About 40 girls waited anxiously Friday afternoon at the Boys and Girls Club of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County for Lindsey Marks, Miss Maryland United States to arrive.
The visit was the start of Marks' partnership with the club to teach a series of summer workshops called "A Walk With My Sister."
"I try to make sure the girls meet their full potential by knowing their self-worth, having positive self-esteem and detouring away from destructive decisions," Marks said.
Club Program Director Phyllis Taylor said Marks' workshops fit in well with the Boys and Girls Club's "Smart Girls" program.
The Smart Girls program reaches out to girls ages 8 to 17 in order to teach them about health, fitness, self-esteem and the importance of getting an education.
It is designed to encourage healthy attitudes and lifestyles that will enable early adolescent girls to develop to their full potential, Taylor said.
The program pools girls from six Boys and Girls Club's in the region—including those in Severn and Pasadena.
Marks said she initially contacted several Boys and Girls Clubs in Maryland about her workshop idea.
"Ms. Taylor was the most receptive, and she seemed just as excited as I was about the workshops," Marks said.
Friday's session was an opportunity for Marks to meet the girls and for the girls to get to know Miss Maryland a little better.
Marks started off the session by asking the girls to introduce themselves and share what they believed to be their talents.
'I see a room full of talented and beautiful girls," Marks said. "What I want to do is come back and get to know you and be a big sister figure that you can bring your problems to."
Several of the girls had questions about how Marks got to be Miss Maryland and one even wanted to know if the crown was real.
"It's real," Marks said. "It's heavy too. You can try it on later."
She asked the girls what topics they wanted to focus on for her upcoming workshops, and everyone laughed when one girl said "boys."
"We will definitely talk about boys," Marks said.
The other topics for Marks' upcoming workshops will be self-confidence, hygiene, fashion and friendships.
Marks said she thinks knowing "what friends should be and how they should treat you" is especially important for girls entering middle and high school.
Taylor and Marks have yet to pin down the specific dates for her return, but both women anticipated they would be announced soon.
Taylor said the workshops will take place during regular youth camp hours, and the girls who want to attend from neighboring clubs will be brought to the Annapolis location at 121 S. Villa Avenue for the events.
Marks said, "I'm going to give away prizes and have snacks. It's going to be a lot of fun."