His mother said she wanted Caleb to enter the pageant because of the confidence and poise the experience helps build in entrants.
She’s noted a definite difference in his confidence since entering, she said, becoming much less shy and much better at introducing himself to people, much more poised and confident. T.J. Greiwe also praised the contest for the more intangible lessons and values it instills.
Throughout the past 10 months of pageant-related public appearances Caleb has attended, T.J. Greiwe’s chief goal has been to help him understand that winning the contest isn’t just about parades and waving and throwing candy to the crowd.
Rather, T.J. Greiwe explained, for her, the Littles public appearances has provided a great opportunity to teach Caleb about being a good citizen and about being involved in the community. “I want him to understand that we are fortunate to live in a community like this one.”
Brown stressed that, regardless of who wins the Littles crowns, each of the contestants leaves “feeling like a winner.” Each contestant receives a trophy, a title, a sash and a parting gift from his or her sponsor.
Brown touted the fact that, in 2013, the contest would again be decided based on each contestant’s behavior. Until 2011, the pageant had been decided by which contestant raised the most money through the pageant’s accompanying donation drive. For Brown though, deciding the winner based on who raised the most money sent the wrong message. Thus, for the third year straight, the winners of the Little Mr. & Miss Tree City Pageant will be decided by vote.
Brown clarified that the canister donation drive will still be held, with kids decorating canisters and placing them at businesses around the city for public donation to help cover the contest’s $200 entry fee. Contestants can also solicit the fee from a local business, who agrees to serve as a sponsor; most contestants, in fact, cover the cost of entry through a sponsor.