Friday, January 14, 2022

Ashlyn Hilts Visits Section 36!

Section 36 had another visitor! 
Ashlyn Hilts is passionate about the arts, a talented flutist, and the current Miss Adirondack. I was so excited that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more.

So, let's see what happens when Ashlyn Hilts visits Section 36! 

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Adirondack crown?

Honestly, I left the competition venue and immediately drove myself to Taco Bell! No celebration in my eyes is truly complete without food! In all seriousness though, going into the competition I knew that if I were to win Miss Adirondack that I would spend as much time as possible in the region. The Adirondacks are such a unique and beautiful part of New York State, and being the representative of this region is something that I am taking very seriously. The morning after I won, I went to Old Forge in the Adirondacks to walk around, take pictures, and reflect on the opportunities that are waiting for me in this beautiful region over the next year. It really gave me the opportunity to finally process the competition and truly understand what I had accomplished, what I can continue to accomplish, and the change that I will be fostering for a new region in New York State.

Do you have a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Adirondack?

Over the summer, I visited Lake Placid and was able to experience one of the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, White Face Mountain. Since then I have been DYING to get back to the Adirondacks and hike, explore, and enjoy the largest part of New York State. Since I go to school in Niagara Falls, I am not always in the Adirondack region. My biggest goal for this year is to visit at least once a month. The Adirondack Park is 6 million acres, that is a LOT of ground to cover. A lot of people who live in the region have no idea that there is a Miss Adirondack, or know very much about the Miss America Organization in general. I want to educate more people and show how significant this organization is, and hopefully recruit some new Miss America fans or candidates!

What did you learn about yourself at the Miss Adirondack competition that will help you compete for Miss New York?

My years as a teenager have consisted of holding titles, volunteering, promoting my Social Impact Initiative, and competing. I think that because of that, some people do not realize that regardless of the success that I have experienced, I am still like every other person my age. I doubt myself, I lose confidence, I get frustrated, I freak out, and I get up the next day and do it all over again. From the outside looking in, I seem like I am always put together, have everything under control, and that I manage everything perfectly all of the time. In reality that could not be farther from the truth. The most valuable thing that I learned about myself in this competition is that I am so much stronger than I think I am. Being a Freshman as a first generation college student balancing school, clubs, a sport, and trying to prepare for my first competition as a Miss candidate was a lot to handle for me, and for a moment I really thought that I had taken on too many responsibilities. I went into competition knowing I could do well, but I never imagined that I would have taken on all of the responsibilities that I did, and come out with a new title, and awards for interview, talent, and Miss Congeniality. Preparing for this competition was the first time I really felt like I had taken on too much, but in the end I came out with a huge accomplishment and a new respect for my capabilities and grit. Going into Miss New York week I know that I can handle whatever is thrown at me in preparation and competition. I am much more confident after the experience of winning and I know that regardless of the outcome at states, I will again come out as a stronger and more confident person. 

How did you select your social impact initiative “Promoting the Arts”?

Unfortunately, a few years after I began participating in my band in elementary school, the music program suffered massive budget cuts that had destroyed my new passion for music. My family and I were able to take part in the process of reinstating the arts programs, and through our fundraising efforts, the programs were kept in the school for students to continue to enjoy. That experience resonated with me as I was selecting my Social Impact Initiative, and it is something that is so personal to me, that I am able to work intensely to help other schools and students avoid the devastation of budget cuts. Experiencing the feeling of having something so important to me taken away made the decision to begin working on my Social Impact Initiative, Promoting the Arts, very easy. Three years later, I have accomplished things that I will forever be proud of: funding scholarships, giving performance opportunities to arts students, raising money for a local organization to purchase instruments for children who cannot afford them, and many more things coming up that I am so very excited for. This initiative is truly perfect for me, and I will forever support this cause far after I am no longer a titleholder in the organization. 

As a talented flutist, what is your favorite part about performing on stage?

Finally having the opportunity to show off all of my hard work is without a doubt the BEST part of any performance! Not many people really understand how hard I work to succeed in my performances, but the moment where I am finally able to step onto a stage or into a room with a judge to perform for them is the moment that makes the hours of hard work worth it. Having this talent does not come naturally whatsoever, it takes months of preparation in so many different ways before I am able to step onto a stage, but the second that I step into the opportunity, it is my chance to show everyone my dedication, determination, and persistence through all parts of putting a piece together. 

How would you complete the sentence, “I get great satisfaction when ___”?

The most rewarding feeling in the world is proving that I am not a person to underestimate. I have always been someone who commits to huge obligations, responsibilities, and takes on challenges that are often shied away from. I am usually met with judgement, questioning, and doubt from others who believe that my goals will be too difficult, that I will be spread too thin, or that it isn’t a good idea to try. I see the doubt as motivation to work hard, prove myself, and show that I will always rise to the occasion. I get great satisfaction when I can prove myself, and show that I have never been, and will never be a person to look down on. I can, and I will move mountains.

If you could be a Disney Character for a week, who would you choose? Why?

This may be a little crazy, but HEAR ME OUT, Maximus the horse from Tangled! During my time as a teen titleholder, I was actually smacked by a horse while taking pictures at a parade. (Yes, it is on video, and yes I will gladly show anyone who asks for it). My thought process here is that if I am a horse, maybe the other horses will find it in their hearts to get to know me before choosing violence:) And honestly, Maximus is too cute, despite my very rational fear of horses.

If you had an extra ticket to see the Buffalo Bisons play the Syracuse Mets, who would you take with you? Why?

I would have to choose one of my best friends, Anna Spaulding! We met through this organization when we were crowned with our first Outstanding Teen titles in 2018. Since then, we have held another set of teen titles together, and were crowned Miss Adirondack and Miss Thousand Islands together in the same organization! Unfortunately since college has put us in two separate states, we aren’t together as much as we were before. I would love to take Anna with me to a baseball game, and spend some much needed time together!

Is there a feature or activity at a baseball game that you’d especially like to experience?

The very first (and only) time I have been to a baseball game unrelated to my school, it was rained out within the first hour. I honestly don’t have a specific feature or activity I want to participate in. I’d really just like to experience a whole game without being rained on the entire time and forced to leave after an hour!


Being there for the whole game is definitely a goo place to start!

As usual, I want to thank Ashlyn for visiting with us, and for sending along the pictures to go with the interview.

As Ashlyn continues her time as Miss Adirondack, I encourage you to check out her title's Instagram account! It's a great way to keep track of everything she has going on! 

I also want to wish Ashlyn luck when she competes for Miss New York! It would be fantastic to have another Section 36 Forever wear that crown.

Thanks again Ashlyn, and good luck!

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