DYW searching for chairperson

SANDPOINT — A long-standing local program is in danger of shutting down if its board is unable to find a new chairperson.

The Distinguished Young Women of Sandpoint scholarship program, better known to some as Junior Miss, is heading into its last year under the hand of chairperson Abby Leisy. Now the hunt is on for a new chairperson, but the search isn’t going smoothly. With the remaining board members too busy to step up into the role of chairperson, Leisy is looking high and low for a replacement.

“I’m running out of people to ask,” she said. “We’re kind of stuck.”

Distinguished Young Women of Sandpoint is a scholarship program that challenges local students in several different areas, including interviews, academics, fitness, self-expression and talent.

It is an excellent means for students to earn scholarships — last year, the program distributed $12,000 for ongoing education. A staple of the community for about 50 years, the competition is both a challenge for community youth and a source of fun for friends and family.

If the board is unable to locate a new chairperson, however, that might be coming to an end. The position requires an individual with excellent organizational skills and time and money management ability. While the board works as a team to share the responsibilities of the program, the chairperson oversees everything. In addition, the board prefers candidates who have had experience with Distinguished Young Women of Sandpoint in the past, whether that be through volunteering, serving as a judge or participating as a competitor.

The latter category was how Leisy became involved in the Distinguished Young Women program. She participated in the 1999 Junior Miss before heading off to college. When she moved back to Sandpoint in 2007, she offered her services to help organize future competitions. With family making more demands on her time, however, she said that the time was right to refocus her priorities.

“I have two little boys and they’re growing up,” she said. “I want to be there for my kids.”

Once Leisy finds an individual to take over as chairperson, she intends to manage the preparations for next year with the new appointee shadowing her to learn the ropes. Those interested in the position should email Leisy at sandpointjrmiss@hotmail.com.

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