That's why Marissa Witmer decided to compete in the Miss Solanco Scholarship Pageant in November, 2016.
Earlier this year, she earned another title - Miss Lancaster County. In June, she will be one of several Solanco residents to compete in the Miss Pennsylvania pageant.
But the real benefit has been the process itself.
"There's not one reason to do it. I got close to an amazing group of girls," she said of the Miss Solanco pageant. "It helped me develop intellectually and emotionally. It also helped me with my interpersonal skills and develop relationships with my classmates."
The contest itself is fun, Witmer said, and it helps the girls build confidence and stage presence, something that's vital for a girl who's interested in the theater or performing publicly.
"It helped me build my interview skills and that's something that will help in the real world," she said. "It was such a fun experience and I really loved it."
The contest also helps a girl who has a platform get it out in the community, she said.
The contestants begin working together in early fall. The practice sessions culminate with the pageant, held the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
The pageant is open to any girl who will be a senior in the fall and lives in the Solanco School District. While most have been students at Solanco High School, the contest isn't limited to those students.
"It's also open to any Solanco girls who attend Lancaster Catholic, Lancaster Mennonite, any other private schools, as well as those who are home-schooled or attend a cyber charter school," said contest organizer Scott Peiffer.
Interested girls can send a letter of intent to the Quarryville Teenage Club in care of Marla Peiffer, 216 E. State St., Quarryville. The letter should include the girl's full name, address and phone number, parents' name, email address, talent intent, list of school and community activities, and reason for entering the pageant. Letters are due by May 13; an orientation session will be held May 20.
The new Miss Solanco will receive a $2,000 scholarship from the Quarryville Teenage Club. The scholarship will be paid when the winner completes her first year of post-secondary education, including a four-year or two-year college or a technical school.
The first runner up will receive a $1,000 scholarship, with lesser scholarships to second and third runners up.
Witmer is finishing her freshman year at Franklin & Marshal College. This summer, she will begin her third year working with an Alzheimer's research project at Penn State's Hershey Medical Center.
She also works as an emergency medical technician with LEMSA and volunteers with the Wakefield Ambulance Association.
Witmer is also preparing for her next pageant.
"I've learned that everybody's unique and brings her talent and personality to the event. The pageant is for anyone who cares about her community and who wants to have a good time," she said. "My favorite memories weren't of myself as Miss Solanco but of doing the pageant and all of the work that we put into it and the fun we had beforehand."