, they all hold commonalities that have made me realize that as a nation, we are all more similar than we are different,” said Mund.
For Mund, “My favorite visits are the ones where I leave knowing that I made an impact. I always say that the crown only lasts for a year, but the impact I make lasts a lifetime.”
“My goal as Miss America 2018 is to never look back on a day and wish I would have done more,” said Mund. “On the days when I am tired or feel like just relaxing, I remind myself that this opportunity has a limited number of days. I can’t risk wasting a day.”
Coming to an event such as the Miss Connecticut golf tournament, if she is asked for advice by the local contestants, Mund said she tells them, “Be determined, work hard, and never give up.”
“I came from North Dakota, a state that had never had a Miss America. It took me four years to become Miss North Dakota. I kept thinking that where I came from geographically limited me,” said Mund.
However, she said, “What I have come to realize is the only one who can limit you is yourself. There is not an exact instruction manual on how to become Miss America. The spirit of Miss America cannot be forged or duplicated so there is no reason to try to pretend to be someone that you are not. Be yourself because the spirit of Miss America is within each of us.”
Asked how the reality of her role as Miss America compares with what she dreamed it would be, Mund said, “I knew the title of Miss America was a job. Although I knew that I embodied the qualities of a Miss America, I never actually thought I would become it.”
“My goal had always been to become Miss North Dakota,” said Mund. “Being Miss America seemed like an unattainable goal, but the job has lived up to my expectations. I still pinch myself every single time I get to put on the crown or when someone addresses me as Miss America.”
“For me, it truly was a dream come true,” said Mund.
As September creeps along, and the time comes along for Mund to crown her successor in Atlantic City, what’s next for the current Miss America?
“From ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange to attending the 2018 State of the Union, I have had experiences that I once only dreamed about,” said Mund. “I hope to make a few more trips to Washington, D.C. before my year is over.”
“My job as Miss America has been the best training for my future political aspirations,” said Mund.
“I don’t think you can ever ‘retire’ from being Miss America,” said Mund. “Although I can no longer wear the crown or sash, I will always be a Miss America. I will always serve as a representation of the organization and what it means to be a woman today. “
For people thinking about signing up for the May 15 event, Mund said, “By coming to the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Organization’s Golf Tournament, you are supporting the nation’s leading advocate for women’s education and the largest provider of scholarship assistance to young women in the United States.”
“By supporting the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Organization,” Mund added, “you are committed to empowering women by giving them both professional and scholastic opportunities. It’s not every day that you get to play golf, meet Miss America, and empower young women right within your community.”
The Miss Connecticut Golf Tournament will be held Tuesday, May 15 at the Stanley Golf Course in New Britain. Tickets are $150 for cart, lunch, and dinner. Dinner alone is $50. For tickets, reach out to Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, visit www.missct.org